Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On Tuesday of the Passion Week

This was the last day of Jesus' public ministry and his last day in the Temple. He arrived early in the city and didn't leave for Bethany until late that night. Some scholars refer to this as the day of controversy and others as the day of rejection.

(Click on the Bible passages in green to read the scriptures)

Event # 1 - The Withered Fig Tree

Matthew 21:20-22
Mark 11:20-26

The fig tree represents the barrenness of Jerusalem. Jesus gives his disciple a lesson on prayer that includes instructions on forgiveness. The disciples are going to have to rely on prayer and forgiveness to get through the next few days.

Event # 2 - Jesus' authority is challenged.

Matthew 21:28-32,
Mark 11:27-33,
Luke 20:1-8

“ Then he was back in the Temple, teaching. The high priests and leaders of the people came up and demanded, "Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to teach here?"” (Matt 21:23)

This was a trick question. He only will answer their question if they would answer his first. He asked them what they thought of John the Baptist's work - was it human or divine? If they replied divine, then they would have to accept Jesus as the Messiah, because that was the basis of John's preaching. If they said human, then the people who followed John would surely get angry. They had to admit they didn't know. It was the responsibility of the Sanhedrin to know the difference between true and false prophets and they had to shamefully admit they didn't know. Thus, Jesus didn't need to answer their question.

Event # 3 – Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of God in 3 Parables.

Parable 1 : The Story of Two Sons
Matthew 21:28-32

Parable 2: The Story of the Greedy Farmhands
Matthew 21:33-46
Mark 12:1-12
Luke 20:9-19

Parable 3: The Story of the Wedding Banquet
Matthew 22:1-14

In these 3 parables Jesus taught about the requirements for the Kingdom of God living. In the parable of the two sons, the people were told to do the will of God even though it may be unpleasant to them. They were warned not to be like the greedy farmhands in the next parable and lastly, their choice in live will determine if they will be welcomed at the wedding banquet.

We too need to take heed of these 3 parables and choose to do the Father's will, in order to be a part of the Kingdom of God.

Event # 4 : The Jewish Leaders tries to Trap Jesus with 3 Questions.

Matthew 22:15-40
Mark 12:13-34
Luke 20:20-40

Question 1: The Pharisees asked if it was lawful to pay tribute to Rome.

If Jesus said it wasn't lawful, he would get into trouble with the Roman authorities. If he said it was lawful, the Jews would reject him because God was their only King. They thought they had cornered Jesus in a no-win situation. Instead, Jesus asked whose image was on the coin. When they replied Caesar, he told them to give back to Caesar the things that were Caesar's, but give to God what belongs to God.

Question 2: The Sadducees, who don't believe in resurrection, asked whose wife would a woman who married seven times be, in the resurrection.

Jesus answers by pointing out how ignorant they are concerning the scriptures. You can't think of heaven in the same way you think of life on earth. Heaven is not a continuation of this world. So their question was not relevant.

Question 3: What is the Greatest Commandment?

Jesus simply answers by quoting the two Old Testament commandments, to loveGod with all your heart, soul, and might (Deut 6:5) and to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18).

Event #5 – The tension continues between the Jewish leaders and Jesus

1. Jesus scolds the Scribes and Pharisees naming Seven mistakes they made while discharging their duties as religious leaders.

Matthew 23:1-39
Mark 12:38-40
Luke 20:45-47

The purpose of this teaching was to point out to the Scribes and Pharisees that life is actually not about living for themselves but it’s all about living for God that counts.

We should live and act in ways that directs others to God and not to draw attention to ourselves.

2. Jesus commends those who live for God.

The widow’s mite - Mark 12:41-44Luke 21:1-4

The Greeks (Gentiles) seek JesusJohn 12:20-36

This was an opportunity for Jesus to escape death if he had wanted to because the Gentiles were willing to accept Him but He chose to follow the will of the Father. He chose to obey God even though it will cost Him His life.

3. The Jewish leaders chose to reject Jesus
John 12:37-50

4. Jesus warns of the destruction of the Temple
Matthew 24:1-2, Mark 13:1-2Luke 21:5-6

Event #6 – The Olivet Discourse

1. The signs of the End of the Age

Matthew 24:3 – 25:46
Mark 13:3-37
Luke 21:7-38

2. Parables of Warnings

a) Fig tree and young leaves. Matthew 24:32-33, Mark 13:28-29Luke 21:29-31
b) Master puts his servant in charge. Mark 13:34-36
c) The ten Virgins. Matthew 25:1-13
d) The Talents. Matthew 25:14-30

These parables highlight the importance of being watchful and being careful of our actions. In order to be able to recognise the signs of the times, we need to be alert always. A thief does not give advance notice of his coming to our house. He just appears and catch us by surprise.

The fig tree teaches us to always be alert and on a look out for the times we are living in. The second parable reminds us that God has put us where we are as stewards of His blessings and property be it material things or people around us. The virgins serve as a reminder to us to be hardworking and to take our own responsibility seriously. We should not expect others to cover up for us. And finally, we are to make use of all the talents that God has put in our lives. The ability to understand matters, the capability to aquire knowledge, the desire to serve Him has been placed in us by God Himself and we are to use it for God's Kingdom and Glory.

3. Jesus concludes His teachings with a description of the Last Judgment whereby God will separate the Sheep and the Goats.
Matthew 25:31-46

Event #7 – The Conspiracy between the Jewish Leaders and Judas against Jesus.

Matthew 26:1-514-16
Mark 14:1-210-11
Luke 22:1-6

What can we say about this act of Judas'? Keep watch and be vigilant. Always get busy with the things of God and be involved in some ministry in the church or for the Kingdom of God. Let us never be found guilty of doing this act of Judas i.e betraying Jesus in anyway.


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