I will be sending out a daily blog to help us stay connected and do some Bible Study/Devotion Time together. This week is known as Holy Week or The Passion Week. Let's look at the events as Jesus continues His journey to the cross.
READ MATTHEW 21:12-46
In verses 12-17, Jesus leaves the parade as He rode in on a colt to the shouts of Hosanna! He enters the temple courts only to find merchants who were buying & selling in His Father's house. Not just buying & selling, but taking advantage of the Gentiles, the poor, the foreigners by selling sacrificial animals at very high prices. Today we would call that price gouging. If that isn't bad enough, they were crowding out those who had come to worship God. The question has been asked many times as we read that Jesus was angry, "Isn't anger a sin?" I have found a better way to word this is it's Jesus' "righteous indignation." What do you think?
Then in verses 18-22, we read again that Jesus just might be angry at a fig tree causing it to wither. This was one of Jesus' "acted-out" parables. He was rightfully upset at all of the religious activity going on that had no real substance. That fig tree looked good from a distance, but had no fruit when you looked closely. Just as those worshipers who were offering hollow sacrifices & worship in the temple. Our worship is to come from our heart - not just something that looks good. How's your heart of worship this day?
We move to verses 23-27. The religious leaders are once again questioning Jesus, only Jesus answers their question with a question. Don't you just love that when that happens? I use this technique in Sunday School class & Bible Study time. Only for a different reason. You see, Jesus knew the Pharisees did not really want an answer to the question; they were only trying to trap Jesus once again. They only wanted the truth if it lined up with their own views. I wonder, when we ask God something, do we only hear the answer if it lines up with what we want?
Then on to verses 28-32. How about this parable of the Two Sons? What were you thinking when you first read it? Was your answer the same as the answer given Jesus? Do we say we want to do God's will & then forget, ignore, disobey? We can't say, "Yes," & then just go through the motions. How are you doing in being obedient to God?
Then, finally verses 42-46. Look at the elements this way (if you have never done so before) & reread the parable. (1) God - the landowner; (2) Israel - the vineyard; (3) Jewish religious leaders - the tenants; (4) Prophets & priests (who remained faithful to God & preached to Israel) - the landowner's servants; (5) Jesus - the landowner's son; & (6) Gentiles - the other tenants. Do you know anyone who has rejected the cornerstone? How can we help others come to recognize the love & grace of our Almighty God?
I decided to start "blogging" daily so I can feel like I am still in contact with all of you. I do miss each of you & pray for all of you daily. We have come to a time in our lives that has made us all feel out of sync. But we hold onto all of the events of Jesus' life, especially this week. We are reminded there is always hope. I pray that once this crisis is over, we will have found a new normal - one where we first "love God," & then "love our neighbors." Don't give up, God is still with us & creating something new (Isaiah 43:19). Grab hold, hang on, & let God be God!
I pray that you will continue to follow our worship on Sunday mornings as we learn how to do worship live bringing us all together through cyberspace! Continue to look at our website & facebook pages for words of encouragement & hope. Be ready, I may just show up in your computer or on your smartphone one day just to say HI!
Blessings to all of you!