The Sermons on Two Mounts-Authority

The Sermons on Two Mounts is on the other end of Jesus’ ministry from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. These teachings took place on what we call Tuesday of Holy Week. Oh, the two mounts are the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. 

I am looking at authority in this study, but staying to one theme has been hard. There is so much going on in the stories and interactions this Tuesday. (See the intro-post on the various audiences.) Jesus’ authority has been a thorn in the leaders of the people’s side for a long time. The Sunday and Monday of Holy Week pushed the showdown to occur in Matthew 21:23. As I study about the Kingdom, it has become clear that Jesus was not a victim but He pushed the Father’s agenda to the discomfort of leaders. To get the feeling for His plan, you need to read Matthew 19:1, Mark 10:1, Luke 17:1, and John 11:1 to the Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem. 

The people/crowds saw authority in Jesus. The leaders knew he had something they did not possess and feared it, and the disciples had been around it for so long you wonder if they lost sight of who He was. Grace extends His authority to us. We recognize it and claim it. Some leaders are uncomfortable with it because they lose control. Or, like the disciples, you get around it and get secure and stop growing in it.

Luke 7:8 is a snapshot of what Jesus is looking for. The centurion was familiar with authority and operated within it very well. Jesus, in verse 9, sees the man as having faith, so the gift is sent, accepted, and received. We should note that the centurion first used his authority by sending elders of the Jews, but changed and sent friends with the second message.

The Leaders—I imagine the chief priests and elders put on a show to question Jesus’ power. First, they interrupted Him as He was teaching, but to have the chief priests come down and question Jesus was an all-out power-play on their part. I am sure they tried to rival Jesus’ ride into the city on Sunday. The trap I believe they wanted to spring on Jesus-have Him claim the power came from God and they could stone Him for blasphemy. 

Matthew 9 has the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. I see this as the start of the elder’s groundwork for the showdown in Matthew 21. Jesus displayed authority-the people praised God, and the elders were angry. The Pharisees upped the level of their attack in Matthew 12:24 when they said Jesus had that kind of power because of Beelzebub (lord of flies or Satan). This change of their speech was to stir the crowd to attack Jesus. It did not work because He was healing people and not taking the credit for the miracles. 

I will list the things Jesus did from clearing the Temple to His stay by the Jordan to show the authority displayed before this Passover.

  • He cleared the Temple and used Scripture to justify the action.
  • The crowd honored Him as He rode into Jerusalem. I still think the ride was part of the ritual of a groom choosing his bride.
  • He healed blind eyes in Jericho-Matthew 20:29, Mark 10:46, and Luke18:35. (Bartimaeus)
  • He brought a sinner to repentance-Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1.
  • A rich man showed confusion because his good deeds and money were not enough to get him into heaven.
  • Jesus acknowledged children as important.
  • The Pharisees failed with a legal question about the fear-club of divorce they used for control. 
  • John 11-12:12 Lazarus was raised from the dead, in plain view of many people.

The Common People—Jews were not illiterate. Jews knew the Torah, Psalms, and the Prophets. The crowds loved Jesus’ teachings and how He silenced the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. Unlike the leaders, they recognized the authority of His words, miracles, and the work of John the Baptist. Unknown to them, the leaders feared the crowds. Many people with rocks were something to be worried about. The works/acts of clearing the Temple to raising Lazarus from the dead were not lost on them. They may have not fully understood Jesus, but someone who heals and supplies food, then gives the glory to the Father, and associates with them, was a person who needs to be acknowledged. 

Disciples and the Twelve—Jesus started by preaching that the kingdom of God was near. Words may be cheap, so He showed this good news by healing and doing miracles. The people who left everything and followed Jesus wanted this. (God called and direct hearts, it was not an accident who followed Him.) The time from Matthew 19 to 21 shows that these men and women knew they were at the front of a serious movement. I think they liked the authority they had and wanted more. From the Jordan to the Temple Mount, Jesus addressed authority issues with them. He had to.

