20. "Woe unto You, . . . Hypocrites"
Parable of the Two Sons
After Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the chief priests approached Him in the temple and demanded: "By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?" (Matthew 21:23). Jesus answered by telling a story about a certain man who had two sons. With the question of authority in mind, as I read this parable in the Greek, something jumped off the page at me. Think about it: When did a certain father have two sons, One who went and the other who did not? When did the First (the Firstborn) say, "Ou thelo," which in Greek means "I will it not," or "I'd rather not," or "it is not my will."
The Triumphal Entry
The four Gospel accounts differ only slightly on the triumphal entry. The Synoptic Gospels, for instance, give greater detail as to how Jesus obtained the donkey on which he rode during his triumphal procession. Luke depicts it as a triumphal approach to Jerusalem, with Jesus stopping some distance from Jerusalem to mourn and lament the city from afar before he entered the holy city (19:41–44). While a donkey does not seem to modern readers to be a very regal mode of transportation, one must remember that it was commonly the conveyance of Old Testament kings, especially David. The waving of tree branches (only John mentioned that they were palm fronds) is often associated with Sukkot, the autumn festival of Tabernacles that commemorated the wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness. Once in the Promised Land, however, it became above all a harvest festival, but it was also associated with the coronation of the Israelite king and in the intertestamental period developed messianic connections.
During Christ's earthly ministry the Pharisees were religiously active and often quarreled with and tried to trap Christ in his teachings. This chart provides basic information about the Pharisees as well as the Sadducees and Essenes.
A Pharisee and a Publican go into the temple to pray. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not as the other man (the publican) and continued to focus his thoughts on his own self-righteousness. The Savior said, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." A true saint possesses the gift of humility and seeks not to exalt himself.
"We Owe Allegiance to Sovereignty," by Howard W. Hunter, Improvement Era, June 1968
This article refers to events recorded in the Gospels, including when a Pharisee conceived a plan to ruse Christ about a question of allegiance. Christ rebukes them for their hypocrisy and then states that allegiance is appropriate to the state as well as to divine sovereignty.
Mary Annoints Jesus' Feet
"The Anointing in Bethany according to John," by Eric D. Huntsman
In the days leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection, there are possibly two different stories of a woman anointing Jesus in Bethany. John records that at some point after the raising of Lazarus and before the Triumphal Entry, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed Jesus' feet (John 12:1–3). Mark and Matthew, on the other hand, recount that a day or two before the Last Supper, an unidd woman entered a dinner in the house of one Simon the Leper in Bethany and anointed Jesus' head (Mark 14:3–9; Matthew 26:6–13).