One of the most amazing background settings to the Passion Week is Jesus’ focus on money and the marketplace.
“Money and the marketplace – are your serious, Jim? That borders on blasphemy!”
Yes, I am very serious. And no, it does not insult His torture, death or resurrection.
For money and the marketplace are the key settings for the last two parables Jesus taught his disciples before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane.
Before Entering Jerusalem: Luke 19:11-27
“Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’” Luke 19:11-14
Jesus is on his journey back to Jerusalem and ultimately his death. He had just raised Lazarus from death. He had been anointed with oil. His time had fully come.
With all He could have taught, He chose the marketplace as the setting of His last teaching before entering Jerusalem: the Parable of the Minas.
Before Entering the Garden: Matthew 25:14-30
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” Matthew 25: 14-19
It’s the end of the institution of the Passover celebration in the upper room. The meal is finished. Judas has been recognized as the betrayer and had left.
With all He could have taught, He chose the marketplace as the setting of His last teaching before entering the garden: the Parable of the Talents.
Is the Marketplace Important to Jesus?
Oh yes. The marketplace was in His heart and in His words during two of His last critical teachings to the disciples.
Of course these two parables represent far more than just an ROI for financial investments or work effort. Yet it is amazing to me He chose a business setting for teaching just prior to these two eternally significant events.
Perhaps you are now moved to add into your Resurrection Week readings these critically important marketplace parables of Jesus.