Matthew 21:23–24:51; Mark 11:27–13:37; Luke 20:1–21:36
Back in the day, as some say it, there was a game show called “Truth or Consequences.” The premise of the show was to mix the original quiz element of game shows with wacky stunts. On the show, contestants received roughly two seconds to answer a trivia question or a bad riddle correctly (usually an off-the-wall question or riddle that no one would be able to answer correctly) before “Beulah the Buzzer” sounded. If the contestant could not complete the “Truth” portion, there would be “Consequences,” usually a crazy and embarrassing stunt that would have to be performed by the contestants.
On Tuesday of Passion Week, the Pharisees and Sadducees tried a type of truth or consequences game with Jesus that backfired. He knew the answers and He also knew their heart motivations. These corrupt religious leaders aggressively confronted Jesus about where He got His authority. They wanted to trap Him and create an opportunity for chaos and unrest. Instead, Jesus saw right through their scheme and pronounced harsh judgment upon them through several parables, including that of the two sons (Matthew 21:28–32; Mark 11:27–33; Luke 20:1–8), the wicked farmers (Matthew 21:33–45; Mark 12:1–12; Luke 20:9–19), and the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1–14).
In addition, the Pharisees and Sadducees angrily questioned Jesus about taxes to pay to Caesar, the resurrection, and the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:15–46; Mark 12:13–37; Luke 20:20–44), as well as about marriage in heaven. Jesus answered their questions with further questions and exposed their hearts to the point that they became even angrier with Him. Jesus pronounced judgment on these leaders, calling them, among other things, hypocrites and “blind guides” as well as “whited sepulchers that appear beautiful on the outside but inside are filled with dead men’s bones and uncleanness” (Matthew 23). This passage contains Jesus’ eight “woes” spoken against the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13–36).
On this same day Jesus spoke of the poor widow who gave all she had. Jesus noted that she gave sacrificially, not out of abundance, as the rich had done (Mark 12:41–44; Luke 21:1–4).
That Tuesday afternoon, Jesus left the city and went with His disciples to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem due east of the Temple. That was where Jesus told about the future as He delivered what is known as “The Olivet Discourse” (Matthew 24–25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5–36). Jesus described the destruction that would come to Jerusalem (which happened in 70 A.D.) and the end of the age. He used symbolic language about end-time events, which included His Second Coming and the final judgment.
So for you this Tuesday before Easter, have you chosen truth or are you willing to accept the consequences of your rejection? Luke 19:41–44 says Jesus mourned the Jewish leaders’ rejection of Him. They had refused God’s offer of salvation in Jesus Christ. In John 14:6, Jesus describes himself as being the “truth,” the only “way” to the Father. We should take time today to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for providing such a sure way to the Father. And we should live lives that reflect the fact that we belong to the Lord.
“Dear God, I come to You today with a thankful heart for all You have given me – salvation, forgiveness, grace, mercy. I could never thank You enough. Today, please help me to live a life that reflects a sincere heart of gratitude. Help me to live for You and not for myself. Help me to have a Colossians 3:1–2 heart today to ‘…seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God’…‘set [my] affection on things above, not on things on the earth’…honor and please You more in everything I think and do today. In the wonderful name of Jesus I ask these things, Amen.”
– by Pastor Greg Joyner