Today, would have been TUESDAY of Passion Week. No doubt, rising early, Jesus would have made His 2 mile walk into Jerusalem from Bethany where He was staying, with His Disciples. Today will be a day where He is embroiled in many discussions over controversies with the Jewish leadership.
Mark 11:27-28 tells us why the confrontation: “27And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?”
They were obviously still very upset over His cleansing of the Temple the previous day. So it is their initial exchange centers upon His authority to act in such a way. It is of course a foolish question on two fronts. Who ever needs some outside authority authorize them to do what is right, holy and just? Obedience to God is sufficient. Right, is its own right. But more, He was in fact the Son of God. He had every right. Yet the truth was – He should have needed to exercise that right at all, if they had been acting according to the authority and responsibility which belonged to them as those who were the “spiritual” leaders in Israel.
Jesus will confront them on 4 fronts: Matt. 21 records the main issues:
a. 24-27 / Their refusal to ACKNOWLEDGE John as Christ’s forerunner.
b. 28-32 / Their refusal to ACKNOWLEDGE their sin in ignoring John’s call for a baptism of repentance.
c. 33-44 / Their refusal to ACKNOWLEDGE Jesus as the Messiah.
d. 22:21-14 / Their refusal to ACKNOWLEDGE and respond to the Gospel of the Kingdom.
No sooner does He finish this discussion, than Jesus is approached by 3 successive groups with an array of questions for Him. One cannot help but be amazed at His patience in being willing to address them at all. In fact, these appear almost inane and not worthy of His attention at all. But He is not dismissive of them. Instead, He seizes the opportunities each one provides to still shed His divine light. He uses each one of these to still teach. He is ever The Word. He is always making the truth known.
In 22:15-22 the Pharisees and Herodians ask Him about the propriety of paying TAXES to Caesar. They are trying to expose Him as an enemy of Rome. If they can, they can do this publicly, the Romans will take Him off their hands. He sees through their hypocrisy and then He teaches them to set supreme value on what is due God.
In 22:23-33 the Sadducees who believe there is no afterlife – the existentialists (and hence opportunists) of their day, challenge Him with a fabricated conundrum about the RESURRECTION. Exposing their lack of understanding both the Scriptures and God’s power to raise men from the dead, He teaches them to look to the age to come.
In 22:34-40 others seek to engage Him in the then present controversies over which command of God is the GREAT COMMAND – the one which, if carried out, makes everything else OK. He moves them instead to deal with Principle of divine love in the inner man over mere precepts.
Lastly, He tests them. In 22:41-46 He wants them to wrestle with the The OT & the INCARNATION in David calling Messiah Lord in Ps. 110:1. They do not get it.
From there then, Jesus considers the woefulness of their condition. This He does in a series of 7 woes.
1. 13-14 – The woefulness of making salvation hard, and tied to them rather than by faith in Christ.
2. 15 – Of making salvation the product of bondage to works.
3. 16-22 – Of systematizing ways to break God’s laws through inventing technicalities.
4. 23-24 – Of majoring on the minors – having no ability to discern what is truly important.
5. 25-26 – Of emphasizing externals and actions over internals and our heart’s true condition.
6. 27-28 – Of the rank hypocrisy of claiming to be alive spiritually, when they are actually dead.
7. 29-36 – And of claiming to be superior to their ancestors (they wouldn’t have killed the prophets like their forefathers did), when they are in fact worse – as they seek to destroy the very Son of God.
Then He finishes the day with The Olivet Discourse – Jerusalem’s Fall, His 2nd coming.
Look at our Savior – TEACHING – TEACHING – TEACHING – Everyone one alike. Calling men to see the real way of salvation contrasted to the false religion that had been constructed out of God’s model of types and shadows in the Old Covenant.
This night – He does not return to Bethany. The time grows shorter.