Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Matthew 26:1-30 Sermon

Matthew 26:1-30
Sermon Notes
Mary and Judas
May 21, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         This chapter is a one of contrasts. Today we have Mary and Judas. Next week is Peter and Judas.
         The Lord knows those that are His. Even though Mary was a great sinner, she was received by Jesus and Jesus promised that she would never be forgotten. We remember her today. Peter was also a great sinner, even denying the Lord that died for him. And yet, Peter, too, was received by Jesus. Jesus fully forgave Mary. He fully forgave Peter. But Judas went and hanged Himself.
         The heart of Judas is revealed in this text. What is noteworthy is that his closest friends did not suspect him. He had passed as a true disciple but his evil heart was pulling at him until it pulled him apart.

         Mary’s character, at least her prior character, was obvious. She was a sinner. But she was redeemed of the Lord, transformed inside and out, and fully spent herself on Jesus Christ.

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
This is Tuesday of Holy Week. Jesus knows He is heading into Jerusalem and that He will be betrayed there.

3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. 5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
The leaders want to kill Jesus but they are  afraid of  the people. This indicates that the leaders at least know that the people are in support of Jesus. They have to work hard to turn the people around.

Matt. 26:6   Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
John tells us that this event occurred six days before Passover. So Matthew is giving us a little backstory here to lead up to Judas’s betrayal. It happened after the Triumphal entry, probably on Sunday night.

7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
John tells us that the disciples were indignant because it could have been sold for 300 denarii. That is three hundred days wages. If we take a skilled laborers wages at $20 per hour, then that is $200 a day, or $60,000. That is a lot of money to pour out on Jesus.

8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
I suppose there can be different levels of indignation here. Matthew tells us that the disciples were indignant. John tells us that one of his disciples made this comment. Shortly thereafter Judas leaves to make his bargain. Judas was the indignant disciple. Judas was indignant, not for the poor, but for his own poor self. He pilfered from the money bag. Judas was a thief.
Did Jesus know that Judas was a thief? Did Jesus know who would betray Him? Why did Jesus make Judas the treasurer? Did Jesus tempt Judas? Or, did Jesus give Judas a chance to repent of his thieving, confess and come for forgiveness? Certainly, Judas could have repented. Peter is about to fail Jesus miserably but he repents.
Judas’s regard for the poor was so that he could take a cut. He saw Mary’s abundance as an opportunity to enrich himself at the expense of the poor. His indignation sounded spiritual but it was demon inspired.
If the other disciples are indignant perhaps it is for another reason? They are scrupulous and careful. They do not believe in big parties. They really are concerned about the poor and think that the highest form of piety is to minister to the poor.

10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
Mary honored by Jesus and by posterity.

Matt. 26:14   Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
So, this event occurred six days before Passover, which started Friday night. After that time, Judas was looking to betray Jesus. Jesus’s support of Mary was the final straw for Judas. It is clear from Mary’s extravagance, that she thought Jesus was worth it. She has no problem pouring out her wealth upon Jesus.
Judas is a contrast. He stays with Jesus up until the time that it looks like Jesus’s plan is going to fail. He rode into Jerusalem triumphantly but did not assemble an army. The powers are lining up against Jesus and Jesus seems intent upon dying. Judas cannot take this. He is in it for benefit and the benefits seem to be disappearing. He has no faith. Mary has nothing but faith.

Matt. 26:17   Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
Unleavened bread is supposed to represent the purging of sins. This is a time of repentance and turning to the Lord. That is what Mary has done but Judas has turned away from the Lord.

18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. 20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
Jesus sits down with the twelve but by the end of the meal, there are only eleven who can still call themselves His disciples. Jesus broke bread and gave thanks on the night in which He was betrayed.
We sometimes have a hard time giving thanks to God in the midst of troubles. Jesus did. We should learn the power of thanksgiving, even in the hardest of trials, even during betrayals.

