John 2:18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
I always shake my head while reading the gospel of John in response to the way he uses the term “the Jews.” Jesus was a Jew as were all of the twelve apostles and the vast majority of the people mentioned in the gospels. For whatever reason, John uses the term to designate the leaders who would oppose Jesus and not those of a race, religion or nationality. Here they want to know what Jesus can show them as proof of his authority. I’m reminded of the scene in the movie “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” which is often misquoted as “We don’t need no stinking badges.” What the bandit actually says is “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” Jesus could have said something similar, but what John records as Jesus’ reply is, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” This is a cryptic allusion to the Easter events which in John’s story won’t happen for a few years. John will go on to explain that the disciples couldn’t make sense of it either, not until after the fact, but when they did, it gave them faith. We so often want Jesus or God to prove something to us, to act in such a way that our doubt will be quelled. Jesus does not need to prove his authority to us or anyone else. The resurrection is all the proof we get and it is all the proof we need. Everything else flows from that. This week, where will you look for signs of Jesus’ authority?