THE MESSIAH ENTERS JERUSALEM / JESUS DEFENDS HIS DISCIPLES FOR ACCLAIMING HIM / LAMENT FOR JERUSALEM / THE EXPULSION OF THE DEALERS AND THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE / THE BARREN FIG TREE WITHERS / FAITH AND PRAYER / JESUS TEACHES IN THE TEMPLE / JESUS IN JERUSALEM Matthew 21:1-11, 12-17, 18-22; Mark 11:1-11, 12-14, 15-19, 20-26; Luke 19:28-38, 39-40, 41-44, 45-46, 47-48; John 2:13-22, 23-25, 12:12-19
The time of the Jewish Passover was near when he had said this. He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. The next day the great crowd of people who had come up for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. Now it happened that when they were near Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage and Bethany; close by the Mount of Olives as it is called. Jesus sent two of the disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village facing you, and as you enter it you will at once find a tethered colt that no one has ever yet ridden. Untie it and bring it to me. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” you are to say this, “The Master needs it and will send it back here at once.”” This was to fulfill what the prophet spoke: Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout for joy, daughter of Jerusalem! Look, your king is approaching, he is vindicated and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem; the bow of war will be banished. He will proclaim peace to the nations; his empire will stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the limits of the earth. Zechariah 9:9-10 Therefore, the disciples went off, did as Jesus had told them, and found everything just as he had told them. They found a colt tethered near a door in the open street. As they were untying the colt, its owners said, “Why are you doing, untying that colt?” They gave the answer Jesus had told them, they answered, “The Master needs it and will send it back at once.” and the men let them go. Therefore, they took the colt to Jesus and, throwing their cloaks on its back, he took his seat on it. As he moved off, great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others, cutting branches from the trees, which they had cut in the fields, spread them in his path. Now, as he was approaching the downward slope of the Mount of Olives, the crowds who went in front of him, those who followed, and the whole group of disciples joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices for all the miracles they had seen. They were all shouting: Hosanna! Hosanna to the son of David! We beg you, Yahweh, save us; we beg you, Yahweh, give us victory! Blessed in the name of Yahweh is he who is coming, as king of Israel! We bless you from the house of Yahweh. Psalm 118:25-26 Blessed is the coming kingdom of David our father! 2 Samuel 7:16 Hosanna in the highest heavens! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens! Some Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Master, reprove your disciples,” but he answered, “I tell you, if these keep silence, the stones will cry out.” As he drew near and came in sight of the city, he shed tears over it and said, “If you too had only recognized on this day the way to peace! However, in fact it is hidden from your eyes! Yes, a time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all around you, when they will encircle you and hem you in on every side; they will dash you and the children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave not one stone standing on another within you, because you did not recognize the moment of your visitation.” When he entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple, the whole city was in turmoil as people asked, “Who is this?” and the crowds answered, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” Then the Pharisees said to one another, “You see, you are making no progress; look, the whole world has gone after him!” At first, his disciples did not understand this, but later, after Jesus had been glorified, they remembered that this had been written about him and that this was what had happened to him. The crowd who had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead kept bearing witness to it; this was another reason why the crowd came out to receive him: they had heard that he had given this sign. Jesus then went into the Temple and drove out all those who were selling and buying cattle there. Making a whip out of cord, he upset tables of the moneychangers and the seats of the dove sellers. He would not allow anyone to carry anything throughout the Temple. He drove them all out, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the moneychangers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the dove sellers, “Take all this out of here and stop using my Father’s house as a market.” Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: for I am eaten up with zeal for your house, and insults directed against you fall on me. Psalm 69:9 He taught them and said, “According to scripture, my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples; Isaiah 56:7 but you are turning it into a den of bandits.” Jeremiah 7:11 The Jews intervened and said, “What sign can you show us that you should act like this?” Jesus answered, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews replied, “It has taken forty six years to build this Temple: are you going to raise it up again in three days?” However, he was speaking of the Temple that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what he had said. There were blind and lame people who came to him in the Temple, and he cured them. At the sight of the wonderful things, he did and the children shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David” in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes were indignant and said to him, “Do you hear what they are saying?” Jesus answered, “Yes. Have you never read this: even through the mouths of children, or babes in arms, Psalm 8:2 Wisdom 10:21 you have made sure of praise?” This came to the ears of the chief priests and the scribes, and they tried to find some way of doing away with him; they were afraid of him because his teaching carried the people away. When Jesus had surveyed it all, as it was late by now, he left them and went out of the city to Bethany with the Twelve, where he spent