When Will The Kingdom Come?
Every day that Passover week, Jesus taught in the Temple. He arrived early in the morning and stayed till late at night. People flocked to hear him from the time he entered the city till the time he left. But at night, when everyone else went back to their homes to eat and sleep, Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives alone to pray.
During these days the disciples asked him when the Kingdom would happen. Jesus told them that he did not know, even the angels did not know, only God knew. But he gave them a list of signs to look out for.
One of these was the complete destruction of the Temple.
“There won’t be one stone left upon another,” Jesus said.
(Historical Note: As Jesus spoke, the original building constructed by Ezra and Nehemiah was still being extended and refurbished by Herod. The white marble and decorated gold cladding could be seen for miles. It was incredibly beautiful and securely built. It wasn’t actually completed until 63AD. But in 70AD the Jewish revolt grew so intense that the exasperated Romans completely flattened Jerusalem. The remaining Jews took refuge in the Temple and the Roman soldiers set fire to it. The gold cladding melted and ran between the stones so Herod ordered them all to be separated so that the gold could be recovered. As Jesus had prophesied, not one stone was left upon another.)
He told them to study the scriptures and recognise the signs. He said they knew at once that when a fig tree started leafing up summer was on its way. In the same way, the signs would tell them that the Kingdom was about to happen.
“It will be just like in the days of Noah,” He told them. “People eating and drinking and getting married right up until the Flood came and swept them all away.”
But most of all He warned the disciples to be ready and watchful at all times rather than looking out for signs and being lazy and complacent because they hadn’t seen any yet.
Judas and the Thirty Pieces of Silver
Meanwhile, the chief priests and scribes had had enough. They all got together in the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, and plotted how they could get rid of Jesus once and for all. The trouble was, it was now only two days to the Passover and the city was full of religious pilgrims from all quarters of the known world.
“We need to do it quietly and discreetly,” they reasoned. “But it’s impossible right now. We can’t do it in public or there’ll be a riot and we don’t know where to find Him when He’s on His own.”
And then – their problems were all solved at a stroke. In came Judas Iscariot.
“How much will you give me if I lead you to Him in a nice quiet place where you can arrest him without the crowds knowing?”
The deal was struck for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave, or about half the cost of Mary’s spikenard.