The city of Jerusalem was busy. The streets were more crowded than usual, as visitors had made their way to celebrate Passover and seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread. Children and lambs in tow. It would be crowded for a while.
The Pharisees and scribes had filled the temple with everything but prayer and worship. Jesus cleared it of its unworthy activity the day before. And He returned once again to teach those who would listen. His time was short; His words life changing. Important. Imperative.
But those in charge of the temple would not remain quiet. While He spoke in parables, they interupted Him with arrogance. They questioned His authority to teach and He answered with questions of His own. And continued teaching.
He told stories. He asked questions. And He avoided the questions of the Pharisees. He was a brilliant teacher. Passionate. Desperate to say all He had to say, for the benefit of those who would listen. Eternity hung in the balance. Theirs, not His.
He taught about tax collectors and prostitues. Vineyards and tenants of those vineyards. He made the church people uncomfortable. He talked about wedding banquets and guest lists, and those who didn’t show.
The Pharisees asked underhanded questions regarding their money and Caesar, wanting to keep for themselves as much as possible. He gave an answer they didn’t much like but it shut them up. The other sect of Jews, the Sadducees, asked Jesus questions about resurrected bodies in which they didn’t believe. (Some people look for all kinds of reasons not to believe.) He answered with clarity. Again.
Being satisfied with Jesus’ response to the Sadducees, an expert in Jewish
law had a question for Him. He asked Jesus to choose from the 613 laws, one to be the most important. And to the expert’s question, Jesus responded with two, one from Deuteronomy 6:5 and the other from Leviticus 19:18.
HEAR O ISRAEL? THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”MARK 12:28-34
That was Jesus’ final answer. The last thing He spoke to a crowd. At the Temple.
Jesus had been teaching from the depths of His heart. He wanted people to believe that He was who He claimed to be. Because He was! He is.
Whew! That was yesterday.
On this morning we aren’t sure what Jesus did. But He awoke in Bethany, outside the busy city. Perhaps He had breakfast with His dearest friends. A long slow breakfast with these friends who had followed Him these years. Listened. Believed. Loved.
And, oh, He loved them, too. He knew they didn’t really know what was coming. Though He’d told them over and over. Perhaps, there was a bit more time for teaching. But not today.
The one was absent. Judas. He was in the city making a deal with the Pharisees who were deep in their desperate plans to kill Him.
And Jesus waited in Bethany. Letting what needed to happen, happen.
Surely, He spent time alone with God. Knowing what was coming, He would need the spiritual strength of His Abba Father. And perhaps he rested, needing the physical strength His human body could provide.
I suppose I can do that today. What about you?
Can we spend some alone time with our Abba Father. Experiencing His presence? Drawing from His joy as our strength?
Is there time for you to rest just a bit before you lay your head down? Can you say no to one thing, in order to say yes to a short period of rest? You don’t have to be a super hero today. Really.
And maybe we can enjoy some friends. For dinner. Coffee. A phone call. Facetime. Can we be the friend who fills?
Loving God with all of our being…
Loving others as God has loved us…
May we slow. Wait. Pray. Love.