the night. Next day as they were leaving Bethany and returning to the city in the early morning, Jesus felt hungry. Seeing a fig tree in leaf some distance away by the road, he went to see if he could find any fruit on it. However, when he went up to it, he found nothing on it but leaves; for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May you never bear fruit for anyone to eat from you again,” and instantly the fig tree withered. Next morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered to the roots. Peter remembered. “Look, Rabbi,” he said to Jesus, “the fig tree that you cursed has withered away.” The disciples were amazed when they saw it and said, “How is it that the fig tree withered instantly?” Jesus answered, “Have faith in God. In truth, I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt at all, you will do what I have done to the fig tree. Even if you say to this mountain, “Be pulled up and thrown into the sea,“ with no doubt in his heart, but believing that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. I tell you, therefore, everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours. If you have faith, everything you ask for in prayer, you will receive. When you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too.” During his stay in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, he taught in the Temple every day. The chief priests and the scribes, in company with the leading citizens, tried to do away with him, but they could not find a way to carry this out because the whole people hung on his words. Many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he did, but Jesus knew all people and did not trust himself to them; he never needed evidence about anyone; he could tell what someone had within them.
JESUS FORETELLS HIS DEATH AND SUBSEQUENT GLORIFICATION John 12:20-36
Now there were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it; and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; where I am, there will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? However, it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world. Now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die. Therefore, the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. Then how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.” After he had said this, Jesus left and hid from them.
CONCLUSION: THE UNBELIEF OF THE JEWS John 12:37-50
Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him, in order that the word, which Isaiah the prophet spoke might be fulfilled: “Who has given credence to what we have heard? And who has seen in it a revelation of Yahweh’s arm?” Isaiah 53:1 For this reason, they could not believe, because again Isaiah said, “Make this people’s heart coarse, make their ears dull, shut their eyes tight, or they will use their eyes to see, use their ears to hear, use their heart to understand, and change their ways and be healed.” Isaiah 6:10 Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. Nevertheless, many, even among the authorities, believed in him, but because of the Pharisees, they did not acknowledge it openly in order not to be expelled from the synagogue for they preferred human praise to the glory of God. Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that no one who believes in me might remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
THE JEWS QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8
Now it happened that one day he had gone into the Temple and was teaching the people and proclaiming the good news, when the chief priests, scribes and the elders of the people came to him and said, “Tell us, what authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?” In reply, Jesus said to them, “And I will ask you a question, just one; if you tell me the answer to it, then I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: what was its origin, heavenly or human? Answer me that.” Then they began to argue this way among themselves, “If we say heavenly, he will retort to us, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?” and if we say human, we have the people to fear, the whole people will stone us, for they all hold that John was a real prophet.” Therefore, their reply to Jesus was, “We do not know.” He retorted to them, “Well then, I will not tell you my authority for acting like this.”
PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS Matthew 21:28-32
“What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, “Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.” He said in reply, “I will not,” but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, “Yes, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did his father's will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
PARABLE OF THE WICKED TENANTS Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19
He went on to tell the people this parable, “Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it around, dug out a trough for the winepress in it, and built a tower. He then leased it to tenants and went abroad for a long while. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. However, the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next, he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. He still had someone left: his beloved son. Then the owner of vineyard thought, “What am I to do? I will send them my own beloved son.” He sent his son to them last of all, thinking, “They will respect my son.” However, when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” Therefore, they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.” Hearing this they said, “God forbid!” However, he looked hard at them and said, “Now when the owner of vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They answered, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to them at the proper time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read the scriptures? Then what does this text in the scriptures mean: The stone, which the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone; this is Yahweh’s doing, and we marvel at it. Psalm 118:22-23 “I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realized he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him, they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet. Therefore, they left him alone and went away.
