Devotional Word for Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Yesterday, we learned about the Temple Complex, how large it was, and that many activities took place in it. During Holy Week, Jesus taught there regularly. Luke describes those days this way: Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount called Olivet. And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him. [Luke 21:37-38] It was a crucial time.
Notice it says “all the people” came to listen to Him. That doesn’t mean every single person that was in Jerusalem went to hear Him. There would not have been room. It meant there were individuals present from all the different strata of society and from a vast array of countries. Remember, we’re only some 55 days from the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2 lists the many different countries represented among those who came to see what was going on at 9am that day!
We get some idea of this mix of people from what Jesus taught on during the week: there were those who questioned by what authority He taught at all; there was a question about paying taxes; some Sadducees came seeking to show there is no such thing as a resurrection, of life after death by asking about an hypothetical woman who had been the wife of seven succeeding brothers as each of them died; and He was asked which of the commandments of God was the greatest. All this happened during Holy Week.
Jesus not only taught, He asked questions and He observed. He asked how they say that the Christ is David’s son when David in Psalm 110 calls Him Lord? If such is the case, how can He be David’s son? Jesus also warned them who to look out for. People whose primary goal is the get esteem and positions of honor. He says to beware of them. He also observed people giving monetary gifts to the Temple treasury. He says that a poor widow who had only a mite to give, gave more than all the rich folk.
All of His teaching, His questions, and His observations were meant to point people’s minds to God, to God’s will and purpose, and to the Messiah He promised to send. But people’s minds were still earthbound! Even those of His disciples. They point out to Him the Temple buildings – and they were magnificent! Then He tells them, again, as He had on Palm Sunday as recorded in Luke 19:41-44, that not one stone would be left upon another. Destruction lay ahead.
That evening when Jesus and the disciples had left the city and were back on the Mount of Olives. they want to know when it will happen. He responds with His most famous teaching of Holy Week, the Olivet Discourse. It’s recorded in Luke 21, Mark 13, and Matthew 24. And, of course, exactly what He spoke of in such apocalyptic language took place in AD 70.
What ought we to ponder in all of Jesus’ teaching during Holy Week? First, we must not forget eternity, heaven. Heaven is not myth or wishful thinking; it is the plan and purpose of God. Second, we must remember the authority behind what Jesus taught: He spoke exactly as the Father taught Him, so let’s listen to Him and believe Him. Third, let us hold loosely all the things of this life for they are not eternal. Finally, we need to know Jesus is Lord of all and trust Him in all the circumstances of life. As He promised, He will never leave or forsake us. Praise God! Let us pray: Lord Jesus, thank You that You’re a wonderful Teacher. In You all the wisdom of God resides. Let me learn of You. Let me be a faithful disciple of Yours. But, even more, I thank You that You’re my Savior, my Redeemer. Keep me in Your tender care. Give me a tender heart and a teachable mind, so that I might live faithfully for You this day and each day. I ask all this in Your name. Amen.