Day Four of Passion Week

Think on these things today.

Again it was a busy day.  On Tuesday, Jesus had been challenged by several different opponents.  He had met each group head on by turning the questions around to teach much needed truth.  Jesus had silenced those who opposed His claim to be the Messiah.

Now it is His turn to question His opponents in Mark 12.   However, Jesus did not stand against them as an opponent; He questioned them as men who were in error and needed to see the truth.  He was reaching out to them in the hope that some would receive the truth of His Messiahship and accept Him as the Son of God.  He asked them this question, “What think ye of Christ, the Messiah?”  Jesus took them from the idea that He is a descendant of David, a mere man,  to the idea that He is the Lord of David as God Himself.

In this, His last week before His Crucifixion, it is amazing to see Jesus continue to teach.  He knew that men needed to be warned of  the terrible judgment to come if they didn’t change their ways. In Mark 12 Jesus discussed some of the things that especially will result in God’s wrath and judgment.  They all have to do with pride.

  • vs. 38 dressing to draw attention
  • vs. 38 exalting man
  • vs. 38 being seen of man
  • vs. 39 seeking front seats to be admired and honored
  • vs. 40 devouring widows for gain
  • vs. 40 praying long prayers to show piety

After He finished this teaching, Jesus walked over by the treasury.  The treasury was an area in which there were thirteen trumpet shaped collection boxes where the worshippers dropped their offerings.  He sat down all alone to get some relief and rest from the tension of the past hours.

While resting, He was deliberately observing and discerning the motives of the people as they made their offerings.  He saw many walk by and drop in sizeable gifts.  He could see the large amount of coins and hear them clang against the sides as they slid down the funnel shaped trumpets.  But none of these impressed Him.  Finally a poor widow came along and threw in two mites, which are coins of very little value.

He called his disciples to Him and said, “I assure you, this poor widow has given more than all the others have given. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” (Mark 12:43-44) Christ took what He saw and taught what true giving really is:

  • vs. 42 Real giving is sacrificial giving
  • vs. 43 Real giving is measured by how much a person has left not by how much a person gives
  • vs. 44 Real giving is giving all a person has

By the end of the day, Jesus had given a discourse on unbelief, a discourse on the end times, a discourse on the judgment day, and He taught the parables of 10 virgins and 10 talents.  Jesus, in His consistent selflessness, did not let His impending pain stop Him from considering those who needed His teachings.

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Day Three of Passion Week

Think on these things today.

This was a busy day for Jesus.  He taught several parables and His authority was challenged in many ways.

One of the parables He gave on this day was the Parable of the Wicked Husbandman (Mark 12:1-12).   This is one of the most interesting parables ever told by Jesus because it is both historical and predictive.  Jesus covered the history of Israel from God’s perspective.  And then He predicted or revealed exactly what was going to happen to Israel.  They were going to reject God’s own Son and because of their rejection and cruelty, God was going to reject them by giving the Kingdom of God to another people.

What is said throughout this passage is applicable to all people as well as to Israel.  As Christians, God has entrusted the vineyard of the church and of the world to us, the new nation of God.  Every point covered in Israel’s history should, therefore, be a dynamic message speaking to our hearts:

  • God is generous…He gives us everything we need (Mark 12:1)
  • God is trusting…He gives responsibility and freedom to govern life (Mark 12:1)
  • God is exacting…He expects payment (Mark 12:2)
  • God is patient…He sends messengers to receive payment (Mark 12:2-5)
  • God is love…He sends His very own Son to the world (Mark 12:6-8)
  • God is just…He shall come and destroy evil keepers (Mark 12:9)
  • God is trustworthy…He fulfills all His promises (Mark 12:10-11)
  • Conclusion…the great tragedy (Mark 12:12)

On this day the challenges to His authority had been pressing heavily upon Him.  First, the chief priests and lay leaders had challenged His authority (Mark 11:27-33).  Jesus met the challengers head on and routed them.  But in so doing, His mind had been focused upon His death and Israel’s rejection.  The very thought that Israel, in whom God had put so much trust, was failing God by putting His Son to death was bound to be ripping out the heart of Jesus.

Second, the Pharisees (the legalistic sect of the Jews) and Herodians (Herod’s political party) had attempted to discredit Jesus by pitting Him either against the government or the people (Mark 12:13-17).  Again, Jesus had met and routed His challengers.  But the struggle had been hard and heavy.

Now, for the third time, the Lord was confronted and challenged.  And again, it was a different group who tried to out-argue and discredit Him (Mark 12:18-27). His challengers were the Sadducees, the religious and political liberals of the day.  As Matthew points out, “They say that there is no resurrection.”  Luke goes even further to say that the Sadducees say there is no angels or spirits as well as no resurrection.   Their liberal position caused two things:

  • It caused them to stumble at the spiritual and supernatural.  They ridiculed and scorned both.  Therefore, in their minds, the teachings of Jesus were the teachings of an unthinking and illogical man, lacking philosophical analysis and natural proof.
  • Their liberal position caused them to feel threatened and to oppose Jesus.  The people were flocking to Jesus and soaking up His teachings.  This meant the Sadducees were losing their grip on the people.  Their position and wealth were being jeopardized; therefore, they were compelled to attack and discredit Him before the people.

It was a tough day for Jesus;  He continued to teach as more and more challenges came at Him.  He met all the conflicts and won…He always wins!  He is THE VICTOR!

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Day Two of Passion Week

Think on these things today.

(Matthew 21:12-17)

Jesus, fresh from His triumphal entry, where hundreds of people lined the streets to welcome Him into Jerusalem, went to the temple.  When He found it being grossly misused, He began to passionately cleanse the temple as He exclaimed, “My house shall be called the House of Prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13)

By doing this, Jesus was proclaiming to all generations that He had the right to determine how the temple was to be used and to purge it of corruptions.  As God’s Son, the temple was His dwelling place, the place where the worship of God was to be especially known. In cleansing the temple, Jesus was revealing how men were to treat and use the temple of God.

After Jesus cleansed the temple, He healed the blind and the lame there.  Then adults and children began worshipping Him as they cried out to Him, “Hosanna!”  Jesus commended the children on this day and quoted Psalm 8:2, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants God has perfected praise?” (Matthew 21:16)

It is interesting to note that Jesus began and ended His ministry by cleansing the temple.  The importance of the temple as God’s house of prayer and worship was thereby demonstrated.

Two wonderful things happened when the temple was cleansed of its corruptions:

1.  Those in need were able to come to Christ and have their needs met.
2.  Christ was able to take His rightful position within the temple and to receive the worshippers.

We are now the temple of God.  It is imperative that we keep our temple clean from the impurities of the world.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17  “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?   If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.  For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

It was a long day for Jesus, and the cross was looming just ahead of Him . . . but there was much to do before then.

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Day One of Passion Week

Palm Sunday
(John 12:12-19)

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—even on a donkey’s colt.

The people greeted Him as though He were an earthly king; they were sure He would end the Roman occupation and Jerusalem would again be a Jewish city.  They waved palm leaves as He entered the city which is why this Sunday is called Palm Sunday.

They shouted, “Hosanna,” which means “save us,” and comes from Psalm 118:25   Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.   However, many of the same people who shouted “Hosanna”, soon turned on Him and shouted “Crucify Him”.

This began Christ’s long week that led to the Cross.  He met the trials of this week with steadfastness, with peace, and with great courage.  He demonstrated that He alone is worthy to be called “Savior of the World”.

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