John 2:18
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The Jews then responded to him, "What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

New Living Translation
But the Jewish leaders demanded, "What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it."

English Standard Version
So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”

Berean Study Bible
On account of this, the Jews demanded, “What sign can You show us to prove Your authority to do these things?”

Berean Literal Bible
So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us that You do these things?"

New American Standard Bible
The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?"

King James Bible
Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

Christian Standard Bible
So the Jews replied to him, "What sign will you show us for doing these things?"

Contemporary English Version
The Jewish leaders asked Jesus, "What miracle will you work to show us why you have done this?"

Good News Translation
The Jewish authorities came back at him with a question, "What miracle can you perform to show us that you have the right to do this?"

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So the Jews replied to Him, "What sign of authority will You show us for doing these things?"

International Standard Version
Then the Jewish leaders asked him, "What sign can you show us as authority for doing these things?"

NET Bible
So then the Jewish leaders responded, "What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?"

New Heart English Bible
The Jewish leaders therefore answered him, "What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But the Judeans answered and said to him: “What sign are you showing us that you are doing these things?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The Jews reacted by asking Jesus, "What miracle can you show us to justify what you're doing?"

New American Standard 1977
The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then the Jews answered and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

King James 2000 Bible
Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign show you unto us, seeing that you do these things?

American King James Version
Then answered the Jews and said to him, What sign show you to us, seeing that you do these things?

American Standard Version
The Jews therefore answered and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

Douay-Rheims Bible
The Jews, therefore, answered, and said to him: What sign dost thou shew unto us, seeing thou dost these things?

Darby Bible Translation
The Jews therefore answered and said to him, What sign shewest thou to us, that thou doest these things?

English Revised Version
The Jews therefore answered and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

Webster's Bible Translation
Then answered the Jews, and said to him, What sign showest thou to us, seeing that thou doest these things?

Weymouth New Testament
So the Jews asked Him, "What proof of your authority do you exhibit to us, seeing that you do these things?"

World English Bible
The Jews therefore answered him, "What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?"

Young's Literal Translation
the Jews then answered and said to him, 'What sign dost thou shew to us -- that thou dost these things?'
Study Bible
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
17His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for Your house will consume Me.” 18On account of this, the Jews demanded, “What sign can You show us to prove Your authority to do these things?” 19Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”…
Cross References
Exodus 7:9
"When Pharaoh tells you, 'Perform a miracle,' you are to say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,' and it will become a serpent."

1 Kings 13:3
That day the man of God gave a sign, saying, "This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: 'Surely the altar will be split apart, and the ashes upon it will be poured out.'"

Matthew 12:38
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."

John 1:19
And this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, "Who are you?"

Treasury of Scripture

Then answered the Jews and said to him, What sign show you to us, seeing that you do these things?


John 6:30 They said therefore to him, What sign show you then, that we may …

Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, …

Matthew 16:1-4 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired …

Mark 8:11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking …

Luke 11:29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, …


John 1:25 And they asked him, and said to him, Why baptize you then, if you …

Matthew 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders …

Mark 11:27,28 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, …

Luke 20:1,2 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the …

Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the middle, they asked, By what power, …

Acts 5:28 Saying, Did not we straightly command you that you should not teach …

(18) Then answered the Jews.--Comp. for the meaning of "the Jews" John 1:19; and for their question, Matthew 21:23. The Mosaic legislation contained a warning against the efficiency of the test by signs (Deuteronomy 13:1-3), but it was of the essence of Pharisaism to cling to it (Matthew 12:38; 1Corinthians 1:22). It supplied an easy means of rejecting the moral conviction. A sign can only be evidence to the mind open to read the underlying truth. For "an evil and adulterous generation" it has no voice, and they can, after the feeding of the thousands, still demand "What sign showest Thou?" (John 6:30). There are bigots of incredulity. Knowledge is dependent upon action and will (comp. John 7:17). There is a mental condition which no evidence can convince, for it can always demand more. "If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (Luke 16:31).

