The Tuesday of Holy Week is considered “Busy Tuesday.” What takes place today was the set up for the betrayal tomorrow. These events can be found in Matthew 21-25, Mark 11-13, Luke 20-21.
Jesus spoke on many things from parables, to calling out those who were religious leaders, and even about the end times and His second coming.
Today, I wanted to focus on what stood out to me the most in these verses.
The Challenge of Jesus’ Authority
The more Jesus spoke on His authority, the more the religious leaders wanted Him dead. They tried, unsuccessfully, to discredit the Savior, by asking Him questions and quoting Mose’s commands.
Of course, our Savior knew what they were up to and confronted their hypocrisy. Not only were the Pharisees involved, but the Sadduccess and the Herodians too. All three groups had differing opinions on religious laws and interpretation of the Word, and all had one thing in common – to discredit Jesus, the Son of God.
Who Were the Religious Leaders?
It can be a little confusing as to who is who in these great debates, so here is some helpful information for you – and me!
- Pharisees – This group of men (around 6000) were the leading opponents of Jesus. They believed the way to the Lord was to be obedient to the law. The definition of a Pharisee is “separated one.” They tended to separate themselves from the general public to study and interpret the law and had little to do with politics. They created the “oral law,” thus becoming teachers two-fold – proficient in the speaking of and writing of the law. The Pharisees opposed Christ because He didn’t accept their interpretations. The apostle Paul was a former Pharisee.
- Sadducces – Wealthy men who were in charge of the temple and it’s services. They wanted to preserve all of the Old Testament practices and accepted the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) as the authority over all. They were in support of the political rulers (Rome) and were always in opposition with the Pharisees. The Sadducees opposed Jesus because He told the truth about them. Jesus saw their true intentions.
- Herodians – Men who were supporters of Herod the Great. Not much is known about this group, other than they had a great disdain for our Savior.
What is the Greatest Commandment?
All three groups asked question after question, all to try and charge Jesus with blasphemy:
“By what authority are you doing all these things?”
“Who gave you the right to do them?”
“Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?”
“Which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
One of my favorite verses is Matthew 22:37-40, and it’s the response to the last question:
“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'” New Living Translation
I didn’t realize until I was studying and preparing this blog series, that Jesus said these words during Holy Week and the day before Judas, His betrayer, would go to the chief priest to set up a deal for the life of Jesus.
Jesus spoke to His opposition with truth and love, and in return, He was betrayed, arrested and killed.
All this time, the religious leaders had the Messiah standing right before them, and they choose hate over love.
Let us be the ones now to love others as ourselves.
Heavenly Father, Lord as we come to you today, please give us the grace to love one another as you have loved us. Let others see Christ working in us, being transformed into His image. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.