Summary: The days intervening between Christ’s triumphal entry and his crucifixion were days filled with controversy. The enemies of Christ were bound and determined to find some way of bringing charges against Him that would rid them of Him forever.
Christ’s Final Week: Days of Controversy
Introduction: The days intervening between Christ’s triumphal entry and his crucifixion were days filled with controversy. The enemies of Christ were bound and determined to find some way of bringing charges against Him that would rid them of Him forever. Matthew 21 and 22 provide us with four challenges the scribes and Pharisees leveled at Christ.
I. Christ’s Source of Authority Challenged - 21:23-27
A. Christ had cleansed the temple driving out the moneychangers and merchants who had change the temple from its intended use infuriating the chief priests and the elders.
B. The chief priests refused to acknowledge the authority of Christ. They questioned His right to do what He did and especially questioned the source of that authority.
C. They refused to see Him as the Messiah. They wanted to dismiss his power as simply self-induced, because to admit that he had been sent by God would mean that they would need to follow and obey. They would not accept Him as Lord.
D. How many question Christ’s authority over their lives? They ask, “Who does He think He is? What right does He have to expect to control every aspect of my life?”
E. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Life tells the story of talking to a young man who was somewhat of a prodigal. He said to him, "Do you believe in Jesus?" “Yes." "Do you believe He died for your sins?" "Yes." The young man had grown up in the church and even gone to Christian schools, but he had turned his back on the Lord. Bill asked, "What is going to happen to you when you die?" He said, "I’ll go to heaven." I said, "Are you sure?" "Absolutely sure." And I said, "Are you willing to do God’s will and surrender your own will to His will?" Quite bluntly, he answered, "No." Bill Bright had to be totally honest with him, and replied, "Then you are not a Christian." To which the young man said, "That’s your opinion against mine."
F. Romans 10:9 - 10 9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
G. Christ is not as concerned with profession as obedience. It does not matter if we call ourselves Christians - He wants to see us show it in our lives. The Pharisees were condemned for they had an appearance of godliness, but denied true godliness by disobedience and rejecting Christ’s authority.
H. There is not an inch of any sphere of life of which Jesus Christ the Lord does not say, “Mine.” - Abraham Kuyper, quoted in The Devil’s Gauntlet,
I. If Christ is not Lord of your life and my life, then we cannot hope that He will be the Lord of this church.
J. There is coming a day in which everyone will acknowledge Christ’s authority.
K. Philippians 2:9 - 11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
II. Christ’s submission to authority challenged – 22:15-21
A. The question asked was designed to entrap Christ. - Matthew 22:15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.
B. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? If He said yes, the Jewish Zealots would be upset with Him. If He said no He would be considered a political rebel and threat to the Roman occupation of Israel.
C. His reply - “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (v. 21).
D. Good Christians should make good citizens.
E. Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
F. The real question is a question of priorities.
G. Acts 5:27 – 29 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
H. In recent years a head coach divorced his wife of 26 years when he left coaching a college team to become head coach in the National Football League. He said he needed a wife while coaching on the college level for social functions and to show families that he would be looking out for their sons. In pro football, however, she was an unnecessary accouterment and a distraction to winning. He said winning football was his number one priority and his two sons second. How tragic! In contrast to this, Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas cowboys said, "The thrill of knowing Jesus is the greatest thing that ever happened to me ... I think God has put me in a very special place, and He expects me to use it to His glory in everything I do ... whether coaching football or talking to the press, I’m always a Christian ... Christ is first, family second and football third." - Source Unknown.