Today we will be traveling through Jerusalem by foot. We are entering into the next phase of Jesus’ ministry. Yesterday we remembered his birth, baptism, and temptation in the wilderness. Today we are moving on to the preparation stage.
As a Jewish male who did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17), Jesus would have made the trip to Jerusalem at least three times per year (see Deuteronomy 16:16). Hundreds of thousands of Jews would come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacle).
As these pilgrims came into Jerusalem, they would ultimately make their way to the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount is very impressive! It is roughly 35 acres of property with huge walls all around. You could fit four entire football fields atop the Temple Mount. Currently a Muslim Mosque and a Muslim Shrine stand atop the Temple Mount, but during the life of Jesus Solomon’s Temple would have been there.
The Temple Mount had three main levels. The first level was the Court of the Gentiles. Non-Jews could come this far to participate in the festivals. The next level was the for Jewish women, and the top level was for Jewish men.
It was interesting to think about the fact that even though I am not allowed to enter the Muslim shrine (because I am not Muslim), I am still allowed to go closer to where the Temple would have been today than if I lived during the time of Solomon’s Temple. As a Gentile, I would have been stuck at the first level. But Jesus destroyed the dividing line between Jews and Gentiles!!
As mentioned before in a previous post, and alluded to again in this post, the Feasts would have brought an estimated half a million people to Jerusalem. Most of them would journey to the Temple.
It is hard to sufficiently describe how large the Temple Mount is. Considering the vast size of the Mount along with the large amount of people present, the tossing of the temple tables takes on a whole new light.
I had always imagined the tossing of the tables being a moment that everyone immediately noticed. Kind of a pin drop type of moment, but that is probably not how it happened at all. Probably only a relatively small amount of people even noticed.
While we were on the Temple Mount, a literal fist fight broke out among a couple of school students. A few of the members of our group saw it happen. “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
I was completely oblivious. I didn’t know anything about it until someone told me. That is probably how the table tossing was.