March 22, 2016
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Mark 13:3&4
Continuing with our look at Holy Week, today’s focus centers on two locations: a return to Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Each one is noteworthy as they relate to what will occur in the coming days.
On Tuesday morning, Jesus and the disciples returned to Jerusalem. On the way, they passed the fig tree, mentioned in yesterday’s devotion. The story behind this tree centers on faith. Ray Pritchard, a renowned theologian, has said three insights related to the tree. “Cursing the fig tree was Jesus’ way of saying that the whole nation (of Israel) had become spiritually barren before the Lord. They had the form of religion but not the reality. They knew the right words to say, but their hearts were far from God.”
Upon reaching the Temple, Jesus was approached by religious leaders. They continued their pattern of not getting along with the Lord by questioning and challenging His authority which was their way of trying to “ambush” Him and thus develop an opportunity for His arrest. Jesus, as was His technique for dealing with these “characters,” evaded them and stated harsh words to them. This discourse can be found in Matthew 23:24-33.
After this encounter, Jesus departed from Jerusalem with the disciples for the Mount of Olives. This was located in a setting overlooking the city and east of the Temple. It was here that some theologians believe that Jesus gave the “Olivet Discourse.” Within this talk, the Lord discusses Jerusalem’s destruction and the end of the age. Utilizing parables, he expands his thoughts on the end of time and also mentions His Second Coming and the final judgment.
Tuesday was also the day, presumably, that Judas Iscariot negotiated with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus. This is recorded in Matthew 26:14-16.
Prayer: Lord, we all have busy days. This includes our Savior who provided us with several insights despite His weariness. Make us conscious of His Words, no matter how we feel and remember them as they relate to this special week. Amen.