Rejection, Confusion, Betrayal, and Worship

Rejection, Confusion, Worship, and Betrayal

Matthew 26:1-19

“For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial.

 

            The critical time had come.  The whole life of Jesus had been moving in a direction that would ultimately culminate in this event.  Why Jesus came, and everything he taught was governed and directed by the events that would now take place.  As the critical time came, we found four responses from those associated with the story.

            The first we find is the rejection of the religious leaders.  Of all the people who had interacted with Jesus and listened to his message, the one group that should have been most receptive was the most opposed to Christ.  The religious leaders were not just religious men; they were the experts of the law.  They were the ones who carefully studied and dissected the Old Testament.  They knew all the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. They had studied the failures of the Jews in the Old Testament.  In their self-righteousness, they condemned the people of the past who had failed to listen to the prophets.  More than even the disciples, they understood that Jesus claimed to be God’s Son and the Messianic king.  Because of this, they should have been the most incredible supporters of Jesus.  Yet, in their self-righteousness, they readily condemned others but failed to see their hardness of the heart.  Perhaps there is no greater danger and nothing that blinds us more from the truth of the gospel than a superficial knowledge of the gospel that does not lead to transformation.  Knowledge without obedience deadens us to the implications of truth.  Instead of responding with obedience, they responded with complete rejection and would lead the nation in the cry to crucify the very Messiah they had desired to come.

            We see the second response in the disciples.  For all their time with Jesus, they were still perplexed regarding the purpose of Christ’s life and ministry.  They were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, but their understanding of Christ was skewered by their idea of who the Messiah would be.  They desired a political/military Messiah who would lead the nation of Israel in breaking the chain of Roman domination.  Their Messiah was earthly, political, and physical. They saw the Messiah as a national leader rather than a spiritual Messiah who would bring salvation to the world.

        Consequently, they were both surprised and agitated when the woman poured expensive perfume upon Jesus’ head.  Their preconcieved ideas distorted their fie of the messiah.  Therein lies another danger in our response.  Instead of Christ and his message changing our perspective of his purpose and kingdom, we approach Jesus with preconceived ideas and then try to conform Jesus to those ideas.  Instead of surrendering to Jesus, he tries to fit him into our predetermined box. 

            Third, we see the response of Judas, the disillusioned disciple who saw Jesus as a way to achieve his ambitions.  Jesus was not a king to submit to; Jesus was a king to manipulate and use for his gain.  When he realized that Jesus was not going to establish his kingdom and Jesus was not going to be his “meal ticket” to fame and fortune, he decided to do something to salvage some financial gain for his three years of following Jesus.  He chose to betray Jesus for thirty shekels of silver; the price one would gain for selling a common slave.  He is like many today to follow Jesus to obtain prosperity and health. When it does not come, they become disillusioned with Jesus and quickly pursue a different avenue.

            Last, we find a woman who pours perfume upon Jesus.  Of all the individuals present that night, Mary does something of incredible importance.  In anointing Jesus with oil, she was preparing Jesus for his death.   For Mary, her allegiance to Christ was not based upon false assumptions or personal gain but a deep love that motivated her to demonstrate her love in a costly way.  Unlike Judas, who saw Jesus as a means to personal fortune, Mary sacrificed her fortune to honor Christ.  Unlike the disciples, who followed Jesus because they saw him as a national messiah, Mary followed Jesus as her personal messiah.  Thus, she becomes an example of the type of followers Christ desires: people who surrender their lives to Christ as their personal messiah and see Christ as their life's redeemer. This is true for us today.  We are to follow Christ not because of what he might give us (health and wealth) and not because he is the one to change society (social gospel), but because he is our messiah who died for our sins.

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