Okay, so by now you have noticed that I have 4 posts all on the same day. Well, that’s because the idea to share Vicki’s posts with you came about on Wednesday of this week so I am playing catch up.
All of this information is wonderfully valuable from both the Christian and historical perspectives, I think. No matter what your walk in faith is, it is always good to try to understand other peoples feelings and beliefs even if we do not agree with them. Learning to get along with others in this world is vitally important, especially this day in age.
We have looked at the events of Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem and the reasons for why the Jewish leadership wanted to remove His influence from their midst. Let’s look today at events early in the week of His death and Resurrection. I am taking these accounts from the Gospels of Matthew and John and will give you Scripture references so you can read them on your own.
Even though Jesus had walked with His apostles for the better part of three years, they didn’t yet fully understand some of the cryptic words He spoke about His death, return to heaven and even His divinity. (John 12:23-50) Jesus purposed to do everything, say everything and act fully in accordance to God’s plan to redeem His lost children.
Many did not believe His words and attributed His signs and miracles to Satan. Note how Jesus defined Satan in verse 31: ‘…the ruler of this world.’ The events we are studying are part of the consummate battle between good and evil—a battle, which began in the Garden of Eden when Satan challenged Eve by questioning what God had really commanded the first couple to not do. It is important to note that Satan still works the same way today. “Did God really say _________________ is wrong?”
Imagine Jesus striving to teach, encourage, alleviate fear, prepare and equip His apostles and disciples. He had walked with them for three years but would soon be gone; and they would be left to carry the Gospel message without Him.
In Matthew 21 Jesus was found entering the temple in the Holy City and in righteous indignation, overturning the moneychangers’ and dove sellers’ tables. God’s holy temple was no longer a place of worship and honor; but instead was treated as a marketplace to line the pockets of those who should have been protecting it. Jesus—knowing His end was near—spent precious time healing the sick, teaching parables (word picture stories with moral applications) to His disciples and challenging the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees—the two denominations of Jewish leadership.
Add to all those things the very serious warnings Jesus made to His people about coming events and times of testing. In Matthew 24 alone he warns of these things:
• The coming of False Prophets and False Messiah’s claiming to be Him.
• Divided kingdoms, wars, famines, earthquakes and heavenly changes.
• Family division and betrayal over faith issues.
• Arrests, trials, persecution, lawlessness and false accusations.
• A general apostasy—falling away by those who paid lip service but would abandon their faith in the face of tribulation.
• A sense of hopeless, which only in God’s mercy would come to an end.
Jesus also explained that He would return for His people and take them to the heavenly home He was preparing for them. One final caution was that God’s people had to be ready, prepared for these events and Jesus’ return and not caught sleeping or drifting at that moment. When asked for more specific signs or dates of His return, Jesus told His apostles no one but the Father knew that exact day.
Think about the urgency of those last days. How amazing it is that instead of dwelling upon His coming suffering Jesus tended others’ needs, prepared for their futures, gave glory to His Father and set an example for all to see. Jesus came as a Servant, lived as a Servant and would die as a Servant… as He assumed the sin of undeserving man upon His flesh. A Servant such as that is worth our unhindered worship. That is why we celebrate this Holy Week.
SCRIPTURE: ‘And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.’ MATTHEW 24:4-5