Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week 2011 - Monday
Matthew 26:1-30

Today's reading contains 4 distinct scenes - each of which is worthy of examination:
Scene 1: The Palace of Caiaphas
Word of Jesus' entry to Jerusalem had spread to the religious leaders in Jerusalem. No doubt they were threatened by the response of the people to Jesus. These leaders discuss their plot to kill this interloper. They were not going to allow Jesus to continue to influence the Jewish people. The only answer was to kill him. But -- the question was, "How?"
Scene 2: The Home of Simon the Leper
This event actually occurred on Saturday night prior to the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday. Matthew places it here for thematic emphasis. John puts it in chronological order for us. In any event, this was quite a gathering. Simon (presumably cured of leprosy) and Lazarus (cured of . . . death!) were in attendance. At some point in the evening, Mary annoints the body of Jesus with pure nard. It was an incredible act of worship. Certainly this was Mary's most prize possession. How she had obtained a flask of pure nard (from the Himalayan region) -- who knows? Regardless, it was worth more than anything she possessed. She felt led to offer it to Jesus in a spontaneous act of pure devotion. Jesus received this gift and blessed her for offering it to him.
Scene 3: Meeting with the Chief Priests
Judas Iscariot commits the dastardly deed of betraying Jesus to the Chief Priests. How much was the life of the Son of God worth to Judas? 30 pieces of silver. In Exodus 21, we read that this is the amount to be paid to a slave owner if the slave was gored to death by a bull. By the time of Jesus, this was considered a tip -- a small amount of cash used for cheap purchases.
Scene 4: The Lord's Supper
Jesus shares His final Passover meal with His closest friends. In the midst of the celebration, he offers a re-interpretation of the bread and wine. From now on, the bread will symbolize his body and the wine will remind His followers of His blood. This celebration will be known as The Lord's Supper and the followers of Jesus participate in this symbolic rite to this very day.

Four very distinct scenes.

Plotting. Annointing. Betraying. Celebrating.

Mary gave the best she had.

Judas got whatever he could get.

Jesus gave His very life.

The Chief Priests missed it all.

As you and I begin Holy Week 2011 -- may we be inspired by Mary's gift. May we be challenged by Jesus' obedience.