‘Zeal for Your house has eaten me up.” –Psalm 69:9: John 2:17
If you knew you had only one week to live, how would you spend it? Jesus knew, and how He spent it is telling.
I must not have been paying attention, for so many years of gospel reading. I didn’t really notice how much, and what kind of activity, He crammed into that week. My mind must have jumped from Triumphal Entry to Last Supper and Crucifixion, and lumped all the text in between with His earlier times of ministry, the three-plus years before.
But what a loaded week!
[If you’d like to follow His days from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Day, Blue Letter Bible has this guide. To choose different translations, scroll to the top of text.]
First, He came in lamblike: Riding on that donkey, fulfilling ancient prophecy.
Came in, evidently saying little, except that the stones would cry out if the crowd didn’t.
But next morning, what a lion!
Starting with a bang or two or three—shocking, provocative, and highly demonstrative: killing a fruitless fig tree with a curse on the way into town, overturning temple tables, 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!
(Was this not a foreshadowing of the kind of return He’s going to make someday — riding not a donkey but the figurative war horse of conquering Hero and King?)
Then he went to healing (another foreshadowing?) and teaching a more traditional way. But not wimpy. Incisive. Confrontational. Full of warning. Dangerous. Its aim: Truth! Which is not
always usually welcome. So, like true prophets before Him, He put His life in jeopardy.
As masses gathered to hear him—and also scribes and Pharisees—he minced no words, avoided no truths needing utterance. Addressing hypocrisy with thinly veiled parables, He told of wicked and unfaithful vineyard keepers, of a son who says he’ll serve his father but doesn’t, of a wedding guest thrown out because he lacks the acceptable garment…
After this He did a lot of verbal jousting with those scribes and Pharisees and the spies they sent into the crowds to try to trip Him up, confound His teaching, make Him look bad before the people.
Were His answers quiet and even-toned — or like Ravi Zacharias’s machine-gun-rapid 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 came to true faith. But those who didn’t were now stirred to murderous anger.
That didn’t stop Him. He went on. And He told them what they most 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.
So, 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 not only as the Lamb of God, but also as the Lion.
[Edited post from archives]