On Holy Tuesday, Jesus preached to the most self-righteous, sanctimonious, smug, and pompous group of unrepentant religious people you would ever want to meet. Actually, He taught all week in the Temple, but we will use Tuesday to consider the lessons which He spoke at the Temple.
The entire week, Jesus returned to Jerusalem and spent some time at the Temple. There He spoke to the crowds who were on the verge of following Him. He didn’t go there to reach the crowds who were honestly listening to what He preached. The words He spoke and the messages He brought were for a specific group of people. He mainly came to talk to the religious leaders who had already made up their minds that He was a heretic and, when they engaged Him at all, it was only to confirm their false beliefs. Why He spent the last opportunities of His life reaching out to the most closed-hearted of all remains a mystery to me. He did stir up their hatred of Him, which is what led to the perfect timing—in coordination with Passover—for Him to be arrested and crucified. They had already said that He would not be arrested during Passover (Matthew 26:5), so these escapades in the Temple were most likely what caused them to lose their senses and go ahead and arrest Him in the midst of their most Holy Week.
We should not ignore the important teachings Jesus spoke to them. We need to heed their warnings as we look into our own hearts. The same God they pledged to serve was standing in front of them, and they didn’t recognize Him. How often does that happen to you and me? Do we get so fired up about what we believe God is saying that we miss out on what He says? How often do we do all the talking, begging, and telling in our prayer? When was the last time we really listened to God? Do we have a little haughty, arrogant self-righteousness in us too?
Jesus challenged the religious during Holy Week. How holy are you? What is true holiness? Has your heart grown calloused to Jesus?
Rejecting God is the only unforgivable sin (Matthew 12:31). Luke 22:1-6 gives an overview of this sin:
“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.”
Holy Tuesday challenges us to watch over our hearts. The chief priests were afraid of Jesus. Judas let Satan enter his heart to betray Jesus. Beware of a heart that is self-deceived. It affects eternity. (Matthew 21:23-24:2; Mark 11:27-12:3; Luke 20:20-21:24; John 12:20-50)
Note: I’ve written Holy Week Devotions which are available at http://www.pcbc.org/holyweekdevotions if you would like to think about what Jesus did each day of Holy Week. May you have a blessed Holy Week!