Welcome to the Mountjoy Ministries Blog

This blog was authored by Bryan W. Sheldon, author and Bible teacher. His books are listed below. The studies in the blog are offered in the desire that they may be helpful in directing readers to the truths contained in the Bible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Life of the Messiah

Jesus in the Temple (Continued)

The Temple Courts

When Mary and Joseph realised Jesus was missing from the group of returning pilgrims, they retraced their steps back to Jerusalem and made their way to the Temple where they found Him. When they chastised Him for remaining behind without their knowledge, His response was unexpected. He said, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)  These are the first recorded words of the Saviour. It is the first indication that He was aware of His mission. It will be ‘His Father’s business’ that will occupy Him the rest of His life. We have confirmation of this in the many indicators given to us during His public ministry. He constantly spoke of the will of the Father. For example John 5:30: … I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Meand John 8.29,30 The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”  The staggering information is, of course, that the will of the Father, that is ‘the Father’s business’, involved His death on the cross, identified in such verses as John 10:17,18 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father”. Jesus fully accepted, nay fully embraced, His place in the eternal plan of redemption. “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”  (John 18:11)

So Jesus, having attended His first Passover after becoming a son of the commandment, saw the lamb slain, questioned the Temple authorities regarding the sacrificial system, and declared He was “about His Father’s business” (His first recorded words). At His last Passover, He was the Lamb slain. He laid down His life as commanded by His Father and so, in respect of His Father’s business, He could declare to men, angels and demons – “it is finished” (John 19:34) (His last recorded words before He died).
Next Time: Jesus in the Wilderness

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Life of Jesus of Nazareth (Continued)

Jesus in the Temple

At 13 years of age Jesus was taken to the Temple – it was an important event for Him. He had come of age and although there was no Bar Mitzvah then He was considered a ‘son of the commandment’, which meant that He was responsible for His own sins (not that He had any). In previous years His part in the Passover celebration would have been confined to the home. As a young boy He would have been permitted to ask the pertinent questions at the Seder, that is, questions like ‘why is this night different from all other nights’, but now as a son of the commandment He was allowed to accompany His step-father to the Temple for the Passover ritual.

Joseph would either have brought a lamb, or more likely bought a lamb in the Temple. In the latter case they would have gone to the Beth-Moked gate where Joseph would have paid in shekels of the Sanctuary for a lamb specially bred for Passover. The receipt he was given would be exchanged later for an animal that had passed inspection (i.e. was without blemish and spot) and had been washed in the pool of Israel. The lambs thus cleansed were brought through the northern gate and housed in the pens located in the northern extensions.

When the time for the Passover ritual arrived the Passover lambs were then brought through the Tadi gate (the Lamb’s gate) across the intervening courts (including the court of Israel) into the court of priests where Joseph and Jesus, along with many other faithful     Israelites, were waiting. When they presented their receipt as proof of purchase they received their lamb. When instructed Joseph killed the lamb and the attending priest captured some of the blood in a specially designed bowl made of silver or gold. This vessel was then  passed along a line of priests until it reached the priest on duty at the great altar who would dash the precious red liquid below the red line.  Joseph was required to perform other duties also, like fleecing the lamb. Finally, when all was done in the Temple, Jesus and Joseph returned with the lamb’s carcase and fleece to where they were to  commemorate the Passover. There the lamb was roasted and the   celebratory meal enjoyed.
Attendance in Jerusalem was only compulsory on the first two days of the Feast, that is the day of the Passover (14th Nisan) and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (15th Nisan). So it was, that Joseph and Mary along with others that had travelled from Galilee, began their journey home. It was  customary for the men to travel as a group and the women as another group, one company at the head of the caravan and one at the  rear. It seems Joseph thought that Jesus was with Mary and Mary thought Jesus was with her husband. At that time they did not realise that Jesus had remained behind in Jerusalem.
On the half-holy days of the Feast (the days from the 16th Nisan on) members of the    Temple-Sanhedrin came out on to the platform to teach. During these teaching sessions the    public were permitted to ask questions. It seems Jesus  remained in Jerusalem to take full advantage of this rare opportunity to quiz those that served in the Temple.
What questions did He ask? What comments did He make? We are not told – all we know is that all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.(Luke 2:47)
More Next Time