  • The fig tree-faith and pray.
  • Clearing the moneychangers out of the Temple-honor God.
  • Mommy Zebedee asking favors for her sons. This provided the opportunity to teach that serving is the way to authority.
  • Matthew 20:1 taught (Third Hour Workers) about the mindset that leaders need to have.
  • The rich man covered rewards for following Jesus. 

Note to Self—Jesus chose not to use His authority during the trial and the cross. He never lost it or gave it up. He willingly laid it aside and used it while in the tomb. So the Father could put His enemies under His feet.

The Sermons on Two Mounts-Three Audiences

 The Sermons on Two Mounts is on the other end of Jesus’ ministry from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Jesus is preparing to be sacrificed for our sins. These Sermons occur in the four-day period before Passover that starts on the 10th of the month and is referenced in Exodus 12. These teachings took place on what we call Tuesday of Holy Week. He has had His tour deforce entrance (Palm Sunday) into Jerusalem and cleaned the yeast (money changers) out of the Temple on Monday. Oh, the two mounts are the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. Who Jesus taught that day is important and I will start with an introduction of them.

The three Gospels are fairly unified in identifying these groups. My focus will be Matthew as he is the most complete on the activities of the day.

The Leaders-The first groups to meet Jesus are the chief priests and elders of the people.

  • Chief Priests-This term is used very little in the Old Testament (both KJV and NIV). I will say it was after David’s reign that someone became a chief priest. It is used by Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 19:11 and by Jeremiah (the chief priest was his uncle). They do have list of these men and when they served. Herod in Matthew 2 ask them questions about the birthplace of the Messiah. Matthew 21:15 has them upset at Jesus because of the children on Palm Sunday. Since Jesus had messed up their business of the money changers, I am sure they were on guard when He showed up again on Tuesday. Remember Zachariah (John’s father) was offering incense in Luke 1 and he was not a chief priest. So, there was a single-family group that used this title and wielded a lot of authority in Jerusalem. They belonged to the sect of the Sadducees.
  • Elders of the People-Acts 5:21 identifies the Sanhedrin as the elders of the people. It seems that this group would have had Sadducees and Pharisees in it. They are the civil government under the Herods and the Romans, with the chief priest being the leader of this group.
  • Teachers of the Law-This group probably had both Sadducees and Pharisees with this title. I imagine that most of these men were also elders.
  • Herodians-They were Jews who were loyal to Herod. Most Jews did not like Herod because he was part Jew by birth, and Roman by choice, and just crazy. Luke uses the term spies for these people. If the Pharisees joined with this group they really wanted Jesus dead.
  • Pharisees-This sect is the orthodox group of the day. From my reading about them, their thoughts and way of life is the foundation for modern Jewish thought. In reading Acts, some became followers of the Way. Where they the ones that objected to the Gentiles and tried to add circumcision as a requirement to be a believer? I do think they loved God, but the Law was more important to them.   
  • Sadducees-They did not believe in the supernatural or the resurrection of the dead (Matt. 22:23). The chief priest belonged to this sect. Paul used their doctrine in Acts 23:6 to divide the Sanhedrin. 

At some point, the leaders fade from the story of Temple Mount teachings. There are several references that they had nothing more to say or Jesus saw through their game and did not play along. Matthew 26 has them meeting together to arrest and kill Jesus. It would be hard to imagine that they did not have spies in the crowd for the rest of the day.

The Crowd-The Gospels list very interesting things about the crowds. Some of this group may have been with Jesus at the Jordan River and followed Him to Jerusalem. So, these people were part of the parade that ushered Jesus into town, or at least they asked who this man was. Jesus was on everyone’s radar after clearing the coin changers out of the Temple, they wanted to see what He would do next.

  • Matthew-1. They held John to be a prophet and the leaders were afraid of them. 2.  They were astonished at Jesus’ teaching. 3. Received the teaching/woes about the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.
  • Mark-1. Amazed at Jesus’ teachings. 2. Listened with delight. 3. Caused fear in the leaders. 4. Put money into the Temple treasury.
  • Luke (NIV) and the KJV use the word people instead of crowd. Results are the same, the people loved Him and the leaders hated.
  • Okay, did Jerusalem have piles of stones in the streets or did everyone carry a rock, just in case?

