Tonight we will be reading verses 1-25 from Matthew 26. We have just concluded the study of many of Jesus’s words, coming in the form of parables and teachings. Jesus has spoken to the disciples about the kingdom (the church, or the believers), the judgment, and also has made allusion to His upcoming death. Now the book of Matthew changes focus from the words of Christ to the actions leading up to His death.
Throughout the ordeal, Jesus becomes emotional, but He never loses control of Himself or of the situation. Jesus gives His life of His own free will, neglecting Himself, and these upcoming passages demonstrate His deliberate purpose.
Verses 1-5 have Jesus concluding His teachings and also He tells the disciples that He will soon be taken to be crucified. It is to happen during the Jewish holiday of Passover, but the Chief Priests decide not to carry out Jesus’s death during the Passover feast, lest there be an uproar from the people. Remember that Jesus is very popular among the people, and the Jewish elite do not want to disrupt the feast by killing Jesus during the proceedings, so they wait. The Chief Priests feel completely justified in their efforts to kill Jesus, because they do not believe His claims that He is the Son of God. They think that He is a liar and a blasphemer.
Verses 6-13 follow. Jesus is anointed by expensive oil by a lady at Simon the leper’s house. Jesus is still associating with the lowly, with those in need. But peculiarly enough, this woman has a very expensive flask of very expensive oil, so Jesus’s teachings are also still cutting through the social strata. The disciples there are taken aback at the lady’s putting this oil on Jesus, but Jesus rebukes them, saying that it is an anointing for his burial. Even though the oil is expensive, and is used all at once in a manner some deem wasteful, Jesus praises the act because it demonstrates that the woman is convinced of the identity of Jesus and believes all of His words.
Have you ever wanted to save some valuable possession because of its value or because your are waiting for the “right time” to use it? Sometimes our material resources can come into unexpected uses that we did not originally intend. Particularly when they are used to aid others, we should be diligent to be smart with our possessions and use them for the best possible use!
In verses 14-25 there is a non-confrontational confrontation between Jesus and Judas. First we are shown Judas going to the Chief Priests of his own volition to betray Jesus to His death. Judas is offered thirty pieces of silver from them and he accepts it, looking for the chance to earn the money. We are not given His motive explicitly, but the context shows us all too clearly that Judas’s desire for money outweighs his faith in Jesus. Judas was thinking and planning for the short term. Judas was concerned with Judas.
Jesus ensures that He and the disciples will have a place to celebrate the Passover feast. He arranges a place for them and sits down to eat with them. As they are eating, Jesus informs them that one of them will betray Him. He indirectly identifies Judas as the betrayer and also says that it would have been better for Judas if he had never been born.
Jesus exhibits control. There must be sadness in Him, there must be pain and foreboding and suffering in Him. Yet He gracefully proceeds through the hours leading up to His crucifixion. His quiet and patient strength is awe-inspiring, all the more impressive when we think about how He was going through with it for all mankind.