Summary: Following the last days of Jesus during the Passion Week.
The last days of Jesus
The way I look at this, we have two choices…………just two choices. When we think of this Man Jesus, His life, His teachings, His ministry, His healings, His unconditional love for the common person, who’s Son was He? Was Jesus the Son of Joseph and Mary, or was He the Son of God sent to take away the sins of the world? Was Jesus just a good man, was he a prophet in a world that had not seen one for hundreds of years? Was the life and death of Jesus merely a conspiracy dreamed up by a small band of eleven, whose resurrected life would ultimately change the lives of millions over the centuries? Pastor, author, teacher Max Lucado writes, “A probing question. A properly positioned question. The ‘what’ is answered by the ‘who.’ What we think about Christ cannot be separated from whose Son He is. Jesus never asked what we thought about His teachings, opinions on social issues or His ability to lead people. After three years of ministry, hundreds of miles, thousands of miracles, innumerable teachings, Jesus asks, ‘who?’ Jesus asks us to ponder not what He has done, but who He is. It’s the ultimate question of Christ: Whose Son is He?” The way I see it, we have two choices. We can either whole-heartedly accept Him or half-heartedly reject Him.
Max Lucado continues, “When a man knows the end is near – only the important surfaces. Impending death distills the vital. The trivial is bypassed. The unnecessary is overlooked. That which is vital remains. So, if you would know Christ, ponder His final days. He knew the end was near. He knew the finality of Friday, He read the last chapter before it was written and heard the final chorus before it was sung. Each step was calculated. Every act premeditated.” So enter the Holy week and ponder now with me. Feel His passion. Laughing as children sing, weeping as Jerusalem ignores, scorning as priests accuse, pleading as disciples sleep and feeling disgusted as Pilate is swayed by the crowds.
Jesus knew what had to be done. He was born for this purpose and nothing could change it now. His life course would culminate into the events that would follow this week. A Man so loved, followed by hundreds of thousands, would end up alone. And because of the events that would take place this week, we as followers of Christ have all been given one thing. Hope. But the way I see it, we have two choices.
The week started with fanfare. All four of the Gospel writers tell the same story. All four speak of Jesus’ triumphal entry into the Holy city. All four report that Jesus came into Jerusalem as a King, and that a great multitude of people were in position to welcome Him. But the words He chose, the manner He arranged, were they truly fit for a King as He rode through the streets on the back of a lowly donkey.? Where were the great multitudes only days later when Jesus died alone on the cross?
From the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 21, verses 1-10; “As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Zechariah (chapter 9 verse 9, written 500 years before the birth of Christ.) "Say to the Daughter of Zion, See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.
A very great multitude spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"
After arriving in Jerusalem, Mark writes that the first thing Jesus did was to go into the Temple. There were lots of other places He could have gone. Mark writes that the hour was late on that Sunday evening, and I’m sure Jesus was tired, but He needed to go to the Temple, and He needed to look around at all the things taking place. And as He returned to Bethany, just a couple of miles from Jerusalem, I’m sure He thought about what He saw. Because the very next morning He was back, but this time He took matters into His own hands, overturning tables, driving out those who bought and sold in the Temple. All of the money changers, and those who sold doves for sacrifices, he would not allow anyone to carry wares through the Temple. For He said that His Temple was a House of prayer for all nations, and not meant to be a den of thieves!