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.   

Let God Arise

Let God Arise is an extension of the post-God’s Love. The postmodernist ideology has twisted the love of God to dilute what He did to show His love to us. He sent and allowed Jesus to be the sacrifice for your sin. The catch is you have to choose Jesus and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit into a righteousness life. Right living according to God’s standard is what the world leaves out or twist to justify their wrong behavior.

These verses are a few that show the mind of God. (They are NIV. If you use KJV, look for arise instead of rise.)

  • Psalm 74:22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.
  • Psalm 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness
  • Isaiah 30:18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Father God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We need to adjust our minds back to the mind of God. One area to bring our minds back to His thoughts is miracles. Yes, they are real and they still happen today. God’s miracles are to bring glory to the Father through Jesus. His righteous plan for His kingdom is the driving force behind miracles. Please, do not dismiss the work of the Holy Spirit that is trying to bring people back to the Father.

The miracles and acts of God that are below, I believe, protected the Father’s righteous plan. While defending His own/plan, the offending party did not fare well. But, Father God is just, whether you agreed with Him or not. Check the verses, as I am giving a synopsis of the story. 

            Sarah 

  • Genesis 12:17 God defended His woman, even when her husband feared for his safety. Diseases afflicted Pharaoh and his household because of Sarah. 
  • Genesis 20:3-17 Abimelech and his household became afflicted with diseases and their wombs closed. God rose up and protected Sarah and Isaac.

            Moses 

  • Numbers 16 The earth swallowed Korah’s family alive when it opened up, and the opposing elders also burned as they opposed Moses and Arron.
  • Numbers 21:1 Miriam, Moses’ big sister, contracted leprosy because she wanted to be in charge.  
  • Deuteronomy 31 or 34 Moses did not enter the Land, when he did not show God as Holy by obeying Him. 

            Paul 

  • Acts 13:6-12 Elymas of Cyprus lost his sight for a while for perverting the ways of the Lord. He hindered Paul and Barnabas as they talked to Sergius Paulus. (1st trip.)
  • Acts 16:16-19 Owners of the fortune teller lost money and the use of their slave when Paul called out the demon spirit. (2nd trip.)

            Ark

1 Samuel 16:19 The priest or Levities who looked in the Ark when it came back from the Philistines died. It was forbidden, and they knew it. 

David

2 Samuel 6:23 Michal became barren after criticizing David for dancing before the Lord. 

Elijah

2 Kings 1:9 Lightning struck two groups of soldiers and they died for threatening the prophet. 

Elisha

  • 2 Kings 6:18 Blind soldiers were led into Samaria.
  • 2 Kings 5:26 Elisha’s servant took money for a miracle instead of giving God the glory. He contracted leporsy. 
  • 2 Kings 2:23 Bears killed the youth who taunted Elisha and called him names. 
  • 2 Kings 7:2 The officer who mocked Elisha’s predication and God’s ability about food being at the gate died at that gate.

Uzziah/Azariah

2 Chronicles 25:11 He was a good king whose pride caused a problem. He offered incense in the Temple, only Aaron’s family could do that. He was struck with leprosy and lived by himself until he died.

Nebuchadnezzar 

Daniel 4:28-33 Nebuchadnezzar became mad until he acknowledged God’s power and gave the glory to Him.

            The Early Church

Acts 5:5 Ananias and his wife dropped dead for lying and trying to bring themselves glory. 

Let God Arise and His enemies be scattered. The Father is no pushover. Just because He has mercy does not make Him weak.

In pondering these stories and other miracles in the Bible, something stuck out and is worth mentioning. Jesus went around doing miracles and setting captives free. The Plan involved Him dying, and being beaten, and mocked, and abandoned. But the defense of God’s plan does not stop in the ministry of Jesus. He pronounces woe on several things in His teaching in the Temple before Passover. Unusual miracles begin again in the ministry of Paul and Peter. 

Let God arise and His Kingdom come.

