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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Mark 11:20, Matthew 21:20, Mark 11:21-25, Parable of the Fig Tree (8/15/14)

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.

Matt. 21:23-25, Lk. 20:6-8, Mt. 21:28-32, Debate with the chief priests and elders(8/18/14)

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.

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.

Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 20:19, Parable of the Wedding Banquet (8/20/14)

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.

Matthew 22:15, Luke 20:20, Matthew. 22:16-21, Luke 20:26, Matthew 22:22b, A question about taxes (8/21/14)

“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.

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)

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.

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)

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.

More of The Chronological Gospel

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
Sabbath Controversies
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 Teachings
To Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
Light
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, More Trials
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 author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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