19.Destroy this temple. This is an allegorical mode of expression; and Christ intentionally spoke with that degree of obscurity, because he reckoned them unworthy of a direct reply; as he elsewhere declares that he speaks to them in parables, because they are unable to comprehend the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom, (Mat_13:13.) But first he refuses to them the sign which they demanded, either because it would have been of no advantage, or because he knew that it was not the proper time. Some compliances he occasionally made even with their unreasonable requests, and there must have been a strong reason why he now refused. Yet that they may not seize on this as a pretense for excusing themselves, he declares that his power will be approved and confirmed by a sign of no ordinary value; for no greater approbation of the divine power in Christ could be desired than his resurrection from the dead. But he conveys this information figuratively, because he does not reckon them worthy of an explicit promise. In short, he treats unbelievers as they deserve, and at the same time protects himself against all contempt. It was not yet made evident, indeed, that they were obstinate, but Christ knew well what was the state of their feelings.
But it may be asked, since he performed so many miracles, and of various kinds, why does he now mention but one? I answer, he said nothing about all the other miracles, First, because his resurrection alone was sufficient to shut their mouth: Secondly, he was unwilling to expose the power of God to their ridicule; for even respecting the glory of his resurrection he spoke allegorically: Thirdly, I say that he produced what was appropriate to the case in hand; for, by these words, he shows that all authority over the Temple belongs to him, since his power is so great in building the true Temple of God.
This temple. Though he uses the word temple in accommodation to the present occurrence, yet the body of Christ is justly and appropriately called a temple. The body of each of us is called a tabernacle, (2Co_5:4; 2Pe_1:13,) because the soul dwells in it; but the body of Christ was the abode of his Divinity. For we know that the Son of God clothed himself with our nature in such a manner that the eternal majesty of God dwelt in the flesh which he assumed, as in his sanctuary.
The argument of Nestorius, who abused this passage to prove that it is not one and the same Christ who is God and man, may be easily refuted. He reasoned thus: the Son of God dwelt in the flesh, as in a temple; therefore the natures are distinct, so that the same person was not God and man. But this argument might be applied to men; for it will follow that it is not one man whose soul dwells in the body as in a tabernacle; and, therefore, it is folly to torture this form of expression for the purpose of taking away the unity of Person in Christ. It ought to be observed, that our bodies also are called temples of God, (1Co_3:16, and 1Co_6:19; 2Co_6:16) but it is in a different sense, namely, because God dwells in us by the power and grace of his Spirit; but in Christ the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, so that he is truly God manifested in flesh, (1Ti_3:16.)
I will raise it up again. Here Christ claims for himself the glory of his resurrection, though, in many passages of Scripture, it is declared to be the work of God the Father. But these two statements perfectly agree with each other; for, in order to give us exalted conceptions of the power of God, Scripture expressly ascribes to the Father that he raised up his Son from the dead; but here, Christ in a special manner asserts his own Divinity. And Paul reconciles both.
If the Spirit of Him, that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you,
While he makes the Spirit the Author of the resurrection, he calls Him indiscriminately sometimes the Spirit of Christ, and sometimes the Spirit of the Father.