Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet.Luke 21:37(NASB)
Jesus was born to be the sacrifice for the sin of the whole world, and every step He took in life brought Him closer to the Cross. Jesus knew from the beginning that His Messianic claims would be rebuffed by Israel, even though the people enjoyed listening to His teaching and were fascinated by His miracles.
He came to earth at God's appointed time to bring Israel to repentance and return them back to true faith in God. Jesus came to provide redemption for His people. He came to raise up a horn of salvation in the house of His servant David, to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. He came to set up the kingdom of heaven on earth, but He knew that He would be rejected and pay the price for the sin of the world on a cruel, Roman cross, and His chosen people, Israel, would have to be set aside for a season. Jesus had to deal with the sin of His people before setting up His kingdom on earth.
Nevertheless, Jesus only said and did those things that He heard from His Father, and for three years He went about doing good, healing the sick, raising the dead, and authenticating His Messianic claims through His teachings, miracles, signs, and wonders. But at last, the time came for Jesus to predict the destruction of the temple, which would happen in AD70, before predicting the end of the age when God's judgement is to be poured out on a Christ-rejecting, sinful world. In this time, Jerusalem will fall when the Antichrist will desecrate a rebuilt temple, as described by Zechariah, followed by Christ's glorious return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, as recorded in the book of Revelation.
And so, Luke tells us that much of Christ's last week was spent warning His disciples and the people who flocked to Him, of the false teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees, and of prophetic events that would take place in the future. We read: "During the day, Jesus was teaching in the temple complex, but in the evening He would go out and spend the night on what is called the Mount of Olives. And all the people would come early in the morning to hear Him in the temple complex."
For those last days before the Cross, Jesus would spend the entire day, from dawn to dusk, ministering in the temple before returning to the peace and safety of Mount Olivet. He began teaching at daybreak and the people would also come early in the morning to hear Him. Christ's ministry was popular with the people because they were fascinated by His wisdom, His words, His miracles, and His healings, but they were deaf and disinterested in the truth that sinful man needs a Saviour and that only faith in His death and Resurrection as payment for our sin, is acceptable to God the Father.
While the people were blinded to the truth of salvation because they were only interested in Jesus fulfilling their physical needs, their leaders were blinded to the truth through a lust for control over the people and a refusal to hear the truth of God's Word. The Jewish leaders detested Jesus and plotted to permanently remove Him, but His popularity with the people prevented them from making an arrest during the day.
Through those difficult days before the Cross, Christ worked the works of God unceasingly. During the cool of the evening and in the nighttime hours, He would regain His strength through prayer, praise, fellowship with the Father, and restful sleep. What a wonderful example He gave us of a life committed to God - a life that maintained unbroken communion with God. Jesus is the perfect example of a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to Him.
May we be careful not to follow the foolish example of national Israel who were more interested in worldly pursuits and craving earthly rewards than seeking the kingdom of God and spiritual maturity. Let us be careful not to emulate the prideful Jewish leaders whose lust for power, love of money, and craving for control, blinded their eyes by blocking their ears to the truth of the gospel: "For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God."
Like Jesus, we are facing increasingly difficult days before God calls us home, through death or the Rapture of the Church. May we emulate His courage and heart-desire to do the work of God while it is still day, and to rest in His love until He calls us home.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus and His example of total and utter dependence on and communion with You and His unbroken fellowship with You that He enjoyed. Thank You that at the end of this chapter, regarding the Second Coming of Christ with all the amazing, terrifying, detailed prophecies it contains, we are reminded that Jesus spent every night on the Mount of Olives. I am sure these nights were spent in prayer and fellowship with the Father, and I am reminded how important it is in the busyness of my life, to take time, each night, to pray and enter into sweet fellowship with You. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' name, AMEN.