By Arla, Jan 13 2021 02:00AM
Tuesday morning, after spending the night on Olivet again, Jesus and the disciples walk to the temple passing through the orchard and see the withered fig tree. Amazed, they comment, and Jesus gets to explain his "strange act." Giving up on the Jews, accepting their rejection, is extremely hard for him whose nature is to bless and heal.*
In refusing to give, they have become incapable of giving--or truly receiving. Pretentious self-focus is destroying them--creating closed systems.**
The Sanhedrin plots to draw Jesus into declaring oneness with God. By their law this is blasphemy and carries a death sentence.
They find him teaching in the temple and ask, "What gives you the right to act as you do?"
Jesus, knowing their intent, asks them a question, "Did John's authority to baptize come from God or men?"
After talking among themselves, they know they would condemn themselves with either answer, so they opt for, "We don't know."
"Then I won't tell you about my authority either." Jesus doesn't take their bait. He knows they want to get him for claiming oneness with God. So he asks them why they hadn't accepted John, and follows with a question on obedience.
"A man had two sons and he told both of them to go work in the field. The first said 'No,' but changed his mind and went. The second said, 'I will, sir' but didn't go. Which one honored his father?"
"The first," they answer quickly.
Jesus shocks them, "Your righteous pretense is like the second son's. The tax collectors and prostitutes are recognizing and entering God's kingdom ahead of you."
Matthew 21:23-32, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8 *Isaiah 28:21, Micah 7:18, Ezekiel 33:11 **Hosea 13:5,6,9, Jeremiah 6:27-30