Picking up where we left off last week, we have Jesus in our story today at the same Colonnade that Peter and John would heal the lame man at the Beautiful Gate. I think we need to pay attention to these two stories, because the mood of the crowd had changed little over the months in this area.
To set the scene for this passage, place yourself on your way to church. As you make your way to the entrance, walking with you and a person carrying a person who is crippled, a person you know because you know his story and how he was born that way, and that person is sat down right at the entrance of the church to beg.
I struck a chord last week with some of you when I made the statement that the spirit of the Anti-Christ is within us. Naturally, we don’t like this idea. However, as Jesus was talking to the Jews in his day, he tells them the exact same thing, “you belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.”
“These also are sayings of the wise. Partiality in judging is not good. Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,” will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips. Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.
The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.
By human standards we cannot wrap our minds around a God who both LOVES us and a God that is JUST. Caught between these two words are GRACE and MERCY. So, let us consider the JUSTICE of God first.
CONDESCENSION is a very negative word by definition. However, when you add the word DIVINE in front of it, it turns to a more positive definition. This is God “LOWERING HIMSELF” to communicate wisdom to people.
Your battle today will not be against “flesh and blood” but the deceitful forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12) and the deceitfulness of indwelling sin (Hebrews 3:13). And these two forces are going to try to use your emotions against you. Therefore, your emotions are a gauge, but they should not be what guides you. Faith in God is what guides you!
This part of the Gospel of Matthew (Chapters 21-23) deal with the conflict in the Temple. After one day after his triumphal entry, Jesus transitions to flipping over tables. (Malachi 3:1; Mark 11:11) While the Pharisee’s were displeased, there was not attack on Jesus’ authority. As soon as on the third day He enters the Temple the conflict begins.