Last post, I provided a consolidated end-to-end account of the recorded events from two days before Jesus' crucifixion.
(If you've not read that post, pause here and go read it now before you continue. It's important context you'll need here.)
Now, it's time to study all that Jesus revealed on that important day.
Welcome to the 18th post in my series of rethinking Christian eschatology. Because these posts build upon each other, if you've not already done so, I invite you to read the previous posts in this series before continuing here.
I want to stress the importance of this material. Jesus' second coming, the judgment and resurrection is widely misunderstood. I aim to show you from the Scriptures how to properly understand these things.
Chances are that some of your current beliefs about these things are going to be challenged. I beg you to invest the time to study this information privately for yourself.
Let's dive in...
Introducing the Sections
Given the length of the text covering this day's events, I've broken it down into twenty-five sections.
We can't study all of what transpired in a single sitting, but I do want to help you maintain awareness at all times where we are within the context of the whole series of events.
To facilitate that awareness, I'll link the sections we're covering in each post. In this post, we'll cover sections 1-12.
- Lesson from fig tree
- Jesus' authority questioned
- Parable of two sons
- Parable of murderous tenants
- Rejected stone
- Religious leaders angered
- Parable of wedding banquet
- Leaders ask about taxes
- Sadducees question Jesus on resurrection
- Greatest commandment
- Jesus asks about ancestry of Messiah
- Woes of Matthew 23
- Lament over Jerusalem
- Widow an example
- Temple to be destroyed
- Disciples ask questions
- Jesus tells of signs
- Exact times unknown
- Jesus urges watchfulness
- Wise and foolish virgins
- Parable of talents
- Concerning last judgment
- Jesus foresees crucifixion
- Priests and elders conspire
- Judas agrees to betray
Within each section, I've included the combined text (taken from the previous post) followed by my observations on that combined text.
1.) Lesson from fig tree
In the morning, as they went along, the disciples saw the fig tree had withered from the roots. They were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
Jesus replied, "Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
This important day began with Jesus and the disciples traveling from Bethany westward up to Jerusalem.
Along the way, they passed the barren fig tree cursed by Jesus the previous day.
This object lesson no doubt made a deep impression upon those who witnessed it, as this day would be filled with other, far more serious curses that would take several decades to come to pass.
2.) Jesus' authority questioned
They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking and teaching in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?"
Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John's baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?"
They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' But if we say, 'Of human origin'—we are afraid the people will stone us, for they are all persuaded that John really was a prophet."
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know where it was from."
Why did Jesus counter the religious leaders’ question of authority with the baptism of John?
Have you ever thought about this?
It turns out this is a very important question. It has way more meaning than just what Jesus said to the religious leaders.
It is this question that sent me back to study the life and mission of John. I started in the Gospels and saw that I needed to backtrack to the OT prophecies about John in Isaiah and Malachi. It is because of this question of Jesus, “The baptism of John, was it from heaven or men,” that I created the earlier post on the Elijah to Come.
Think back to what we covered in that post. What was John’s purpose?
To refresh our memory, here is an excerpt of Malachi’s prophecy:
3:1 “Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
2 “But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner’s fire
And like launderers’ soap.
3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to the Lord
An offering in righteousness.
16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.
17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
18 Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him.
4:1 “For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
3 You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet
On the day that I do this,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
4 “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
(Mal. 3:1-3, 16-4:6 NKJV)
Remember, John (“Elijah”) came to prepare the second coming of the LORD (see Mal. 3:1-2)—the coming in judgment. The LORD was going to come “suddenly to His temple.”
Now, recall what John told the religious leaders when they came to see for themselves what John was doing out in the wilderness.
7 But when [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
(Matt. 3:7-12 NIV)
Recall that the word translated “coming” in v.7 means “about to come,” indicating a nearness.
John’s message was an urgent call to repent. As in (for them), it was now or never.
And the religious leaders rejected it. And it was because of them that GOD would curse the land as Malachi prophesied hundreds of years earlier.
Jesus asked the question about John’s baptism because He was convicting the religious leaders of their guilt, constantly giving them every opportunity to repent.
3.) Parable of two sons
"What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'
"'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
"Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.
For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
The two sons are a contrast between the religious leaders and the “sinners” of the Jews. The religious leaders said they would go work in GOD’s vineyard, but then they didn’t. The sinners said no but repented.
The OT is ripe (pun intended) with references to Israel as GOD’s vineyard. The religious leaders would have been very familiar with these Scriptures. Consider, for example:
- Psalm 80
- Isa. 1:8; 3:14; 5:1-30; 27:2; 61:5; 65:21
As we’ll see, they obviously understood Jesus’ intended implications.
