Tuesday’s Easter Reflection

As we follow Jesus through the second full day after coming to Jerusalem, we begin with him leaving the house in Bethany and heading once again for the temple in Jerusalem.  I can’t imagine he really slept much last night anyway with all that was going on and the knowledge that the Jewish leaders were wanting him dead.  This was a very full on day with a lot of teaching and a lot of questions from the religious leaders which is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Matthew’s is the longest, Mark’s a bit shorter and Luke’s the shortest!


READ MATTHEW 21:20-25:46 or MARK 11:20-13:37 or LUKE 20:1-21:38

Try and picture yourself walking down the road with Jesus from Bethany to Jerusalem.  This is what the scenery could have looked like coming down through the Mount of Olives, without the modern buildings, to help you imagine.

Mount of Olives


As you walk Peter spots the fig tree from yesterday and it has withered just the way Jesus said it would for not producing fruit.  Jesus responds to Peter’s apparent disbelief that the fig tree withered so quickly with teaching that is difficult for us to grasp.  Jesus says that whatever we pray for, if we believe and have no doubt that he can do it, then he will.  Then he adds, “but when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in Heaven will forgive your sins too”.  So we need to pray believing and we must forgive those who have wronged us, but we also know from Jesus other examples of prayer that we cannot pray from selfish motives and our prayer must be for the good of God’s Kingdom. The more we get to know God, the more we know what he wants us to pray for, and so the more we see answered the way we think it will be.  We need to keep praying and keeping spending time with God to know.  Jesus did that, so how much more should we!  Take time today to spend with God in reading his word and in praying to him.

Finally, you reach the temple and Jesus is glad to see there is no selling and buying going on, but then he gets challenged about his actions yesterday to try and trick him.  As always, Jesus has a great response without getting caught up in the motives of the leaders.  There is so much for us to learn from this in how we can answer people who just want to try and catch us out.  We need to reveal the persons motives for asking such questions just like Jesus does, and then the question will not be so important anymore.

Jesus goes on to teach about the Kingdom of God through a few parables before being questioned by the religious leaders.  Through all this it’s bound to have been in the back of his mind what was happening later in the week and to Jerusalem as a city in the years to come.  This was maybe his last chance to try and convince as many as he could of who he was and what he had come to do.  In the midst of it all, he was getting more and more annoyed with the religious leaders and how they were telling the people to do one thing but living a different way, so he warns the people and condemns the religious leaders for what they are doing.  Matthew 23:13-36 records it very powerfully as Jesus says, “How terrible it will be for you…” many times.  At the end of all this you can imagine how much it must have physically taken it out of Jesus and how much he was hurting inside that these leaders were supposed to be leading the people to God but instead were only concerned about how popular and how good they looked.  Jesus grieves again as he sees the way his people have walked away from God.  Jesus goes on to teach some more but I’ll let you read that for yourself or we’ll be here all day!

Again, this a call to look inside our hearts and see where we really are today.  Is Jesus grieving when he sees your heart and where it is today?  If you think he is, then stop, and spend time with him, asking for his forgiveness, and thanking him for all he has done.  Or is he rejoicing and happy to see that you are nothing like the religious leaders but have a heart that desires to know him more.  Jesus was physically and emotionally hurting because of the way his people had gone and I believe he still is, for us, when we desire ourselves more than him.  The reason he does is because he loves us and wants to be the centre of our lives, as he showed us the greatest display of love, giving up his own life so that we could live.  He loves you today, what are we going to do for him?



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