This is the second in a series of devotional guides, briefly introducing each day of Holy Week and the corresponding events in Jesus’s life and ministry. As we saw in yesterday’s post, these events square with each day of Passion Week in the following way:
Monday: The fig tree incident and Jesus’s cleansing of the temple courts
Tuesday: Conclusion to the fig tree incident, Jesus’s teaching in the temple courts, and the Olivet Discourse
Wednesday: Further teaching in the temple courts, continued scheming to arrest and kill Jesus
Thursday: Preparation for Passover, the Last Supper, the Farewell Discourse, betrayal and arrest at Gethsemane, and Jesus’s initial hearings
Friday: Jesus’s final hearings, sentence, crucifixion, and burial
Saturday: . . .
Tuesday is unique in that it is devoted by and large to Jesus’s teaching. Whereas Monday focused on his dramatic purging of the temple courts, Tuesday includes (1) the conclusion to the fig tree incident (Mark 11:20–25); (2) various teachings in the temple courts (Mark 11:27—12:44); and (3) the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13:1–37). While the first of these is brief and fairly straightforward, Jesus’s temple teaching requires some unpacking. Here we follow eight discrete subsections of stories and teachings:
- the questioning of Jesus’s authority (Mark 11:27–33);
- the Parable of the Tenants (12:1–12);
- teachings about the payment of the imperial tax to Caesar (12:13–17);
- teachings about marriage at the resurrection (12:18–27);
- teachings about the greatest commandment (12:28–34);
- teachings about the Messiah (12:35–37);
- warnings against the teachers of the law (12:38–40); and
- teachings about the widow’s offering (12:41–44).
Likewise, the Olivet Discourse can be divided as follows:
- Introduction (Mark 13:1–4);
- The destruction of the temple (13:5–23);
- Signs of the end of the age (13:24–32); and
- The appeal to wakefulness (13:33–37).
Admittedly, this is a lot of reading material for one day—and still, we’ve avoided mentioning the parallels and extra didactic material in the other Gospels. As such, we make two recommendations. First, rather than attempting to read all of today’s material in one sitting, try reading in two: Mark 11:20—12:44 in the morning and Mark 13 in the evening. Secondly, since discipleship consists in large part of learning to obey our Lord’s teachings and commands (see Matthew 28:18–20), take the readings today as an opportunity to grow as a disciple of Christ.