4.) Parable of murderous tenants
Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: "Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved away to another place for a long time.
When the harvest time approached, he sent a servant to the tenants so they could give him some of his fruit of the vineyard.
But the tenants seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
Then he sent another servant to them, but they also struck this man on the head and beat and treated him shamefully. He sent still a third, and they wounded and killed him and threw him out. He sent many others, and the tenants treated them the same way; some of them they beat, others they killed.
Last of all, he had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance to be ours.' So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
"Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"
“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
“He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”
Jesus continues building upon the vineyard metaphor.
- The landowner is GOD (the Father, specifically).
- The vineyard represents the Promised Land and kingdom of heaven.
- The tenants are the religious leaders who ruled the people—their spiritual shepherds and guides.
- The harvest, as in other passages, represents “the end of the age” (see Matt. 13:24-49; 24:3; 28:20). (We’ll examine the harvest metaphor in detail in a subsequent post.)
- The servants represent the prophets of the OT.
- The son, of course, is Jesus.
It is the murder of the landowner’s son that prompts the landowner’s return.
The religious leaders themselves admitted what would happen upon the landowner’s return. “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and rent the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his share of the crop at harvest.”
This is exactly what happened. The leadership of the kingdom was wrested from these men and given to the apostles who taught other, righteous men—the elders / pastors / bishops of the early church.
Lastly, with regard to the people’s statement, “God forbid,” I take this statement as more of a “No way, that won’t happen,” than a “Oh no! What are we to do” comment. I say this because they were obviously not affected enough to repent. Instead, they obstinately press forward.
5.) Rejected stone
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Haven't you read this passage of Scripture—what is the meaning of that which is written:
“'The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone and everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed."
Jesus quotes from Psalm 118:22-24, which says:
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.
(Psalm 118:22-24 NIV)
Jesus plainly applied the meaning to Himself, a truth Peter later affirmed (see Acts 4:11).
But why did Jesus quote these verses at this moment?
First and most obviously, Jesus’ primary purpose was to convict these people of personally being the fulfillment of this very prophecy.
But if we actually pause to study the source text from which Jesus quotes (make this your habit when you see an OT reference in the NT—stop and read it in context!), two powerful aha observations arise:
First, look at the very next statement in the psalm:
25 Lord, save us!
Lord, grant us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.
27 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.
(Psalm 118:25-27 NIV)
Verse 25 is the very meaning of “Hosanna”—LORD save!
What had just occurred two days before these events?
7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
(Matt. 21:7-9 NIV)
Second, later on in this very same conversation, Jesus quoted v.26 again when He said:
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
(Matt. 23:37-39 NIV)
It’s as if Jesus is telling the religious leaders here, “Don’t you see that you are in the process of fulfilling the very words that have been written about you?!?”
Still, they press on.
6.) Religious leaders angered
When the teachers of the law, the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken this parable against them, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet, so they left him and went away.
There was no mistaking what Jesus meant here. As a dear friend and mentor of mine is fond of saying, “He put the hay down where the goats could get it.”
And Matthew gives us, by inspiration, insight into their hearts. These men were driven by the desire for the praise of men. Jesus threatened that, yet they couldn’t risk taking Him out openly, without having the masses turn on them because they respected Jesus.
7.) Parable of wedding banquet
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
"Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'
"But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, 'How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?' The man was speechless.
"Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
"For many are invited, but few are chosen."
The NT frequently uses the imagery of a wedding to communicate regarding Jesus’ relationship to His followers.
I have come to realize that every reference to a wedding, marriage feast, bridegroom, banquet, etc., involving Jesus and His bride, are all speaking of the same events. This will be the focus of a future post.
- The king is GOD the Father.
- The son is Jesus.
- The wedding banquet is the celebration of the uniting (i.e., the becoming one) of Jesus and His bride.
- The servants are the prophets and apostles.
- Those initially invited were the rebellious, wicked Jews and specifically the religious leaders.
- The murderers’ city is Jerusalem.
- The wedding attendees are those who responded to the king’s invitation—those who lived by faith.
Consider also Matt. 8:8-12 and Luke 13:22-30.
While the banquet is certainly important, Jesus’ primary focus in this parable is what would happen to the rebellious, murderous initial invitees.
“The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.”
Jesus was focused on what was going to happen to these people and their city, Jerusalem. It would be destroyed.
8.) Leaders ask about taxes
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. Keeping a close watch on him, later they sent some Pharisees and Herodians as spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.
