Holy Week – Monday - Matthew 21:12-20
A lot happens in the nine verses of Matthew 21:12-20. Jesus turns over the tables of the money changers and chairs of the dove sellers in the temple, he healed the blind and lame, he chastised the chief priest when they questioned the claims of the shouting children, and finally he commanded the fig tree to dry up…and it did.
Yesterday we celebrated Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to the shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”. The children are still shouting these words in verse 15, prompting the angry challenge of the temple priest.
Jesus answers them, “Haven’t you ever read, ‘From the mouths of babies and infants you’ve arranged praise for yourself?’” This is not meant to imply that the chief priest arranged praise for themselves. Jesus is quoting a line from Psalm 8, a psalm dedicated to the glory of God who created us to give praise.
Even the babbling babies and nursing infants know enough to praise the Holy One, the “Son of David” when they experience him. Yet, these religious leaders are not praising Jesus, they are actively working to disprove his identity as the Sent One, the promised Messiah.
I believe Jesus, the Sent One, is just as busy today, in our streets and temple courtyards, as he was then. Through those who call themselves Disciples, those empowered by the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus still acknowledges injustice, still heals, still deserves our praise and worship, and yes, still serves as just judge for those “fig trees” that refuse to bear fruit.
It may seem that Jesus is a bit testy in these verses. Can you blame him? He knows that the same crowds welcoming him with shouts of praise will soon condemn him with shouts of “Crucify him! Crucify him!”.
He knows that his closest friends and followers will soon betray and abandon him when he needed them the most.
He knows that in a few days he will bear the sins of the world, paying the price for which he came, fulfilling his destiny.
Jesus deserves our praise, our faithfulness and our obedience. Will you praise him?
PRAYER FOCUS: dedication, faith, discernment, praise, healing, obedience.
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