Jesus’ cleansing of the temple was probably applauded by a lot of people who knew that he was doing the right thing, but it also provoked a confrontation with the religious leaders who were making money off the system. They demanded a religious sign to show he had the authority to do this.
His response is very instructive. He could've easily performed a public miracle in front of everyone which would've convinced even the most skeptical critics, but he didn’t. What did he claim was the “miraculous sign” which would proclaim his authority? His resurrection from the dead. This would be the Father’s official “stamp of approval” on everything he'd accomplished. This is why after he was raised, he told his disciples that “all heaven and earth has been given to me.” Through it, God declared that Jesus was his Son, who naturally has the right to do anything he darn well pleases.
But then we come to some verses that might have us scratching our heads. What do vss. 23-25 mean? In a very real sense, the Lord “entrusts” himself to us everyday. We’re his representatives in the world, and he's purposefully and permanently linked his reputation with ours. We’re his body, his hands and his feet, and we’re his main instruments for accomplishing his purposes.
But in another sense he doesn’t entrust his purposes to fallen human beings. He knows quite well how fickle, how flaky, how shallow and how sinful we really are. If Christians are ever rightfully accused of being naïve about humanity, it’s because we’re not following the example of our Master. He didn’t entrust himself to men because he was utterly realistic about human nature.
So how do we reconcile these passages and these truths? What’s the difference between Jesus trusting the men of his day and trusting us? Two words: Holy Spirit. It’s not so much a matter of him trusting fallen men to accomplish his work, as it is him working through us to do it. When we receive Christ, he moves into us through the Person of his Spirit, and he equips us and empowers us.
So what’s the point here? Why is this important? Because in and of ourselves we aren’t trustworthy. He'd have to be crazy to entrust his plan to people like us, if it weren't for the Holy Spirit who lives inside us. And if I try to do anything in Jesus’ name without Jesus’ power, I’ll accomplish nothing at best, and probably do a lot of damage to his cause. Please let’s not do that, shall we?
Lord Jesus, you spoke very truly when you said that outside of you I can do nothing, at least nothing good or worthwhile. Please give me the strength to do what you want me to do, and the wisdom to see when I’m trying to do it with my own resources.