Summer in The Parables
Parable of The Two Sons
Matthew 21:23-32 (NLT)
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
23 When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”
24 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 25 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”
They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” 27 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.
Parable of the Two Sons
28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?”
They replied, “The first.”
Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.
Mark 11:1 (NLT)
Jesus’ Triumphant Entry
11 As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead.
1. The Fig Tree and the Temple
The fig tree Jesus cursed was located just outside Bethphage
One important fact you need to know is:
The fruit of the fig tree generally appears before the leaves, and, because the fruit is green it blends in with the leaves right up until it is almost ripe. Therefore, when Jesus and His disciples saw from a distance that the tree had leaves, they would have expected it to also have fruit on it even though it was earlier in the season than what would be normal for a fig tree to be bearing fruit. Also, each tree would often produce two to three crops of figs each season. There would be an early crop in the spring followed by one or two later crops. In some parts of Israel, depending on climate and conditions, it was also possible that a tree might produce fruit ten out of twelve months. This also explains why Jesus and His disciples would be looking for fruit on the fig tree even if it was not in the main growing season.
John 15:5 (NLT)
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus had also set His sights on the Temple where He fashioned a whip and drove people out of the temple courts and turned over the tables!
It’s important to understand that Jesus was angry with what was going on in the Temple because of the hypocrisy and cheating that was taking place… The appearance of spirituality – but no substance!
2. The Alabaster Box and the Betrayal
Mark 14:3-11 (NLT)
3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.
6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
• If the exuberance one worships with makes you uncomfortable, you better check your heart!
3. The tale of two towns
• It’s no coincidence that this amazing week began at these two towns.
• The name Bethany means – “House of the poor”
• Bethany was a place where they would send the sick from Jerusalem – especially lepers.
• Bethany was full of poor people.
• Bethphage – not far from Bethany, was positioned at the top of the Mt. of Olives
• Bethphage was a place of wealth and power
• The word “Bethphage” means the “House of Unripe Figs.”
• The village of Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives, was a most important religious center for the Judahite authorities in the period of Jesus. It was a walled village which was the only area outside the walls and camp of Jerusalem that was considered by the Sanhedrin (the Supreme Court of the nation) to be an official part of the city of Jerusalem. In this village was one of the two seats of the great Sanhedrin of seventy-one members.
Jesus did nothing unintentionally!