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Tuesday --- Third Day of Holy Week
and Crucifixion of Our Messiah

[The Passion of Christ]

The Withered Fig Tree and Jesus' Teachings on Faith

20 In the morning, when they were passing along, they noticed that the fig tree was withered [completely] away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to Him, Master, look! The fig tree which You doomed has withered away!
22 And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly]. 23  Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. 24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]."
25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.

Mark 11:20-26 AMP

Comments: [Are We Bearing no Fruit for God?]

"... The fig tree was in leaf so it appeared to be alive, but had no fruit. (It wasn't in season yet.) Israel appeared to be alive as well, but just like the tree the nation was bearing no fruit for God. In Israel's case it should have been the season because the Messiah was in their midst, but they weren't ready for Him.
Jesus cursed the tree and said it would never bear fruit again. In Matt. 21:43, Jesus said that the Kingdom would be taken away from Israel and given to a people who would produce its fruit. He was talking about the Church and from that day to this Israel has produced no fruit for God, but the Church has produced much.
In Mark 11:20 the disciples remarked that the tree was withered from the root. This is backwards. Normally evidence of a withering tree begins with the leaves and works its way down to the root. This was to demonstrate that Israel was dead at its roots, meaning that their religious leaders were the cause of their disease."[1a]

Jesus continued to expand on the example of the withered fig tree in verses 22-26:
"... all wither who reject Christ; it represented the state of the Jewish church. We should rest in no religion that does not make us fruitful in good works. Christ taught them from hence to pray in faith. It may be applied to that mighty faith with which all true Christians are endued, and which does wonders in spiritual things. It justifies us, and so removes mountains of guilt, never to rise up in judgment against us. It purifies the heart, and so removes mountains of corruption, and makes them plain before the grace of God. One great errand to the throne of grace is to pray for the pardon of our sins; and care about this ought to be our daily concern."[1b]

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Chief Priests and Elders Question Jesus' Authority

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you this authority?"
24 Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John's baptism - where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?"
    They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' 26 But if we say, 'Of human origin' - we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet." 27 So they answered Jesus, "We don't know."
    Then he said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things..."Matt 21:23-27 NIV

Comments: [Authority is from Heaven]

'... the religious leaders basically said, "We don't know." Jesus then said, in essence, "You know. So I am not going to tell you by what power and authority I do these things." Here, Jesus teaches us that there are only two places whence authority comes - from Heaven or from men. In essence, Jesus answered their question. In reality, there is only place when authority can be derived - from Heaven. Human authority cannot be divine. It is often fickle, and it is always fallible. It often is based on our priorities and our self-interests. But authority from Heaven is perfect. Hebrews 6:18 says that God cannot lie. He will not change His will. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:7). In Malachi 3:6, God says, "I am God; I change not." We need to put our trust in the authority of Jesus Christ.
... Matthew 28:18. Notice what Jesus says in this text. "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'" Jesus is the only true source of authority for us today, and His authority comes from Heaven. God placed His stamp of approval upon Him.' [2]

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Parable of the Two Sons

28 "...What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 29 "'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. 31 "Which of the two did what his father wanted?"
    "The first," they answered.
    Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him...." Matt 21:28-32 NIV

Comments: [Are you going your own way?]

'The bottom line is: "you can't talk the talk if you don't walk the walk." Let's look at this passage more closely.
In this parable, a father asked his two sons to go and work in his field. One said that he would but didn't; the second said that he wouldn't but eventually did.
The first son compared to the religious leaders of Jesus' day, who gave appearances of saying yes to God, but they were disobedient and their hearts were estranged from God. The second son started out saying no but eventually repented and became obedient and did what he was told to do---they were the tax collectors and harlots who, at first, went their own way, but then repented and took God's way.
Neither of the two sons were the kind that would bring joy to a father's heart. The one son who obeyed in the end was far better than the other son who simply gave "lip service." The ideal son would be the one who, without question, accepted the father's orders and cheerfully carried them out.
What does this parable say to us today? Obviously, Jesus is dealing with two groups of people who exist even today. There are those whose profession is much better than their practice. They may say all of the right words and even make promises, but their practice does not reflect their profession; in contemporary language, they are all "bark" and no "bite."' [3]

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Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen

He went on to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. 12 He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
13 "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.' 14 "But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. 'This is the heir,' they said. 'Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others."
    When the people heard this, they said, "May this never be!"
17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, "Then what is the meaning of that which is written:

    "'The stone the builders rejected
    has become the capstone'?


