I have been brought to consider, personally, the events and geography of those events leading up to the Savior’s final days in mortality. This study, as guided by the Spirit of the Lord, has illustrated to me in clear terms the “how it happened” and “where it happened” of these critical events in the history of the world, which thing has never been given to me before in this manner.
I am asking myself why now, why so strongly, why so clearly, are these things being show to me? I am ever so keenly aware of my imperfections and unworthiness to really be receiving such, and yet for the Lord’s own purposes He is instructing me now. I am so very much not worthy.
I don’t even know quite how I can begin to change myself to bridge this gap in my understanding. It is not a lack of mental knowledge that keeps me from changing. It is as if there is yet some part of me that refuses to believe what I know to be true, and I don’t know how to change that. Is it an ailment of the heart? What void of darkness must yet be removed from my soul so that I may act and remember to act and desire to act in harmony with so much light? How much more intimate must become my relationship with Him and why? Why me?
I am reminded now of how to change. The answer is in the preparation of the ground to receive the word of God. “Hear ye the parable of the sower.” Change and progress lies in the preparation of the soil to receive the seeds of truth. The work of preparation is of great importance. If I want to change something within myself, am I preparing myself to make that change?
Well, I suppose that it make sense that if the Lord has set me apart to do some particular thing for Him, that there would also be at same time an increased sense of relationship and connection to Him.
There is work to do now for the day, but I will leave off with this point: a very substantial part of the Lord’s recorded ministry in several of the Gospel accounts is dedicated to his final week of events and teachings that the Savior shared at Jerusalem.
Coming back to it on a new day now, it impresses me that there is no other week in all the word’s history that is more heavily documented in scripture than is the final week of the Lord’s mortal ministry. 29 chapters focus on that final week, from his descent into the Jerusalem region to his Resurrection.
Matthew 20:17-19 – In these verses Jesus tells the twelve that they are now going to Jerusalem and that he would be betrayed and condemned to death, delivered into the hands of the Gentiles to be mocked, scourged and crucified.
It is interesting to note the direction in which he came down was from Jericho. Before entering into Jerusalem it seems that he made a detour by way of Bethpage and possibly even Bethany, which were beyond the mount of Olives to the southeast of the city.
Matthew 21 to 28 (8 chapters) then entails the final week of his mortal ministry. There is much contained in these chapters which essentially constitute nearly one-third of the recorded gospel according to Matthew. Events included:
- Triumphant entry into Jerusalem
- Cleansing of the temple (second time)
- Extensive period of teaching in the temple.
- Then much of the more well known events surrounding his death and resurrection.
In the book of Mark, chapter 11 is where the Triumphal Entry is recorded. So chapters 11 – 16 of Mark (6 chapters) also consist of about one-third of the recorded Gospel in Mark.
In Luke, chapters 19 -24 (6 chapters) constitute the Savior’s final week. This is one-fourth the account of Luke.
Then in John, it is chapters 12 – 21 (9 chapters)that encompass that final week, essentially one-half of the book of John. John’s account is quite dramatic and different than the other accounts.
Again, a new day, my questions are these:
- Why the second cleansing of the temple?
- What teaching were taught in these final days before his crucifixion?
The first question is worthy of consideration. Why was the temple cleansed? It was an effectual clearing of the ground, turning off the noises of the world, preparation that ought to occur before spiritual instructions are received. Missionaries understand this principle well.
I am reminded of the priesthood meeting that I attended where Elder Holland showed up 40 minutes late and how it was that it afforded us a time to prepare through the singing of hymns for the messages that we received. I remember how some left in frustration, while others stayed and sung the hymns of Zion. We were richly rewarded for so doing and taught a great lesson in patience.
The second question will require turning to the scriptures.
Teachings start in Matthew 21:14.
On the first day, upon his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus goes to the temple and cleanses it. He heals the blind and the lame. Babes speak praises to him. Then in the evening of the first day, he leaves Jerusalem and spends the night in Bethany. Perhaps this is Monday.
The following day he returns to the temple (Tuesday?). He curses a fig tree that bares no fruit, and then it immediately withers. He disciples are amazed at this thing, and then the Lord goes on to teach them about prayer, stating “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (vs. 21 & 22)