accounts, the temple in Jerusalem was a magnificent building. It was built on a
site chosen by King David, the same site where King Solomon built the first
temple. That first temple lasted nearly 400 years and was the pride of Israel.
After its destruction in 587 BC,
the people were sent into exile, demoralized and despondent. When it was
rebuilt a century later, it was not nearly as grand, not nearly as ornate, not
nearly as impressive. But it became the focal point of the religious life of
the Jewish people, nevertheless.
King Herod, in an attempt to win
the favor of his Jewish subjects, decided to expand on the temple. It became
almost as magnificent as Solomon’s – although no one had pictures of the former
so Herod could honestly claim it was even more magnificent. It included
additional porches and porticos. It included courtyards for Gentiles as well as
Jewish converts. As indicated in our text, it took 46 years to build into the
facility that Jesus was visiting when he came to Jerusalem for the Passover.
To visitors, especially those who
had never been to Jerusalem before, it was impressive and awe-inspiring. Its
location, atop Mt. Zion, allowed it to be seen before the rest of the city came
into view, making it the focal point of all who entered the city. The
architecture was designed to turn their attention to the God of Israel, the God
who made the heavens and the earth, the God who ordered all of life. Now other people, in other cultures, and
in other generations have done similar things...
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