Jesus is betrayed
READ Matthew 26:1-16
Two very different response to Jesus are portrayed here. The chief priests and elders had certainly had enough (3-5) so they plotted to have Him killed. None of this was unsuspected by Jesus (2). Matthew portrays Him as having known of this outcome all along (16:21; 17:22, 23; 20:18, 19; 21:33-46). Jesus’ conflict with the religious authorities is about to reach its climax.
Judas plays his sad part in this betrayal. No one knows for certain why he did it, though money seems to be one motivation (15). He was ‘treasurer’ for the band of followers and looked after their finances (John 12:4-6; 13:29). How tragic that love for Jesus had not been able to overcome his avarice. Was he also disillusioned? The Gospels do not tell us, but Judas has become a symbol of treachery.
Sandwiched between these two accounts is the beautiful story of the anointing at Bethany. Jesus followed the custom of His day in reclining to eat, leaning on His left side and leaving His right side free to eat (7). Thus it would be easy for the woman to reach His head. Her generous devotion to Jesus is in the stark contrast to the attitude of Judas and the Jewish leaders. But Jesus sees a deeper theological significance in her action (12; John 19:39-40). She was, perhaps unwittingly acknowledging Him as ‘Messiah’, the ‘Anointed One’. She was also anointing Him for burial, a custom habitually denied to criminals. The woman was doing it in advance. The disciples are simply concerned for the poor (8, 9), but Jesus points to an even more important concern. Devotion to Jesus must always precede any good works done in His name. This teaching must be held in tension with the parable we read yesterday.
PRAY Lord Jesus Christ, help me to love You, to worship You, to serve
You with all that I am and all that I have.