BENEVOLENCE AND BETRAYAL
Heavenly Father, that which is deepest in me reaches out with deep gratitude to you, my Lord and Savior.
Read MATTHEW 26:1-16
The Plot Against Jesus
26 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 schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of 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,[a] 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 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
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 deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
- Matthew 26:11 See Deut. 15:11.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Take this time to let go of the thoughts that clutter your mind so that you may feed on the Word with trust and joy.
Today’s passage has something of a see-saw feel. We have a statement of fact from Jesus, then a sinister echo from the scribes and Pharisees. We have an act of generosity and trust from a woman, then an act of greed and treachery from a disciple. It all happens in the context of the Passover preparation. For Jesus, the Passover brings the time to be handed over to his enemies. For the scribes and Pharisees, it brings the time to arrest him, away from the crowds.
Matthew’s account of a woman anointing Jesus parallels those of Mark and John. Luke’s account is different. As in other gospels, her action here causes consternation, this time over the alleged extravagant waste. The plea that the money involved could have been given to the poor cuts no ice with Jesus; he calls her action ‘beautiful’ (v 10). It’s a symbolic, loving preparation of his body for burial. This action from the unnamed woman is in great contrast to that of Judas who, unlike her, knows Jesus and has lived in close relationship with him. The woman gives, pouring out love. Judas takes, exchanging Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Judas prepares Christ’s body for burial too, but through infidelity and betrayal.
Today, people often ask whether Judas could really be held to blame. Since Christ’s death was essential for the salvation of the world, surely Judas’ betrayal was theologically necessary? It’s a false dilemma. What Judas did was profoundly wrong, and he chose to do it. God brought salvation through Christ’s death, but it could have happened in any number of ways. God does not put sin in people’s hearts – neither Judas’ nor ours. We are responsible for our sin. Judas himself bore the guilt of treachery and betrayed the one who loved him.
In many parts of our world commitment to evil has terrible consequences. Pray for those places God lays on your heart and for sustained Christian witness there.
Lord Jesus, you gave so unstintingly for me. Release in me a generous spirit. May I unstintingly love you and others.
Book and Author Intros
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.