Redeemer Family, During holy week, our pastors and other leaders are sharing reflections about the week. What was Jesus doing each day? And how does this show more about who He is and what He accomplished for us in His death and resurrection? Follow along each day. - Pastor Kevin
Day 4: Wednesday by Pastor Kevin Bowles
Matthew 26:3-16 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the courtyard of the high priest, who was named Caiaphas, 4 and they conspired to arrest Jesus in a treacherous way and kill him. 5 “Not during the festival,” they said, “so there won’t be rioting among the people.”
6 While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman approached him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She poured it on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This might have been sold for a great deal and given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a noble thing for me. 11 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me. 12 By pouring this perfume on my body, she has prepared me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they weighed out thirty pieces of silver for him. 16 And from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him.
In the final hours before Jesus's death, we are given two vignettes in the Gospel of Matthew. In these scenes, we see two kingdoms.
First, the kingdom of this world – where Jesus is rejected as King; where men love darkness and hate His light. And second, we see the Kingdom of Heaven, where the poor in Spirit rightly treasure and worship the King.
SCENE ONE – The darkness of sin in a beautiful place.
In the first scene, we see the chief priests, gathered in a beautiful place – the courtyard of the high priest. But in this place, they will do a wicked thing.
These men, esteemed by many, had just listened to Jesus rip their ministry to shreds in front of the crowds. “Hypocrites… blind guides… whitewashed tombs… and sons of snakes!” he called them. They hated Jesus before, but now he has called them the Satan's offspring.
With their rage toward Jesus peaking, they scheme to arrest and kill Him. They know this won’t be a popular decision, so they must accuse Him of crimes designed to enrage the Jews. Their plans are devious and dark.
SCENE TWO – The light of Christ in a detestable place
In scene two, we see Jesus’s unimpressive followers – gathered in a detestable place. Jesus is in the home of a leper named Simon (likely a former leper, healed by Jesus). Jesus chooses to spend some of his final hours fellowshipping in an outcast’s home. A woman (likely Jesus’s friend Mary – John 12:3) comes to pour expensive ointment on Jesus’s head. And of course, his disciples are outraged, thinking only of the financial waste. Jesus explains the beauty of her act - that he is being anointed for burial.
As was often the case, the disciples respond as we would: “Jesus, we are so clever and would’ve used this resource so much more wisely.” Meanwhile, just as with Mary’s sister, Martha, Jesus patiently corrects His disciples, explaining that there is nothing more righteous or wise than lovingly sacrificing for Jesus.
WHAT IS JESUS WORTH?
The final scene sees Judas leave scene two to join those who hate Jesus in scene one. And after this woman had worshiped Jesus by pouring out expensive oil (likely a year’s wage worth), Judas is willing to betray Jesus for merely 30 silver pieces (only a month’s wage).
The worth of Jesus, to one who has experienced His great mercy, is incalculable. But to the one who loves self, Jesus will be treated as common, easily discarded for nothing.
Will we see and respond to the worth of Jesus this week? He is worth our whole lives. As we survey His cross and marvel at His empty tomb, may we join our sister in rightly valuing everything else as loss compared to surpassing value of knowing Jesus as Lord. He is worth it all!