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SIMPLIFIED JOURNEY (26): Jesus – His Death & Resurrection

In the most profound way, all of human history had been building toward this climax from the time Adam and Eve first sinned. From the time Jesus entered Jerusalem that Passover week until He arose from the dead a week later, things could only end in one way. The Jews were determined Jesus had to die. All they wanted was to be able to arrest Him away from the crowds of people who were with Him constantly. There was, however, more to the story than they knew. That is the topic of this installment.

Some Background

This week was in God’s mind and plan from the creation of the world.

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the Creation of the world. – Revelation 13:8

God planned for His Lamb, His Son, to be slain for the sins of the world from the time of Creation itself. He saw His Son as the “Lamb that was slain” – and it was so.

The prophets foretold of this day, in bits and pieces:

God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering. – Abraham, Genesis 22:8

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?…. “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue Him…. They have pierced my hands and my feet. – David, Psalm 22:1, 8, 16

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth. – Isaiah 53:7

About six months prior to that last week, Jesus had begun to tell His disciples what would happen so they would be prepared for it – which, of course, they were not.

When Peter confessed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the Law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. – Matthew 16:21

Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about His departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. – Luke 9:31

As they were coming down the mountain [of transfiguration], Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead” – Matthew 17:9

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because He was teaching His disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and after three days He will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask Him about it. – Mark 9:30-32

In Jerusalem

Sunday: Jesus entered the city riding on a donkey while the crowds laid palm branches before him and shouted:

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! – Matthew 21:9

Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest. – Mark 11:9-10

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! – Luke 19:38

Hasanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel! – John 12:13

The Jews correctly understood this as a declaration that He was their Messiah. They said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” Jesus responded, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:39-40). Among themselves, they said, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him” (John 12:19)

In the city, He went to the Temple and looked around at everything. Because it was late, He did nothing more that day, but returned to Bethany just two miles distant.

Monday: He returned to the city. On the way, He saw a fig tree in leaf. When He found no fruit on it, He cursed the tree.

In the Temple, He drove out those who were buying and selling in the Temple, overturned the tables of the moneychangers, would not allow people to carry merchandise through the Temple, and drove out the sheep and cattle being sold for sacrifice.

Tuesday: On their way into the city again, the disciples noticed the fig tree He had cursed the previous day and remarked about how quickly it had withered and died. This withering of the tree was, of course, a parable in action of the nation that should be fruitful – but was not.

In the Temple that day, the chief priests who controlled the affairs of the Temple, came to ask Him, “By what authority are you doing these things?” By this, they referred to His upsetting their commercial activities the previous day. He said, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism – was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!” Discussing it among themselves, they realized that whatever they said they were impaled on a horn of the dilemma He presented them: if it was from heaven, He would ask, “Why did you not accept him then?” If they said it was from men, they would upset the crowds, for they held John in esteem as a prophet. So, they said, “We cannot tell.” So Jesus refused to give His credentials. And, why should He? They had just demonstrated that they were incompetent to judge His credentials.

He then told several parables, designed to tell everyone that the present order of things in Jerusalem was about to pass away.

The Parable of the Two SonsThe Parable of the Tenants and The Parable of the Wedding Banquet all had a similar message: the kingdom will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. The Jewish leaders knew He was talking about them, so they looked for a way to arrest Him. They did not, because they were afraid of the people.

What to do? They tried to turn the people against Jesus with a series of questions: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Whose wife will the woman who had married seven brothers be in the resurrection? What is the greatest commandment? Jesus answered each question clearly and directly – and in such a way that He was untouched by their attempts to get the people to turn against Him.

When they quit asking questions, He asked them one:

“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”‘ If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be is son?”

After this, He gave the most lengthy, scathing rebuke of any group of people in the word of God. He pronounced seven “woes” on the “teachers of the law and the Pharisees.” He called them hypocrites, blind guides, fools, white-washed tombs, snakes and offspring of vipers. He said they do not practice what they preach. He accused them of being just like their fathers who had killed the prophets and righteous men from Abel to Zechariah.

He then left the Temple, never to return to it again.

An objective observer of what Jesus did from Sunday through Tuesday of that Passover week could easily conclude that Jesus had deliberately goaded the Jews into a white-hot anger at Him so they would want to put Him to death. In fact, He once had said:

I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord. – John 10:17b-18a

To be continued.

PREVIOUS: Jesus – Conflict with the Jews

NEXT: Jesus – Death & Resurrection, Pt 2


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