18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."
19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people. Luke 20:9-19 NIV

Comments: [The way God trusts us]

'...What is the point of the parable of the vineyard? Jesus' story about an absentee landlord and his not-so-good tenants would have made sense to his audience. The hills of Galilee were lined with numerous vineyards, and it was quite common for the owners to let out their estates to tenants. Many did it for the sole purpose of collecting rent at the right time. Why did Jesus' story about wicked tenants cause offense to the scribes and Pharisees? It contained both a prophetic message and a warning. Isaiah had spoken of the house of Israel as "the vineyard of the Lord" (Isaiah 5:7). Jesus' listeners would likely understand this parable as referring to God's dealing with a stubborn and rebellious people.
This parable speaks to us today as well. It richly conveys some important truths about God and the way he deals with his people. First, it tells us of God's generosity and trust. The vineyard is well equipped with everything the tenants need. The owner went away and left the vineyard in the hands of the tenants. God, likewise trusts us enough to give us freedom to run life as we choose. This parable also tells us of God's patience and justice. Not once, but many times he forgives the tenants their debts. But while the tenants take advantage of the owner's patience, his judgment and justice prevail in the end.
Jesus foretold both his death and his ultimate triumph. He knew he would be rejected and be killed, but he also knew that would not be the end. After rejection would come glory -- the glory of resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father. The Lord blesses his people today with the gift of his kingdom. And he promises that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him (see John 15:1-11). He entrusts his gifts and grace to each of us and he gives us work to do in his vineyard --- the body of Christ. He promises that our labor will not be in vain if we persevere with faith to the end (see 1 Cor. 15:58). We can expect trials and even persecution. But in the end we will see triumph. Do you labor for the Lord with joyful hope and with confidence in his victory?... ' [4]

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Parable of The King's Wedding Feast

And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."' "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. "And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. "But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. "Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 "So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
14 "For many are called, but few are chosen." Matt 22:1-14 NKJV

Comments: [Many are Called but few are Choosen]

'This is the third parable spoken by Jesus to the chief priests and the elders. And, like all of His parables pertained not only to His day and time but come down to us via the bible and are applicable to us to-day. It is by studying the parables and opening our mind to receive the words of the Holy Spirit that we can find the meanings of the parables in our day and time.
"In this parable, a king arranges a marriage feast for his son. The king, of course, is God the Father and the son is Jesus Christ our Lord, while the feast signifies eternal life in God's heavenly Kingdom. Those who are initially invited to this feast are the Jews, God's chosen people. Most of them, however, do not take the invitation seriously. Instead, they make light of it, while some go so far as to persecute and even to kill the prophets. For these ungrateful people, it was "business as usual:" the status quo must be preserved at any cost.
So it was that God called the Gentiles, both the good and the bad. The truth is, being "good" is no guaranteed passport to heaven. The Pharisees were "good," after all, following the Jewish Law to the letter. Merely being "good" is never enough. Salvation is granted unto those who strive with violence to be made worthly (by God's grace) of the Kingdom.
So the magnificent feast commences, but lo and behold, the king enters the banquet hall and finds there a guest who is not wearing a wedding garment. He is therefore unworthy: but why? Because in those day, the guests were not expected to bring their own garments. These were provided at the door to all who entered. Therefore, this guest is unworthy because he rejected that which was so graciously provided, free of charge. That is, he rejected the grace of God, which alone can make us worthy of the Kingdom.
This parable was spoken to the Jews, but just as surely it can be applied to so-called Christians of this day and age. Many there are who make light of their salvation, being totally focussed on worldly goals. Others do not even bother striving to acquire the grace of God (which is, according to St. Seraphim of Savor, the whole purpose of the Christian life) because they feel they are already "good enough."
So it is that "few are chosen:" not because God does not desire our salvation, but because we ourselves reject this gracious gift either through indifference or laziness.'[5]

