Summary: The Lent season is over and so is the Easter day.What has these four or five weeks meant to us? What has Jesus done for us? What has He accomplished through all this?
What do I thank Jesus for?
Well… the Lent season is over, so is the Easter day. The tomb is empty and it remains empty. Judas is dead, Pilate wishes he was…
How about us? What has these four or five weeks meant to us?
What has Jesus done for us? What has He accomplished through all this?
To understand the full impact of what Jesus has accomplished for us, we need to take a look at the concept of worship over the years and how Jesus made it all very different.
Worship typically brings to mind the place of worship, and the deity who is worshipped. The place of worship is the temple. Let us look at some of the concepts of the temples or places of worship
A Typical lay out of a Hindu Temple is shown below
I was born in a Hindu family, (and my parents and siblings are still are all Hindus) and have been part of many Hindu rituals and been a visitor to the Hindu temples . Though the Hindus do not restrict their worship only to the temples, “serious” worship is done in the temples. The Hindu temple structure is well known to me. The Hindu temples have an outer courtyard where every one has access. The outer courtyard is used to go round before entering the more sacred place, generally the outer courtyard is lined with images and statues of “lesser gods” or secondary deities. The more sacred place also has the provision for going round , and most of times also have the images and the secondary deities. After this comes the Sanctum Sanctorum , where the image of the Presiding deity is kept. Only the priests are allowed inside the Sanctum Sanctorum and the others have to have “darshan” from outside the Sanctum Sanctorum.
There is a clear separation between god (or in this case the image of god) and the people, and the people should not and cannot walk directly into the “presence” of god, and even then the entry into the sanctum Sanctorum or the Holy of Holies is restricted to few people only. Even for entering the outer courtyard, there are rules like, no shoes, dressed appropriately, only after a bath, not during a menstrual cycle etc..
Let us look at the Muslim place of worship
Muslims worship their god at their Mosques. There are different types of Mosques, but that is not relevant for this sermon. They do not have images and they do not have a Holy of Holy in their mosques. The only indispensable part of the mosque is the Mihrab, a niche in the center of the wall called Qibla. The Mihrab points the worshippers towards the Kaaba, in Mecca. Quran tells us that the Kaaba was built by Abraham or Ibrahim as the Muslims would call him, and Ishmail, born to Abraham through Hagar (Genesis Chapters 16 and 21). Some Muslim traditions assert that the Kaaba was built much earlier by the first man Adam and Abraham and Ishmail rebuilt it. However the tribes which used the Kaaba later converted into a place of idol worship, and it was Prophet Muhammad who converted the place back into an idol less place of worship and rededicated it to the worship of Allah alone. The Kaaba "reflects" a house in heaven called al-Baytu l-Maˤmur, and all muslims are expcted to turn towards the Kaaba while praying, and the muslims who are fortunate enough to travel to Mecca to visit the Kaaba go there and worship Allah. They also touch and kiss the Black stone layed on a wall of the Kaaba, as a corner stone. Here again we see that there is separation between god and men and men are far away from god, while worshipping god.
Let us come to the temple of the Jews, and let us go straight to the first Tabernacle built based on the directions from God to Moses, as per the instructions in Exodus. A closer look at the tabernacle reveals many interesting facts. The tabernacle had an outer enclosure which was more than 7 and half feet high, a courtyard where the brazen altar for sacrifices was kept, and from the courtyard you enter into the tent which is the Holy place, in the Holy place itself there is a segregation of the Most Holy place and before the Most Holy place is the table for the shrew bread meant for consumption only by priests.
The accessibility was highly controlled , with all Israelites allowed to only wait outside the outer enclosure, The Levites allowed to enter the outer courtyard and only the priests were allowed into the tent. Only the High priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies, and that too only once in a year. The entrance to the courtyard , the tent and the Most Holy place is covered by curtains. It is said that the High priest used to enter the Holy of Holies with a rope tied around his ankle, so that , in case he dies inside the Most Holy place others can pull his body out, without entering eh Most Holy place, the entry rules were so strict.