One of the most interesting days during the last week of Jesus’ life was Tuesday. Interesting, that is, to those who like to learn for it was a day of teaching. On Tuesday He delivered His scathing sermon denouncing the religious leaders (Matt. 23). The “woes” poured out on the Scribes and Pharisees revealed their religion to be all about themselves. Consumed with perfection, obedience to tradition, and subsequent self-righteousness, they had little concern for anybody else or for God’s glory. Another major sermon, preached at Mount Olivet (Matt. 24-25), taught He would return someday as King (the Second Coming). Parables of warning about that return (the vineyards, the talents, the ten virgins) were also on His agenda.
There were some unplanned moments such as when the Jewish parties schemed to trap Him with questions. No problem for the Great Rabbi. He took time to ask His own question and trapped them instead. They could not answer Him or they would have revealed their motives. Having failed to trap Him, they retreated to plan another strategy to get rid of Jesus.
Later in the day, two events give us a glimpse of our Savior’s passion. One was true worship. I am speaking of the widow’s offering. Christ, who was overly familiar with false worship (Matt. 23) points His disciples to a worshiping widow. Finally, a true worshiper. Why? What qualified her measly gift as worthy worship? It was all she had. “This poor widow has put in more than all those. . . For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44) Total sacrifice made this pure worship. Here, the One who is about to make total sacrifice to the Father, is moved by her total sacrifice. She too understood how to worship His Father. She gave her all. I wonder, “Will I ever join the company of the widow and Jesus and offer pure and total sacrifice?” Rather than run a laundry list of motives that pass through my mind when called upon for sacrifice, suffice it to say that I too want recognition and comfort. Self seeks to exert itself over God. Even in worship. Worthy worship is not so easy as we think, is it? Even on Sunday mornings in our “go to meetin’ clothes.” But this poor lady modeled it perfectly enough that He, the Lamb, pointed to her as an example. This is a glimpse of His passion to come.
Also, note the occasion John speaks of when Greeks showed up trying to meet Jesus (12:20-36). Their arrival “troubled” Him. Literally, He was deeply and emotionally moved. The Greeks’ request caused Christ to recognize that the “hour” He had always defined as future had now become present. It pulls a prayer from His throat almost as by force. “Father, glorify your name.” And the Father answers audibly affirming the “hour’s” arrival and its sure success. The world (Greeks) seeking Him moved Christ to recognize the “hour “ to give Himself as the Lamb of God for the sins of the whole world had come (I John 2:1-2). His passion is deeply stirred.
These Tuesday events – a widow’s true worship through total sacrifice and a world needing His total sacrifice – give us a glimpse of His passion. It is a passion that will pour out in a hot torrent on Friday for Christ’s Calvary work was the most authentic worship ever offered on this earth to God. It was complete sacrifice for the glory of God. Jesus noticed that even a widow is able to offer such worship. Are we?