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Paying Tribute to Caesar

20 ;Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.
21 So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 "Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?"
    "Caesar's," they replied.
    25 He said to them, "Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent. Luke 20:20-26 TNIV

Comments: [Jesus answers the pharisees]

'"And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's. And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace."
Notice that Jesus did not define what belonged to Caesar. He did not say that the coin in question belonged to Caesar. He also did not define what belonged to God. He didn't need to. That was defined many times in the Old Testament. (The Pharisees and His followers knew the Old Testament. The Roman soldiers did not.) "Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it." (Deuteronomy 10:14 NKJV). "The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." [Psalm 24:1]. That leaves nothing left for Caesar. Also, Haggai 2:8 states "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts." [The coin mentioned in this verse was the denaruis (silver)]
Why the pharisees marveled at His answer, and held their peace.
Remember, the Pharisees "took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk" so they might "lay hands on him". They thought they had a real good trap. They did not think it was even possible to get out of it. If Jesus said, "Yes", his followers would at least leave him. If He said, "No", the Roman soldiers would take him. Then Jesus answered the Pharisees in a nature that was typical of Jesus. His answer was so clear to everyone that knew the Old Testament (the Jews) but, just as it is not clear to many people today, it was not clear enough to the Roman soldiers for them to arrest Him. (Jesus was not afraid of getting arrested, but He was not going to let Satan decide on when and where.)
After Jesus basically told the people that Caesar should get nothing, His followers probably cheered. His followers probably increased in number after that statement. The Pharisees were in awe, because they thought they had Jesus in their "check-mate trap", but Jesus came out of the trap unharmed and with the Pharisees' queen. After seeing that their wits are no match for Jesus' in this game, they "tipped over their king" and held their peace.

The superscription on the "penny"

The Roman coin in the above verses, had, on the front, a graven image of Tiberius Caesar and read, "Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the Divine Augustus" and the other side would read, "Pontius Maximus" which means "High Priest" or "Chief Priest". After knowing this, I believe that it is very questionable that Jesus would even possess such a coin. Maybe that is why He called them hypocrites and then asked to see a penny. It is possible that He did this for at least two reasons. One, is that it he did not have a Roman coin on him. And the second reason was to expose their hypocrisy and validate his accusation. In no other verse in the Bible did Jesus accuse someone of being a hypocrite without showing them the reason for His accusation. (Matthew 7:5; 15:7-9; 16:3-4; 23:13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27-28, 29; Mark 7:6-9: Luke 6:42; 12:56; 13:15;) When they produced the coin, it showed everyone the reason for Jesus' accusation. [6]

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The Sadducees Question The Resurrection

23 On that day there came to him Sadducee's, they that say that there is no resurrection: and they asked him, 24 saying, Teacher, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first married and deceased, and having no seed left his wife unto his brother; 26 in like manner the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.  27 And after them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 But Jesus answered and said unto them, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." 33 And when the multitudes heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. Matt 22:23-33 NSV

Comments: [Matthew Henry Commentary]

'The doctrines of Christ displeased the infidel Sadducees, as well as the Pharisees and Herodians. He carried the great truths of the resurrection and a future state, further than they had yet been reveled. There is no arguing from the state of things in this world, as to what will take place hereafter. Let truth be set in a clear light, and it appears in full strength. Having thus silenced them, our Lord proceeded to show the truth of the doctrine of the resurrection from the books of Moses. God declared to Moses that he was the God of the patriarchs, who had died long before; this shows that they were then in a state of being, capable of enjoying his favour, and proves that the doctrine of the resurrection is clearly taught in the Old Testament as well as in the New. But this doctrine was kept for a more full revelation, after the resurrection of Christ, who was the first-fruits of them that slept. All errors arise from not knowing the Scriptures and the power of God. In this world death takes away one after another, and so ends all earthly hopes, joys, sorrows, and connexions. How wretched are those who look for nothing better beyond the grave!' [7]

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Scribe Asks What is the First Commandment

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"
29 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
32 So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him. Mark 12:28-34 NKJV

Comments: [Only "two" Commandments are Needed!]

