18.What sign showest thou to us? When in so large an assembly no man laid hands on Christ, and none of the dealers in cattle or of the money-changers repelled him by violence, we may conclude that they were all stunned and struck with astonishment by the hand of God. And, therefore, if they had not been utterly blinded, this would have been a sufficiently evident miracle, that one man against a great multitude, an unarmed man against strong men, all unknown man against so great rulers, attempted so great an achievement. For since they were far stronger, why did they not oppose him, but because their hands were loosened and — as it were — broken?
Yet they have some ground for putting the question; for it does not belong to every man to change suddenly, if any thing is faulty or displeases him in the temple of God. All are, indeed, at liberty to condemn corruptions; but if a private man put forth his hand to remove them, he will be accused of rashness. As the custom of selling in the temple had been generally received, Christ attempted what was new and uncommon; and therefore they properly call on him to prove that he was sent by God; for they found their argument on this principle, that in public administration it is not lawful to make any change without an undoubted calling and command of God. But they erred on another point, by refusing to admit the calling of Christ, unless he had performed a miracle; for it was not an invariable rule that the Prophets and other ministers of God should perform miracles; and God did not limit himself to this necessity. They do wrong, therefore, in laying down a law to God by demanding a sign. When the Evangelist says that the Jews asked him, he unquestionably means by that term the multitude who were standing there, and, as it were, the whole body of the Church; as if he had said, that it was not the speech of one or two persons, but of the people.