When I was a kid, I spent some time each summer in a swimming pool . . . though I do not like to swim. I enjoyed my friends and the water would feel awesome on warm summer days, but ACTUALLY SWIMMING has always felt to me more like a way to avoid drowning than a leisure-time activity.
So what do you do when you enjoy the pool but don’t like to swim? You play games! Marco Polo . . . sharks and minnows . . . and gutter ball (to name a few), were some of the games I liked playing at the pool. Another game that we would sometimes play was “King of the Mountain.” Have you ever played this game? It is when one person takes an elevated position (like on a floating raft) and tries to remain afloat while everyone else tries to knock him/her off. This was a fun game. Not that I was ever good at “being the king” but it got me in the water and my mind off drowning!
As I read Matthew 21-23, I see Jesus walking up on the “Mountain” where the Jewish Temple was located. After He ascends to this height, various groups of people try to knock Him off. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and others come at Jesus in waves, trying to get Him to make a mistake, stump Him with a tough question, or discredit Him in front of the others. They all come . . . they all give it their best shot . . . and they all fail miserably. In the end Jesus is still the “King of the Mount” and no one can take Him down.
We live in a world today where people are still trying to take down the King of Kings. “He wasn’t REALLY the Son of God,” says the History Channel documentary. “He was just another Rabbi,” say the University Philosophy instructors. “His morals are outdated and His teaching is discriminatory,” bemoan the purveyors of “woke” orthodoxy in our culture. Yet 2,000 years later . . . He still stands tall.
Over the next four Sundays at Wildwood Community Church (beginning September 22), we will be looking at a number of challenges Jesus received from different groups of people in the last week of His earthly life before going to the cross. We will see the objections of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians drown as Jesus answers their questions with authority, truth, and grace. Join us this Sunday for part 1, as we look at Matthew 21:23-27, 22:41-46.