I am standing here on the Temple Mount Steps beside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem. The Bible comes alive when you step foot in Israel and that’s certainly true when you visit the Temple Steps here in Jerusalem. It’s amazing to think that Jesus would have walked up these very steps on his way to the Temple.
Herod the Great originally built these stone steps when he expanded the size of the Temple Mount and rebuilt the Second Temple. Sometimes called the Southern Steps, these steps were originally a set of 30 steps that were 60m or 200 feet wide.
It is interesting to note that the stairs are built in a unique repeating pattern of two steps followed by a longer landing. These steps were also known as the Rabbi steps or the Teaching Steps as there is a raised platform built on the side of the steps,
It is believed that this is where Jesus would often teach when He was in Jerusalem. It was also the place where Rabbis and other temple teachers would give announcements or speeches to the people as they walked up this busy passageway to the temple.
These broad steps led to enormous double and triple gates that you can still see. Jesus and Jewish pilgrims at that time would have climbed these steps and entered the gates that went through magnificent passageways leading to the Temple Mount above.
On the wall, you can see the massive stones that Herod would have laid for the foundation of the wall. Above them, you can see the smaller ones that were added after the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70AD.
It is thrilling and inspiring to actually stand on the same steps where Jesus stood. This archaeological finding excavated in 1967 by archaeologist, Benjamin Mazar, verifies the Bible account of Jesus in Jerusalem and strengthens our belief in the story of Jesus.
Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. While visiting Israel, he asked his guide if there was a place where Jesus would have walked 2000 years ago. The guide’s immediate answer was the Southern Steps.
When he visited these steps, Neil Armstrong is quoted as saying that this was a more exciting moment for him than walking on the moon.