The Sabbath Day's Journey
A Sabbath day's journey with the Jews was a quite exact and definite expression. It was a journey of about three-quarters of a mile. In the Exodus, you will remember, the tabernacle was in the center of the camp. On every side of it were ranged the tribes of Israel. Well, from the tabernacle to the farthest tent was a distance of about three-quarters of a mile, and that was a Sabbath day's journey. Such was the technical import of the word, but like other words it got a vaguer meaning. It came to mean a short and easy journey, a journey such as anyone might take. And it will help us to understand our text and somewhat of the wealth of meaning in it, if we keep that looser significance in mind. I should like to meditate upon the Mount of Olives. I should like to dwell on the associations which have made that little hill forever hallowed. And then I should like to show you what we learn when we remember that the Mount of Olives was but a Sabbath day's journey from Jerusalem.
Think first, then, how the Mount of Olives is associated with loneliness.
As most of you doubtless are aware, though it may not often be present to your thought, the division of our Bible into chapters is a comparatively modern device. In the Greek Testament there are no chapters. Now unquestionably on the whole the division into chapters is a help; yet there are cases where it is not a help but on the contrary obscures the meaning, and one such most unfortunate division bears directly on the Mount of Olives. At the end of the seventh chapter of St. John we read, "Then every man went away to his own house" (John 7:53). At the beginning of the next chapter, "Jesus went to the Mount of Olives." And it is only when we take these two together and let them lie together in the mind that we feel what the writer wanted us to feel, the spiritual loneliness of Christ. Every man went unto his own house: Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. It ha ...
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