Palm Sunday - Matthew 21:1-17
600 years had passed, but the crowds on the road side remembered it still.
The Babylonians stormed up this mountain road and captured Jerusalem and its leaders,
then carted them off to exile far away.
They were trapped in a foreign land for about sixty years, home schooling their kids and unable to go to worship in their beautiful building, which was no longer standing.
The long exile fundamentally changed their faith.
As a professor of mine once said, Judaism changed from a people of the land to a people
of the book.
When God is confined to a certain location, and you can't there, you can't get to God.
That's why those dry bones said, Our hope is lost, we are cut off completely.
But of course, back then as right now, God's people adjusted.
They wrote things down, and began to disperse from a central temple in Jerusalem to
synagogues anywhere and everywhere in the world.
Out of necessity, the words of the scroll became the focus instead of the building on the hill.
God became portable, located in words that could be carried around instead of a massive
complex that could not.
But the building on the hill, the temple in Jerusalem, was planted in the people's hearts.
It's why I am filming this sermon from our sanctuary instead of my living room, because many of us have a natural emotional connection to the location where holiness happens.
It's why so many souls have died in so many fights over Jerusalem over the years; realtors like
James Helgager will tell you all three reasons why: location, location, location.
When the exile was over, rebuilding the temple was a top priority.
200 years had passed, but the crowds on the road side remembered it still.
A blowhard politician with a big ego inherited control of the Seleucid empire which
He had statues made of himself with an enlarged...feature..and ordered everyone to worship him.
When the Jews of course faithfully refused to do this, his soldiers seized the temple and
slaughtered a pig on the altar of the holy of holies to make the point clear.