Summary: People change their minds, but Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
This has been a trying week for Jesus. On the first day of the Week there were shouts of excitement as Jesus rode upon the donkey into Jerusalem. The great crowd gathered around Jesus, some spreading their clothing upon the road and others cutting and gathering palm branches and spreading them along the road.
The crowd shouted: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9).
This was a happy and joyous crowd. This was the day the people recognized and gave glory to their King Jesus. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the crowds following and shouting, the people in Jerusalem were asking the question: “Who is this person who is causing such excitement?”
The crowd responded with these words: “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee” (Matthew 21:11).
The crowd appeared to be 100% for Jesus. They seemed to be dedicated followers who would stick by him regardless of what might happen.
Many people today are like these people. As long as things in life are going in the right direction, Jesus is wonderful because he has blessed them. As soon as trials and tribulations come their way, as soon as the sea of life becomes rough, or as soon as some mountain appears and upsets their life, they begin to drift away from the Master and they try to take care of their problems the worldly way.
As the events of the week proceeded and a change of events became apparent, Jesus’ followers began to drift away from him. By the end of the week, the only cheering heard was when Pilate asked the question: “Whom do you want me to release to you?” (Mathew 27:17).
The crowd shouted “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas” (Luke 23:18).
On Monday, Jesus entered the temple and proceeded to clean it out. The temple had been set up as a market place. There were merchants selling animals to be sacrificed for the forgiveness of their sins. People were coming from many miles away to worship in the temple. Those who did not have sacrifices were able to purchase them at the temple and paid whatever price asked by the merchants.
The moneychangers were present with the coins used in the temple to purchase their sacrifices. The visitors would exchange their money for the coins of the temple because only these coins were accepted by the merchants. Many or most of the time the visitors were cheated out of their money.
This practice was not appreciated by the visitors and this whole setup angered Jesus. The Father’s house was not a place to carry on this type of business. The temple was a house of worship and not a market place.
Jesus, being very angry, entered the temple on Monday and “overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves” (Matthew 21:12).
Jesus said, “It is written My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers” (Matthew 21:13).
On Tuesday, Jesus began to teach and preach the message in the temple. The educated people, priests and teachers were also present in the temple as Jesus was teaching. As the day went by, the priests and the teachers questioned Jesus as to his right or authority to teach and preach in this manner.
When Jesus answered their question with a question, that they could not answer, he continued to teach in parables. After teaching the parable of the wicked tenants they became a bit upset. They became upset because they were trying to trap Jesus. Jesus knew their plan.
When the priests and teachers realized their plan wasn’t working, they began to question Jesus about paying taxes and the resurrection. Then Jesus began to talk about the future and his return which was something the people did not understand. The priests and teachers still needed a way to get rid of Jesus.
On this same Tuesday, Satan entered Judas who was one of Jesus disciples. Judas did not like the fact that Jesus was talking about death and resurrection instead of establishing his kingdom here on earth. We cannot cast all the blame upon Judas because he was not the only person who did not understand the mission of Jesus. Judas, along with other people, did not understand that Jesus’ death and resurrection was a part of God’s plan.
Scripture says “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over” (Mark 14:10, 11).
Judas was a man looking for material possessions and wealth. He was treasurer in the temple so he had control of the money. Sometimes people who are trusted with the money of other people tend to take advantage of this responsibility and use the money for their own benefit.