And all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple, for to hear Him.
Throughout His teaching ministry Jesus' message enjoyed increasing appreciation. Thousands thronged around Him, not only to view His powers of healing and raising the dead, but also to hear His words. Jesus was more than a prophet, a priest, and a king. The gospel writers describe Him as a preacher and teacher as well. Just before the Passion Week Luke records that Jesus taught daily in the Temple, "And all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple, for to hear Him" (Luke 21:38). His message was not just novel; it was truth.
Much of what Jesus taught daily in the Temple was prophetic in nature. In the early part of Luke 21 Jesus passed through the temple treasury and commented on the splendor of the magnificent Temple. However, Jesus predicted that it would be destroyed, and His words are descriptive of the days leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70.
The latter half of this chapter is a prophecy concerning Jerusalem during the great tribulation period of this earth. He describes it as a time in which there shall be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars. Men's hearts will fail them for fear. The powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Jesus taught the crowds who followed Him early in the morning to the Temple that God would unleash His vengeance on a sinful world before the Son of Man rode out of heaven in power and great glory to establish His kingdom on this earth (cf. Revelation 19:11-16).
As the people came daily to hear the teachings of the Lord, He knew that His time was quickly coming to an end on this earth. Therefore He reminded them that "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away" (Luke 21:33). It is evident that the Word of God, whether given verbally by the Lord Jesus or inscribed by God in the Holy Bible, is more unshakable than the universe itself. The same God who has the power to shake the very heavens also has the power to make unshakable His Word. While the heavens will not stand according to the prophecy of Jesus, the Word of God will always stand.
Today, in the twentieth century, Jesus does not speak to us and teach us as He did early in the morning in the temple, but He still speaks to us through His Word, God's Word the Holy Bible. We have the benefit of hearing the very same teaching that these heard who came at the dawning of the day to the temple. We can sit at the feet of Jesus today by reading His Word.
H. A. Ironside told of a godly man named Andrew Frazer, who had come to southern California to recover from a serious illness. Though this Irishman was quite weak, he opened his worn Bible and began expounding the truths of God's Word in a way that Ironside had never heard before. So moved by Frazer's words was Ironside, that his curiosity drove him to ask, "Where did you learn these things? Did you learn them in some college or seminary?" The sickly man said, "My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. There, with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart. He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world."
To spend time in the Word of God yields a much richer understanding of the deep things of theology than to spend time in a classroom. For the person denied a formal education in Bible and theology there is no shame if we spend time at the feet of Jesus. From early in the morning, throughout the day, and into the evening hours the great scholars of the Word become so because of time spent in God's Book and on their knees. Each of us has the same opportunity to do that. Let's take that opportunity today.
MORNING HYMN Thy Word is like a garden, Lord, With flowers bright and fair; And ev'ryone who seeks may pluck A lovely cluster there. Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine, And jewels rich and rare Are hidden in its mighty depths For ev'ry searcher there.
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