The Disciples-We tend to think that there were only twelve disciples. There were twelve Apostles, but there were the women, Justus, Matthias (Acts 1:23), the seventy that Jesus sent out, and the 120 in the upper room. I think the parade into Jerusalem started with just His disciples and other people joined them. Thinking back to Pentecost maybe there were 3,000 disciples.

How many were with Jesus when He left the Temple on Tuesday of Holy Week? I am not sure, but I bet it was more than twelve. They actually asked the question that finished the teaching that started with the fig tree earlier that day. The Second Temple that had Herod’s upgrades would be destroyed and Jerusalem with it.

On the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked for the sermon on that mount (Matthew 24: 3). It consisted of several stories and warnings and the prediction of His death (26:2).

Sorta off topic-Because of so many lessons that had a wedding as the base of the teaching, I would like to add an idea to the ride into the city. It is viewed as a king coming into town, and that fits with Psalm 45. In Kingdom Wedding, I studied about the erusin, which is when the groom declares His intentions to marry His wife. They legally were married at that time, even though she did not live with the groom yet.  The actual wedding feast would be picked by the groom’s father. During this period of time, the groom would give gifts to the bride. I believe Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem was when He came to declare His intentions for His bride.

More studies from the Sermons on the Mounts are in the works, I just wanted to look at the three audiences that heard them.   

Linear or Cyclical 

This post is a little different from my usual type of study. In Linear or Cyclical, I want to know how you see God’s interaction with His people and humanity. Now, here is the catch-you need to explain your answer by giving an example or stating a biblical reference. 

The question is this-Does God move us/history (His Story) along in a line, going from point A to point B, or are His movements with us in a cycle or spiral (I will say an upward spiral)? Please note that I said His directing us. Not what we are to do before Him. So, saying or using the word straight may not work because in the Bible that normally means level not linear.

I will throw out an example and not give an opinion about it. In Genesis, there is a garden. Revelation also has a garden, with some of the same elements in it as the first one-a river, and trees of life. But there are gardens in-between those two. A linear path or a cyclical one, which is it?

You may leave a comment. Exactly how all of this will be reported, I am still working with some options. 

Exchange

Exchange is the result of my wife commenting on Romans 1:23-26 and how far culture’s thinking has drifted, again. She noted the three things society has exchanged for Biblical standards in Romans 1. Part of this study looks at the two different words that are used for exchange in those verses-allasso and metallasso.

Some Background-The people of God had changed gods and suppressed the truth before Paul wrote to the Romans. (KJV and NIV use the words exchange and changed to express this idea.)

Psalm 106:20, Jeremiah 2:11, and Hosea 4:7 all use the phrase-They “exchanged their glorious God” for a man-made image (I use the NIV.). This problem started with Aaron in the wilderness. Jeroboam, 1 Kings 12:28, also did this with the Northern Tribes. Several of David’s grandsons also committed this sin.

Romans 1

Paul is not being politically correct or woke when he writes this letter. Anyone who hides the truth of God is under God’s wrath. God loves us but that is tempered by the fact that he loves righteousness and you need to listen to Him.

Verse 23 expresses the above references. Verses 15 to 22 condemns people who think they are wise, but they want knowledge, not God or His life. The verb is allasso (Strong’s G 236), they change or alter God, normally to fit their wants.

Verses 25+26 use the word metallasso (Strong’s G3337) as the word exchange. The meta prefix amps up the meaning quite a bit. Meta means they have taken their actions past or further than God. Verse 21 is scary in the fact that these people knew God and did not care for His truth. So, they became wiser than God and went past Him. Okay, that is dangerous territory because it does not exist, except in your mind. Verse 25-they exchanged God for a lie and worshipped what they wanted. In today’s context that usually means they worship themselves and or their knowledge. Verse 26 completes the downward spiral they go past (exchange) God’s plan and activities for ones they choose.

  1. Leave God and worship anything or anyone else.
  2. Choose or create a lie to justify #1.
  3. Do whatever you want because you went past God and missed His plan and started doing whatever feels good to your hormones. 

