“What happens next?” This has been bouncing around in my mind since yesterday’s blog on Holy Monday.
So, Jesus’s Holy Tuesday…what did He do? As I page through the Gospel of Mark, chapters 11-13, it is apparent He went into high teaching, preaching and prophesying mode. Three days before His death, He spoke, spoke, spoke.
What are His messages? Well, go ahead and read it for yourself. Here are the themes I see:
1. the vital importance of faith in God and forgiveness towards others in order for prayers to be answered. The oft quoted “whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” is immediately followed by “whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” I read this to mean forgiveness opens channels for God’s power to be manifest, for mountains to be moved.
2. He fields tricky questions from the religious authorities and, in doing so, plainly asserts that He is the Messiah, the long awaited Savior.
3. prophesying about His death, about the fact that they would kill Him, God’s Son.
4. He is not a political threat but the King of a different kind of Kingdom. (“give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s)
5. He teaches Saducees (upper crust, politically savvy religious folk who didn’t believe in spiritual reality or in the resurrection) that God is a God of the living and that there is life after death and will be a physical resurrection of the dead. Oh and that angels are for real.
6. The two most important commandments are reiterated: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
7. The danger of pride, especially in religious leaders…they “will receive greater condemnation.”
8. How giving all to God, even if it isn’t much, is a more generous gift to Him than giving from one’s surplus.
9. Destruction of the temple is prophesied.
10. End Times gets billing: false christs, false prophets, wars, famines, earthquakes, Christian persecution. The proliferation of the Gospel to rulers, kings, and to all nations. The widespread hatred of believers, even dividing families. Great destruction and turmoil “such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.” I’m grimacing right now, how about you?
11. The Second Coming is foretold: “Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect.”
12. How important it is prayerfully stay awake and “Watch!” for His Second Coming, as no one but the Father knows the day or hour Jesus will come again.
Well, I enjoyed that. Now I know what Mark says about Holy Tuesday…I’m sure the other Gospels have other nuggets to add.
I reflect on my own faith walk and see that at one point I was a modern day Saducee—I didn’t believe in angels, demons and the like. This made it rather difficult to fathom a Second Coming and resurrection, I must admit. Thankfully God cured that heretical belief with ‘rattled me good’ spiritual encounters. The Second Coming and resurrection of the dead—easy to nod to today. Now, for the rest of the teaching…those commandments…forgiveness…faith…sacrificial generosity…pride. Man, I’ve got along way to go…
(Contemplative prayer update: am more consistent now…sometimes it is so sweet)