71 – Jesus Confronts Religious Leaders
Where: Temple, Jerusalem, Judea
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The next morning, Wednesday, found Jesus and his disciples once again in the Temple complex in Jerusalem. Today Jesus must push the religious leaders to make a decision to ACTION! Jesus sat in the Court of the Gentiles under the Portico of Solomon, as he usually did. Jesus then began to attack the abuses that were far too common.
With the disciples around him, and the people coming and listening, or going around them, Jesus wasted no time beginning to condemn some of the more serious abuses. Jesus singled out the teachers of the Pharisees. It was their place to follow in the footsteps of Moses, the lawgiver, and they were to be obeyed when they did so. But when they strayed from that narrow path, beware! Too often the laws were being interpreted in such a way, that regular folk found life harder, but the interpretation would have little affect on the leaders. The law must be balanced by love.
Even worse, was that too many of the Pharisees were “putting on a show” of being religious while in public, because they wanted the attention. After all, they had been born into the priesthood, and just like the sons of kings, they thought themselves better then others simply because of their ancestry.
But they “crossed the line” when they rejected John the Baptizer and his warning from God, rejected Jesus and the good news of the Kingdom, and then intentionally blinded God’s children to their salvation by abusing their position of authority and trust. Not only did they reject God’s call, but they actually taught against it. They were, in practice, condemning the people of Israel to judgment.
At some point during the day Jesus had arisen and had entered into the Court of women [model]. There he saw the 13 treasury boxes with the trumpet shaped openings. All thirteen boxes had different functions and, depending on where you wished your offering to go, you selected the appropriate treasury box.
Many of the Passover crowd put in handfuls of coins. But what really angered Jesus was when he saw a poor widow, who was forced to depend on others for most of her support, put in two of the smallest copper coins in circulation. Jesus knew that she loved God and was putting her trust in the temple cult to know God’s laws and to be leading her in her walk with God.
Her heart was right place. She was sacrificing everything in her love of God. But it was as though she were being cheated, because God’s will was not being done. Jesus clenched his jaw in righteous anger as he pointed out the injustice to his disciples. Regular folks trusted the “authorities” to know God’s law, to do God’s will, and to lead the nation in the ways of God. By opposing God they were betraying the people.
Jesus returned to the Portico of Solomon where he expressed his anger. What hypocrites some of the Pharisees were. They would do almost anything to convert someone to their way, who would then be a “super” Pharisee, while at the same time they would write loopholes in “laws” so that they increased their influence at the expense of God’s justice.
And they liked to feel that they were better then “regular” folk. They wore their religious fringes longer then necessary. They would even base their tithe on the new leaves on their herb plants, which they were not required to do, just to appear “super righteous”. Yet they were missing the truly critical desire of God for justice, mercy, and faith. It was so bad that it could be said that they “strained an unclean gnat from their soup, but swallowed an unclean camel”.
Some Pharisees were more concerned with how they were perceived in public, then with being ‘right with God’ in their spirit. Their spirits were seriously sick though outwardly they acted righteous.
Jesus knew that their ancestors had killed the messengers that God had sent to Israel, and he also knew that this was likely to be his fate as well, when they finally took action. No matter whom God might send, the Pharisees would hunt them down and do what ever it might take to silence the messenger of God. And God promises that the Pharisees could expect to be held responsible for the “hell” they caused.
Knowing that the Pharisees and Scribes would soon be fully briefed on what Jesus had told the disciples and the crowd; Jesus got up and prepared to leave with his disciples.
No questions have been asked yet.