Gospel Reading: Mark 11:20-12:44, Matthew 21:18-23:39, Luke 20:1-21:4
As I mentioned yesterday, the Mark’s gospel probably gives us the best chronological account of Jesus’ last week. On Tuesday, it appears Jesus has a very busy day in the temple. There is no real break in Mark’s rendering of the gospel from the time Jesus and the disciples go to the temple on Tuesday morning in Mark 11:20 until Mark tells us he has a meal with Simon the Leaper in Mark 14:3. Chronologically, Mark seems to jump from Tuesday to Thursday when Jesus has his last meal with the disciples, leaving his Wednesday pretty uneventful.
It could also be though, that some of what Jesus does on Tuesday could have bled over to Wednesday and the events are from both days. In order to both save time in the reading and to allow for some activity to happen, I am going to use Jesus’ material for the destruction of the temple and the end times talk for Wednesday.
Tuesday was quite a busy day for Jesus. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us that Jesus responds to criticism from religious leaders by giving the John the Baptist puzzle, telling the story of the tenants who kill the son, paying taxes to Caesar and God, and talking about marriage after the resurrection. Mark and Matthew share the stories of Jesus summarizing the greatest commandments (Luke uses the story earlier with the Good Samaritan parable). Mark and Luke share the story of Jesus watching the widow place her offering. Matthew alone tells the stories of the wedding banquet (Luke uses the story earlier) and the extended seven woes speech. Again, Jesus was quite busy on this day.
As I reflected about Jesus’ question/answer sessions with those around him in the temple on this Tuesday, I thought a lot about “authentic faith.” It seems that Jesus could easily tell when people were fake or using their religion for personal gain. He cherished it when he saw examples of authentic expressions of faith. In much the same way, people in general can tell when our faith is authentic and when it is not. I hope we will learn to be like the widow who put all she had in the offering when she had little to begin with rather than the people who were wealthy and put large sums of money in the offering for show. It is when we have authentic faith that we convey what Jesus really desired, taught, and lived out.