Mark 11:20, Matthew 21:20, Mark 11:21-25, Parable of the Fig Tree (8/15/14)
The Chronological Gospel –
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
|Mark 11:20, Matthew 21:20, Mark 11:21-25, Parable of the Fig Tree|
|Matt. 21:23-25, Lk. 20:6-8, Mt. 21:28-32, Debate with the chief priests and elders|
|Matthew 21:33-46, Parable of the Wicked Tenants|
|Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 20:19, Parable of the Wedding Banquet|
|Matthew 22:15, Luke 20:20, Matthew. 22:16-21, Luke 20:26, Matthew 22:22b, A question about taxes|
|Matthew 22:23-25, Mark 12:21-24, Luke 20:34-36, Mark 12:26-27, Matthew 22:33, Luke 20:39-40, A question about resurrection|
|Matthew 22:34, Mark 12:28-29, Matthew 22:38-40, Mark 12:31b-34, Luke 21:37, Late Tuesday or early Wednesday. A question about commandments|
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Acted-out parables have a long history among the prophets of Israel. Hosea, for example, married a prostitute as a symbol that Israel was unfaithful to God, her rightful husband. On Monday of Holy Week, Jesus was hungry and went to a fig tree, only to find nothing. He said to the fig tree, “May no one eat from you again!” Now, on Tuesday, the fig tree is withered.
This incident is usually taken as a parable about the importance of being fruitful and ready whenever Jesus comes to you. Considering what Jesus says in Mark 11:22-23, we should also consider it to be a parable about the power of faith-filled prayer.
20 In the early morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig-tree withered to the roots;
Matt. 21:23-25, Lk. 20:6-8, Mt. 21:28-32, Debate with the chief priests and elders(8/18/14)
20-21 When the disciples saw it they exclaimed in astonishment, “How instantaneously the fig-tree has withered away!” and Peter, recollecting, said to Him, “Look, Rabbi, the fig-tree which you cursed is withered up.”
22-23 Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God. In solemn truth I tell you that if any one shall say to this mountain, ‘Remove, and hurl thyself into the sea,’ and has no doubt about it in his heart, but steadfastly believes that what he says will happen, it shall be granted him.
24-25 That is why I tell you, as to whatever you pray and make request for, if you believe that you have received it it shall be yours. But whenever you stand praying, if you have a grievance against any one, forgive it, so that your Father in Heaven may also forgive you your offences.”
You know that I always tell you to make sure you understand the context for any verse or passage you are reading. Boy, is my face red! On this page we are reading the account of Tuesday of Holy Week. If you had asked me about these stories and parables individually, I probably would have told you that they were “late.” I’m sure I wouldn’t have said that they were “in the last week of Jesus’ life.” Reading them in chronological order between Palm Sunday and Good Friday has brought home to me what a concerted effort the religious authorities were making to discredit Jesus during this week. On the other hand, Jesus did nothing to appease them. The end of the week was inevitable.
23 He entered the Temple; and while He was teaching, the High Priests and the Elders of the people came to Him and asked Him, "By what authority are you doing these things? and who gave you this authority?"
24-25 "And I also have a question to ask *you*," replied Jesus, "and if you answer me, I in turn will tell you by what authority I do these things. John's Baptism, whence was it? --had it a heavenly or a human origin?"
So they debated the matter among themselves. "If we say 'a heavenly origin,'" they argued, "he will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?'
6-7 And if we say, 'human,' the people will all stone us; for they are thoroughly convinced that John was a Prophet." And they answered that they did not know the origin of it.
8 "Nor will I tell you," said Jesus, "by what authority I do these things."
28-31 "But give me your judgment. There was a man who had two sons. He came to the elder of them, and said, "'My son, go and work in the vineyard to-day.' "'I will not,' he replied. "But afterwards he was sorry, and went. He came to the second and spoke in the same manner. His answer was, "'I will go, Sir.' "But he did not go. Which of the two did as his father desired?"
"The first," they said.
"I solemnly tell you,' replied Jesus, "that the tax-gatherers and the notorious sinners are entering the Kingdom of God in front of you.
32 For John came to you observing all sorts of ritual, and you put no faith in him: the tax-gatherers and the notorious sinners did put faith in him, and you, though you saw this example set you, were not even afterwards sorry so as to believe him.
Matthew 21:33-46, Parable of the Wicked Tenants (8/19/14)
Jesus is still teaching in the Temple on Tuesday. He has just told a parable of two sons; one son says he won’t work and does, the other says he will work and doesn’t. The religious leaders, being nobody’s fools, realize that he is equating them with the second, non-working son. Jesus follows up with another parable. In this one, a landlord leases a great piece of property to some tenants. Not only do they refuse to pay their rent, but they beat the rent collectors and kill the landlord’s son! The religious leaders see that this parable, too, is directed at them. The only thing that stops them from murdering Jesus on the spot is their knowledge that the crowds love him.
