Mixed reaction to Jesus' teaching and miracles
|11Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. 13Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews. 14Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 19Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 20The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 21Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. 22Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. 23If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? 24Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. 25Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? 26But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? 27Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. 28Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 29But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. 30Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. 31And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
For many people, their first view of the Temple Mount is from the Mount of Olives to the east. The most easily recognized area of Jerusalem; the Temple Mount is located within the walls on the eastern side of the Old City. The site of the Temple of Solomon, and of the later Temple built by Herod the Great (which is the temple Jesus visited), is now an enormous stone platform upon which stands the golden covered Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque.
Here Jews come to pray at the Western Wall; here Muslims come to pray at the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque. Here Israeli soldiers and the Arab Temple Mount Police protect what may rightly be called the most revered spot on the face of the earth.
Solomon built the First Temple on the threshing floor that his father David had purchased from Arunah the Jebusite (2 Samuel 24:18 25). The site was hallowed as the place where God stayed the hand of Abraham as he was about to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1), and where God stopped the plague against the Israelites (2 Samuel 24:15 18). In addition to the Temple and its associated buildings, Solomon built other magnificent structures between the City of David and the Temple Mount.
Southern Steps of the Temple
The main public access to the Temple was from the southern steps. People entered and exited through a double and triple gate, together called the Huldah Gate. These gates had to handle enormous crowds during feast days; estimates as high as 500,000 people at a time. The triple arched gate was the entrance and the double arched gate served as the exit. Although the double and triple gates have been filled in, you can still see their outlines in the walls near the well-preserved steps of the monumental staircase.
The triple gate to the east led to a tunnel that brought worshippers up to the Temple and the columned porches. To leave the Temple they would exit the double gate on the west and go down a staircase 4 times larger than the entry staircase, since everyone was leaving at the same time. The steps below the wider staircase are well preserved and are one of the few places you can walk where you are sure Jesus walked. An interesting exception to the rule about entry and exit gates regarded mourners. According to the Talmud, they were to go in and out against the traffic in order that people would know of their loss. People would then extend their condolences by saying, “May He who dwells in this House give you comfort.”
In this area we will also see ritual baths from the time of Christ, important inscriptions from the Temple, the street that runs inside the Western Wall tunnels, and the ruins from the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.