THE LESSONS FROM OLIVET
Our last chapter was on the Transfiguration. The next will be on The Last Supper. Between these two events in our Saviour’s life, how many interesting incidents took place! How many important sayings that fell from his gracious lips during this period are written for our instruction by the four evangelists! There is, for instance, the beautiful lesson about what it is on which the value of our gifts depend. He taught this lesson when he saw the rich casting their gifts into the treasury. Among them came “a certain poor widow, casting in two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all;—for she of her penury hath cast in all the living she had,” Luke xxi: 1-4. But, from among all these, we have only room for one chapter. A dozen, or twenty chapters would be needed on this part of the life of Christ. Where there are so many that might be taken, it has been very difficult to decide which is the best. In deciding this matter, I do not think we could do better than join the company of the three favored disciples, Peter, John, and James, and go, in thought with them, as they followed their Master from his last visit to the temple in Jerusalem, up to the top of the Mount of Olives. There Jesus took his seat, and his disciples sat around him, anxious to ask him some questions about what he had said to them in the temple. We read in St. Mark xiii: 1-2, that as he was going out of the temple the disciples called his attention to the beauty of that sacred building and the great size and splendor of some of the stones that were in it. Then Jesus pointed to that great building, and told them that the time was coming when it would be destroyed, and “there should not be left one stone upon another that should not be thrown down.” This filled the minds of the disciples with surprise and wonder. They supposed that their temple would last as long as the world stood. They thought that it was the end of the world of which Jesus was speaking; and they were very anxious that he should tell them something more about it. And so, as soon as they were seated around him, on the Mount of Olives, they said, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign, when all these things shall be fulfilled?” St. Mark xii: 4.
And now, we may imagine ourselves sitting with Jesus and his disciples on the Mount of Olives. As we look down we see the city of Jerusalem spread out beneath our feet. We see its walls, and its palaces. And there, just before us, outshining everything in its beauty, is that sacred temple, that was “forty and six years in building.” Its white marble walls, its golden spires, and pinnacles, are sparkling in the beams of the sun, as they shine upon them. No wonder the Jews were so proud of it! It was a glorious building.