Have you ever seen a viral video? You know the video of “What does the Fox say?” Or, perhaps you have seen the (fake) video where Chuck Norris is doing the splits on the wings of two jets while supporting the weight of a dozen Special Forces soldiers in the shape of a Christmas Tree. We live in the age of “viral” videos. While perhaps videos are a more recent phenomenon, the concept of rapidly spreading ideas or occurrences has been around for a long time.
As a matter of fact, the majority of things that happen in history could be considered “viral.” When you look at events like the defeat of the Spanish Armada, or the sinking of the Titanic, or even the killing of Osama Bin Laden, while the video footage of these events is lacking, they are still spoken of by millions and carried along “virally” to more and more every day.
Christianity could be viewed with this “viral” perspective. It started with Christ himself and the twelve disciples who followed Him. Within a few weeks of the start of His earthly ministry, word had spread to thousands. Within 20 years of His ministry, the news had spread to millions across three continents…and that was before the internet. “What does the fox say?” doesn’t even compare.
As we see Christ teach and respond to his accusers throughout his ministry, there are several statements that he makes that seem to be so shocking to the listeners that they seemingly go "viral." “Love your enemies,” “Sell all and follow me,” and even in the text today we find one that apparently surged across the country because three years later, people were still talking about it.
What was this statement? Jesus had just finished chasing the capitalistic, hyper-religious frauds from the Temple grounds when He was confronted by the Jewish mob. When they asked Him for a sign that would vindicate His claims and His right to cleanse the Temple like this, He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They missed what he was saying, because He was omniscient and they weren’t. "Omniscient" simply means that He knows everything, even the future. This means the He knew that they would kill Him and that after three days He would raise again. They didn’t even know that they would eventually kill Him, much less that He would resurrect after He had died.
This misunderstood statement of Jesus apparently went “viral.” Three years later, when they are seeking to accuse Him of anything so they can execute Him, Mark 14:58 tells us that they said, “We heard Him say, I will destroy this temple.” Obviously, the grapevine wasn’t impervious to a little bit of change, when the word spread, it had gone from “You kill me,” to “I’m going to destroy the temple.” Quite a change.
What was Jesus truly teaching here? What we need to see today is this. Jesus could foresee the future. He was Omniscient. He knew things that only God could know. John has already made that point in John 1 that Jesus is God, now he has written that Jesus has power to change water to wine, and has a Holy indignation, and even here that He has an ability to be able to predict the future. Even before the angry mob decided to kill Jesus, He knew it. Jesus is God. There is no doubting it. The evidence is there.
Food For Thought: What was the point of the “viral” statement that Jesus said? What did the crowd misunderstand Him to be saying?