Transitioning from the Olivet Discourse to the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, Matthew has recounted how Jesus once again predicted His forthcoming Passion during the Passover, as well as the desire of the religious leaders to put Jesus to death, but not during the Passover lest a riot occur among the many who supported Him. However, God had purposed that the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world would die at the very same time as those lambs which throughout Jewish history had prefigured Him. The surprise event that forced the hand of the Jewish leaders to accomplish God’s purpose exactly according to His plan was that Judas offered to deliver Him up to them. But what would cause one of Jesus’ closest disciples whom He had designated an apostle to do such a thing? To the minds of the other disciples it seems to have been related to an event that occurred just a few days before on Friday evening after they had arrived in the vicinity for the Passover Feast, which Matthew and Mark relate here in this context. During the Sabbath meal in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper at which Martha was serving, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus whom Jesus had recently raised from the dead, had taken a large amount of very costly perfume worth an entire year’s wages and poured it out upon Jesus, anointing Him head to foot, even wiping his feet with her hair similar to what a woman of ill-repute had done earlier in His ministry on a different occasion.
To the disciples, who after the manner of Jesus were accustomed to a life of thrift, Mary’s act seemed especially extravagant (Mat 26:8). What did they suggest could have been done with the precious anointing oil instead of so wantonly “wasting” it as they perceived? See Mat 26:9. Who in particular made that suggestion, and why? See Joh 12:4-6. Besides his love for the world and the nature of its kingdoms, what does Judas’ suggestion also indicate about the depth of the sacrificial love-relationship he had in his heart with Jesus compared to that of Mary? How did Jesus answer the disciples’ suggestion that it would have been better for Mary to sell the precious oil and give the money to the poor than to have so extravagantly “wasted” it on Him? See Mat 26:10-13. What sacrificial good deed motivated by love deep in His heart was Jesus about to perform for the world that helps us to understand why the sacrificial good deed performed by Mary was so meaningful to Him? How does this help us to understand why and in what sense her deed would be memorialized wherever the true gospel is preached throughout the whole world? Which patriarch is memorialized in the same way and for the same reason? See Gen 22:2,9-12, Heb 11:17-19; cf. Isa 41:8, Jam 2:23. Who else did Jesus memorialize for a similar gift of sacrifice at almost the very same time? See Luk 21:1-4 and note that the Greek word used there for how the people put their gifts into the temple treasury is the same used by Jesus in Mat 26:12 for how Mary poured the perfume upon Him. Cf. 2Co 8:12.
What do these things remind us about the nature of the love-relationship the Son has with the Father that is marked by sacrifice? Is this not the same love-relationship that the Father and the Son seek to have with all who in like manner will lay down (i.e., sacrifice) their fleshly lives to be led by the Holy Spirit of Their union to likewise partake of the divine nature and become sons of God? Cf. Mat 10:37-39, Joh 14:23, 17:20-21, Rom 8:12-14. And is not the Holy Spirit of Their union the same that God would have between a husband and wife in order that they too may be one and experience a joyous and happy marriage that reflects the oneness of the Godhead? Indeed, is this not the Spirit that Christ poured out upon His Bride, the Church, in order that She might be one with Him? Are we willing to love God, and one another, in the same sacrificial way that He has loved us, with the faith exhibited by Christ to believe that even death cannot separate us from His love? Whereas Mary demonstrated self-sacrifice in her relationship to Jesus, what did Judas’ actions demonstrate about Whom he was willing to sacrifice to obtain his own desires? Are we more like Mary, or Judas, in our relationships? Joh 15:13.
What do Jesus’ words in Mat 26:11 teach us about how some good deeds can be done anytime, while others are more time-specific, and if not accomplished in a timely manner cannot be performed later? What does this remind us about the importance of always doing good while we have opportunity to do so, especially to those whom we cherish the most? Cf. Gal 6:9-10.
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The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?