Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.
Luke 21:37-38 NRSV
In the last days of his life, Jesus could be found teaching in the Temple in Jerusalem.
This seems like a mundane detail. Something we might easily overlook as we read the scriptures. But it’s important.
It’s important because when one takes a trip to Israel, you can go to the site of the Temple. And there you can stand upon the Southern Steps, which were the only way in and the only way out of the Temple for the masses. Often, Rabbis would gather on the Steps with their students, to teach them about how to live the good life – in faithful obedience to God.
The fact that the Scriptures place Jesus at the Temple (more than once in his life), means that we can be certain he was on those steps. We know he was there, right there. And that makes the Temple Steps one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. A place where I have twice laid my hand alongside my parents’ hands – touching the place where Jesus was. This past year, I laid my hand on those steps with a number of my congregants from Graceview. It is a powerful place.
But this is also an important part of the Scripture because it makes the point that Jesus wasn’t hiding out during his last week. He was aware of the plotting against his life. But he lived boldly, knowing it would cost him everything.
My friend, the Rev. Jacqui Foxall posted this on Facebook today:
That was the thing about Jesus – he was authentic. He knew what God was asking of him, and though he might have wanted to – he never wavered from that purpose.
It cost him everything, but it also secured salvation for countless followers throughout the ages. Amen, and amen.
My parents and I with our hands on the Temple Steps in 2017:
My faithful group of Graceview pilgrims, laying their hands on the Temple Steps with me, this past February: