I hope that as you all have been practicing beholding this week, God has revealed to you many things that have surprised you. I hope that the little blessings around you have inspired you, and showed you the nearness of the Holy Spirit.
While in Israel, God has reminded me of a fundamental aspect of the gospel: “beholding” others. Seeing them, and having compassion. Jesus does quite a lot of beholding his father, but He also sees people. Go and count the number of times the gospels use “Moved with compassion” to describe Jesus immediately before a miracle happens. Go on, I’ll wait.
One of the most moving moments for me this trip was going to see the Western Wall, sometimes called the Wailing Wall:
Crammed in the cracks over every centimeter of the wall are little fragments of forgotten prayers.
I had the opportunity to go up to this wall and pray. As I prayed, a man came next to me - an Orthodox Jew, with his broad-brimmed black hat, foot-long sideburns, and black overcoat. He came up to the wall and placed his palms against it. Then his forehead thumped against the cold stone, and he affirmed the wall’s name. He began to weep.
Why do they weep?
Let’s think from this man’s point of view for a moment. For the Jews, Jesus was a great Rabbi, but no Messiah. The consequence of this is that God’s presence dwells in specific places, like the temple. However, the temple was destroyed long ago:
These are some of the two-ton rocks that were broken from the temple walls (and other places) and flung over the edge of the temple mount, crushing the street below.
What is left for my poor Jewish friend now? Well, the Western Wall is so esteemed because it is the closest physical place one can get to the ancient locale of the temple without being pure. You can’t go up where the temple once was, though. Since no one knows exactly where the temple used to be, there’s a very real fear of stepping in the place where the Holy of Holies once was—the place where God’s Spirit once dwelled—and defiling it. Or dying instantly.
Today, the Temple Mount itself is controlled by the Muslim quarter, so instead of a temple, you’ll find the Dome of the Rock (golden onion in the distance), a mosque used for daily prayers.
It was hard for me to hear the Orthodox Jew weep. He understands the concept of impurity, but for him, there is no way to leap the gap that for us the cross has filled. He is forever separate from God. Perhaps that is why he weeps.
The Beauty of the Gospel
Worship today with the assurance that the temple has been established in you now. The Holy Spirit abides in you, so abide in Him. And say with confidence:
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”John 1:14 NIV
That grace and truth has another name. We call it the gospel.
Worship today with a heart that seeks to behold not just Jesus, but his mission - his glory. Seek to behold one another, discovering a holy understanding of one another founded in compassion. Let yourself be moved with compassion so that you may behold the will of your Father.
Hi, I’m Andy! I am a student at Ouachita Baptist University who writes stories and plays guitar in between classes. The puzzle and mystery of languages fascinate me and inspire me to dig deeper. I love to learn and experience God’s creation and share what I have found with others.