Temple

How many parades culminate in tears?
This triumphal entry through the gates of Jerusalem, into the ancient streets, and on to the outer courts of Temple did exactly that. In the midst of the misinformed joy of the people shouting “Hosanna!”—meaning “Save us now!”—a deep sadness stole into the heart of Jesus. As a tragic counterpoint to the psalteries and tambourines accompanying the songs of praise, the tears of the Savior fell to the street beneath the donkey’s feet. Caught up in their own misplaced hope, most revelers did not see the tears of Jesus nor did they hear His lamentation:

“If you had known, even you, especially in this your day,
the things that make for your peace!
But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

He saw the future.
Through His tears, Jesus saw the future pressing upon them all. For Him:

  • The trials before the courts of men,
  • The scourging by the skillful Roman soldiers, and
  • The cross that must not be avoided.

The tears of Jesus were not for Himself; more than His own suffering, He wept for the people:

  • He saw the gates of the city assaulted by a Roman army, broken down, breached, and burning, and the soldiers pouring into the Temple.
  • He saw the Chosen People of God scattered to the ends of civilization for generations to come, at the mercy of heathen systems and cruel masters.

If they, the people and leaders of Jerusalem, would only have listened to Him! He wept for an opportunity lost forever for,

“…you did not know the time of your visitation.”

At the Heart of It All
Dismounting the young donkey, Jesus entered the outer courts of the Temple where commerce was underway at full tilt: salvation for sale! This was the heart of the nation, now corrupted beyond measure. Merchants sold the animals necessary for proper sacrifices in the Temple. No doubt the leaders of the people took a percentage of each merchant’s profits. This place was designed to be a house of prayer for all nations but it had fallen into a spiritual brothel of greed and avarice fueled by the needs of the people for access to God and His forgiveness. The tears of Jesus for the city flowed now in anger for this profanity, this outrage, this blasphemy. From somewhere Jesus found a whip and put it to use scattering blasphemous merchants and frightened animals as He went. Prayers were forgotten as coins peppered the paving stones as money-changers went to their knees, not to pray, but to recover their losses and steal from their comrades. Soon it was over and Jesus left the Temple, tears still glistening on His face.

Order Restored
Over the next days, Jesus returned to the Temple to teach. Against the open opposition of the leaders, Jesus taught the people and the people listened. The priests, scribes, and other leaders were unable to move against Him because the parade and the violent reformation of the corrupted Temple struck a chord in the hearts of so many. Perhaps this miracle worker was indeed Messiah! What more could one expect of a Deliverer? People could see that Jesus and the leaders were on a collision course. Also, there was the ever-present shadow of Rome casting the whole drama behind a curtain of darkness.

Scriptures:
Luke: 19:41-48
NKJV
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.'” And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I am able to feel what You feel—both Your joy and Your sorrow. This is called the “Fellowship of Your sufferings.” Since the Bible warns me not to grieve the Holy Spirit, I want to be in tune with Your feelings at all times. When I see people reject You, powerful structures oppose You, and cities and civilizations blaspheme Your holy name, may I always feel Your pain. When I add my tears to Yours, this is called intercession. These effectual, fervent prayers accomplish much in Your Kingdom. Amen.

Song:
When Jesus Wept
Words and Music: William Billings

When Jesus wept the falling tear
In mercy flowed beyond all bound.
When Jesus groaned a trembling fear
Seized all the guilty world around.

When Jesus wept the falling tear
In mercy flowed beyond all bound.
When Jesus groaned a trembling fear
Seized all the guilty world around.

When Jesus wept the falling tear
In mercy flowed beyond all bound.
When Jesus groaned a trembling fear
Seized all the guilty world around.

When Jesus groaned a trembling fear
Seized all the guilty world around,
Seized all the guilty world around.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “August 3, 2018 “Temple”

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