So they sent their disciples, the spies, to him along with the Herodians and questioned him: "Teacher," they said, "we know that you are a man of integrity, that you speak and teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?"
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent and their hypocrisy, saw through their duplicity and said to them, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me a denarius, the coin used for paying the tax, and let me look at it." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose image is this? And whose inscription is on it?"
"Caesar's," they replied.
Then Jesus said to them, "Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
When they heard this, they were amazed at him. They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.
Every time I read this text I think about what Jesus does with the object lesson of the Roman coin.
He contrasts beautifully the coin with a person.
Whose face is on the coin? Caesar’s. Well give it back to Caesar, then.
What is left unsaid: Whose face is on a person? GOD’s (for we are all image-bearers). Well give the person back to GOD, then. And truly, that is our individual call: to diligently seek the One who made us, whose we are.
9.) Sadducees question Jesus on resurrection
That same day, some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question.
"Teacher," they said, "Moses told us and wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The second one married the widow, but he died also, leaving no child. The same thing happened to the second and the third brother, right on down to the seventh. Last of all, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"
Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to him and you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? In the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive. You are badly mistaken!"
When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. Some of the teachers of the law responded, "Well said, teacher!"
The barrage of attacks continue with the Pharisees taking a timeout to regroup and the Sadducees stepping up for a turn. Not much to say here. Jesus plainly shows them their error.
10.) Greatest commandment
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, a teacher and expert in the law came and heard them [Jesus and the Sadducees] debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
It is fitting, given the way humanity works (i.e., that there is always a remnant minority), that in the midst of all of this hard-heartedness and evil, we have a glimmer of hope in the form of this lawyer’s question and response to Jesus. I hope this man went from “not far from” the kingdom to a part of the kingdom.
11.) Jesus asks about ancestry of Messiah
While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts and the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?"
"The son of David," they replied.
Then Jesus said to them, "Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David?"
How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:
"'The Lord said to my Lord:
"Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet [as] a footstool.
If David himself calls him 'Lord,' how then can he be his son? No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
The large crowd listened to him with great delight."
Most Jews were looking for a physical Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression. A physical descendent of David would not have been divinely referred to as “Lord,” but rather as “son.”
12.) Woes of Matt. 23
As he taught, while all the people were listening, Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
Beware, watch out for the teachers of the law. Everything they do is done for people to see: They like to walk around in flowing robes. They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long. They love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely. They love to be called 'Rabbi' by others.
But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.' You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.' You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.
It is crucial for us to recognize that Jesus is speaking against these specific individuals—the religious leaders with whom He had been conversing and in whose presence He spoke these words against them. See:
“These men will be punished most severely. … Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! … You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.”
Concluding Part 1 Observations
As we conclude this first post studying this significant day’s events, notice how the entire emphasis of these events has been on Jesus’ rebukes of these utterly corrupt, evil religious leaders.
Consider again the events we’ve looked at.
Jesus challenged the religious leaders with the origin of John’s baptism because they had rejected GOD’s will for themselves. But what had John’s message been to these men when they came out to see what he was doing? It was, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come? Already the ax is laid at the root of the tree; the winnowing fork is in Jesus’ hand. Jesus is going to gather the wheat into the barn and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. Therefore, repent!”
Jesus connected John’s baptism with the parable of the two sons, convicting the religious leaders that they were the son who told their father (GOD) he’d go but then didn’t.
These men were the murderous tenants Jesus described in the parable of the tenants. But what happened to them? The landowner returned (after they killed his son) and destroyed them and burned up their city.
The same thing occurred in the parable of the wedding banquet. King plans a banquet, sends his servants to let people know to show up, but the invitees kill and mistreat the servants. King is enraged, sends his army, destroys these murderers and burns up their city.
And then we have the woes of Matthew 23, where Jesus foretold the severe punishment of these men. Jesus prophesied that He was going to send prophets and sages and teachers to try to save these men from hell, but they wouldn’t listen, and so upon them would come all the guilt of all the righteous blood that had ever been spilled on the earth, including that of all the prophets.
Everything that we’ve studied in this post—all of this day’s conversation, so far, is pointing towards one series of events: the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This is where these men suffered their end and where GOD burned up their city. That is what Jesus was prophesying about, so far.
Continue to part 2 where we resume with Jesus’ next words to these religious leaders and the events that follow.
I realize this is lengthy. I told you a lot happened on this day. Commit to staying engaged all the way through and you’ll see some impactful conclusions.
Got questions or comments? Leave them below.