Tag Archives: Temple

Eight Days

Eight days changed the world. These eight days have been the topic of a million of publications, countless debates, and thousands of films. These eight days have inspired the greatest painters, the most skilled architects, and the most gifted musicians. To try and calculate the cultural impact of these eight days is impossible. But harder still would be an attempt to account for the lives of men and women who have been transformed by them. And yet these eight days as they played out in Jerusalem were of little significance to anyone but a few people involved. We call these eight days Holy Week, and it begin this Sunday. What happened on those eight days?

1. On Sunday the first of the eight days, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the shouts of Hosanna, fulfilling an old prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.

2. On Monday he walked into the Jerusalem Temple overturning tables where money exchange occurred, Roman drachmas were being exchanged for Jewish shekels. Roman coins were not allowed. The image of Caesar was a violation of the second commandment. But the Temple authorities were using the Commandment as means to cheat the people and making the Temple a place of profit rather than a place of prayer.

3. On Tuesday Jesus taught in parables, warned the people against the Pharisees, and predicted the destruction of the Temple.

4. On Wednesday, the fourth day, we know nothing. The Gospel writers are silent. Perhaps it was a day of rest for him and his weary and worried disciples.

5. On Thursday, in an upper room, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples. But he gave it a new meaning. No longer would his followers remember the Exodus from Egypt in the breaking of bread. They would remember his broken body and shed blood. Later that evening in the Garden of Gethsemane he agonized in prayer at what lay ahead for him.

6. On Friday, the fifth day, following betrayal, arrest, imprisonment, desertion, false trials, denial, condemnation, beatings and sentencing, Jesus carried his own cross to “The Place of the Skull,” where he was crucified with two other prisoners.

7. On Saturday, Jesus lay dead in a tomb bought by a rich man named Joseph.

8. On Sunday, his Passion was over, the stone had been rolled away. Jesus was alive. He appeared to Mary, to Peter, to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and to the 11 disciples gathered in a locked room. His resurrection was established as a fact.

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Anna, The Prophetess

Anna She was ancient, maybe more than one hundred years.  She was so tiny and hunched over that others were reminded of a frail bird.  Long, long ago, she was married for seven years and then he had died.  That all seemed like another lifetime, so many decades had passed.  She could barely remember his face anymore.

For decades, she had lived at the Temple.  She had come there every day to pray, and at some point, she just did not go home.  Now, she never left.  She stayed in the Court of the Women on the east side of the Temple.  There were some storerooms there mostly for musical instruments used in worship, and she had a pallet in one of them.  She was not disturbed.  Everyone either ignored her or loved her.

Her name was Anna, Hebrew for “grace”, and she served God with fasting and prayers day and night.  She cared little for food anymore, prayer was so much more important.  Besides, she was so completely devoted to God that at this point she lived more in a spiritual realm than on a physical plain.

From the Women’s Court she could look into the Inner Court where sacrifices were made daily.  Anna watched and prayed, because she knew that He would come to the Temple.  All of her devotion was preparing her to see that Final Sacrifice – the Lamb of God.  She had seen thousands of lambs sacrificed for sin.  She had learned patience and perseverance, and a deep understanding of holiness.

Anna was the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, whose name refers to the face of God, and she would see God’s face today.  She watched them coming up the steps – a girl with a tiny baby and her husband.  The girl looked like a child herself to Anna.  She looked up, caught her eye, and Anna knew.  She had waited a lifetime for this moment.  The prayers of all her years were answered.  Her years of holiness prepared her to recognize the Holy One.  He had come to the Temple – the Lamb.  She received the ultimate reward for years of faithful devotion – Anna saw God Incarnate in the arms of his mother.

She was described as a prophetess – a rare distinction for a woman.  She was set apart, spiritually pure, this Anna, daughter of Phanuel, the last Old Testament prophet – the one who saw God face to face.

Reflection – How are you preparing yourself to meet God face to face?

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