Tuesday of Holy Week: Devotion

TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK (Matthew 21:18-25)

Tuesday is the last day of Jesus’ public ministry, and it is mostly teaching in the temple courts.  The chief priests and elders question Jesus’ authority and are stymied when Jesus tells them he will tell them where his authority is from if they can tell him if John the Baptist was from God or not.  Jesus fends off questions designed to trip him up from both the Saducees (a liberal sect of Judaism) and the Pharisees (a conservative sect of Judaism). 

Jesus teaches about the folly of rejecting him in the parable of The Two Sons, the parable of The Tenants, and the parable of The Wedding Banquet.  Jesus calls out the Pharisees’ for their hypocrisy and condemns the city’s historic rejection of the prophets God sent to call them to repentance. 

Jesus witnesses a widow giving her last coin- all she has to live on- to the Lord in her offering at the temple.  Jesus notices in her gift the love she has for the Lord and the trust she has that he will take care of her. As Jesus IS the Lord, her faith and love had to be encouraging to him, surrounded as he is in the temple by the religious elite who hate him and want to kill him.

Greeks request to see Jesus.  The desire of these Gentiles for Jesus and his gospel is also encouraging to Jesus, and he states that their coming signals that it is time for him to be glorified by his death for the salvation of all the people in the world, Jews and Gentiles.

In private, with his disciples, Jesus speaks bluntly about Judgment Day.  He tells them what signs will precede Judgments day, and in the parable of The Ten Virgins and The Talents he teaches them how to be prepared for that day and how to live as those awaiting that day.  He tells them how the Son of Man will separate the believers from the unbelievers, giving believers eternal life in heaven and consigning unbelievers to hell.

Have you ever thought of how hard it was for Jesus to teach these things on Tuesday of Holy Week?  In the story of The Tenants, he is the son who gets murdered by the evil tenants.  He tells that story knowing the day of his death is just three days away.   How his heart had to break as he warned the people of Jerusalem yet again that destruction would be their fate if they did not repent, knowing how often they had spurned his love and his prophets for centuries and how this week would not be any different. Imagine his pain as he talked about Judgment Day, knowing that, even after his suffering and death for all people, so few would care, so few would believe, and so few would end up with him in  heaven.  But as difficult as it was for him to talk about these things, he had to.  He loved his disciples, the people of Jerusalem, and even the religious leaders who wanted to kill him.  How could they repent, how could they believe and be saved, if they did not know what was at stake in trusting in him or rejecting him; if they did not understand why they needed him and why he had to die for them.  So he spoke about these things, as painful as it was for him to do that.

His Tuesday teaching is for me and you too.  It confronts us with the folly of thinking we can blow off God and live for the here and now, and get away with a faith-life that is window-dressing hypocrisy.  It reveals to us the compassionate heart of a God who does not easily give up on us, but who loves us enough to keep warning us not to go the wrong way and who loves us enough to be the way back to God and life forever in heaven with him, even when that means the way of the cross for him.

No wonder we sing hymns with titles like “What Wondrous Love Is This?”  May that wondrous love be on your mind today, and may it always be the source of peace in your heart and purpose in your life.