Matthew 26 - read it here.
The final chapters of Mathew have such a contrast of sadness and beauty, poverty and riches, pain and joy. In chapter 26, we see the worst of human sin and weakness set against the beauty of humility, service, sacrifice, and love.
As Jesus finishes his public ministry with teaching and rebuking the religious establishment, the chief priests and elders finally determine to capture and put Him to death. Although Jesus has told his disciples several times that this must occur, we get no indication of concern or compassion from them. Then, a woman (Mary as we learn from John’s Gospel) anoints Jesus in extravagant worship, anointing him in costly ointment while His disciples were indignant being preoccupied with the “waste.”
To be honest, this is natural to many of us. Perhaps due to how I was raised or my personality, I hate waste. Wasted time, wasted food, wasted money, and wasted gifts. However, the challenge of faith for me is to see that God is able to use and redeem what may seem wasted to us. I am reminded of the passages in Hebrew of Cain and Abel’s sacrifice and how it is impossible to please God without faith. Much of our worship of Jesus requires sacrifice and it is only by faith that we can know that it is received and used by God.
How do we know this? In this passage, we see Jesus suffer betrayal of the highest degree and failure in friendship by his closet disciples, Peter, James, and John. Despite this, he is pleased to share his final day as free man in communion and fellowship with them before His execution. He submits willing to being arrested, questioned and abused knowing that His sacrifice will provide the covering and access needed for salvation and worship.
The take away for me from this chapter is that there is no price too high, sacrifice too large, no act of worship too extravagant in honor and service to God that will ever be wasted. In fact, we are told by Jesus himself in Mathew 16:24 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
- Dan Leman
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