33 “Listen to another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, made a fence round it, dug a wine-tank in it, and built a strong lodge; then let the place to vine-dressers, and went abroad.
Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 20:19, Parable of the Wedding Banquet (8/20/14)
34-37 When vintage-time approached, he sent his servants to the vine-dressers to receive his share of the grapes; but the vine-dressers seized the servants, and one they cruelly beat, one they killed, one they pelted with stones. Again he sent another party of servants more numerous than the first; and these they treated in the same manner. Later still he sent to them his son, saying, “‘They will respect my son.’
38-40 “But the vine-dressers, when they saw the son, said to one another, “‘Here is the heir: come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ “So they seized him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When then the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-dressers?”
41 “He will put the wretches to a wretched death,” was the reply, “and will entrust the vineyard to other vine-dressers who will render the produce to him at the vintage season.”
42 “Have you never read in the Scriptures,” said Jesus, “‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BEEN MADE THE CORNERSTONE: THIS CORNERSTONE CAME FROM THE LORD, AND IS WONDERFUL IN OUR EYES’?
43-44 “That, I tell you, is the reason why the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation that will exhibit the power of it. He who falls on this stone will be severely hurt; but he on whom it falls will be utterly crushed.”
45-46 After listening to His parables the High Priests and the Pharisees perceived that He was speaking about them; but though they were eager to lay hands upon Him, they were afraid of the people, for by them He was regarded as a Prophet.
Jesus is on a roll. It’s still Tuesday in the Temple, and now he tells another
parable against the religious leaders. I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but when I give a big party here in Albuquerque, I don’t even bother to say, “RSVP.” I know from experience that only half the people I invite will show up. Not only that, but some people who said they’d come don’t show up, and some people come who said they wouldn’t. Just about everyone I talk to says they have the same experience here. Some of them of puzzled or hurt; I’m philosophical.
It’s really hard to be philosophical when you have paid $45 a plate for the wedding dinner! In this parable, the king isn’t philosophical, he’s furious. He makes sure that no one who was invited and didn’t come gets a second chance. Be warned.
1 Again Jesus spoke to them in figurative language.
Matthew 22:15, Luke 20:20, Matthew. 22:16-21, Luke 20:26, Matthew 22:22b, A question about taxes (8/21/14)
2-3 “The Kingdom of the Heavens,” He said, “may be compared to a king who celebrated the marriage of his son, and sent his servants to call the invited guests to the wedding, but they were unwilling to come.
4 “Again he sent other servants with a message to those who were invited. “‘My breakfast is now ready,” he said, ‘my bullocks and fat cattle are killed, and every preparation is made: come to the wedding.’
5-6 “They however gave no heed, but went, one to his home in the country, another to his business; and the rest seized the king’s servants, maltreated them, and murdered them.
7 So the king’s anger was stirred, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burnt their city.
8-9 Then he said to his servants, “‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those who were invited were unworthy of it. Go out therefore to the crossroads, and everybody you meet invite to the wedding.’
10 “So they went out into the roads and gathered together all they could find, both bad and good, and the banqueting hall was filled with guests.
11-12 “Now the king came in to see the guests; and among them he discovered one who was not wearing a wedding-robe. “‘My friend,’ he said, ‘how is it that you came in here without a wedding robe?’
13-14 “The man stood speechless. Then the king said to the servants, “‘Bind him hand and foot and fling him into the darkness outside: there will be the weeping aloud and the gnashing of teeth.’ “For there are many called, but few chosen.”
19 At this the Scribes and the High Priests wanted to lay hands on Him, then and there; only they were afraid of the people. For they saw that in this parable He had referred to them.
“Okay,” the religious leaders say to each other, “let’s try again. Let’s put Jesus into a position that no matter what
he says, someone will think it’s wrong.” Now, you have to understand that the Pharisees were very religious, pious, observant Jews who almost certainly opposed the Roman occupation. The Herodians supported Herod, who was a puppet-king under Rome. They didn’t agree on much except that they all hated Jesus – the Pharisees for religious reasons and the Herodians for political reasons.
Their idea was that if Jesus said they should pay the tax, devout people and those who opposed Rome would be mad. If he said they shouldn’t pay the tax, great – they’d report him to the IRS. Well, you already know what he said. What surprised me was that this incident took place on Tuesday of Holy Week.
15, 20 Then the Pharisees went and consulted together how they might entrap Him in His conversation. So, after impatiently watching their opportunity, they sent spies who were to act the part of good and honest men, that they might fasten on some expression of His, so as to hand Him over to the ruling power and the Governor’s authority.
Matthew 22:23-25, Mark 12:21-24, Luke 20:34-36, Mark 12:26-27, Matthew 22:33, Luke 20:39-40, A question about resurrection (8/22/14)
16-17 So they sent to Him their disciples together with the Herodians; who said, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and that you faithfully teach God’s truth; and that no fear of man misleads you, for you are not biased by men’s wealth or rank. Give us your judgment therefore: is it allowable for us to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?”
