April 16, 2014

Holy Week: Wednesday

Welcome back faithful friends! We’re getting closer to Good Friday and Easter Sunday as we follow Jesus through this Holy Week as He lived it in 33 A.D.

The biblical account holds two of the most well-known stories of people who gave their all for Christ — just in completely opposite ways.

The first you may have heard of: Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Though poor, she owned an expensive alabaster jar (this is a type of fine marble) filled with perfumed oil worth almost a year’s salary.  She could have dabbed it on Jesus, but in an act of absolute worship and adoration, Mary broke the jar and poured the costly oil on His head.

Though she probably wasn’t aware of the significance of her actions, Jesus was. When the disciples chastised Mary for what they deemed a foolish and careless act, Jesus rebuked them and foreshadowed His upcoming death.

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?  For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.  In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:6-3, emphasis added)

Two other things of interest: first, Jesus was at the home of a leper, Simon, who is likely to have been healed by Jesus earlier in His ministry. I love this small, but significant, fact as it beautifully shows how Jesus heals and doesn’t hold our past against us!

Second, when referring to the poor, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 15:11. His point isn’t to belittle the poor (remember the Parable of the Sheep and Goats?). Instead, He wants His disciples to understand the highest priority on earth is to worship Him. 

nofool je mte sm

The second person who gave his all that day was Judas Iscariot. 2000 years after his act, we still refer to a betrayer as a “Judas.” Not exactly what most want to go down in history for, huh?

Earlier in Matthew 26, the religious leaders huddled together to plot to kill Jesus. One man in particular is named: Caiaphas. Interesting to note is he was high priest and likely lined his pockets with the corrupt sales at the Temple. No doubt Jesus clearing the Temple on Monday enraged Caiaphas. Let’s look at Judas’ conversation with the religious leaders in Matthew 26:14-16.

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests  and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.  And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (emphasis added)

Thirty pieces of silver in that day was the price of a slave (see Exodus 21:32). This tells us much about the contempt of the religious leaders toward Jesus; and the level of greed in Judas’ heart. Neither party thought much of Jesus and the price is considered an insult. The amount offered also fulfills the Old Testament prophecies:

Even my close friend in whom I trusted,  who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9)


Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter. (Zechariah 11:12, emphasis added)

The second half of the prophecy in Zechariah is fulfilled when Judas changes his mind and returns the thirty pieces of silver to the high priests the day Jesus is condemned to die. The high priests consider this ‘blood money’ that is not fit to put back in the Temple’s coffers. (Only ironic as it was spent as ‘murder money in the first place!!) The priests use the silver to purchase a potter’s field as seen in Zechariah.

Judas, plagued with guilt, then commits suicide. Something his actions should cause us to think about is the difference between repentance and grief. Let’s take a look at what 2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

And there we have it: two people Jesus encountered. Two who gave their all for Him, just in drastically different ways.

Additional Reading: Spy Wednesday on Desiring God

I hope you’ll join me here the rest of the week as we celebrate Passover, Good Friday and Easter Sunday! Thanks!

easter wed



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  1. Sam, you’re doing such a great job with this! I’m thoroughly enjoying walking through this holy week with you. May you be very blessed and may our risen Lord receive all the glory!

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