Verses 18,19. - The Jews therefore answered and said to him. That which the disciples thought at the very time is here recorded by one who affects at least to know their inmost minds and most confidential meditations and talk with one another. John, at least, saw the rising storm of enmity already hurtling, but says nothing. Nevertheless, as if in reply to the imperial prophetic act (which corresponded with John the Baptist's prediction of One who would come axe in hand), the Jews approached with answer (of., for this use of the word "answer," Matthew 11:25; Acts 3:12; Mark 11:14). The "answer" here is in the form of a question, which shows that they had not recognized the sign he had already given, that this temple was his "Father's house," and that he had solemnly claimed the authority of "Son" over the house. What sign showest thou, because (or, seeing that) thou doest these things? (cf. Matthew 12:38, etc.; John 6:30). Thou art bound to give us some "sign" that thou hast a right to deal thus with established customs and to assume the position of a public reformer. Upon what does thine (ἐξουσία) authority rest? Give us some miraculous proof of these high assumptions, "seeing that (quatenus) thou art doing these things," whose consequences are now so conspicuous. It might be supposed that the extraordinary effect just produced upon the crowd of traffickers was sufficient proof of power, if not of authority. The Jews were within their right in asking for these authentications; but their continuous demand for outward signs is one of the conspicuous features of their character (Matthew 12:38; 1 Corinthians 1:22). In the fundamental nature of a "sign" there is a hint of the true solution of the enigmatical saying which is the first public utterance of our Lord. He gave to the act which he was about to perform the characteristic of a "sign." It would be an outward and visible manifestation of a stupendous spiritual event. This, among other reasons, refutes the modern speculation of Herder, Ewald, Lucke, Renan, and even of Neander, Geikie, and others, that the evangelist was wrong in the explanation of this remarkable saying which he offered in the twenty-first verse. John, who, better than modern commentators can do, ought to have known what the Lord meant, declares that Jesus was speaking of "the temple of his body" when, as the context shows, he was vindicating his right to cleanse the existing temple; and by τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον, "this sanctuary," he was also pointing to and referring in some sense to the temple structure in the midst of which he and the Jews were standing. The commentators have said, "John was wrong, and was led astray by his own fancies. There was no reference to the death or resurrection of Christ. The Lord meant," say they, "as follows: 'Persist in your lawless, irreverent, unbelieving treatment of the temple, and so destroy it. Let it cease by this handling of yours from being a temple, and I will prove my right to cleanse it, and to reform, rebuke, or condemn your immoral practices in it, by building it again, or rather erecting a spiritual temple, a temple without hands, and in three days, i.e. in a short time after you have consummated your impiety, I will complete my restorative work - I will build a new temple and fill it with my glory.'" If John had not appended the twenty-first verse, "Howbeit he spake concerning the temple of his body," the above interpretation would deserve very close attention and perhaps acceptance. But there are sundry difficulties in it, even if the evangelist had not supplied the true key: - e.g. Christ does not say, "I will raise up 'another' temple or a 'spiritual' temple on the ruins of the old;" but "I will raise it up," viz. the temple which I challenge you to "destroy." Though ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις, "in three days," is used in this indefinite sense, in Hosea (Hosea 6:2, LXX.), yet it is the accepted term for the period of three days, which counted from the death to the resurrection of the Lord, and which in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 12:40) is distinctly foretold to be the great "sign" given to that generation. Moreover, from the Jewish misunderstanding of the words which appear in the synoptic narrative, viz. δια, τρίων ἡμέρων, "during three days," the literal character of the time specified had laid hold, not only of the disciples, but of the multitude. Again, the erection of the spiritual temple would not be an outward and visible sign of the grace and authority of the Lord; but rather the great spiritual reality itself - invisible indeed, and requiring signs to manliest and demonstrate its own occurrence and existence. We conclude, then, that the apostle knew better than his critics, and that we are to believe that, when the Lord said to the Jews, Destroy (λύσατε, dissolve, break up) this temple, "he was speaking of the temple of his body," and at the same time linking and identifying the two temples, relating the one to the other so closely that the destruction of his body became ipso facto the demolition of the temple character of the building where they then stood. The temple of stone and gold, of stately decoration and ceremonial, derived all its true meaning from its being the gorgeous crystallization of a Divine idea embodied in his life. The temple had no value save as a meeting place for God and man, where by sacrifice and worship man might approach the Father, who declared himself to be reconciled, long suffering, and yet just. The Lord has come to the temple, but was himself One holier and "greater than the temple." God is manifested in the glory of that holy life, and man is set forth also in Christ's perfect high-priestly approach to and commerce with the excellent glory. The Lord knows that he is the Lamb, and the only begotten Son of God, and he knows also that his death is part of the awful method in which the vast designs of his righteous love will be secured. He has a baptism to be baptized with, and he is straitened until it be accomplished. He anticipates the end. As he said afterwards to Judas, "That thou doest do quickly;" so at this moment he said, Destroy this temple (of my body), and you will destroy therein the temple character of this historic embodiment of a grand prophetic hope; and I will raise it up, viz. - the temple of my body - in three days (not, I will raise it by quiet, unobserved, spirit processes in the souls of men, but) the very temple which you will bring down shall henceforth be the living and eternal temple of all the glory of God and all the possibilities of man. The great bulk of expositors of many types, who do not repudiate St. John's own words, see thus (with more or less of a double reference in it) the first main significance of the enigma. Whether our Lord pointed to his own Person as he uttered these words cannot be determined. It is said by some - If he had done so, all ambiguity would have been removed, and the misunderstanding which followed would have been impossible! Surely the Jews were not usually ready to receive parabolic truth of this kind so readily, and after their fashion were almost sure to misconceive and falsely to misrepresent it. Even the disciples did not see into its meaning until after the Resurrection (ver. 22). How could they? Verily, then, and not till then, was it seen that the sign of the Prophet Jonas had been given to that generation. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him,.... They did not lay hands on him, or offer any violence to him; they did not, as the inhabitants of Nazareth did, thrust him out, and lead him to a precipice, to cast him down headlong; nor did they take up stones to stone him, as they afterwards did, when he asserted his deity: and it is surprising, that they did not rise up and destroy him at once, a single man, unarmed, and without assistance, having so highly provoked them; the restraint upon them must be his almighty power: nor do they deny what he suggested, that they had made his Father's house an house of merchandise; nor do they offer to vindicate their profanation of the temple, or object to the purging of it; only demand a proof of his right to do it: and which demand was made, not by the common people, or by the sellers of oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers, who were drove out, and had not spirit to rally again; but by the chief priests and elders, the sanhedrim of the nation, who had the care and government of the temple, and under whose authority the above persons acted; and whose gain and worldly interest were promoted hereby, as a like demand was afterwards made by the same persons; see Matthew 21:23;