Kingdom Wedding

Matthew 25:1 compares the Kingdom of Heaven to ten girls waiting for their wedding. This post continues the ideas in the Ten Virgins Who Woke Up by examining components of a Jewish wedding. Marriage and the Wedding are core to the Kingdom of God. It is the third thing that God provided to Adam in the Garden-a place to live, a way to support himself, and a wife (life is a given). Genesis 2:24 is the first explanation or commentary in the Bible. The verse explains the “why” for the first recorded words of any man: “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”. Yes, Adam spoke names of animals, but they are never listed. This shows the importance of marriage. Because this joining reflects how God wants us to relate to Him, is there any wonder why marriage between a man and a woman is being attacked? The serpent’s assault on the Kingdom in the Garden is intended to separate mankind from God and to tear apart the union of Man and Woman. What if Adam never ate the fruit? Eve was deceived, but sin entered when Adam followed his wife in eating the forbidden fruit. How would things look now if Adam followed God’s voice and instructions? Okay, back to the symbolism in a Jewish wedding. 

In Luke 2, Mary is betrothed to Joseph. This part of the wedding is the erusin and, according to custom, they are bound to each other. Joseph’s father paid the mohar or bride’s price to Mary’s father (Exodus 22:16). This money should follow Mary into the marriage, but the money or services belonged to Mary’s father. I am sure that the money became part of Joseph’s concern when he found out Mary was with child. Father God paid the mohar; Jesus came to earth and died for us to pay the price. Our erusin began when we choose to accept that payment of Jesus’ blood and the work of the cross.

The mattan are the gifts given to the bride by the groom over and above the mohar. This thought is overwhelming! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and with Him are the gifts. Charis is the Greek word used for the gifts of the Spirit and for grace. Are you picking what part of the mattan you want and fits in your BOX, or are you taking all the Gift? 

For the next parts of the wedding, I will list and explain as I see them and how they fit into the Kingdom.

  1. In the erusin, the groom is to prepare a place for the bride to live (John 14:2+3). Search in Bible Gateway for-prepare a place. The results are interesting. https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=prepare+a+place&resultspp=100&version=NIV
  2. The bride (and the groom) are to wash in a mikveh. This is a spiritual preparation. A mikveh is a pool of living (moving) water. I will equate the washing to baptism, but there are many types and reasons for washing in Jewish customs. 
  3. Nissuin is the wedding, and a part of this is a colorful parade. This procession is in the parable of the Ten Virgins. The Bride was never sure when the groom would come, so they had to be ready. The Father of the groom decided the exact time for the procession. Jesus said this in Matthew 24:36. I did not find this in my current research, but I believe the nissuin was two parades, one going to get the Bride and one going home. If that is the case, I would like to call the Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem the first parade and the second parade is yet to happen.
  4. The chappah is what the Bride stands under, and that symbolizes the marriage chamber. May I offer the tongues of fire when they settled above the disciples’ heads on the Day of Pentecost as the chappah? They represent the glory of Heaven as first seen on Mount Sinai
  5. The Bride has responsibilities and duties during the erusin. Her price has been paid, and she is now married (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The free.messianicbible.com site uses the Parable of the Virgins as its focus, so I am good with that. Again, I don’t have sources, but many of the things they say I have heard/read in other places. The bride had to be ready and part of that was a lamp filled with oil. She was to be concerned about her clothing and ornaments. She needed to be listening for the shofar (the trump) that will announce the groom’s coming. In our current customs, the bride and her family are busy doing all the work for the perfect day. That is not what it looked like in the first century. The groom handled the marriage feast.

Another post will focus on verses in the Bible about this topic. They are surprising. Psalm 45, which is labeled a wedding song, will provide a new twist on Kingdom, weddings, and brides. 

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/465162/jewish/The-Jewish-Marriage-Ceremony.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com

myjewishlearning .com

jfedgmw.org

free.messianicbible.com

I apologize about the URL for the last three websites. All deal with ancient Jewish wedding practices. Facebook is creating links that I did not wish to have in my post.

