Summary: Examines the steps in a disciple’s life that lead to power. Suitable for a message leading to Communion.
PROGRESSION IN A DISCIPLE’S LIFE
Can you imagine what it was like in Jerusalem, the day Jesus came to town? As Jesus arrived in the city for His final Passover, the people in the city, between 1 & 2 million, filled the streets. It was almost like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. People were everywhere.
As Jesus arrived, word quickly spread through the crowd and people cleared the street to let Him through. As He and His disciples passed through, people lined the road with Palm branches and their clothes, all the while shouting, “Hosanna, Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!” What an exciting day that must have been. After entering the city and greeting the people, Jesus, with His disciples, retired to a nearby town to rest for the evening.
The next morning, He and His disciples arose, and after praying, which was Jesus’ custom, they set out for Jerusalem again. What a sight laid before them as they traveled down the road to the city. There were people everywhere. Jews from every nation of the world had come to the city to celebrate the Passover. Families lined the street. As they drew closer to the city, they could see, standing above every other building in the city, the Temple.
This was Herod’s Temple. It was called that because Herod, the hated ruler of the Jews, had built it to appease the Jews and to leave a monument to be remembered by. It was begun around 30BC, and parts of it were still under construction years after Jesus’ death.
The outermost court was the court of the Gentiles. Surrounding this court on 3 sides were 2 double rows of columns, totaling 162 columns. Each column was made of a single piece of white marble, 27’ high and 10’ in circumference. The isles between the 2 rows of columns were 30’ wide, 600’ long, and over 50’ high. The ceilings were covered with richly ornamented cedar.
Within the columns was the court of the Gentiles. This huge space was paved with stone and was reserved for the Gentiles to worship in.
Inside of this, after climbing several steps, you would find the women’s court. It was reserved for Israelite women to worship in, and around it, carved in stone, were signs, warning Gentiles to go no further on penalty of death.
After climbing some more steps, you would come to the men’s court; the area reserved for Israelite men to worship in. Up another set of steps, and you would come to the court of the priests. That’s where you would see the huge altar, sacrifices were offered on.
Standing there at the back, rising 3 stories in the air, the Temple itself, containing the Holy of Holies. The temple building was covered almost entirely in gold. Along the top of the roof rose sharp gold spikes to keep the birds from landing on it.
It was said in those days that if you had never seen Herod’s Temple, that you had never seen anything beautiful.
But, the people did not treat it that way. The priests used it as a place for merchandise. A good portion of the court of the Gentiles, the part you and I would have had to worship in, was filled with livestock. The priests had a booming business. The high priest regularly sold concessions to venders in the Temple. These folks sold livestock that had been “approved” for sacrifice. In return, the high priest got a cut of the profits. In addition to the merchants, the priest also allowed moneychangers to conduct business there. There was only one temple currency approved and accepted as a Temple offering, and people coming with foreign currency or common money were required to exchange their money for temple money at a cost of 25%.