The Tuesday before Jesus was crucified was a very busy day. Saturday, He was anointed by Mary to prepare Him for burial (John 12:1-8). Sunday morning, He rode into Jerusalem as the Lamb of God. This was the day that people went out and selected the perfect lamb to be sacrificed on Passover and it is the day Jesus presents Himself as the Lamb of God. Though He was the Lamb of God, He was also the Lion of Judah, the King, fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). Monday, Jesus cursed the fruitless fig tree and threw over the tables of the money changers. He was cleansing the temple of corruption as the people went through their own homes to be rid of all yeast, the symbol of sin. He spent the night again with Mary and Martha. Now Tuesday.
To this point, Christ has reminded us the highest priority is not religious ceremony, nor good works, but faith and a relationship with Him. Yet James reminds us that faith without deeds is no faith at all (James 2:26). On this day, Jesus teaches us what sincere faith produces in us. Tuesday is a day of testing for Christ. The religious leaders attempt to trap Him into saying something that would allow them to arrest Jesus. Jesus uses every opportunity to teach some of the greatest lessons.
The day begins with Jesus explaining the lesson of the fig tree. The fig tree that was cursed for lack of fruit is now an object lesson of faith. Jesus teaches the partnership between believers and God to move mountains according to our faith.
The barrage of questions against Him continue and He teaches three parables against hypocrisy the importance of sincere faith proven by deeds. The parable of Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32) reminds us that words of faithfulness prove empty if there is no action. Returning to the Lord what belongs to Him is the subject of the next parable (Matthew 21:33-46). Servants who had been given so much, allowed to produce wealth, but refusing to give back is compared to unfaithfulness to God and a sign of lack of faith. He finishes this lesson with the parable of the Great Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14). Everyone is invited but those found not to have put on wedding clothes are ejected. The wedding clothes were symbolic of repentance and a changed life. Those with a lifestyle conflicting with their words were cast out of the Kingdom of Heaven.
This day of lecture would continue teaching us the Greatest Commandment of loving God with all of our heart and loving our neighbor as ourself (Matthew 22:34-40). He would give strong warnings and woes to the hypocritical religious leaders full of pomp but empty of real faith (Matthew 23:1-36).
Later in the day, He turned to his own disciples to warn them of the signs of the end, coming persecution, the antichrist, then the return of the Son of Man in all of His glory (Matthew 24). The persecution began in the early church with Christians being flogged, quartered, burned alive, boiled in oil, crucified, put in prison. Jesus warned this persecution would cause many to fall away, but He urged them to stay strong. He says in the last days, love will grow cold, but those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:12). How perfect and appropriate for Christians this discourse was and continues to be. The testing and persecution reveal the sincerity of our faith to ensure we are not modern-day Pharisees. We must stay strong.
The seminar comes to an end with lessons of making sure you are ready for the returning Groom to gather His bride (Matthew 25:1-13). More parables finish the day teaching us how to ensure we are ready on that day. The parables of the wise servant (Matthew 24:45-51), the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), and the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46) all remind us that we are to take the salvation God has given us and let good deeds flow out of our faith. It is not that we are saved by works, but a lukewarm faith, fat and lazy, leads not to salvation. It gives our Lord nausea and He vomits us out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16).
The entire day can be summed up with the only lesson with a real person as the object lesson. It was the widow who came and gave all she had (Mark 12:41-44). This is the subject of Tuesday’s seminar on faith. It can not be lukewarm. It can not be in word only. It must consume our life. We are called to give all of ourselves to the work of God, loving humanity as an offering pleasing to the Lord.
Today, we have sat at the feet of the Great Rabbi, reminding us that faith has feet. The sincerity of our faith is seen in our service to others. This is our calling to prepare us for His glorious return. We must allow these lessons to spur us on to good deeds, not out of obligation or selfish ambition as we learned from Sunday and Monday, but out of love to the One who will let Himself be nailed to the cross in a just a few days for your sin and mine.
Leave me a comment. If you had sat at the feet of Christ throughout this day, what would you be feeling about your own faith? Have you given Him your all?
Holy Week Devotions of each day of Christ’s life before crucifixion and resurrection