Holy Tuesday – Plan One: Challenge His Deity
The significance of Holy Tuesday is not easily grasped. In a single day, Jesus would simultaneously condemn the religious authorities while confirming His deity. The cleansing of the Temple on Holy Monday caused the Pharisees to question Jesus’ right to do “these things.” Jesus had not received His authority from the religious leaders . . . so they wanted answers.
Attempts were made to force Jesus to state that He had divine power from God. Then He could be charged with blasphemy, even arrested. Knowing their motives, Jesus agreed to answer their questions if they first answered whether John the Baptist’s work was human or divine. If divine, John’s preaching affirmed Jesus as divine. If human, those who followed John would riot. It was the Sanhedrin’s responsibility to know the difference between true and false prophets, yet they shamefully admitted they didn’t know. Thus, Jesus did not answer their question (Matthew 21:23–27; Mark 11:27–33).
Holy Tuesday – Plan Two: Discredit His Power
On Holy Tuesday, the conspiracies to trap Jesus escalated. Israel’s religious leaders had one goal: to get rid of Jesus of Nazareth. If this meant cooperating with a lifelong enemy, any means would be justified. So the Pharisees—who opposed Rome and its intrusion on the Jewish way of life—and the Herodians, supporters of Herod the Great, joined forces. Even the Sadducees—religious liberals who denied a resurrection, angels, or spirits—attempted to discredit Jesus. This time Jesus did not remain silent:
- Tribute to Caesar (Matthew 22:15–22) – Aware of their hypocrisy, Jesus reminded the Pharisees and Herodians that a sphere of authority belongs to God. Man has responsibilities in both political and spiritual matters.
- Marriage at the Resurrection (Mark 12:18–27) – In response to their fictitious story of seven brothers, Jesus revealed the Sadducees’ ignorance of the Scriptures and God’s power to overcome death and give life.
- Whose Son is Christ (Matthew 22:41–46) – Jesus questioned the Pharisees regarding the Messiah’s coming from the line of David. Contrary to the Pharisees’ claim that He was a human son of David, Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 in which David ascribed deity to Him.
Holy Tuesday – Plan Three: Be Prepared
How painful that Holy Tuesday must have been to cause Jesus to utter His final lament over the city of Jerusalem (John 12:37–40). Even before His crucifixion, Jesus’ heart would be pierced by Israel’s lack of faith. Their failure to recognize His deity left the people unprepared. The mourning of the nation of Israel would be great (Zechariah 12:10–11). Soon the Temple would be destroyed and Jerusalem with it.
As Jesus left the Temple, His disciples asked two critical questions: “When will this happen [the destruction of the Temple], and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?” This prompted Jesus’ prophetic Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24–25. He not only answered their questions, but presented practical lessons for those who will be living at that time, encouraging them to be faithful, watchful, and prepared. These lessons are relevant to all believers—in any Age.
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