The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
- John 2:18-22
“Do you remember your first traffic ticket … the shock of it? Yes, you knew the traffic laws, however you didn’t fully understand how those laws would be applied to you until lights were flashing in your mirror. Sometimes the gap between awareness and understanding is a wide chasm.
“Imagine the scene when Jesus and His disciples went into the temple at Passover only to again find scammers cheating God’s worshipers and stealing their money. Whip in hand; Jesus drove the cheats out declaring His Father’s house would not be a crooked market. His passion and zeal caused quite a stir.
“The temple leaders asked Jesus a natural question, ‘where does your authority to do such a thing originate?’ But knowing Jesus claimed to be God’s actual Son, they went further and demanded a sign of his parentage and authority. Jesus did not back down from their challenge. He responded, “’Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ No one understood His words.
“Confusion concerning Jesus continued. However, three days after His brutal execution, arranged by those same religious leaders, Jesus was undeniably alive – risen from the dead! After talking with Him themselves, His disciples recalled that intense day in the temple and the gap between awareness and understanding closed. Not only had Jesus risen from the dead, He had indeed shown the world by what authority He claimed to be God’s Son!”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
Thinking of traffic tickets, my wife and I have been blessed with only a few. I have gotten two tickets for speeding. Once, soon after graduating college, I was driving a sports car while being passed by a soccer mom driving a station wagon. She was passing me, but I had the sports car. I got the ticket, and the policeman put the wrong model of sports car on the ticket, easily contested. Since I was a day’s drive from where I lived, I sent the state my money with a plea of ‘no contest.’ To challenge the obvious prejudice of the policeman would have required three days off from work, a lot more cost than the ticket.
My second speeding ticket was years later. A policeman was running interference for a KKK cross burning. We were just on the wrong road at the wrong time, driving from a family reunion back to our home, taking a shortcut suggested by my parents.
My wife’s only speeding ticket was when I was in the military in the Army. Our son was sick, and she was taking him to the infirmary. She had taken the shortcut past the high school and got pulled over by an MP. I was a captain at the time. I was required to report to a lieutenant, the headquarters company commander, for a stern lecture on driving safely – no fine. When I entered his office to report to him, he fumbled to get to attention, because a higher-ranking officer had just entered his office – me, reporting for my chewing out. At this point, everything became comical. He was required to admonish me sternly, because my wife drove too fast in a school zone. As an officer, I was responsible for her behavior. Unfair? Maybe, but that is how it worked then.
We’ve had a few warnings over the years – usually too fast for the conditions, and I got a ticket one week after our wedding when my sports car’s brakes failed and I rolled underneath the truck in front of me at about 5 mph (7 kph) – major damage to my vehicle, none to the truck, but I was ‘following too closely’ according to the policeman who came to investigate.
We rented a BMW (the last car in the rental lot – lucky us) to go to our grandson’s high school graduation last weekend. Each BMW is designed for high performance. In the blink of an eye, you could accelerate from 40 to 90 mph (64 to 144 kph)– and smoothly, without effort, and before you realized how fast you were going, allegedly. All I will say is that ‘if’ that ever happened on the trip – multiple times, allegedly, we didn’t get caught.
But to better illustrate the analogy in the quoted devotion above, you need to look no further than a Pennsylvania stop sign. When there is no policeman parked at the intersection near my old workplace, no one ever stopped or slowed down at the nearby stop sign, making it nearly impossible to merge into traffic from our parking lot. But, if there were a lot of complaints, the police would park a car in a neighboring parking lot. With the ‘cop’ visible, everyone stopped at the Stop sign. Everyone ‘knew’ what the rule was, no one understood the implications of not stopping, so they didn’t follow the rule.
But running a stop sign when no one is coming through the intersection or driving a little over the posted speed limit isn’t a bad thing, is it? Dr. David Jeremiah used minor traffic infractions in his book, The Agents of the Apocalypse. The Judge on Judgment Day will know how many times we violated human law. (Whether the law is enforced or not – and we have all been ‘caught’ by God.) The Judge will know how well we did toward the intent of the Biblical commandments, but the key will be whether our name is in the Book of Life. Do we have a personal relationship with Jesus? Does He know who you are?
Do we understand what Jesus meant in His statement about rebuilding the temple in three days? Sure, He meant He would be resurrected in three days after being killed. But how are our lives changed as a result of that event? Jesus is in our hearts. He makes us new creations, just by coming into us.
We are talking about something a lot more important than an historical event that happened nearly 2000 years ago. Jesus is alive. He is living within each believer. It is not just an historical fact that Jesus died and rose again on the third day, it must change our lives also.
Let’s not wait until Judgment Day to find out how many times we have broken the speed limit – or worse, let’s strengthen our relationship with Jesus by turning from sin and learning to trust in Him today.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.