Holy Tuesday, March 27
SCRipture reading: Matthew 21.28-25.46
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
—Matthew 25:40 ESV
In today’s Scripture reading we find Jesus entering Jerusalem for the last time; He is headed toward the cross, literally paving the way for the ultimate reconciliation. From God’s perspective, Jesus has been crucified since the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). But within creation’s timeline, Jesus is set to release the power of the cross into the human experience. He is about to reconcile all men to Himself. By embracing this reconciliation through receiving His gift of salvation, we are invited into much more than just honoring His path on this Holy Tuesday. The reconciliation of the cross invites us into total transformation, from death to life.
In this section of Matthew’s gospel, we find Jesus interacting with those who were trying to antagonize Him as well as His disciples. The record of His interaction with those who resisted Him is a treasure trove. Did you notice what kept them from recognizing Jesus and His Kingdom? I would like to suggest that it was their ways of thinking, believing and understanding that kept many from truly seeing the One that was standing right in front of them. Those same ways of thinking, believing and understanding can also keep us from experiencing the full effect of reconciliation with our heavenly Father, i.e. the full effect of the cross, i.e. the full revelation of Christ in us. Wherever our ways are not in agreement with His ways, we are invited into an exchange—our way is reconciled to His way and transformation is realized. This very exchange is the purpose for the cross and the fruit of it.
Consider Matthew 25:34-40. The King (Jesus) is welcoming two groups of people, the sheep (those who have shown love) and the goats (those who have not shown love). Jesus is making eternal decisions seemingly based on “right” behavior. The sheep did the right stuff to the right people at the right time. But, wait, Jesus just spent the last few chapters chastising the Jewish leaders for prioritizing outward behavior and missing the more important stuff. Certainly, the way in which He operates is different from the way of the Jewish leaders. Is it possible that Jesus is identifying the sheep, not as those who act generously or lovingly, but as those who have become generous, become love? Having become love, they love well. Considering the parables Jesus had most recently shared, perhaps the sheep’s right behavior is the effect of wearing a wedding garment (22:12) and having oil in their lamps (23:7, 10).
So where does one find a wedding garment or oil for one’s lamp? Tucked away within Jesus’ gift of salvation is the beautiful and powerful gift of His righteousness (Rom 5:17). It is the foundation to experiencing transformation. His righteousness is the wedding garment of Isaiah 61:10. Grace, reigning through righteousness (Rom 5:21) can remove any “way” within us that hinders our experience of reconciliation. We simply have to purposefully make the trade as He encounters us on our journey. It is an intentional exchange: fear for love, lies for truth, crooked for straight. In this way, grace, working through righteousness, produces the oil in the lamp that makes ready (Rev 19:7) His bride. The experience of reconciliation is the oil in the lamp. As we experience reconciliation, we experience being like Him. The reality of every Kingdom desire planted in our hearts will flow as we become like Him. Having become love, we will love well.
Today, embrace His Presence and intentionally say yes to His gift of righteousness—put on the wedding garment. Let it do its work.
SPECIAL THANKS TO SUSAN THOMPSON, OUR EDITOR,
AND OUR CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS:
Palm Sunday - Marcus Harris
Holy Monday - Joel Fernandez
Holy Tuesday - Gina Green
Holy Wednesday - Bethany Pautrat
Maundy Thursday - Susan Thompson
Good Friday - Betsy Herman
Holy Saturday - Jordan Shimon
Resurrection Sunday - Cathy Harris