'... What is the purpose of God's law or commandments? The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law and their ritual requirements. They made it a life-time practice to study the 616 precepts of the Old Testament along with the numerous rabbinic commentaries. They tested Jesus to see if he correctly understood the law as they did. Jesus startled them with his profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose. What does God require of us? Simply that we love as he loves! God is love and everything he does flows from his love for us. God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God's love and truth the more we love what he loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to his will. What makes our love for God and his commands grow in us? Faith in God and hope in his promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God, for being united with him. The more we know of God the more we love him and the more we love him the greater we believe and hope in his promises. The Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as he loves...' [8a]

[About the "10" Commandments]

'The two commandments to love God and to love one's neighbor sum up the Ten Commandments, which themselves constitute the core of God's covenant, or partnership, with Israel. The first four commandments concern love for God, and the final six commandments concern love for neighbor.' [8b]

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David Called His Descendant Lord

35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:
'The LORD said to my Lord,
"Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."'
37 Therefore David himself calls Him 'Lord'; how is He then his Son?"
And the common people heard Him gladly.
Mark 12:35-37 NKJV
[12-9]
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Jesus' last Sermon in the Temple



Pharisaism Exposed

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. "They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. "They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.


Eight Woes

13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.' 17 "You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 "And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.' 19 "You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20 "Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21 "And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22 "And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
31 "So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 "Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? 34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.


Lament over Jerusalem

37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'"
Matthew 23:1-39 NASB

[13-10]
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The Widow's Two Mites

41 He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. 44 For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."
Mark 12:41-44 NAB

[14-11]
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Jesus' Last Sermon to His Apostles
[On Mount of Olives]




Prediction of the Destruction of the Temple

And as some were saying of the temple that it was decorated with handsome (shapely and magnificent) stones and consecrated offerings [laid up to be kept], He said, 6" As for all this that you [thoughtfully] look at, the time will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."


The Signs of the End of the Age

And they asked Him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when this is about to occur?"
And He said, "Be on your guard and be careful that you are not led astray; for many will come in My name [appropriating to themselves the name Messiah which belongs to Me], saying, I am He! and, The time is at hand! Do not go out after them. And when you hear of wars and insurrections (disturbances, disorder, and confusion), do not become alarmed and panic-stricken and terrified; for all this must take place first, but the end will not [come] immediately."
10  Then He told them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. [II Chron. 15:6; Isa. 19:2.] 11 There will be mighty and violent earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences (plagues: malignant and contagious or infectious epidemic diseases which are deadly and devastating); and there will be sights of terror and great signs from heaven. 12 But previous to all this, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, turning you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be led away before kings and governors for My name's sake. 13 This will be a time (an opportunity) for you to bear testimony. 14 Resolve and settle it in your minds not to meditate and prepare beforehand how you are to make your defense and how you will answer. 15 For I [Myself] will give you a mouth and such utterance and wisdom that all of your foes combined will be unable to stand against or refute. 16 You will be delivered up and betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and [some] of you they will put to death. 17 And you will be hated (despised) by everyone because [you bear] My name and for its sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall perish. [I Sam. 14:45.] 19 By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls. Luke 21:7-19 AMP

Comments: The Time is Near

"It is increasingly obvious that the time of our Lord's coming is drawing near. Prophecy is being fulfilled daily, and at a faster pace than ever before. Whether you believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, or believe Christians will be witness to the full tribulation, wrath, and final judgments, matters not. The beginning of birth pains and the signs of the times should have the same effect on all of us. It should motivate us to save as many souls as we can in the time that we have left. The Great Commission tells us to be disciples to all nations, bringing the message of salvation through Christ to all people. If the Church is raptured before the tribulation, it is important that we leave behind an explanation for the trials and judgments those left behind will face. How else will they recognize the deception of the anti-Christ and seek instead the truth of the Bible? If we are to endure the tribulation along side them, we will need to be prepared to not only share the message of salvation, but share with them the reasons for God's judgment and hold it up as further proof of their need to be saved. " [14a]

