18 So the Ioudaioi (usually translated as “Jews”) said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Ioudaioi then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

The authority that Jesus displayed in the prophetic action of cleansing the Temple was once again highlighting the basic question that was implicitly asked – “Who is and who should be in charge of God’s people, Israel?The Gospel’s answer, predictably, is King Jesus. The text above, verses 23-25, must not be separated from the preceding verses 13-22, which describe the same thing – Jerusalem during the Passover. We must see verse 23 continuing what was begun in Jerusalem some verses earlier. In Greek, “Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people,” could and should (because of the overall context) be translated: “Jesus on his part did not believe in them, because he knew them all.” (Jn. 2:24) With this slight translation adjustment, what comes before and what follows in the Gospel account fits much better, especially with the follow-up of verse 25 (“needed no one to bear witness”).

This kind of formula, “show/tell us (18 “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”), will be raised again by the Ioudaioi on several occasions. On each occasion, the point was that they were formally in charge of religious life in ancient Israel under Roman occupation. Jesus’ response could not have been more explicit than what he says in 2:19: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The authorities could not have been more devalued. This was the case whether or not they understood it as they did (2:20), or as they should have (2:21). Without bothering to explain what he really meant, Jesus denied the authority of the Ioudaioi.

One of the clearest examples of this “show us/I refuse” dynamic is found in John Chapter 10. The Ioudaioi challenged Jesus to submit his candidacy for Messiahship to them – the Jerusalemite leadership. Jesus refused, saying that his Father and his own deeds were enough to prove his authority, thus rejecting their authority:

The Ioudaioi gathered around him, saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Anointed One, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.’ (Jn. 10:24-27)

This text is most often read as an instance of Jesus’ general lack of clarity in declaring his Messiahship. However, I think this is unwarranted. The request of the Ioudaioi should not be read: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Anointed one, tell us plainly,” but rather, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Anointed One, tell us plainly.” From the standpoint of the Ioudaioi, their authority to validate Jesus’ candidacy for Messiahship was not being honored. Jesus drew large crowds who followed him. The blind saw, the lame walked, lepers were cured, the deaf heard, and the dead came back to life. (Matt. 11:2-5; Is. 29:17-21) Jesus’ identity as Messiah was self-evident, but he had failed to declare himself as such to the Jerusalem authorities. This was the reasoning behind their demand. (How long will you keep us in suspense?) Jesus, however, consistently stated that his miracles, and therefore his Father’s witness of his Messiahship, were enough to establish him as God’s Messianic Servant. (Jn. 10:25-42) He refused to acknowledge the Jerusalem rulers’ authority over him and by extension, over the whole of Israel. Jesus was the one to whom Israel’s covenantal God had entrusted such authority and therefore, submitting himself to the illegitimate, or at least lower level authority of the Ioudaioi, was out of the question. (Matt. 26:63-64)

We see that the Ioudaioi assumed they had the right to approve or disapprove of Jesus, and were already engaged in the process of judging him. They challenged him at that time, and more explicitly later, to prove who he was. Jesus refused.



  1. Dear Dr Eli,
    your comments are as always unique and trustworthy. I simply love them and will enrol in your course, but only next year. Right now I’m readying myself for a trip to Israel and this demand all my finacial resources.

  2. Really getting to understand more about the scriptures with your explanation. Trusting God for provision to enable me register for the course.

  3. I want to take your courses too but must wait till next June before i can due to finances. Thank you for your teaching, so wonderful to hear the truth being taught.

  4. Well put. May the Almighty God help me to respect Jesus and His deity as He expects. God bless you for these piece of knowledge.

    • Gert, please consider asking your friends at church to sponsor you. We have 10% of students in your age. In Israel we call it the age of gold. Time to learn.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Exodus and The New Testament and Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

      • i cannot take courses this year as I’m studying for licensure, however, I would like to sponsor Gert Pretorius if she is willing. Please let me know how to do this.

  5. I too love reading the daily snippets. Since visiting Israel in June this year, I find myself wanting more understanding. I am not able to take the courses this year, but hope to in the future. I love the interpretation from the Hebrew viewpoint – should there be any other?

    • I tend to agree, Heather. I think in order to understand a Hebrew Bible, a Hebrew perspective is quite helpful. 🙂

  6. Dear Mr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg
    Don´t you think that Jesus was only denying authority to the Sanhedrin, and not to the ioudaioi as a whole. That Hi was just trying to raise the common ignorant people of Israel, against the submission to the Judean Authorities?
    Thanks for all your comments

  7. i would like to take your courses, but not good time. I know they will help me as i continue to study from a torah and Yeshua foundational perspective of my faith in the King of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

  8. I’m fairly new to this site but I read some articles occasionally when time permits. Dr. Eli, are you an Orthodox Jew or Messianic Jew?

    • I am a Messianic Jew, working to further the kingdom of our Savior by teaching believers to understand the New Testament in its original Jewish context. These free insights and all of our courses seek to help God’s people to accomplish this.

  9. I am coming out of a mainstream church…although sabbath keeping one. The leader there looks askance at Torah study and inserts the word “Jew” into almost every sermon with a decided sneer. He does not realize that the word most often refers to the Jewish authorities in Yeshua’s day.

    • Unfortunately, your pastor is not alone. While Paul warned believers from becoming high-minded (Rom.11:20), I’d like to think however that most pastors are good people, sincere, and are only preaching what they were taught to be truth. Have you forwarded him any of the free articles?

  10. Hi Dr. I agree that the three days that HE rebuild is speaking if HIS own body’s ressurection. But can it be also that HE is speaking of us. Like in the tabenacle became the temple that became us, a temple where tje HOLY SPIRIT can dwell in.

    • Definitely, our body is called a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit (1Cor.3:16,6:19,1Pet.2:5), but how does the “three days” bit play into that interpretation? John spells it out that “Jesus spoke of his body…when He was raised from the dead” (John 2:21-22). Reading the collective “Body of Messiah” into this passage doesn’t seem warranted because that was not a three-day long ordeal.

  11. This gives some depth to my understanding. The Sanhedrin was responsible to vet any claimant to Messiahship. So they would have been interested in this Yeshua, born crown prince of Israel and now doing the things expected of Messiah. But for Him to continually throw their authority back in their faces as you describe would have driven them into a rage! In church we were taught they were afraid if Messiah came they’d lose their authority. What you are saying is He came and ignored their authority. And nothing angers authority like ignoring it/them! Thanks.

  12. The request of the Ioudaioi should not be read: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Anointed one, tell us plainly,” but rather, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Anointed One, tell us plainly.” What’s the difference?

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Exodus and The New Testament or The Jewish Apostle Paul I: His World. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!


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