My head is swimming. I’ve been turning the events of Tuesday during Passion Week over in my mind. So many paths to follow down. Jesus is trying to squeeze different facets of truth into this day for in two short days His time for teaching would be over. They are spokes of a single wheel spinning outward, traveling toward the Via Del a Rosa, the way of suffering and shame.
What was on His bucket list for this day? What was He thinking as He approached Jerusalem on this morning? As He climbed the Temple steps did He look toward Judas? On Tuesday afternoon Judas would approach the chief priests to bargain with them to hand Jesus over to them.
“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.” Luke 22:3-5 NIV.
“He asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” So they counted out for Him thirty silver coins.” Matthew 26:3-5
“Judas consented and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when now crowd was present.” Luke 22:6
It was a friend’s betrayal and the 30 coins was the going price of a slave during those days. With each step up to the Temple did Jesus’ heart grow heavier knowing that a friend would turn on Him? Could He see or feel the sinister shadow of His ancient foe slithering around the heels of Judas?
Two short days from now Judas would approach Him with a kiss of betrayal. Could Jesus feel the burn even then on Tuesday morning? Death was eminent, even nipping at His heels right now, Jesus had a bucket list to complete. Words must be said, warnings must be given, and enemies must be confronted. So He climbed the steps to complete what He set out to do; obey His Father and save a lost and dying world from itself.
Matthew 21 – 24
Mark 11 – 13
Luke 20 and 21
All these chapters tell about the events of Tuesday and the words He spoke. Jesus walked through the Temple, the chief priest and teachers of the law questioned His authority. His parables angered them for they shed light on their shallow ways. They set traps for Him and sent spies to test Him. Jesus condemned their self-righteousness, legalism, false religion, injustice, and hypocrisy. Their egos stung and they took the insult to task. By the end of the week they set out to see Him hung on a cross.
At some point during that day, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money in to the Temple treasures. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
Jesus was a people watcher and He used any and every occurance to make a teaching moment. We will never know her name, but Jesus memorialized her sacrifice. She gave her all. I think I should put that on my bucket list. Give Jesus my all.
He delivered the chief priest and the teachers of the law an indicting expose of the true intentions of their heart and they didn’t like it. Their passionate hatred stirred them to murder. The plot begins to take shape on that Tuesday and Jesus leaves them to it.
Upon exiting the temple one of His disciples remarked about the magnificence of the building and its massive stones. The temple columns wrapped in white marble painted a stark portrait to the Pharisees facade. And once again Jesus used this as a teaching moment. His words were both warning and a sign. “Do you see all these great building?’ Replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” Mark 13:1-2. In AD 70 only 37 short years away Roman legions ransacked and completely destroyed the temple. His disciples took note of His words and warning signs. They told Matthew, Mark, and Luke what He said in these moments.
“Watch out,” Matthew writes in chapter 24. “You must be on your guard.” Mark recites in chapter 13. Luke warns in chapter 21, “There will be days of great distress.” Jesus urged watchfulness during these days, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with the anxieties of life… That day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” His words were heavy but He had to say them for the hours were closing in on Him.
“When Jesus had finished saying all these things, He said to His disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Matthew 26:1,2
The works were spoken at the end of a chaotic day, filled with teachings off future events. He didn’t mince words but told them plainly, how He would die and when. He had completed His bucket list for that Tuesday. Their thoughts were probably spinning just as mine are. That evening He sat on the Mount of Olives looking westward toward the temple, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25.
He lived large. He gave us His all. Should we not do the same? What would He say about how I am living my life? What does He think of my bucket list?