“And Jesus walked in the Temple, in Solomon’s Porch.”
Solomon’s Porch was located on the eastern side of the temple’s outer court. This porch was the place where the religious leaders would interpret the laws of Judaism and the King would make judgments and exercise justice. The sick, primarily leprosy and other skin diseases, were ruled ceremonial unclean to enter the temple and those who were under arrest or accused of a crime, were tried for all to see in this open venue. It was known as the place for judgment, condemnation, and open shame.
Those who were ruled ceremonial unclean could not participate in temple rites, for fear of defiling God’s house, until the priest deemed them clean according to Mosaic Law. Oftentimes, the one considered unclean and his or her family, in the case of leprosy, were barred from the temple. Once leaving the temple grounds, the unclean person must announce “unclean, unclean” to everyone they passed.
Those convicted of crimes either paid their fines, were led away to execution or served out their sentences. Do you think it was difficult for a Jew or Gentile, who had been convicted but not sentenced to die, who served restitution for his crime, when he returned to the temple, did so with great apprehension? Would the shame of his judgment bring back painful memories, cause him to hesitate, or keep him from returning? Would he be welcomed or shunned? Would his accuser(s) become a roadblock to his return? Would he break free of his past or be broken by his past?
Jesus loved to hang out at Solomon’s Porch. He could have easily walked right by the Porch through the Court of the Gentiles, beyond the Court of the Women, into the Court of the Israelites to share the Scriptures but He intentionally remained on Solomon’s Porch. Do you think Jesus felt compassion for those who were being tried, judged, condemned, or ruled unclean? Was He there to show grace in the midst of shame? Was He there to encourage those who wanted to go in but felt unworthy because of their past? Did He ponder the words He would later inspire John to write, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved?” (John 3:17) Jesus made a point to mingle on the Porch because glorifying the Father was what Jesus wanted to do. As a matter of fact, He wanted everyone, Jew and Gentile, male and female, ceremonial pure and impure, sinner and saint, to be free to do likewise.
Is a sinful past keeping you from experiencing the abundant life of Christ? Do you still feel a sense of uncleanliness from past sins? Has the accuser of the brethren made you feel unworthy to approach the Lord? It is not necessary for you to pay for your past, to serve restitution for your sins, because Jesus did that for you on the cross. Would you accept His forgiveness so you can walk in freedom? Would you run boldly to His throne? Maybe you are walking in God’s abundance but do you know someone who is hesitant to return because of a painful past? Would you pray for them and encourage them to run to Jesus? Let them know that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) There is no need to remain on the porch when there is plenty of room inside!