“Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. During its long history it has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, and attacked 52 times.”* Today Jerusalem’s status is the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The gospels all give accounts of Jesus’ visits to Jerusalem but it would be impossible to tell the total amount of time there. We only have two accounts of Jesus’ childhood visits to Jerusalem and the Temple. During His first visit as an infant, His parents dedicated their first-born to the Lord. It was then that the prophets Simeon and Anna proclaimed the child as Messiah, the redemption of Jerusalem, salvation and light to the Gentiles.
In Luke we also read of the boy Jesus lagging behind in the Temple after Passover and his parents departure. After frantically looking for him, they found Him sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[ Luke 2:49 (NLT)
During the reign of Herod the Great the city underwent great architectural achievement. Herod tried to show off his wealth, wisdom and cultural prowess by “Romanizing” much of his kingdom. He rebuilt the Temple, created an opulent palace for himself and homes for the elite. During Jesus’ visits much engineering and construction would have added to the excitement as well as congestion in the city.
Jesus’ last week was spent in Jerusalem with His disciples. They traveled there to celebrate Passover not knowing it would be their last feast with Him.
As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him.37 When they reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
38 “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” Luke 19:36-38 41 But as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to weep.42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Luke 19:41-42 (NLT)
Jesus’ last week was spent teaching in the Temple, sharing time with His disciples, and celebrating Passover. His huge welcome would be soon forgotten by mob mentality. He was betrayed, beaten, condemned, crucified and then buried in a borrowed tomb. But on the third day that tomb was empty! Jesus is alive! The grave could not keep Him, Death could not hold Him and as He promised He will return.
So many scriptures, so many visuals passed through my mind as I stood on the Mount of Olives facing the Temple. This was the place where Jesus often came to pray. And it is believed that Messiah will return here to the New Temple and claim it for His own during His Millennial reign. (read Ezekiel 40-47 and Zechariah 14). So much history is here past, present and future!
The questions I ask myself and you dear Reader:
Do I love God’s Word, as much as Jesus did; to read, study and apply it to my daily life?
Do I appreciate the freedom I have to worship in a church building without persecution?
Do I fully understand the power and victory available to me because of Jesus’ triumph over sin and death?
Do I live each day fully as if it were my last?
And finally – am I ready for His return? What if it were today?