Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening He returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear Him. //
The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest Him when the crowds weren’t around.()Luke 21:37-22:6
What a curious way to end this chapter:
“Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening He returned to spend the night on the Mount of the Olives. The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear Him.”
These are the words which conclude Chapter 21.
Chapter 22 begins with the words:
“The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching.”
I am sure Robert Estienne must have pondered for a while where to make the chapter break in this case. It’s a strange combination of statements. It is not that the concluding comments of Chapter 21 tell us what happened then. Rather, the words sum up His activities described throughout Chapters 20 and 21. This statement appears to cover Jesus’ activities beginning with the Triumphal Entry and the following days. The concluding statement at the end of Chapter 21 is a repetition of what Luke wrote in 19:47.
After that, He taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill Him.Luke 19:47
This concluding statement adds more detail to what Jesus had been doing, but is retrospective. It looks back over the last few days at what Jesus was doing. We know from Matthew 21:17 that He stayed one of those nights in Bethany. However, the statement in Luke tells us He spent some nights having a camp-out on the Mount of Olives. Well, we know He spent the night in prayer on one of those nights, but this statement in Luke infers it took place over several nights. In the time leading up to Passover and on Passover itself, it was the practice of the people to camp out, in order both to recall the time of the Exodus from Egypt and the time spent in booths during the Feast of Booths. The verb [eulitzeto] specifically refers to camping out or bivouacking or Tabernacling (in terms used at the time of Booths). The term doesn’t preclude the use of more permanent dwellings but is pointing to temporary cover as you camp out under the stars.
It also seems that the crowds gathered at the Temple with the expressed purpose of hearing Jesus. They ought to have been gathering at the Temple because it was the lead-up to Passover. But in these verses, Luke informs us that the focus of attention was Jesus and His teaching. This teaching has been going on since the Triumphal Entry. In other words, all the content that we have covered since Gem 1152 is the subject material of what Jesus has been teaching. This has been ongoing over a number of days. Seemingly, a number of those nights have been spent on the Mount of Olives.
However, these few verses don’t only look back as a summary of the past days, but look forward to what is to come. It is not by chance that the major activity of a night on the Mount of Olives is still to be described. This segment is both retrospective and forward looking. All of these elements are linked together. I am also sure that Luke’s passing comment of [tas de nuktas] “during the nights” is not a throw away line. I think it is heavily symbolic. Especially in the light of what is to come. Note how Luke repeats again, the reminder that this is all linked to their plot to kill Him. It is repeated twice in Luke 19:47 and here again at the end of Chapter 21. He teaches in the day at the Temple and deals with the plotting of the enemy at night. Watch for this theme developing in the following chapter. It is parallel to John’s reference to the “night” at the same point in the story. It’s significant.
Instead of beginning the next chapter with, “The Passover was approaching”, rather we have the statement: “The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching.
The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.”
Just as I am sure the “night” reference is not by chance, neither is the fact that the Passover is referred to as the Festival of the Unleavened Bread. The Israelites were instructed to get rid of all leaven or yeast from their houses for sevendays. This yeast is a symbol of the sin or corruption, especially that of the Pharisees.
And Jesus said to them, Take heed, and beware the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.Matthew 16:6
How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you about loaves, but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?Matthew 16:11
Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.Matthew 16:12
In the meantime, when there had gathered together an innumerable crowd of people, so as to trample on one another, He began to say to His disciples first, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.Luke 12:1
The Passover was referred to naturally as the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” but I suspect the reference here is a deliberate link to “The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.” This undercurrent is running throughout this section. The opposition has peaked and now the lines are drawn.
One more comment before I leave you for today. The “many people” who gathered early each morning are described in the imperfect tense, which infers habitual action. It seems that many of those who came, came each morning. They kept rising early and heading off down to the Temple. They couldn’t get enough of what He had to say. They didn’t want to miss anything of His teaching. The Pharisees on the other hand, were not interested in what He had to say. Rather, their focus was centred on finding fault in what He said. They didn’t listen to what He said, beyond seeking to catch Him out.
Be careful. There is a huge difference between the two.
Tomorrow, satan comes on stage again.
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