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Jerusalem Will be Destroyed

20 But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know and understand that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside [the city] get out of it, and let not those who are out in the country come into it; 22 For those are days of vengeance [of rendering full justice or satisfaction], that all things that are written may be fulfilled. 23  Alas for those who are pregnant and for those who have babies which they are nursing in those days! For great misery and anguish and distress shall be upon the land and indignation and punishment and retribution upon this people. 24 They will fall by the mouth and the edge of the sword and will be led away as captives to and among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (completed).Luke 21:20-24 AMP

Comments: Jerusalem was Destroyed by the Romans

"... in 66 A.D. the Jews instigated a rebellion against Roman rule. In 70 A.D., after a 143-day siege which began at Passover, a Roman military force consisting of about 30,000 troops under the command of Titus battered the walls and entered the city. They destroyed everything, including Herod's Temple, exactly as spoken by Jesus Christ 40 years earlier. The population and the great number of Passover visitors who had been trapped there were brutally slaughtered, with an estimated 600,000 to 1,000,000 people killed. Roman General Titus took the precious booty and treasury of the Jerusalem Temple back to Rome, where many suspect it remains to this day. (arch of Titus)
The Roman army then moved over to the city of Caesarea (named after Caesar) on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea where a great many more Jews were killed. Over 90,000 were taken captive, including the famous historian Flavius Josephus who recorded the events of that era in his work, Wars of The Jews.
By 70 A.D., Jerusalem and Judea were left desolate, most of the people either killed or being held in captivity, or had become refugees fleeing to remote lands. All that remained in Israel was the defiant little garrison atop the mount at Masada, a fortress complex south of the Dead Sea, which was built by Herod the Great. Thus when the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 the period of the second exile began. (Diaspora) The Jewish people were soon to be scattered throughout the earth. For the next 1900 years the Jews would have no authority in the land God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The continued downtrodden history of the city of Jerusalem epitomizes the lamentations of its prophets, and the reasons that God allowed its destruction..."[14b]
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Son of Man Returns

25 "And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth [there will be] distress (trouble and anguish) of nations in bewilderment and perplexity [without resources, left wanting, embarrassed, in doubt, not knowing which way to turn] at the roaring (the echo) of the tossing of the sea, 26 Men swooning away or expiring with fear and dread and apprehension and expectation of the things that are coming on the world; for the [very] powers of the heavens will be shaken and caused to totter. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great (transcendent and overwhelming) power and [all His kingly] glory (majesty and splendor). 28 Now when these things begin to occur, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption (deliverance) is drawing near." Luke 21:25-28 AMP

Comment: Jesus' Return is Very Near

"...Jesus prophesied two events we must prepare ourselves for. One is tribulation and the other is his second coming. Our age has certainly seen great tribulation --- two world wars, the holocaust in which six million Jews perished, the persecution and martyrdom of countless Christians under the tyranny of communism, militant Islam, and atheistic regimes. Many Christians in the free nations are unaware of the tribulation of the suffering church in oppressed places. We must "watch" with them and pray for them." For the time of the return of Christ is very, very near! [14c]
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Jesus' Parables for His Apostles
[On Mount of Olives]

Parable of the Fig Tree

29 And He told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 When they put forth their buds and come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and perceive and know that summer is already near. 31 Even so, when you see these things taking place, understand and know that the kingdom of God is at hand. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation (those living at that definite period of time) will not perish and pass away until all has taken place. 33 The sky and the earth (the universe, the world) will pass away, but My words will not pass away. Luke 21:29-33 AMP

Comments: Learn the Signs of the Time

"Jesus used the image of a fig tree to teach his disciples an important lesson about reading the "signs of the times". The fig tree was a common and important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in the autumn and in the early spring. The Talmud said that the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover time. The signs of spring are evident for all who can see. Just so are the signs of God's kingdom and his coming in judgment. The "budding" of God's kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God's word. Those who trust in God's word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? The kingdom of God ..is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17)." [14d]
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Important to Watch

34 "But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; 35 For it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth. 36 Keep awake then and watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man."
37 Now in the daytime Jesus was teaching in [the porches and courts of] the temple, but at night He would go out and stay on the mount called Olivet. 38 And early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple [porches or courts] to listen to Him.
Luke 21:34-38 AMP