21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
Jesus announced that a disciple, an apostle, was going to betray Him. The text says that they were exceeding sorrowful. Eleven were. One was pretending.
It is interesting that they asked, “Is it I?” They seemed to know their own frailty. Perhaps they were beginning to realize that things were not working out so well. Had some of them already had thoughts of bailing out? Judas had sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. That is betrayal but the other disciples are also having a crisis of faith.
Is it I, Lord? Pray for me that I might not betray you! These other disciples do fail Jesus. They deny Him. They flee from Him. They prove themselves cowardly in the face of death. But they do not sell out. They do not switch sides and join the Pharisees. Only Judas betrayed Jesus in this way.

23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
Of course, Judas and Jesus are the only two who know what is going on. At this point, Judas knows that Jesus knows. He has seen Jesus do powerful miracles. He has no excuse for not believing in Jesus. He is a very selfish and evil man. He is likely very afraid of Jesus and wondering if Jesus will kill him. But Jesus does not do that. He lets Judas escape and plan his treachery, a treachery that God had foreordained.
Did the predestination of this even absolve Judas? Judas was born for this event, so was it his fault? Is he the one to blame? Jesus makes it clear that Judas is fulfilling prophetic Scripture. It is written and therefore must come to pass. That is divine sovreignty. Woe to that man. That is responsibility.
These two great truths exist side by side in Scripture. God’s will is whatsoever comes to pass but this in no way absolves man in his sins. Not Pharoah, not Judas, and not you.

Matt. 26:26   And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Jesus gave His body to them. He died on the cross.

27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Jesus gave His blood to them, which He shed in the scourging, from His head punctured by a crown of thorns, from His face which was struck, from His hands and feet, where nails were driven through them, from His side which was pierced. He was a bloody mess and all for sinners.
The disciples cannot comprehend any of that at this point. They know that Jesus has come to the Earth for them. In that sense, His body and blood are theirs. But the reality of torture, suffering and death has not yet set in for them.
They likely have some sense of the import of this meal. Jesus is pledging Himself to them. But they have no idea it is the last meal with Him prior to His death. They have no idea what giving them His body and blood will cost.
His body and blood are given for the remission of sins. Jesus forgives. The Father receives the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for all His children. Divine wrath at sin and death is spent on Jesus. After the perfect Son dies, there is no wrath to pour out on repentant sinners. All who take God’s Word, believing in Jesus, are received as fully current in their debts. They owe God nothing because Jesus paid it all.
Jesus paid it all. All to Him, I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.

29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
Hallel Psalms 113-118 A series of Messianic Psalms sung at the end of the Passover meal.
The Hallel songs are about the Messiah. They are about death and suffering. They are about God’s conquest over such things.
Mary was a woman of faith who saw that all of her hopes expectations resided in Jesus. She was willing to be her all upon Him.
Judas is a contrast. He also had banked upon Jesus but for a different reason. Mary lavished her love upon Jesus, spending her all upon Him. She was Jesus oriented.
Judas banked upon Jesus for a different reason, what Jesus would mean to him monetarily. Judas was perhaps the most likely to understand that the successful ministry of Jesus was coming to a close. The crowds had surrounded him. There was hope that He would ascend. But the star of Jesus had now fallen in Judas’s eyes.
If Mary was preparing Jesus for His burial, so was Judas. Her for honor, him for dishonor.
How are you invested in Jesus? Are you interested in His person? Are you determined that He is the Lord God and you are willing to hazard your all on Him, no matter what? That is Mary.
Or, is Jesus and the Christian faith only about what is in it for you? Of course, the benefits in Jesus really are manifold. He provides for us in every way. But, that is not what I mean. What if Jesus requires hard things of you? What if following Jesus means that you won’t be financially wealthy? What if following Jesus means that you must live your life in obscurity, serving others without any fanfare? What if serving Jesus means extra suffering and hardships, like the disciples? Would you bail? If it got tough and your business failed, would you bail? If you had to compromise at your job, would you bail?
What do we do when life is pressing in? What do you do when the wolves have gathered around? What do you do when your closest friends betray you, or abandon you, or deny they are close friends with you? What do you do when  you know you have to do a really hard thing in order to be obedient to your Father, but you don’t really want to? Do you bail?
Or, do you do what Jesus did? Break bread, give thanks, sing a hymn.

Sing a hymn, get about your business.

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