Tuesday: Various TeachingsThe Jewish rulers were already looking for a way to entrap Jesus and the Herodians, who made a strange alliance with the Pharisees, approached him again pretending to be ordinary citizens. They asked him whether or not it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. If he said no, he would be instructing the people to break the civil laws imposed by Rome. If he said yes, he would be guilty of instructing the people to give homage to Caesar and acknowledge his royal authority – by which the Jews could claim that he was disowning Yahweh, who was Israel’s only King. Jesus, of course, answers with a ‘word of wisdom’ which does not allow him to become entrapped: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”
It was also on this day when Jesus was standing with the disciples near the temple, and they could see the Court of the Women, where they observed a widow placing a small offering into the temple treasury-box. Her offering was contrasted with those of the rich, who made large offerings – but Jesus prized hers more.
Jesus stood in the temple courts to teach, perhaps in the shade of a spot not unlike this one.
Some Greeks came near the close of the day to speak with Jesus. Just as the Wise Men were gentiles who sought him out after his birth, he again draws wise men to seek him, whatever their background: even gentiles. Upon hearing that they have arrived, Jesus prays to his Father, for he now has a confirmation that his time has arrived. “Father, glorify your name!” Just as a sign in the heavens sent the Magi in search of Jesus, so with the presence of these Greeks and Jesus’ prayer, a sign comes again from the heavens, in the form of a voice, saying “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it!” Many were present claim that an angel had spoken – others that it was only thunder. Lest we become arrogant, we should remember that even the audible voice of God can so easily be misunderstood.
Day 3, Continued: Controversies & Parables
The Sadducees came to question Jesus about the resurrection. Giving the example of a woman who married seven brothers, each of whom died, they asked whose wife she would be in the resurrection. They had no genuine desire to seek an answer, because they didn’t believe in the resurrection to begin with [that’s why they were “sad, you see” ;^)]. Their intent was also to trap Jesus in his answer, but his response was basically to tell them that they had no understanding of the Kingdom that was coming.
After listening to the exchange, a Scribe – or lawyer (“expert in the law”) – speaks up, and they engage in a brief conversation about which was the greatest commandment. This is a fruitless pursuit if he intended to trap Jesus, and he poses a typical lawyer-question about how the Messiah could be both David’s “son” and his “Lord.” Jesus denounces this type of Pharisaism outright: we would call it legalism.
Jesus began to teach about the Kingdom of God, and told the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, where all the labourers received the same wage regardless of how long they had worked. He also told the parable of the two sons asked to work in their father’s vineyard – one says no, but later changes his mind, while the other gives assent but does not go. He gave another parable about the evil husbandman in the vineyard, whose master was abroad for a long time. He told a parable about the wedding feast for a King’s son which the invited guests declined to attend, upon which the King sent servants to call other guests in from the streets. In context, each of these parables are readily understandable when you read through them, and they all speak of the Kingdom of God.
Tuesday Evening: Out to The Mount of Olives
By Jewish reckoning, we would have begun a new day at 6:00 pm, but to our way of thinking it was Tuesday evening when Jesus left the temple and walked out of the city with his disciples to the Mount of Olives (In the diagram, the Mount of Olives isin the upper right corner).
As Jesus was leaving the temple, he prophesied to his disciples that not one stone of the temple would be left on another, but all would be torn down. This was literally fulfilled in 70CE when the Romans completely destroyed the city of Jerusalem. The stones of the temple were pried apart one from another in order to collect the melted gold that had run down when the building was set on fire.
When they came to the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Jesus about the end of the age, and he began to tell them a number of signs that would precede his return, but that no one knew the day or hour – not even him. He told them the parable of the ten virgins: five wise who kept watch, and five foolish who missed the coming of the bridegroom. He also told them the parable of the talents, where a man going on a journey left three of his servants with ten, five, and one talent, and then he told them about the sheep and the goats, and the judgement at the end of the age.