Recall that Matthew is explaining the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. As the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Jesus predicted that He would be put to death during the approaching Passover. However, although the Jewish leaders wanted to put Him to death, they were not going to do so during the Passover for fear of the crowds that supported Jesus. That changed because of the development of one of Jesus’ closest disciples offering to deliver Him up to them. Although his motivation for doing so is not completely known, the Scripture makes clear that the other disciples believed it was related to his greed and Mary’s precious anointing of Jesus that he might otherwise have profited from had she not “wasted” it on Him. Consider again Mary’s sacrificial outpouring of costly oil that not only demonstrated her extravagant love for Jesus, but at the same time pricked Judas’ greed; how does the contrast of her heart relationship to Jesus with that of Judas who was one of the twelve make her deed all the more memorable? Cf. Mat 26:13 and think: Had her love not been so sacrificial as to pour out upon Him the costly oil, but had sold it instead and contributed it to the common purse of Jesus’ ministry, would Judas have necessarily felt the same motivation to betray Him? In what way then did God use the free will of Mary’s choices in sacrificially expressing her love for Jesus to accomplish His greater purposes even as He was at the same time using the choices that Judas and the Jewish leaders made according to their free will, which involved sacrificing Jesus for their own worldly gain? Again, how are Mary’s choices memorialized for eternity compared to theirs? What does this again teach us about how God is so great as to be able to sovereignly accomplish His will through the choices we make according to our own free will, regardless of what those choices are? Will the choices we make in our lives be memorialized in eternity like those of Mary, or like those of Judas and the Jewish leaders? What does Mary’s extravagant love also teach us about the power of personal sacrifice that God uses to accomplish His purposes in the world? Cf. Gen 22:16-18, Joh 10:15-17, 15:13, 1Jo 3:16.
Consider again that Judas was clearly motivated by greed and perhaps the feeling of being jilted because he would not profit from Mary’s “waste” of the costly anointing oil, which profit he wrongly associated with Christ’s kingdom. How is that not unlike many other followers of Christ throughout history? Cf. 1Ti 6:5. How does Luke describe what happened spiritually in regard to Judas’ decision to go to the chief priests in order to receive what he thought was his due? See Luk 22:3-4; cf. Joh 13:2. How does this help us to understand what it means for Satan to enter into a person? Is such necessarily marked by supernatural manifestations as popularly depicted? Cf. 2Co 11:14-15. What is it marked by? What does Judas’ example also teach us about the notion that Satan cannot enter into a professed follower of Christ, whose faith and salvation others would not otherwise doubt? See Mat 10:1,4; cf. 1Ch 21:1, Act 5:3. Shall we then assume that because we are a “Christian” that Satan could not enter into us? From the accompanying circumstances, what could be described as being in the heart of David, Judas, and Ananias that allowed Satan to gain entrance and incite them to act as they did? See 1Jo 2:15-16 and consider whose spirit fills the world, Eph 2:2. Do we realize that when we are filled with the spirit of the world we are filled with the spirit of Satan, and that spirit incites us to sin against God? In what way was Judas like the religious leaders in resisting Christ’s Spirit from filling his temple, and with the same results? Cf. Mat 24:1-2, 27:5, Act 1:18, 1Co 3:16-17, 6:19-20. Whereas the nature of the Spirit of Christ is to lay down one’s own life to accomplish God’s will, in faith knowing that such will result in our greatest joy and happiness, what does Judas’ example teach us is the nature of Satan’s spirit of the world? Is it not to sacrifice others to accomplish our own will, which only leads to destruction?
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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?