Holy Week, Part 2: Tuesday

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Mark 11:27-13:47, Luke 20:1-21

Today is Tuesday.

Jerusalem is still frenzied over yesterday’s drama and controversy, but Jesus isn’t done.

He returns again to the Temple, Monday’s epicenter of commotion.  While yesterday was the day destruction; today is the day of instruction.  The divine Rabi stands in the Temple courts and begins to teach.  And the words of Jesus will instigate as much controversy as yesterday’s violence.

He can no longer be ignored.  His actions on Monday and his teachings on Tuesday have placed Him front and center of the Passover week activities, and now everyone must decide what to do with Him—reject Jesus and His claims, or embrace Jesus and His claims.

The religious leaders of the day try their best to stir up rejection.  The wisest, the most educated, the most religious, the most gifted debaters, each take their turn trying to confound Jesus.  Clearly they are desperate to discredit this Man, to gain back their religious hold, and to convince the masses that Jesus of Nazareth is not who He claims to be.  But unfortunately for them, He is.  Every single one of their attempts only becomes an opportunity for Jesus to re-enforce His claims.

And every answer and lesson He gives that day share a common theme, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”  This quote from Psalm 118 is how Jesus has chosen to describe Himself.  The imagery was familiar to the audience. The cornerstone was the key to architecture and construction in that day.  As the focal point of the structure, it would bear the weight of the other stones. The cornerstone had to be perfect.  If it could not stand, then neither could the building.  And so builders were meticulously exclusive when choosing this stone, rejecting many other stones because they were not worthy to be the cornerstone.

Everything Jesus said on that day conveyed the same thing: you reject me, but I will become the cornerstone of all things.  All who reject Jesus will severely regret that choice, because in the end they will discover that He is the only thing that can bear the weight of their hopes, longings, desires, identity, indeed their very life.  Conversely all who embrace Jesus will never regret that choice, because they will find in Him the one thing that can hold them and not fail.

That was His claim.  And then what Jesus taught in the Temple that day, He would soon demonstrate.  In three days He would become the ultimate display of rejection—forsaken by man and God upon the cross.  And yet the discarded One would then rise from the ashes of rejection and on Easter morning take His rightful place as the cornerstone of all existence.

Centuries have passed and He is still as divisive as that day in the Temple.  The reasons, arguments, and accusations against Him change with the tides of cultures, but His rejection carries on.  To this day, so many fail to recognize Him for who He is.  They search in vain for a stone that can bear the weight of their desperate needs, but there is no other stone—only Jesus, the chief Cornerstone.

But to those who embrace what is foolishness to so many, they have found their Rock.  They that trust in the despised and rejected One have discovered an unshakable Fortress of salvation and life.

Indifference is off the table.  Jesus of Nazareth is simply too significant to ignore.  Today we face the same challenge that was before the people on that Tuesday in the Temple, reject Him or embrace Him … choose your stone wisely.