Passover is two weeks from today, four days before this lenten journey ends. During Jesus’s days on earth and still today, during Passover many families traveled to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. Most likely, Jesus and his family set out one week before to travel to the Temple. They lived in Nazareth, which is 64 miles from Jerusalem. Here’s a great description of their journey from the archives of sermons First Plymouth Church in Lincoln Nebraska.
“It was a five day walk from Nazareth to Jerusalem, or, at least, that’s how
long it took if the roads were dry and they weren’t too clogged up with
travelers. To get there you took the small road out from the village,
circling to the south of the Sea of Galilee, and then you joined up with
the big road as it ran downhill alongside the Jordan river. All the way
down the river valley, the road followed that narrow water, and as the
water picked up momentum and width from its tributaries along the
way, so too the road picked up pilgrims. Everyone was on the same
journey. Everybody wanted to get to Jerusalem, everyone wanted to
spend Passover in Jerusalem, and so the closer you got to the city, the
more people were on the road, and the slower went the journey. ”
Beautiful description. I can visualize their journey in my mind. It was tiring traveling by foot 64 miles, but most likely they looked forward to this event year after year. They would see family and friends, maybe friends they only saw once a year. Their son was 12 now. He was mature enough to help with the journey doing practical things but still a boy, playing with his friends . Let’s look at Luke 2:22-35.
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[a] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Ok, I highlighted the part I want to emphasize. Jesus says, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” The Temple was still his father’s house.
We cannot disregard the old testament. There we find the beautiful descriptions and details of this piece of architecture. The details of how to build the tabernacle, then on to building the first temple, then on to build the second temple. So many details. It feels a little daunting as you weave your way through the old testament. But this was how God could be present with us. This was in Jesus’s words, his father’s house. But today, we do not have to take a five day journey, God is present with us today. He dwells with in us now, if you have accepted Jesus as Christ and Savior.