It is now Tuesday, March 31, AD 33. Jesus is a threat to the Jewish establishment. This young, uneducated Nazarene was threatening the very existence of the Jewish religion and way of life. He had to be stopped. Tuesday begins innocently enough. Matthew writes, “Jesus entered the temple courts” (Matthew 21:23). However, this placed Jesus on an inevitable collision course with the Jewish authorities.
Tuesday is marked by the Jewish religious authorities watching Jesus and trying to have him misspeak and thus trap Him and make His followers agree. The leaders ask unanswerable questions. Interestingly, in Matthew 21:23, the chief priests and elders approach Jesus to test Him. In 22:15, the Herodians join the Pharisees to test Jesus with a question they knew would trap Him. Nothing was working, so others approached Jesus. In 22:23, the Sadducees join the entrapment party. Nothing they did worked. Jesus would not incriminate Himself. The crowds were increasingly impressed with Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 22:33).
The religious leaders would not give up; too much was at stake for them. They lined up, one by one, to trap, trick, and topple the Son of Man. They would not give up. Lastly, they sent an expert of the law (Matthew 22:34). Jesus, an unqualified religious nut, would be no match to the expert. However, Jesus meets the expert head-on and answers with divine wisdom.
Finally, it was Jesus’ turn to ask a question. “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” (Matthew 22:41). Don’t miss how Jesus answers. He affirms His humanity as a son of David and His divinity as David’s Lord. Yet still, the leaders were so self-centered, hardened, and lost they missed the point Jesus was making. Jesus then proceeded to hammer the first nail of his crucifixion. He pronounced seven woes over the Jewish leaders. As if that were not enough, Jesus prophesied to his disciples the judgment of God and the destruction of the Temple that would come in AD 70. Toward the end of Tuesday, he tells his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified” (Matthew 26:2).
Verse 2 of chapter 26 reminds me of a Divine Necessity. Sunday, our church will be looking at the resurrection story of Luke 24. In it, the angels remind a group of faithful women, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again.” The Son of Man must be delivered, this is a Divine Necessity. It has often been said, the cross is not a human accident but a divine appointment. Jesus had to die; it was a divine necessity. And He had to die Passover weekend. As I see it, everything Jesus is doing is making sure the religious leaders hate him enough to kill Him. He could have run away, but instead, He remained steadfast and faithful even unto His death.
By the end of Tuesday, Jesus’ work as an antagonist was bearing fruit. Matthew writes, “Then the chief priest and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him” (Matthew 26:3-4). You know what Friday holds for Jesus. Make no mistake, Jesus, our Passover Lamb, also knew what Friday had for Him and He was going to great lengths to assure the cross becomes a reality for the Son of Man.