18-19 Perceiving their wickedness, Jesus replied, “Why are you hypocrites trying to ensnare me? Show me the tribute coin.”
And they brought Him a shilling.
20 “Whose likeness and inscription,” He asked, “is this?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
“Pay therefore,” He rejoined, “what is Caesar’s to Caesar; and what is God’s to God.”
22a, 26, 22b. They heard this, and were astonished. There was nothing here that they could lay hold of before the people, and marveling at His answer they said no more. They left Him, and went their way.
The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection, angels, or spirits (Acts 23:8). As near as I can tell, they believed in political power (Acts 5:17). Seeing that the Pharisees and Herodians are getting nowhere, the Sadducees say to themselves, “Everyone thinks Jesus is such a hotshot rabbi, let’s force him to admit that resurrection is inconsistent with the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 25:5-6).” Jesus turns the tables on them, showing from the Law of Moses (Exodus 3:6) that they are ignorant of what the scripture says about death and life in God. It’s Tuesday of Holy Week, and the lesson is that politicians should never argue with a rabbi about scripture.
23-24 On the same day a party of Sadducees came to Him, contending that there is no resurrection. And they put this case to Him. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses enjoined, ‘IF A MAN DIE CHILDLESS, HIS BROTHER SHALL MARRY HIS WIDOW, AND RAISE UP A FAMILY FOR HIM.’
Matthew 22:34, Mark 12:28-29, Matthew 22:38-40, Mark 12:31b-34, Luke 21:37, Late Tuesday or early Wednesday. A question about commandments (8/25/14)
25, 21-22 Now we had among us seven brothers. The eldest of them married, but died childless, leaving his wife to his brother. The second married her, and died, leaving no family; and the third did the same. And so did the rest of the seven, all dying childless. Finally the woman also died.
23 At the Resurrection whose wife will she be? For they all seven married her.”
24 “Is not this the cause of your error,” replied Jesus – “your ignorance alike of the Scriptures and of the power of God?
34-36 “The men of this age,” replied Jesus, “marry, and the women are given in marriage. But as for those who shall have been deemed worthy to find a place in that other age and in the Resurrection from among the dead, the men do not marry and the women are not given in marriage. For indeed they cannot die again; they are like angels, and are sons of God through being sons of the Resurrection.
26 But as to the dead, that they rise to life, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God said to him, ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB?’
27 He is not the God of dead, but of living men. You are in grave error.”
33. 39-40 All the crowd heard this, and were filled with amazement at His teaching. Then some of the Scribes replied, “Rabbi, you have spoken well.” From that time, however, no one ventured to challenge Him with a single question.
There are 613 (not Ten) Commandments in the Old Testament, each one from God and each just as important as every other. So in asking Jesus which is the greatest commandment, the scribe may have been trying to trick Jesus, or he may simply have been asking Jesus’ opinion. Considering that the scribe asked his question after the Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees had all been embarrassed, and considering what a sensible comment he made, I’m inclined to think that he was interested in what Jesus had to say.
By the way, don’t get too excited about the “late Tuesday or early Wednesday” label on this reading. As a matter of fact, we don’t know. Scholars debate the chronology of this last week, but what really matters is that these events probably happened sometime during the last week of Jesus’ life.
34, 28 Now the Pharisees came up when they heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, Then one of the Scribes, who had heard them disputing and well knew that Jesus had given them an answer to the point, and a forcible one, came forward and asked Him, “Which is the chief of all the Commandments?”
More of The Chronological Gospel
29 “The chief Commandment,” replied Jesus, “is this: ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
38 This is the greatest and foremost Commandment.
39 And the second is similar to it: ‘THOU SHALT LOVE THY FELLOW MAN AS MUCH AS THYSELF.’
40, 31b The whole of the Law and the Prophets is summed up in these two Commandments. Other Commandment greater than these there is none.”
32-33 So the Scribe said to Him, “Rightly, in very truth, Rabbi, have you said that HE STANDS ALONE, AND THERE IS NONE BUT HE; and TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL ONE’S HEART, WITH ALL ONE’S UNDERSTANDING, AND WITH ALL ONE’S STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S FELLOW MAN NO LESS THAN ONESELF, is far better than all our WHOLE BURNT-OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES.”
34 Perceiving that the Scribe had answered wisely Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” No one from that time forward ventured to put any question to Him.
37 His habit at this time was to teach in the Temple by day, but to go out and spend the night on the Mount called the Oliveyard.
Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and TeachingsTo Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1,
Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2,
Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1,
Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2,
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost
Copyright 2014 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. Scripture readings are from the Weymouth New Testament (1912); caps indicate quotations from the Old Testament. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
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Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
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errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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