Passion Week – The Anointing and Betrayal
Day Two– Monday
Scripture Passage – Matthew 26:1-16
Parallel Passages in other Gospels for further reading: Mark 14:1-11, Luke 22:1-6, John 13:1,2
The Anointing and Betrayal of Jesus
1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. 5 “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” 6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” 14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
As I read this passage, I am amazed by the different contrasts that I see. Evil and deceitful men (who were supposed to be God’s representatives to his people) are meeting in a glorious palace plotting some “sly way” to arrest and kill the very King of Glory, God himself. They elevated themselves above all others and considered themselves all-important. They even assumed the role of God by making themselves deciders of life and death. Meanwhile, the only good and perfect man whoever lived, the King of Glory himself is found in the most lowly conditions possible. He’s in the home of a leper, an outcast of society. As God, he alone is the decider of life and death, and yet he has already surrendered his life to be killed (“she did it to prepare me for burial”).
Then there is the scene that unfolds in Simon the Leper’s home. Mary comes and anoints Jesus with “very expensive perfume.” Scholars tell us that this jar of perfume is worth the equivalent of more than $12,000 today. More than likely, she saved up her whole life for this gift, and it was gone in just one moment. And yet she couldn’t comprehend a better way to spend it than to honor her Lord. The disciples, however, couldn’t disagree more. They called her gift a “waste.” You can almost hear the disdain in their voices. These are the guys who are supposed to be the closest and most devoted to Jesus, and yet they called this gift to Jesus a waste.
Apparently, this was the last straw for Judas who went to inquire from the Chief Priest, what price they had placed on Jesus’ head, and he accepted 30 pieces of silver. While for Mary no amount was too large when it came to honoring her Savior, for Judas apparently there was no amount too small when it came to betraying the Messiah. For Jesus, there was no price to high when it came to redeeming his people.
Some questions to think about:
Do you elevate yourself above others because of some arbitrary position or status you hold? Do you find it hard to live out the humility that Jesus modeled for us? Is there anything that you wouldn’t give Jesus? Is there any price too high that you would be unwilling to pay? Think about what Jesus did for you. Are there any lengths to which he wouldn’t go to save you? Is there something God is calling you to give or sacrifice in honor of Jesus this Easter season?
Suggested Direction for Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for what you have done for me. Thank you that there was no price to high when it came to saving me. This Easter season, please teach me your humility. Jesus, take all of my heart. I commit my everything to you. May there be nothing that I wouldn’t do for you. Speak and I will obey.