The Stakes Are High

The Stakes Are High

Pastor Adam James

[Part of The Last Week of Jesus | An Easter Devotional series]

Reading: Matthew 21:33-46
Tuesday was a full day of teaching for Jesus. Nearly 5 full chapters of Matthew’s gospel account (Mt. 21-25) record all the teachings that Jesus gave on Tuesday. On this day, Jesus re-entered the temple courts to teach the people and engaged in more standoffs with the chief priests and Pharisees. And Jesus didn’t hold back!

From Matthew 21:23 all the way through chapters 22 & 23 of Matthew’s gospel, you find remarkable exchanges between Jesus and the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Chief Priests.

If you had time today, you could read about:
  • The authority of Jesus questioned (21:23-27)
  • The parable of the two sons (21:28-32)
  • The parable of the tenants (21:33-46, today’s reading)
  • The parable of the wedding banquet (22:1-14)
  • Jesus’ response about paying taxes to Caesar (22:15-22)
  • Jesus’ response to the Sadducees about marriage at the resurrection (22:23-33)
  • Jesus’ summary of the Greatest Commandment (22:34-40)
  • And the scathing Seven Woes against the Pharisees—whew! (23:1-39)

Then Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, and delivered what is known as the Olivet Discourse to His disciples (24 & 25), before again returning to Bethany. In the Olivet Discourse, we hear about:
  • The signs of the end of the age (Mt. 24:1-35)
  • The day and hour being unknown (24:36-51)
  • The parable of the ten virgins (25:1-13)
  • The parable of the talents (25:14-30)
  • And the teaching on the sheep & the goats at final judgment (25:31-46)

Make no mistake, friends, Jesus had things to say.

And not everyone was excited about what he had to say. 

And not everything was easy to understand. But He was on a clear mission from God, and as the end drew near, Jesus didn’t mince His words.
As we consider the events and teachings of Jesus on this Tuesday of Holy Week, we’re reminded that Jesus drew clear lines in His teaching, calling for a clear response. There is no question that a holy sense of urgency is in order for the people of God.

What will it be?  
  • Obedience or disobedience?
  • Receive Him or reject Him?
  • Answer His invitation or make excuses?
  • Honor God or fear man?
  • Religious on the outside and rotten on the inside? Or humbly broken at the feet of Jesus even though you’ve made a mess of things?
  • Love Jesus more and more to the end? Or grow cold and fade?
  • Get right with God today? Or fool around with life, run out of time, and miss out on the banquet?
  • Steward the gifts and talents He’s given you? Or waste your life in unbelief and go to a place of darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth?

Will you hear the words, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world!”

Or, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared of the devil and his angels.”

Jesus brought intense clarity on Tuesday. The difference between eternal punishment and eternal life all hinges on the person of Jesus Christ.

How do you treat Jesus Christ? Do you respect the Son of the Owner? Have you fallen on Jesus or are you waiting for Him to fall on you?

Better to be broken now at the feet of Jesus than to reject Christ—he cornerstone—and be crushed later.

Friends, this is what is on the line. The stakes are high.


“Father, it’s both a day filled with the promise of some of the greatest realities that could ever be imagined—eternal joy!—and simultaneously some of the hardest truths to even try to comprehend—weeping & gnashing of teeth. Help us live our days with a clear sense of urgency to be obedient and faithful, loving you with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Help us be those who “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone we find.” Lord Jesus, I believe you are more than just a prophet in the eyes of man…you are the Son of God, the King of the banquet, the Master of the house, the Christ, the true Shepherd of the sheep, the true Righteous Judge who is to come!  And you are also the hungry we are to feed, the naked we are to clothe, and the sick & imprisoned we are to visit. Make your Name known in our city as we build our lives upon You. May we walk in your truth without compromise and may we walk in your love without excuse. Thank you, Jesus, for being and speaking the truth this world desperately needs. That I desperately need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”


We love you, Grace City Church Family, and look forward to seeing you all this Easter!
Posted in
Posted in