: Tuesday of Holy Week: Essential or Non

Holy Week – The traditional scriptural events of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. Traditional is not necessarily the actual daily events that occurred during the last week but a way of commemorating the major significant events of that all-important week. Tradition provides a scriptural focus for each day of the week.

  1. Saturday – in Bethany at the home of Lazarus, Mary anointing Jesus feet
  2. Sunday – Jesus entrance into Jerusalem
  3. Monday – Cleansing of the Temple
  4. Tuesday – Teaching in the Temple
  5. Wednesday – Judas; scheme: Let’s make a deal
  6. Thursday – Last supper and prayer in Gethsemane
  7. “Good” Friday – Trial and crucifixion
  8. Saturday – Victorious preaching in “hell”
  9. Easter Sunday – Resurrection



Tuesday of Holy Week: Jesus teaching in the Temple (Matthew 21:23 – 25:46)

Essential or non?

Essential or non. That is the question.

In light of the coronavirus, the jobs that are listed as non-essential have left many out of work and filing for unemployment. It is interesting how many jobs are on the non-essential list. I find it amazing that many of the highest paying jobs in America – sports and movie stars, musicians, celebrities – all are non. We apparently can get along without them. I wonder if those entertainers’ jobs will come back. Are they essential to your life?

The essential jobs necessary for survival – the heroes – are the truck drivers, grocers, health care workers, and first responders – all necessary in the fight to save lives.

On Tuesday of Holy week Jesus was being questioned – are you essential or non? Where did you get your authority? Should we listen to you or not? Do you indeed have words of eternal life? Is your forecasting of the future the correct view? Do we listen to your dire predictions?

The religious leader had determined that his words were non-essential; in fact his words were dangerous. That if they continued to give him free speech, their whole nation would be overthrown. The high priest stated, “It is better for one person to die than for the whole nation to die”. That one person who is non-essential and who needs to be quieted was Jesus. The one they had dismissed as a county hick had now inflamed the passions of the commoners who were thinking of him as the Messiah. The leaders had a job to maintain order and to ensure the survival of the nation – one man had to go. His life was non-essential. But they had to arrest him without raising a storm of rioting protests from the populace.

So, on Tuesday while Jesus was teaching in the Temple court, the religious orders made several attempts to ensnare Jesus and to discredit him before the people.

Also, on this day, according to custom, the lambs for sacrifice were brought to the Temple to be inspected in order to determine if the lamb chosen was “perfect” for a sacrifice. They were not to bring a lamb with a blemish – a lamb that could be cast off, a runt, not worthy of keeping around. The lamb had to be a sacrifice – worthy, costly. A sacrifice to atone for sins had to cost you something significant.

So as the lambs were being inspected and determined worthy, Jesus was also being scrutinized, interrogated, examined, and tested. Matthew 21:23 – 25:46 is a detailed account of the day-long investigation. It becomes apparent early on that the questions were “gat-cha” type; designed to trip him up. And it equally becomes clear that the religious rulers were the ones being examined and found lacking.

The religious leadership became alarmed that their authority was being called into question – Jesus was exposing their ignorance; denouncing and shaming them in front of the crowds. It was like a national debate stage to determine the leadership of the nation – who was more worthy and presented a more compelling vision of the future direction the nation should take.

The religious leadership determined that he had to go. “They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd” (Mt 21:46). “They plotted to arrest him in some sly way and kill him” … without creating a riot (Mt 26:4). They determined he was non-essential. The survival of the nation was more important. And yet that is what Jesus was warning them about. The survival of the nation was at stake. If they did not follow his teaching, they would be destroyed. Jesus pronounced 7 “woes” or judgements against them …. But they did not listen.


How about you?

Are the words of Jesus essential or not to your daily life? And not just the words of the gospels but also his last words in the book of Revelation and his warnings of worse things to come.

Are you listening and ordering your life on his words? Have you found his words necessary in order to survive?

I am reminded of an old song – “Sitting at the Feet of Jesus”

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day.

Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As *I sit low at Thy feet; [*I’m waiting]
Oh, look down in love upon me,
Let me see Thy face so sweet;
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
Keep me holy as He is;
May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.




Douglas Leslie