what sign shewest thou unto us, seeing thou dost these things? they argued, that either he did these things of himself, by his own authority, and then they must be deemed rash and unjustifiable; or he did it by the authority of others: they knew it was not by theirs, who were the great council of the nation, from whom he should have had his instructions and orders, if he acted by human authority; and if he pretended to a divine authority, as they supposed he did, then they insisted upon a sign or miracle to be wrought, to prove that God was his Father, as he suggested; and that he was the proprietor and owner of the temple, and had a right to purge it, as he had done; see 1 Corinthians 1:22. 18-22. What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?—Though the act and the words of Christ, taken together, were sign enough, they were unconvinced: yet they were awed, and though at His very next appearance at Jerusalem they "sought to kill Him" for speaking of "His Father" just as He did now (Joh 5:18), they, at this early stage, only ask a sign.2:12-22 The first public work in which we find Christ engaged, was driving from the temple the traders whom the covetous priests and rulers encouraged to make a market-place of its courts. Those now make God's house a house of merchandise, whose minds are filled with cares about worldly business when attending religious exercises, or who perform Divine offices for love of gain. Christ, having thus cleansed the temple, gave a sign to those who demanded it, to prove his authority for so doing. He foretells his death by the Jews' malice, Destroy ye this temple; I will permit you to destroy it. He foretells his resurrection by his own power; In three days I will raise it up. Christ took again his own life. Men mistake by understanding that according to the letter, which the Scripture speaks by way of figure. When Jesus was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered he has said this. It helps much in understanding the Divine word, to observe the fulfilling of the Scriptures.
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