I hope everyone made their tax deadline. This post is not about that kind of “tax”. It is about Jesus having a difficult, challenging, demanding day, physically, emotionally and intellectually, during His last Tuesday on earth. I thought I was having “one of THOSE days”: First, as I was getting food for my cats, the transfer from food bucket to cat dishes did not go as planned. I had to sweep and pick up dry cat food sprayed all over the kitchen floor. Second, halfway through eating my yogurt, I dropped the yogurt cup up-side-down. Third, I discovered I was still getting MLB Extra Innings from DirecTV, which I thought I cancelled, and wondered if I would be billed for it. Fourth, I almost knocked over my coffee mug, which would be disastrous. When you see the bumper sticker, “Just GIVE ME COFFEE and no one GETS HURT!” it’s talking about me. After those things happening, my day had no other place to go but UP. How my Tuesday began with these trying events cannot even hold a whistle to Jesus’ last Tuesday before His crucifixion.
First, the chief priests question Jesus regarding where He gets His authority to say and do what He says and does. Jesus, in turn, asks them what they think about John the Baptist. They are afraid to commit to an answer, so Jesus, in turn, doesn’t answer their question. Instead, Jesus tells a parable about a father asking his two sons to work in the vineyard, another parable regarding a king who sends his slaves and finally his son to get what is His, and one more parable about a wedding feast. The Herodians question Jesus about taxes (how appropriate) and Jesus uses a coin (visual aid) to answer them. The Sadducees question Jesus about the resurrection, which they do not believe in, and Jesus points to their ignorance of the Scriptures, using the Torah. The Pharisees question Jesus about which is the greatest commandment, and Jesus points to Deuteronomy 6:5. Jesus, in turn, questions the Pharisees regarding the Scripture where David calls Him Lord (Psalm 110:1). No one can answer Him and no one had any more questions. And Jesus’ day is just getting started! (See Matthew 21:23-22:46; Mark 11:27-12:37; Luke 20:1-44.)
Jesus condemns the Scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy, self-righteousness, in their outward show of religiosity without any sincere love for God and His people. In Matthew, Jesus calls them “hypocrites” and “sons of hell” and “blind guides” “blind men” and “sons of those who murdered the prophets”. Also in Matthew, Jesus laments over Jerusalem. (See Matthew 23:1-39; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 21:1-4.) And Jesus continues to teach in the temple.
Jesus points out a poor widow to His disciples. She puts two copper coins in the temple treasury. Jesus says her gift is greater than those of the rich. Jesus, after all the back-and-forth with the religious elite, has His “antenna” still working and is able to spot a poor widow, when everyone else would not even notice she existed. This is AMAZING LOVE! (See Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4.) Jesus’ day is not done yet.
When Jesus leaves the temple, Philip and Andrew bring Greeks who want to see Him. Jesus talks about the necessity of His death, using a seed as an analogy. Jesus prays, “Father, glorify Your Name!” God’s voice from heaven is heard, saying, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Some think they are hearing thunder. Others have questions about His death when Jesus says, “The Son of Man must be lifted up.” Jesus talks about Himself as “Light” and tells His disciples, “Put your trust in the Light while you have it, so that you may become sons of Light.” Jesus wanted His disciples to trust in Him, even while all the powers of hell were going to be unleashed in a few days and it will seem like hell is winning. (See John 12:20-36.) Jesus’ Tuesday continues.
The Gospel of John points to Isaiah’s prophesy being fulfilled when the Jewish religious leaders reject Jesus as Messiah (See Isaiah 53:1 and 6:10). There are those among them who did believe in Jesus, but they kept silent because they were afraid of the Pharisees and “…they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” Jesus cries out to all to listening, “When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One Who sent Me. When he looks at Me, he sees the One Who sent Me…For I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father Who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say.” (See John 12:37-50.) How many times do I care more about what people say about me than what God says? This is a very sobering question. (To be continued…)