Duration: 365 days
GOD’S LONG STORY
Jesus and his disciples enter Jerusalem for Passover week—Jesus knows it’s his final week. He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey colt, the crowds lining the streets and cheering as he enters. He clears out the merchants who had set up shop in the temple courts, infuriating the religious leaders. They begin plotting in earnest to kill him.
They begin a full theological assault, demanding to know who has given him authority to teach like he does. He counters with a parable about vineyard tenants. They haven’t tended his people well, so God is going to give the vineyard to others. They’re furious.
Trying to trap him, they question him about taxes and the resurrection. He answers their challenges so eloquently that someone asks a sincere question about the greatest commandment. Jesus warns the people about the dangerous hypocrisy of the teachers of the law. They’re missing God’s kingdom.
Jesus’ disciples ask him for signs of the end of the age. He shares some details but explains that no one but the Father knows the exact time. He challenges them: Be alert and be ready.
The King’s Heart
God had a long history with his people Israel. He chose to tenderly cultivate the nation so that he could show them his heart. He told them that he would send them a Messiah and also that they would be the greatest nation because the world was going to worship their God.
But the religious leaders, the ones who had been chosen to tend his vineyard, were rejecting him. That’s why he had such stern words for them and why he would “give the vineyard to others” (Mark 12:9).
God would continue the story that he started with his people. But not all of them would follow him; many would be blind. So God would make a relationship with him available to all people—not just Jewish people—through Jesus. He kept explaining this to his people in parables: God had sent them a banquet invitation but they didn’t come, so he opened it up to others (see Matthew 22:1-14). The workers who only worked a tiny part of the day would get the same pay as the ones who worked all day (see Matthew 20:1-16). God would continue the story he had started with his people long ago, even if many of his people would choose not to follow him.
The Hebrew expression “Hosanna!” means “Save!” As the people shouted that (see Mark 11:9-10), they were likely looking for Jesus to save them from Roman rule. They were unaware that their words had a more important double meaning.
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