Ten Virgins Who Woke Up

The parable of the Ten Virgins caught my eye because they woke up from sleeping while they were waiting for their bridegroom. The term woke has become a popular phrase to identify yourself with a particular ideology, almost theology. It is important for believing Christians to take notice of the two groups that woke up in this parable.

Matthew 25:1+2 has the Wise Five and the Foolish Five as part of the kingdom of heaven. In our modern context of Woke, that adds a layer to the story that only God could have seen. But the story was told to first-century Jews and for us. Because the groups had different responses and actions after they woke up from a period of sleep or inaction would have more meaning for Jesus’ audience. 

The setting of when and where this story was told is part of the prophetic importance that I usually miss. The immediate setting is the Temple just before Jesus’ final Passover. But placing it in the metanarrative of the Gospels cannot be lost in the parable’s study. This Passover is about forty months from when Jesus went to the Jordan to be baptized by John, Matthew 3:13. The exact time is not recorded, but after Jesus’ first miracle, He goes to Passover, John 2:13.

Jesus was at the Jordan when he started His triumphal march to Jerusalem. This concluded with the parade we call Palm Sunday. (See on His Way to Jerusalem and #2, and The Triumphal Enter.) The Sermon from the Temple occurs on Tuesday of Holy Week. The Kingdom and His return become the chief topic and the watchfulness that the believers in God should have is highlighted. When Jesus tells this parable, it is to reinforce and add to several vignettes about the End of the Age. Jesus frames this parable with why He is teaching it: Matthew 25:1 and 25:13. Verse 1 says (my paraphrase) Then the kingdom will be like ten virgins. Then the kingdom, or at that time, refers to 24:36-51. This is echoed in verse 13 when it says, watch or stay alert because you do not know. 

The Kingdom is the object of the lesson, and everything will need to be viewed considering it. But this teaching is being used to explain 24: 36-51. Then, as now, people had/have different views of what God’s kingdom should look like. We want to think we know the mind of God, but our personal desires, doctrinal leanings, and political hopes might not be what God has in mind. Please, be careful of putting God in YOUR box.

Like it or not, all ten girls represent the kingdom, vs 1. You can argue the metaphors all day long and there are many things that have been said, but the ends time will be like those virgins. (This is stirring me to focus again on the kingdom.) All started with a call or invitation from the bridegroom, all brought their own lamps; all of them fell asleep, all woke up and tended their faltering lamps; and all wanted to go with the bridegroom. The first five are foolish (moros Strong’s G3474) because they take part in senseless wickedness. The wise (phronimos Strong’s G5429) five are considerate, thoughtful, prudent, and discreet. Leaders of the kingdom, that sounds like the people need your help.   

Woke Up-the virgins all responded to the call that their Desire was near and they had to go meet Him. The Foolish Five demanded oil from the wise. They were denied. So, in the middle of the night, they went and woke up those who sold oil. Does that sound familiar? The Wise Five left and went to wait for the groom. The refusing to share, by the Wise Ones, will need further musing, but that is a radical thought. Believers, that sounds like saying NO is an acceptable answer when pressured by those who choose to be foolish. The foolish left and got: I never knew you, when they knocked on the door. THOUGHT-How would this story look if they had just stayed with the Wise Five.

The term in this story for woke is ēgerthēsan. It occurs twice in the New Testament. Here in Matthew 25:7 and then in 27:52. Chapter 27 is telling about the dead who rose to life and went back into Jerusalem.   

https://biblehub.com/greek/e_gerthe_san_1453.htm

For just a moment, compare the two stories-sleeping, waking, and going. Another story about sleeping and waking in Matthew that is connected to Holy Week is the Big Three falling asleep while waiting/praying with Jesus. Again, many connections there are hard to dismiss.

Telling on myself. This post was growing out of control, so I pruned it. Parables of the kingdom and other discussions about the kingdom will be coming. The ten virgins who woke up still have many worthy points in it that need talking about.