Matthew 21:23-46 – Jesus Faces the Religious Leaders

Read Matthew 21:23-46

Jesus faces the religious leaders in the temple

As we walk through Holy Week together with Jesus, today we meet up with him in the Temple. Our last reading shared about the triumphant entry into Jerusalem followed by his outburst in the temple overturning money changers. It’s a rare moment when we see Jesus display his humanity with such anger. The leading priests and leaders are curious and call Jesus out on such behavior.

Jesus handles the confrontation well. He could have been annoyed that his teaching was interrupted. After all, he knew that his days were few. Yet, in the few verses we read today, we see how Jesus stays poised and very effective in his communication. Jesus used this opportunity as a teachable moment and started telling stories.

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Matthew 21:1-12 – Hosanna!

Read Matthew 21:1-12

palm branches

When you think of Palm Sunday, what is the first memory that comes to your mind? Please share in the comments. I’m expecting that waving palm fronds and processionals in church come to mind. These are precious memories that help us remember a special day!

I had the honor and privilege to teach Mexican children about Palm Sunday this year. While we have plenty of palm trees in our neighborhood, I wasn’t keen on climbing them to pull down some palm leaves, so we used balloons for our praise and adoration time. To see the delight on the children’s faces and imagine that it was seeing Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem with that much joy was very moving.

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Matthew 26:26-29 💙 Where Jesus Is

Read Matthew 26:26-29

golden wine challis

The setting was the upper room. Jesus was gathered with his dearest friends and followers. This would be Jesus’ last meal with them. Jesus knew what was coming, but the disciples did not fully understand. How fitting that it was the Passover feast, complete with a spotless lamb!

What would you have thought sitting at the table that night when Jesus said, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” Jesus’ body? Seriously? If the disciples had been paying attention, they might recall how Jesus had been preparing them for what was to come. Jesus would soon be crucified. That, too, must have really given them pause to fully accept.

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Matthew 6:25-34 💗 Focus on the Right Thing

Read Matthew 6:25-34

field of purple flowers

Our final theme will be “Seeking God’s Kingdom.” Whether we have been Christ followers our whole life or just for a short time, our homing device is set inside us, inspiring us to seek God’s kingdom. Where do we look? What are we looking to find? We’ll look for clues over the rest of the readings in this series.

In this reading, we are reminded we often focus on the wrong thing. We let the worries of the day crowd our head. It’s nearly impossible to be truly seeking God’s kingdom or even his will for our lives when our minds are clouded with things that shouldn’t matter. When is the last time you truly had a worry-free day?

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Matthew 5:17-48 💙 Jesus Fulfills the Law

Read Matthew 5:17-48

Painting of Jesus holding holy book

“Living as God Desires” can be hard for some people when they try to be legalistic about the laws laid out in the Old Testament. It helps to understand the laws were put in place to help guide and protect people while drawing them into an obedient relationship with God. Jesus tells us in this passage, near the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, that he fulfills the laws and writings of the prophets.

Can you imagine what people hearing those words the first time must have thought? That’s a bold claim. How does it work exactly? Jesus wanted us to know that God’s commandments are important, and we are not to forget them. It’s like Jesus “updates” them a bit here to make them more relevant to the people. He also spent a lot of time talking about a lot of other topics during his full sermon in Matthew Chapters 5-7.

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