‘Zeal for Your house has eaten me up.” -Psalm 69:9: John 2:17
I admit I must not have been paying attention, all those times I read through the gospels, to how much, and what kind of activity, He crammed into that week. I think my mind always kind of jumped from the triumphal entry to the Last Supper and the time of the cross, and just lumped all the rest of the Bible text with His earlier times of ministry, the three-plus years before.
But what a loaded week! And one of the major things Christ loaded it with was teaching. Not wimpy instruction, either. Incisive. Confrontational. Dangerous.
He began with a bang (or two)—shocking, provocative, action-packed and highly demonstrative: killing a fruitless fig tree with a curse, upturning temple tables, driving out workers, confronting money-grabbers head-on. Coins flying everywhere. Money-changers scrambling to retrieve “their” scattered cash. Him with a whip of cords, driving them out. Tumult!
Then, after He re-entered that temple to teach the masses gathering there to hear him—and also the scribes and Pharisees—he minced no words and avoided no truths that needed to be spoken. He confronted the hypocritical leaders with thinly veiled parables obviously about them: the wicked and unfaithful vineyard keepers, the son who said he’d serve his father but then didn’t, the wedding guest thrown out because he lacked the acceptable garment…
After this followed a lot of verbal jousting with the scribes and Pharisees and the spies they sent into the crowds to try to trip Him up, confound His teaching, and make Him look bad before the people.
His answers may have been quiet and even-toned–or they may have been like Ravi Zacharias’s machine-gun-speed shooting forth of demolish-the-opposition answers. Whichever the case, this was verbal war, and the stakes were high: the honor of God and the souls of men. In the process, even many of the Pharisees and scribes did come to true faith. But those who didn’t now were stirred to murderous anger.
That didn’t stop Him. He went on. And He told them what they needed to hear, whether they would receive it or not. He knew He was “asking for it.” But then, as He also pointed out to the disciples, it was for His execution that He had come in to Jerusalem.
Last Week: Lamb or Lion?
How would you spend your last week? That’s how He spent His. He came into Jerusalem to lay down His life as a ransom for many. But before He did, He poured Himself out in zeal and love for God’s house, God’s truth, and God’s people.
Truly He came in to accomplish much that week, not only as the Lamb of God, but also as the Lion.