1. A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE
a. What was always in the mind of Jesus as He considered His lifework and how should it influence us? John 9:4; 4:34.
“The Saviour’s life on earth was not a life of ease and devotion to Himself, but He toiled with persistent, earnest, untiring effort for the salvation of lost mankind. From the manger to Calvary He followed the path of self-denial and sought not to be released from arduous tasks, painful travels and exhausting care and labor. He said, ‘The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.’ Matthew 20:28. This was the one great object of His life. Everything else was secondary and subservient. It was His meat and drink to do the will of God and to finish His work. Self and self-interest had no part in His labor.
“So those who are the partakers of the grace of Christ will be ready to make any sacrifice, that others for whom He died may share the heavenly gift.”—Steps to Christ, p. 78.
b. What was Jesus’ response when asked to do things which would shorten His time to work? John 7:6, 8.
2. THE CROWNING MIRACLE
a. What did God allow to happen to one of Jesus’ closest friends, and when did Jesus go to see him? John 11:14, 17.
“Had Christ been in the sickroom, Lazarus would not have died; for Satan would have had no power over him. Death could not have aimed his dart at Lazarus in the presence of the Life-giver. Therefore Christ remained away. He suffered the enemy to exercise his power, that He might drive him back, a conquered foe.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 528.
“Had He restored him from illness to health, the miracle that is the most positive evidence of His divine character would not have been performed.”—Ibid.
b. What did Jesus do next? Verses 38–44.
“Christ could have commanded the stone to remove, and it would have obeyed His voice. He could have bidden the angels who were close by His side to do this. At His bidding, invisible hands would have removed the stone. But it was to be taken away by human hands. Thus Christ would show that humanity is to cooperate with divinity. What human power can do divine power is not summoned to do. God does not dispense with man’s aid. He strengthens him, cooperating with him as he uses the powers and capabilities given him.”—Ibid., p.535.
c. What was the reaction of the priests and rulers? Verses 47–54.
“Many who witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus were led to believe on Jesus. But the hatred of the priests against Him was intensified. . . . They were more than ever determined to put a stop to Christ’s work. . . .
“Thus far the Sadducees had not encouraged the plan of putting Christ to death. But after the resurrection of Lazarus they decided that only by His death could His fearless denunciations against them be stopped.”—Ibid., pp.537, 538.
“Christ’s crowning miracle—the raising of Lazarus—had sealed the determination of the priests to rid the world of Jesus and His wonderful works, which were fast destroying their influence over the people.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 66.
3. WHY A TRIUMPHAL ENTRY?
a. Describe the preparations for Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem for the last time. Mark 11:1–10.
b. What Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled by Christ in allowing Himself to be welcomed as a king? Isaiah 62:10, 11; Zechariah 9:9.
c. What was the reaction of the people to this event? Matthew 21:10; Luke 19:39. How did this affect Jesus’ future?
“Those who have once been blind . . . are the first to lead the way in that wonderful procession. . . . One whom He has raised from the dead leads the animal on which He is seated. The once deaf and dumb, with ears opened and tongues unloosed, help swell the glad hosannas. Cripples, with buoyant steps and grateful hearts, are now most active in breaking down the palm branches and strewing them in His path as their tribute of homage to the mighty Healer. The leper, who has listened to the dread words of the priest, ‘Unclean,’ . . . is there. . . . The demoniac is there, not now to have the words wrenched from his lips by Satan’s power.”—Christ Triumphant, p. 253.
“From the multitudes gathered to attend the Passover, thousands go forth to welcome Jesus. They greet Him with the waving of palm branches and a burst of sacred song. The priests at the temple sound the trumpet for evening service, but there are few to respond, and the rulers say to one another in alarm. ‘The world is gone after Him.’
“Never before in His earthly life had Jesus permitted such a demonstration. He clearly foresaw the result. It would bring Him to the cross. . . .
“The events connected with this triumphal ride would be the talk of every tongue, and would bring Jesus before every mind. After His crucifixion, many would recall these events in their connection with His trial and death. They would be led to search the prophecies, and would be convinced that Jesus was the Messiah; and in all lands converts to the faith would be multiplied.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 571.
4. THE NEXT STEP TOWARD THE CROSS
a. What was one of the first things Jesus did when He came into Jerusalem? Mark 11:15–17.
“At the beginning of His ministry, Christ had driven from the temple those who defiled it by their unholy traffic; and His stern and godlike demeanor had struck terror to the hearts of the scheming traders. At the close of His mission He came again to the temple, and found it still desecrated as before. The condition of things was even worse than before. . . .
“The indignation of Jesus was stirred; He knew that His blood, so soon to be shed for the sins of the world, would be as little appreciated by the priests and elders as was the blood of beasts which they kept incessantly flowing. . . .
“Christ spoke with a power that swayed the people like a mighty tempest: ‘It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.’ His voice sounded like a trumpet through the temple. The displeasure of His countenance seemed like consuming fire. With authority He commanded, ‘Take these things hence.’ John 2:16.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 589-591.
b. What was the reaction of the priests? Why did they feel this way? Verse 18.
“The Pharisees were utterly perplexed and disconcerted. One whom they could not intimidate was in command. Jesus had taken His position as guardian of the temple. Never before had He assumed such kingly authority. Never before had His words and works possessed so great power. He had done marvelous works throughout Jerusalem, but never before in a manner so solemn and impressive. In presence of the people who had witnessed His wonderful works, the priests and rulers dared not show Him open hostility. Though enraged and confounded by His answer, they were unable to accomplish anything further that day.”—Ibid., p.593.
c. What did Jesus do to avoid further conflict at this time? Verse 19.
5. JESUS AGAIN PROPHESIES OF HIS DEATH
a. Relate the parable Jesus then spoke to the people. Mark 12:1–11.
b. What was the reaction of the leaders of Israel? Why? Verse 12.
“The speakers had not at first perceived the application of the parable, but they now saw that they had pronounced their own condemnation. In the parable the householder represented God, the vineyard the Jewish nation, and the hedge the divine law which was their protection. The tower was a symbol of the temple. The lord of the vineyard had done everything needful for its prosperity. ‘What could have been done more to my vineyard,’ he says, ‘that I have not done in it.’ Isaiah 5:4. Thus was represented God’s unwearied care for Israel. And as the husbandmen were to return to the lord a due proportion of the fruits of the vineyard, so God’s people were to honor Him by a life corresponding to their sacred privileges. But as the husbandmen had killed the servants whom the master sent to them for fruit, so the Jews had put to death the prophets whom God sent to call them to repentance. Messenger after messenger had been slain. Thus far the application of the parable could not be questioned, and in what followed it was not less evident. In the beloved son whom the lord of the vineyard finally sent to his disobedient servants, and whom they seized and slew, the priests and rulers saw a distinct picture of Jesus and His impending fate. Already they were planning to slay Him whom the Father had sent to them as a last appeal. In the retribution inflicted upon the ungrateful husbandmen was portrayed the doom of those who should put Christ to death.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 596, 597.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What was the great purpose of Jesus’ life?
2. How did the resurrection of Lazarus hasten the coming kingdom?
3. How would the triumphal entry convict souls of Jesus’ divinity?
4. What was the result of Jesus’ cleansing of the temple for the second time?
5. What distinct picture was presented to the priests and rulers through the parable of the vineyard? How did they react?