Tuesday was Jesus’ last big day in public before His crucifixion on Friday, so what did He choose to do?
He could have spent the day healing people, doing another Sermon on the Mount kind of thing where He taught the interested multitudes, or fed those in need. We might have expected to see the kind, gentle, Good Shepherd Jesus reaching out to the needy throngs one last time.
But that’s not what He did with His last public hours.
He spent the day primarily with His disciples and the religious leaders. The religious leaders! The ones who dogged Him and tried to trap Him at every turn. The ones that He knew wanted to kill Him.
When Jesus and His disciples got to Jerusalem that morning, they went to the temple; the very place that He had boldly cleansed the day before. He knew when He got there that there would be repercussions. The religious leaders were not happy about the loss of revenue, but they also weren’t happy about having their authority publicly questioned and trumped.
So they began harassing Him, asking Him question after question, which He brilliantly answered. In the process He told them that they were in error because they didn’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. The Pharisees, Sadduccees, and experts in the Law? Gasp! He called them blind guides, whitewashed tombs that were beautiful outside but filthy inside, hypocrites, and snakes. Yipes!
But He also told them to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind.
He kept reaching out to them. He kept giving them opportunities to acknowledge their sin and repent.
He confronted them, but He also offered them life. He did everything He could to get their attention.
He was also making sure that the people listening and His disciples understood how wrong the current religious system was. How cold and void of love and compassion it had become.
So unlike Jesus, who grieved for them, His people. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37)
This is what the persistent, ever-loving, heart of God looks like.
Even the religious, hard-hearted, most arrogant people aren’t excluded from the invitation to receive Jesus and know God. Oh, He is generous!
“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them” (Hosea 14:4).
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14).
God my Father, Jesus Christ, how I thank You for pursuing me. Thank You for confrontational words and open arms. Thank You for exposing me so You could heal me. Thank You for a love that keeps coming after me. Thank You, my relentless Pursuer.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!