Monday, April 02, 2007

Holy Week - Day 2

It's Monday. And for me, it is another step closer to the cross. I can't begin to express to you how I dread this week every year. You see, there is no one I love more than Jesus Christ. The incredible pain that he suffered and the stark realization that each day is bringing Him closer to the humiliation and pain is hard for me to bear. But, every year, I come face to face with this week. Sometimes I try to ignore it, but year after year I face down the fact that the person I love more than anything had to hang on a cross so that I would get the chance to love Him. Ahhh ... the mysteries of life.

At the end of the day yesterday, Jesus headed back to Bethany with His twelve disciples. I hope He got a good night's sleep. What do you think? If He's anything like the rest of us, He was probably up late into the evening talking about the events of the day. And He was probably trying to make sure that His disciples understood what they had been experiencing. Each one of them was there with Him. Peter ... who would deny Him later in the week. And even Judas, who would be the betrayer. They were settling in for the night.

In the morning, the made their way back to Jerusalem. Jesus had gone into the temple to check things out, but since it was late, He did nothing. That will change today! But, as He was leaving Bethany, He saw a fig tree. It was filled with leaves, but there was no fruit. Mark tells us that it wasn't the season for figs. Jesus said to the tree "May no one ever eat fruit from you again."

Now ... the stories vary a little bit here. Matthew says that the fig tree withered immediately and the disciples commented on it. Mark tells us that when they passed the fig tree the NEXT day, they commented on the fact that the fig tree had withered up. They couldn't believe that this had happened.

What is Jesus' response to them? "If you have faith and do not doubt - you can do this. You can tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea and it will be done." Now whether or not any of us have the faith to do this remains to be seen, but the next statement in Matthew is amazing:

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

The story of the fig tree is found in Matthew 21:18-22 and Mark 11:12-14, 20-25

So ... Jesus got mad at a fig tree and dried it up. My attitude is that He was either very hungry, He had a lot on His mind as He prepared for the day, or He had a lesson to teach His disciples. I'll let you pick which one you think is appropriate!

Jesus finally gets to Jerusalem and heads straight for the temple. Mark says it this way: (Mark 11:15-19) "On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there."

Yup ... Jesus didn't waste any time. He hd seen the temple area the night before and He had probably been processing on it all night long. In fact, Matthew's timing again is a little different. He has Jesus wiping out the mess in the temple on Sunday night. Who knows when it happened. The three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) all agree that it did happen and it happened during Holy Week.

Jesus quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah as He turns the tables over, sends the birds flying and the animals running. "My house will be a house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:7) and "you have made it into a den of robbers" (Jeremiah 7:11).

Matthew gives us a little more detail. He says that the blind and the lame came to him while He was at the temple. Luke tells us that He was there every day teaching. Jesus healed everyone who came to Him.

The chief priests and the teachers of the law began searching for a way to kill Jesus. It just keeps getting worse and worse. They were scared of him! Why? Because everyone was amazed by Him and the way that He taught. I can think of many good people who were assassinated because of people's fears. Luke says that they couldn't find a way to kill him because the people hung on his words.

The time for Jesus' death continues to draw closer. I really want Him to call down the power that He has available to Him, but another year is going to pass for me and the story will always get to the cross.

When He was done at the temple for the day, they went out of the city. (Mark 11:19). I'll bet He went back to Lazarus' home in Bethany, because Mark goes on to say that they passed the fig tree the next morning. It was all withered up and Peter remembered what had happened the day before.

Tuesday and Wednesday are blended together in the text. I'll separate them out a little bit, but Jesus was pretty busy! He has a lot to do and say before His time on earth is done. I'm kind of glad to get a chance to observe Him this way.

1 comment:

Jacqniel said...

I am happy you are writing this, too! I love it....and you! Jacque