Temple Mount Violence
Over five hundred years before Muhammad’s birth in Mecca and more than nineteen hundred years before the present conflict between Jews and Moslems over control of what is called in Islam Haram al-Sharif, Arabic for the “Noble Sanctuary,” and the Temple Mount by Jews, the Apostle Paul arrived at this same location.
He was close to completing the vow he had taken with four Jewish men during the Feast of Pentecost in AD57. Back then the place didn’t explode with gunfire, but it did explode with mob violence over a mistaken identity.
“When the seven days were about to be completed for the vow Paul made with the four Jewish men, Jews from Asia saw Paul in the Temple precincts and stirred up the whole crowd. They seized him shouting, ‘Men, Israelites, help us. This is the man who teaches everyone, everywhere, against our people, against the Law, and against this place. Furthermore, he has brought Greeks into the Temple area and defiled this holy place. (Now they had previously seen Trophimus, the Ephesian, in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the Temple area.)
Their false assumption triggered the entire city. Folks ran from all over. The mob grabbed Paul, dragged him outside the Temple precincts and immediately the gates were shut.” Acts 21:27-30
Religious bigotry and its tendency to jump to conclusions ignited the mob in Paul’s day and these forces are still igniting terror and mob violence today. Where is God when all this chaos explodes? Can he protect those who humbly trust in his Son even when a mob is beginning to tear you apart? For the rest of the Book of Acts, Luke is going to go on in his account to give us the answers.
LORD, cool the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and help international leaders to stop jumping to conclusions over who is to blame and using the crisis for their own political ends. I pray for the families, especially the little children of the Israeli police officers who died in the attack. Comfort them and, Jesus, I pray that you will soon return because you are the only King who can stand on this sacred mountain and bring peace.
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