It’s Passion Week, the week before Jesus’ death. Before He heads to Jerusalem for the final time, He is anointed with expensive perfume (valued at nearly one year’s wages) by a woman in Bethany. John tells us the woman was Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus (who was also there). Judas was indignant! He said that the money should have gone to the poor, but Jesus disagreed.
“Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” Matt 26:10-13 (ESV)
Mary gave all she had. After all Jesus had done for her and her family, can you imagine her sorrow? Did she believe that He was going to walk the road to His death – or was she simply worshiping the Lord with all her heart? The text doesn’t give us that guidance. We don’t know where Martha was during this event, but once again we see Mary at Jesus feet, taking time to love the Savior wholeheartedly.
Jesus voluntarily walks down that road to His death. What courage! I wonder what the disciples talked about? Were they excited about the Passover? Frightened that Jesus might be killed? Worried for their own lives? We don’t have much recorded conversation, but we do see Jesus telling them to go and get a colt. He knew where the colt would be. He knew what the owner would say. The disciples got the colt and Jesus mounted it to fulfill the prophecy.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zech 9:9 (ESV)
Waving palm branches was a national symbol of hope that the Messiah was arriving on the scene, and Jesus was presenting Himself as their Messiah. People spread garments on the streets as homage to high royalty (2 Kings 9:13), signaling that the people accepted His claim of Kingship. The local rulers wanted Him dead because they didn’t want to stir the multitudes (Matthew 26:5; Mark 14:2; Luke 22:2). Jesus forced the issue because He wanted the events to occur on the day of Passover when the lambs were being sacrificed to drive home the point:
For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Cor 5:7b (ESV)
Jesus cleansed the temple for a second time. The first time He was confronted by temple officials. This time He talks to the people and tells them that they are desecrating the temple with their commerce. Money changers were charging excessive fees; merchants charging high rates. Although the usurious commerce occurred in the Court of the Gentiles, it was affecting the people’s ability to worship because Jesus quotes two prophecies:
…for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Isaiah 56:7 (ESV)
Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord. Jer 7:11 (ESV)
I wonder what God would have to say about some churches. I’ve seen churches sell “chances” for a 50/50 raffle, bake sales, coffee sales … all in the foyer of the church on a Sunday. Does commerce right outside of the sanctuary take away from the holiness of the house of God, particularly on the day of worship?
Poor Lazarus! He’d died and been raised by Jesus, and now he is with Jesus in Jerusalem. He can’t catch a break!
When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. John 12:9-11 (ESV)
Jesus came to earth for this week. He fulfilled ALL the Old Testament Scriptures about his birth, and now He will fulfill the Scriptures regarding His death. He will have much to say and do before He is put to death.
As always, space prohibits me from writing about every event in the reading. If you’ve seen something that you would like to bring forth, please email me or leave a comment. I cherish your responses. See you tomorrow!