Tuesday begins with Jesus walking into Jerusalem from Bethany, where he was lodging with a friend called Simon the leper. It is highly likely that Jesus had healed Simon from leprosy at some point. Bethany was about the closest thing to a home that Jesus ever had. His dear friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus resided there, too.
Upon his arrival in Jerusalem that Tuesday, Jesus went to the temple to teach. The religious leaders interrupted him, asking Jesus who gave him the right to teach, as if he had the authority to represent God. In true rabbinic fashion, Jesus answered their question with a question. He asked: was John’s baptism from heaven or from man? If it was from heaven, they would have to submit to John’s teaching and follow Jesus, for who can argue against God? But if they said it was from man, the people would rise up against the leaders, for they followed John. What a conundrum! After a little contemplation, they decided that to not answer the question was their only way out. Likewise, Jesus declined to answer theirs.
Jesus went on to share several parables, exposing the self-serving hearts of the chief priests and leaders. The first was about two sons of a vineyard owner – one who agreed to do his chores but later reneged and laughed it off. The second son copped an attitude up front, but in the end, acquiesced and did as he was told. Which son did the will of his father? The religious leaders had to concede it was the second son. Busted. Jesus said that the repentant tax collectors and prostitutes would make it to heaven before the religious leaders, whose “obedience” was no more than the worthless lip service of the first son.
The second parable was also about the owner of a vineyard — this one leased his plantation to tenants. At harvest time, the owner sent some workers to gather grapes for him, but the tenants killed them, wanting to keep all of the fruit to themselves. Next, he sent a larger group of servants, but they were also killed by the greedy tenants. Finally, he sent his own son, believing that the tenants would certainly respect the heir to the vineyard. They killed him as well. The religious leaders understood perfectly the implications of this story. They were the tenants preparing to kill the vineyard owner’s son. As the heir in the story faced a certain death, so did Jesus. His death is not the end of the story, though. He foretold that his kingdom will be given to those who will serve him faithfully.
The intentionality of Jesus during this walk to the cross is remarkable. He knows who he is, he knows where he is going, and he knows what comes after that. Let’s walk the road together with him, learning more about him as we go.
The glorious God is the only Ruler, the King of king and Lord of lords.
At the time that God has already decided, he will send Jesus Christ back again.
–I Timothy 6:15 (CEV)