Chapter Twenty-One Saturday, December 18, 2010
Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. Luke 21:37-38
The teaching ministry of Jesus became more intense and directive while he was in Jerusalem during his last earthly days. He was blessed at the temple gate by the offering of a widow who gave generously out of her poverty. He also began to teach about the last days or the signs of the end of the age.
People were coming each day to hear him speak in the temple courts. It was a mysterious time for many of his disciples and followers as he spoke about the temple being torn down and the persecution that would take place in the lives of believers. Everyone was a bit baffled, but they also hung on each word as he spoke to them about the sun, the moon, and the Son of Man.
It must have been a time of struggle for Jesus himself. He knew the reason he was present in Jerusalem. I don’t know if he had a clear image of every step that would unfold, but he knew that he was about to offer himself for all of humanity. As a result, he taught with intensity and then withdrew to the Mount of Olives to be refreshed each night.
I don’t know what you did today, but somewhere in this season we all end up at the mall! It is not a place of persecution (at least not intentional persecution!) but it is often a place of confusion. We go, accomplish our task and then retreat to that safety zone we know as home. It is a ritual that has become intertwined into our Christmas experience.
Aren’t you glad you have a safety zone! You have a home, a place to withdraw, a location where you can shut the door and be yourself. Not everyone has that, but we all need it. We must find a place of sanity in the middle of confusing times. Don’t you wonder what these days must have been like for Jesus? The child, born in the manger, has now been baptized, equipped, sent forth, and is now facing his inevitable death. And yet, he stood his ground, taught the people, and generously offered himself out of his own poverty. Thanks be to God!