Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Did you know that in the Passion week of our Lord, that Monday and Tuesday he was controlling the Temple area? It was only on Sunday when people hailed him as King as he approached and entered Jerusalem on a donkey that they shouted "Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD." It is these same people that will cry out "Crucify, Crucify! in a matter of days to put him on a cross.

Why the sudden change from hailing him as the majestic King on Sunday to shouting Crucify! later in the week?

The answer is the events that transpire during Monday and Tuesday. It is during these days that Jesus is showing his authority over the Jewish leadership of that day. He is approached by all of the Jewish "sects" (for lack of a better term) of the day with questions seeking to trap him and test him - Chief priest and elders (Matt 21:23ff), the Pharisees and Herodians (Matt 22:15-22); the Sadducees (Matt 22:23-33), and the Pharisees again (Matt 22:34-45).

Listen to the last verse of Matthew's account:

Matthew 22:46 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.

They were shocked at his answers. They were astonished. They were trapped! He was controlling their turf. Jesus had the people's attention (rather than on the Pharisees) and he was undeniably showing his authority over the Temple area (that is, the home turf of the Sadducees).

On top of all this, Jesus then pronounced eight woes upon the Pharisees and other religious leaders in Matthew's account:

1) You shut off the Kingdom of heaven from people - you do not enter yourselves and you do not allow those who are entering to go in (23:13).
2) They devour widow's houses and for a pretense you make a long prayer and thus you will receive greater condemnation (23:14).
3) They travel on sea and land to make one proselyte; but when they do, he comes twice as much a son of hell as they are (23:15)
4) They are blind guides who are fools who miss the whole point of the Temple (23:16-22).
5) They tithe mint and dill and cummin but they neglect the weightier provisions of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness (23:23-24).
6) They clean the outside of the cup but the inside is full of robbery and self-indulgence (23:25-26).
7) They are whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but on the inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness (23:27-28).
8) They are building tombs of the prophets and claiming that if they were living then, the wicked things would not have happened to the prophets (23:29-33).

It is because of these events that transpire on the Temple area that the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians and all the religious leaders are finally determined to destroy the man before the Passover feast (which is later that week).

Just some thoughts that I've been pondering this week as I remember my Savior...

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