PARABLE OF THE WEDDING FEAST Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, “Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.” Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, “The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.” The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. However, when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, “My friend how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?” However, he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, “Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
ON TRIBUTE TO CAESAR Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26
Then the Pharisees went away to work out between them how to trap him in what he said. So they awaited their opportunity and sent agents to pose as upright men, and to catch him out in something he might say and so enable them to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. They sent their disciples to him, together with some Herodians, to put this question to him, “Master, we know that you say and teach what is right, we know that you are an honest man and teach the way of God in all honesty, and that you are not afraid of anyone, because human rank means nothing to you. Give us your opinion, then. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or not?” However, Jesus was aware of their malice and recognizing their hypocrisy, replied, “You hypocrites! Why are you putting me to the test? Show me the money you pay the tax with.” They handed him a denarius, and he said, “Whose portrait is this? Whose title?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Very well, pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar - and God what belongs to God.” When they heard this, they were amazed at him. They were unable to catch him out in anything he had to say in public. They left him alone and went away.
THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40
Then that day some Sadducees - who deny that there is a resurrection - approached him and they put this question to him, “Master, Moses said that if a man dies childless, his brother is to marry the widow, his sister-in-law, to raise children for his brother. Deuteronomy 25:5-6 Now we had a case involving seven brothers; the first married and then died without children, leaving his wife to his brother; the same thing happened with the second and the third and so on to the seventh, and then last of all the woman herself died. Now at the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife among the seven will she be, since she was married to them all?” Jesus answered them, “Surely the reason why you are wrong is because you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God. The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die; no, for they are the same as the angels in heaven, and being children of the resurrection they are children of God. In addition, as for the resurrection of the dead, Moses himself implies that the dead rise again. Have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of your ancestors,” he said, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:6 He is God, not of the dead, but of the living, for to him everyone is alive. You are very much mistaken.” In addition, his teaching made a deep impression on the people who heard it. Some scribes then spoke up. They said, “Well put, Master.” They did not dare to ask him any more questions.
THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT OF ALL Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34
However, when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, one of the scribes who had listened to them debating appreciated that Jesus had given a good answer and put a further question to him, “Master, which is the first and greatest commandment of the Law?” Jesus said to him, “Listen Israel: Yahweh our God is the one, the only Yahweh. You must love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and with your entire mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18 On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets too. There is no commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true, that our God is the one, the only Yahweh. To love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, this is far more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.” Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one dared to question him any more.
While teaching in the Temple the Pharisees were gathered around. Jesus put to them this question, “What is your opinion about the Christ? How can the scribes and the people maintain that the Christ is the son of David? Whose son is he?” They told him, “David’s.” He said to them, “Then how is it that David, moved by the Spirit, calls him Lord, where he says in the Book of Psalms: Yahweh declared to my Lord, “Take your seat at my right hand, until I have made your enemies your footstool.” Psalm 110:1 “If David himself calls him Lord, how then can he be his son?” No one could think of anything to say in reply, the great crowd listened to him with delight, and from that day, no one dared to ask him any further questions.
THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES: THEIR HYPOCRISY AND VANITY Matthew 23:1-12
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example, for they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation “Rabbi.” As for you, do not be called “Rabbi.” You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father ; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called “Master”; you have but one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
THE SEVENFOLD INDICTMENT OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES Matthew 23:13-32
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.” “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Hell twice as much as yourselves.” “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, “If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.”; blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? You say, “If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.” You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred. One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.” “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment, mercy, and fidelity. However, these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!” “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.” “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, “If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.” Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”
THE SCRIBES CONDEMNED BY JESUS Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47
Then, in the course of his teaching within the hearing of all the people, he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and love to accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”
THEIR CRIMES AND APPROACHING PUNISHMENT Matthew 23:33-36
“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Hell? Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify. Some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”
JERUSALEM ADMONISHED Matthew 23:37-39
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused! Look! Your house will be left to you. Yes, I promise you, you shall not see me until the time comes when you are saying: Blessed in the name of Yahweh is he who is coming!” Psalm 118:26
THE WIDOW’S MITE Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4
He sat down opposite the treasury. When he looked up, he observed the crowds and among them some wealthy people putting their large sums of offerings into the treasury. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you. I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."