Last Sunday w as Palm Sunday. Christians know it’s donkeys, palm branches and cloaks well. Soon it will be Maundy Thursday, with the Lord’s Supper and the Arrest of Jesus. We know it well, too.
But do we know what Jesus was up to in Jerusalem between Sunday and Thursday evening? That question became important for me this year, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was important for the writers of the Gospels as well.
Hear are some of the details from that week, according to Mark, chapters 11,12,13, and 14.
- Jesus cleanses the temple and tells the sellers they’ve made it into a den of robbers.
- Jesus tells parables about wicked tenants, about sons whose actions matter more than their words, and fig trees.
- Jesus cleverly responds to trick questions about paying taxes,the resurrection and the greatest commandment.
- Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple, warns of coming persecutions and tribulations sometimes expected to precede the end.
- Jesus receives and praises the lavish anointing by an unnamed woman.
These are the words and actions of Jesus that Mark considered important preparation for learning about the rest of Holy Week. It is not hard to see that such actions and words could anger the religious leaders. I wonder if that’s why he included them?
Most of his first disciples stuck with him, at least until he was arrested. I wonder what you and I would have done, back then. Now that we know, I hope we will be strengthened to stay with Jesus, by whom we are so well known, as we remember him going through the dark days that led to Easter.