A few other Greek words

Paul, as a Christian, wanted people to metanoia. Go beyond your thoughts and go to God’s thoughts. When you do not metanoia you may go to paranoia.

Allasso is also used in 1 Corinthians 15:52-at the last trump, we will be allasso and be with Jesus forever.

The Father loves people. You are special to Him if you change your thoughts and follow His. Isaiah 43:4 (NIV) shows that He will exchange other people for you and give whole nations for your life.

The Conclusion-exchange your ways for His. 

Chazon, Ouai, and Oy 

If chazon, ouai, and oy are strange words to you, don’t feel bad. They were to me. Their English translations are frequently used in the church. Chazon (Hebrew) or vision is the one that set this study into motion. “Without a vision”, Proverbs 29:18 in the KJV has been the key verse in many sermons. Well, this weekend I looked into seeing a vision. Doing a New Testament word search left me empty. So, I changed to the word dream and found no help from the biblical context. To be fair, vision and dream often get run together in the same sermon, but in the New Testament, those words and our English ideas hit a rough spot. Vision and dreams are supernatural acts that instruct people on a topic. They do not support the idea of your desires and goals and where YOU want to be in life.

The words purpose and calling, which are God-ordained concepts, should be used instead. The way ministers preach most sermons, the concepts of purpose and calling, get mixed with visions and dreams. 

Okay, let’s look at chazon. It is true we need a vision or things will fall apart. In the early part of Matthew, John the Baptist and Jesus are preaching the good news of the kingdom. What they taught was repent, for the kingdom of God is near. The kingdom being near is the chazon they gave the people. They preached that to give the masses hope. Jesus did miracles to prove just how near the kingdom had come to them. The mindset of the disciples and the crowds seemed to be that the Messiah would lead an army and conquer Rome. Psalm 110 and 45 are just a few places where that idea came from. Israel had battle-fighting messiahs, but they did not heal the sick and feed thousands or preach repentance. When these messiahs died, their movements faded away and stopped (Acts 5:35).

A chazon from God leads you to your purpose in life and opens the door to your calling. A dream from God may lead your thinking in this process.
Now to add in the words ouai, and oyouai is Greek for woe and oy/hoy is Hebrew for woe. How does woe connect with vision? The Father and Son are protective of their kingdom. Because the Father has a purpose for His kingdom, I believe He will defend the people He has called to fulfill that purpose. The post –God’s Love and Let God Arise talk about this topic. While studying for a new series called The Sermons on the Mounts, I read Matthew 23. That passage contains the seven woes for the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. The way we translate woe and the context people use for that word seemed strange to me. Oy and hoy in Isaiah and the other prophets and ouai in the Book of Revelation do not fit what many try to put in Jesus’ warnings. In these warnings, the weight of woe is not a statement of you may be sorry, or too bad you did your actions. They imply a judgment is going to fall on you. For some reason, a large part of Christianity has grown away from the idea that Jesus is a king that leads an army. The world definitely does not like a strong, in command, conquering Jesus. To answer my question -you will receive woe (in this life) if you come against God’s vision or plan for His Church.

On Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus made these pronouncements-He cursed the fig tree (man’s works to be acceptable before God), the seven woes of Matthew 23, and prophesied that the Temple would come down. While in the Temple, He also told (through parable) the leaders of the nation they had to change or they would get thrown out of the Kingdom of God. Matthew 11 has the message of woe to several cities in Galilee and Luke 11 has a similar list of woes to Matthew 23. These woes added to the leaders’ anger at Jesus.

Did Jesus speak these woes twice, maybe? I feel Luke put together the stories he heard into something that Theophilus needed to read. Luke 11 to 18 has many of the same teachings as Matthew 21 to 26. That is not a statement against the book from Luke, rather, it shows his ability to communicate to his audience. Matthew and Mark had been eyewitnesses, so I tend to follow their timeline.  

Chazonouai, and oy are powerful words. Please use the reference websites I listed below for more details. I have no associations with any of those sites; they are references. So, reader beware.

Chazon-https://www.hebrewversity.com/what-is-shabbat-chazon/

https://biblehub.com/hebrew/2377.htm

ouai-https://franknelte.net/article.php?article_id=363