"And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, 'You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.' " Matthew 27:39-40 ESV
In fear they took Jesus' words and twisted them. A kingdom of evil and the fallen human heart see personal transformation as a threat to their broken but settled way of life.
"Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews then said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking about the temple of his body." John 2:19-21 ESV
It got turned into this:
"We heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.' " Mark 14:58 ESV
"This man said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.' " Matthew 26:61b ESV
At another time speaking prophetically Jesus said this:
"Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, 'You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.' As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?' And Jesus answered them, 'See that no one leads you astray.' " Matthew 24:1-4 ESV
He knew His words would be twisted but He needed to say them to prevent loss of life when Titus of Rome would come and in 70 AD destroy the second temple. It is said that it was destroyed the same day of the year that the first temple was destroyed.
Truth is so needed. It saves lives. The Gospel of grace is a harmless message. It is a proclamation of a grand provision. Life freely given and debt canceled simple by believing that what Jesus did on the cross 2,000 ago was a personal provision for the person who hears the message. It is a great gift anyone can receive freely... forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
People want a practical demonstration of power. They are at the same time afraid of what that power if manifested can do to them and their way of life.
Grace and Truth are rarely understand at face value in the moment. They boomerang back on us later. People want to use truth as leverage to gain power. Grace gives power to lay down our lives because of a relationship with God. That kind of divine Love is the most powerful thing around. The power to destroy has immediate dramatic results. The power in love has lasting edifying results that touches people in the moment and then later in life after the speaker is gone and it is needed.
If we are walking in the Spirit today it is likely we will be misunderstood and our motives may be put on trial but it is important that without striving we are not silenced.
Paul asked the believers at Ephesus to pray this way.
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Ephesians 6:18-20 KJV
It is a good prayer.