TODAY’S Holy Week narrative illustrates the rebel in the limelight, questioning authority and pushing back.
Moved into fury for Jesus’s show of authority for cleaning the temple the day before, Israel’s top clerics mobilized forces to entrap Him, even seeking the help of perennial enemies just to question and nail this one rebel against the wall. What authority does he have to perform the chore, they asked.
Unfortunately for them, Jesus wasn’t one to cower. He called out the hypocrisies of the conspirators, reminding the Pharisees and Herodians who joined the fray that any authority is but part and parcel of God’s. You do not know the scriptures or the power of God, He told the Sadducees who weaved fake news about the seven brothers and the singular wife.
Jesus went on to warn the crowds and the disciples about the big lies, the revisionism over God’s word, the hypocrisy of their leaders.
The restrictions, Jesus said, hid the truth from the people. The leaders are espousing false religion that dreaded God.
So what should be the greatest commandment then, Jesus was asked. Simple: Love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. Second: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Soon, the temples would fall and along with them Jerusalem, but not without Jesus warning the people to be faithful, watchful and prepared.
We know, of course, the rest of the story. The galling rebel would be arrested, whipped to a pulp, and nailed to the cross. The magnitude of the torture was directly proportional to the terror He instilled on the poltroons in power, cowards with feet of clay.
This is one old story that never really gets old. The repercussions are particularly chilling to this day. Still true today, that tug and pull between power and the thick of the masses. There were Pharisees as much as there are politicians lying through the teeth in the circus called Philippine elections. There is as well the false religion of killing people without due process. The way it looks in our part of the metro, that false religion is revered daily by a blind citizenry.
But there must be some in our lot that take God’s word to heart. So we hold on to that word about being faithful, watchful and prepared. In the final reckoning, the temples and the false gods will crumble.