Matthew 26:1-16; The Plot to Kill Jesus

No more teaching from Jesus. From here on in it is action. Jesus is the obedient son of God as he prepares to go to his death. For us.

The chief priests, consisting of the high priest Caiaphas and other leaders among the priests, decide they need to get rid of Jesus. They know this could prove to be unpopular, so they see the necessity of doing so by treachery. Tensions are high at Passover due to a popular belief that the messiah will manifest himself during the festival. The Romans have extra soldiers at hand and the priests are watchful.

These are supposed to be the leaders of God’s people. Yet they are misleading. This still happens today. People who are supposed to be leading God’s people sometimes have their own agendas. Keep an eye out for that.

That evening, which is probably Wednesday evening by our calendar, Jesus is at the home of a Simon the leper. While he is there, a woman comes in and anoints him with a costly oil. This is upsetting to the disciples because the poor are a special project at Passover, and they see that this oil could have gone a long way to hep the poor.

But burial of the dead is a great “good work” than even almsgiving, and Jesus knows—even if the woman does not—that she is anointing him for burial. This is the only burial preparation he will get.

The people expect the messiah (the anointed) to be anointed as king. This messiah is anointed for death instead. For us.

At this point, Judas decides to collude with the chief priests and offers his services. They are happy to have his help so they will be able to grab Jesus when he is with his disciples and not among the people. They pay him a nice sum, but not a fortune, for his troubles. Some resources say that the price is about that one would expect to pay for a run of the mill slave.

Matthew doesn’t talk about Judas’ motivation. There are many theories, but they remain unproven. I guess we can say for sure that Judas wasn’t happy with how Jesus’ kingdom was progressing. Maybe he was following Jesus for what he thought would be his own benefit.

People still do that today, don’t they? They follow Jesus only for the benefit they see themselves receiving. Maybe it’s the promise of eternal life. But they aren’t committed to following their Lord even unto death. That’s what you call bad soil.

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