Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reflections on Tuesday Readings for Holy Week

And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. - Matthew 21:23-27 KJV

And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. - Matthew 21:45-46

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.  And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians...The same day came to him the Sadducees...But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him.... - Matthew 22:15-16, 23, 34-35 KJV

When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way. ... And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.- Matthew 22:22, 33 KJV

Jesus spends much of Tuesday in the Temple area teaching.  He starts off the day answering the Pharisees objection to his authority and condemning them in parables. In response to their humiliation in front of the crowds of people, the Pharisees want to kill him, but have to find something against him. Seeing that their other schemes and open attempts to attack Christ have not succeeded, the Pharisees try more indirect methods, so they attempt to catch him in his words.  The send the Herodians first, and then the Sadducees.  When both groups utterly fail to catch Jesus in his words, but rather marvel at his teaching, the Pharisees themselves seek to trap him, and fail themselves.  From this we can see God uses the wicked schemes of His enemies for a different purpose. Not only are they disappointed, and their expectations dashed, but they are even publicly disgraced. But in all his replies, Christ shows us the majesty of his glory, by compelling those men to depart crowned with shame.

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