Comment: Preventing Deception

God wants us to jealously protect our spiritual growth. Once we develop a trait of godly character, we should never give it up! Guard that eternal life that has been built within us - by God's grace and our yieldedness.
Most of the time, people become deceived because they are not watching what is going on. They are in "la-la land." Something intrudes into their lives, and they follow it because they have no strength to resist. They have not been watching themselves.
God's way requires constant vigilance. "Watch and pray always," Jesus says. Our guard has to be up against deception all the time. We have to have our antennas out, making sure that what we hear is true. Thus, if we become deceived, whose fault is it? Is it God's or ours? God says, "Take heed to yourself." He has shown us the way to live. He has revealed it to us. He has left nothing hidden that we need to know. So whose fault is it, if we get tripped up? We are not going to be able to accuse God of it. So who is left? We are.[14e]
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Parable of the Ten Virgins

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
"At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' "'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' 10 "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' 12 "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'
13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matt 25:1-13 NIV


There are wise and foolish virgins or believers who attend a wedding. Christ says three things about them. First, the ten virgins (all professing believers) take their lamps (lives or testimonies) and go forth to meet the bridegroom. All believers take their lives and go forth, professing a testimony that they live for Christ and look to Christ. All professing believers (whether genuine or just religionists and church people) go forth to meet the Lord. However, as they "go forth" some (five) are wise and some (five) are foolish. Second, the foolish virgins (believers) take no oil except what they already have in their lamps (lives). They have no provision of righteousness beyond themselves, beyond their own righteousness. They have no supply of the Holy Spirit. Third, the wise virgins (believers) take oil; they do not depend upon what they have in their lamps (lives). As they go forth through life to meet the bridegroom (Christ), they lay hold of additional oil, the provision of righteousness, the supply of God's Spirit.
The main duty of the virgins (believers) is to meet and light the path for the bridegroom. There was no visible difference between the virgins. They all had lamps and they were all called to participate in the marriage feast. The lack of provision by the foolish could not be seen until the Bridegroom actually came.
How foolish! To depend only on the oil in one's lamp or life. No one has enough oil, enough righteousness, to make himself perfect, that is, to make himself acceptable to God. When Christ comes, He must find righteousness in a person if that person is to be allowed in God's presence. A man must be a "partaker of the Divine nature" by faith in the person, the word and the work of Christ.
[15]
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The Parable of the Talents

14 "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19 "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22 "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
24 "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
26 "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' Matt 25:14-30 NIV
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The Sheep and the Goats

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' 44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matt 25:31-46 NIV
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The Plot Against Jesus

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, "As you know, the Passover is two days away - and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or there may be a riot among the people." Matt 26:1-5 NIV
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Footnotes:

Most of The Paintings Displayed Were Done By Tissot
A few of The Paintings Displayed Were Done By William Hole
Others were Done By Various Artists and Graphic Artists. All are not Copyrighted

1a. © Copyright gracethrufaith.com
1b. © Copyright 2004 - 2011 by Biblos.com, from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
2. © Copyright THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST; thegospelofchrist.com
3. © Copyright Rev. Sam Harris, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute
4. © Copyright 1998-2007 Don Schwager
5. © Copyright Posted by Fr. Thomas Kulp
6. © Copyright Jason Caissie, biblelaw101.com
7. Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible
8a. © Copyright 2000 Don Schwager; http://www.rc.net
8b. © Copyright Scott Grant, www.pbc.org; Peninsula Bible Church 12-9.
13-10a
13-10b
13-10c
14-11 Prediction of the Destruction of the Temple
14a-12. © Copyright Contender Ministries, http://contenderministries.org
14b-13. © Copyright Bible Prophecy Ministry, By: Darrell G. Young, http://www.focusonjerusalem.com
14c-14. © Copyright 1999, 2000 Don Schwager, http://www.rc.net
14d-15. © Copyright 1999, 2000 Don Schwager, http://www.rc.net
14e-16. © Copyright 1992-2011 Church of the Great God, http://www.bibletools.org
15-17. © Copyright Sword N Spirit, James Drake sermons, www.swordnspirit.com
18. The Parable of the Talents
19. The Sheep and the Goats
20. The Plot Against Jesus