Holy Tuesday | What Should Be, What Is, What Will Be
The Lesson from the Fig Tree - Matthew 21:20–22; Mark 11:20–26
Jesus Teaches in the Temple - Matthew 21:23–23:39; Mark 11:27–12:44; Luke 20:1–21:4
Jesus Predicts the Future - Matthew 24–25; Mark 13:1–37; Luke 21:5–36
It's Tuesday and Jesus has entered Jerusalem, his imminent death just four days away. His encounters with the religious leaders and conversations with his disciples take an interesting tone and cover several topics.
What Should Be...
First, Jesus remarks about the fig tree, an example of how he sees the religious system in Jerusalem. We can surely empathize with how Jesus must have felt as that system manipulated people’s spiritual lives through the economy of the temple grounds. That system is then condemned in the picture of a widow who gives everything she has to participate in the charade of spirituality that is the temple complex.
Next, Jesus uses a series of parables in his relationship to the religious leaders, their theology, his authority, his father, and the political powers of the day. Jesus reoriented their thoughts about what it means to serve and honor God as citizens of heaven and this world. This was something the Pharisee and Sadducees just couldn’t understand. Jesus’ parables, interpreted without faith, leave them confused and bewildered.
This shows us that true religion is an urgent matter. Our thoughts, choices, and beliefs are not abstract realities - rather they show us that we live and act on our theology. Jesus demonstrates here that our choices are desperately important as we are called to live out the doctrine we profess to believe.
What Will Be...
Finally, Jesus closes the day in a conversation about the temple, where he, in a passing comment, describes the beauty of the symbol of the religious system as impermanent and ephemeral before telling the disciples what is to come.
So what can we learn from this day?
Oppression, whether religious or political, weighs heavily on many of our hearts. It’s easy to feel like an underdog or that like nothing will ever change and that our attempts at living our theology rightly won’t be appreciated or embraced.
But in the face of the centuries-old corrupt system of their day, Jesus' word assures his disciples that change is coming, and change is coming in His name. God is reorienting the theology of their day, recapturing benevolent leadership, and shaking the kingdoms of this world. It’s in Jesus that we rightly understand the angst in our hearts the sinfulness of our world. It’s in Jesus that we begin to rightly understand how the Kingdom of God breaks into our daily lives. And it’s only in Jesus that we gain confidence that one day evil will be no more and righteousness will reign.
Come soon, Lord Jesus!
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