Looking through the things Jesus was recorded as saying on the days leading up to the cross found in Matthew, I’m making no attempt to lay it out what was said on each day, but invite you to be reading Matthew 21-28. Today I am looking at chapters 23-25.
Matthew 23 provides a condemnation of the attitude of the Pharisees who do everything to be seen by people, it’s just a show. Actors in a play with an admonition as is found elsewhere, be humble and serve. Verse 15 always challenges me on a daily basis…
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
You know they say teams take on the characteristics of their coach. As a coach you always look around to see if that’s true and if it is, do you like what you see? I look at my family life, did I do a very good job at passing on the most valuable things (God’s perspective on the world) or did my model for my kids create twice the knucklehead I am?
In chapter 23 Jesus isn’t following the sage advice of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” I’m not going to argue that generally this is good advice, but sometimes when things are so wrong and the whole system is so wrong and those who hold all the power are at the heart of what is wrong… someone needs to speak words of truth that don’t bring peace. Jesus had hard words of correction, if you read all of chapter 23 you will see plainly why Jesus was killed.
23:33 “You snakes, you brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Wait, Jesus said that… read Matthew 23, it’s even more interesting than that.
Matthew 24 gives some instruction about the destruction of the Temple and the last days and in the end, the hour of Christ’s return is unknown. People jump on a bandwagon to figure out what is unknown (I believe not knowing is the enssence of unknown), even Jesus said he didn’t know, the more important thought is “if you knew when the thief was coming you’d be prepared.” Since we don’t know, we should always be ready. Good for scouting and the household of God.
Matthew 25 offers three parables with three themes, 1. Be ready 2. Be faithful and fruitful with what you’ve been given 3. How we treat the least, last, and lost among us matters greatly.
These are the important themes Jesus had for his followers before he is taken from them. These words inform us of the great task God has for us in this world.
In many ways these passages leading up to Easter and our current weight of life offer some extra difficulty. We want so bad for their to be good news that we tend repel truth under the current wisdom of “I don’t need that weighing me down, you’re just a wet blanket, lighten up for goodness sake.” When you carry the heavy weight, you get to live in the joy and relief of hope. It’s okay to load up the backpack for this season, But Sunday is coming, just remember Sunday is coming, but don’t let the relief of that keep you from honestly feeling the weight of today. The more honestly we feel the weight, the more glorious it’s lifting!