And saying, thou that destroyest the temple
The Vulgate Latin, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel, read, "the temple of God"; and add "ah!" here, as in ( Mark 15:29 ) , and so Beza says it is read in a certain copy. They refer to the charge of the false witnesses against him, who misrepresenting his words in ( John 2:19 ) , declared that he gave out that he was able to destroy the temple of Jerusalem, and rebuild it in three days time; wherefore it is added,
and buildest it in three days, save thyself.
They reproach him with it, and suggest, that these were vain and empty boasts of his; for if he was able to do any thing of that kind, he need not hang upon the tree, but could easily save himself:
if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
The Jews themselves say F1 that the following words were said to Jesus on the cross,
``if thou be the Son of God, why dost thou not deliver thyself out of our hands?''As Satan before them, they put an "if" upon the sonship of Christ: and seeing his followers believed in him as the Son of God, and he had owned himself to be so before the sanhedrim, they require a sign of it by his power, and to do that which they believed no mere man in his situation could do; which shows, that they had no other notion of the Son of God, but that he was a divine person: but his sonship was not to be declared by his coming down from the cross, which he could have easily effected, but by a much greater instance of power, even by his resurrection from the dead; and no other but that sign was to be given to that wicked and perverse generation.
F1 Toldos Jesu, p. 17.