SIMON THE LEPER
33 AD – The Day of the Lord – Mount of Olives, Judea
Some of the Pharisees were loudly protesting, while some were trying to maintain decorum. Simon and some of his followers were probably relieved that things were calming down. But apparently, Jesus was not done yet. This time, he turned to the Pharisees and scribes and delivered some very scathing rebukes each attacking their hypocrisies.
Every one of the rebukes started with “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees. Hypocrites!” For every ‘woe’ exclaimed, Simon Peter visibly cringed knowing what an explosive situation they were in. He signaled the rest of the Twelve to be at a ready. They formed a protective circle while there were about twenty or more other disciples between them and the crowd. Some of the disciples were leading women to retreat deeper among the colonnades.
Like the pounding of a nail into wood, every rebuke touched a sensitive nerve most in their pride, but some in their conscience. For about half an hour, Jesus continued his scathing rebukes. On Jesus’ third set of woes, which triggered the Pharisees to make even a louder commotion, out came High Priest. From the Temple, he strode through the crowd with his priests making way and joined the already seething members of the Sanhedrin. He had a satisfied smirk in his face.
Jesus continued on with four more rebukes from their hypocrisy in tithing to finally their hypocrisy to honor the prophets forgetting that their ancestors were the ones that killed them and that even now they are doing the same by plotting to kill him.
Then with dramatic flair, Jesus points ominously at the Pharisees, the scribes and the High Priest, and declared, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” [Matthew 23:33-36]
Like the breaking of the damn, the courtyard broke out with indignant voices. Everyone was up and shoving each other. Some of the angry priest were calling out for the guards. People were saying he is the Messiah. Others were calling to have him stoned for blasphemy. It was this time of the chaos that Jesus was whisked away by his disciples. They went down the Eastern stairs the lower gates below the Temple Mount. They quickly crossed the Kidron bridge. Jesus hid his face to keep the thousands encamped in the valley from recognizing him. They maneuvered through the crowded valley, then up the Mount of Olives.
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