Summary: The greatest drama in human history begins with love on one hand and betrayal on the other.
Passage: Matthew 26:1-16
Intro: The play will begin in a few minutes.
1. we are in the next several weeks going to see the greatest drama ever performed
2. it took place in a dusty city in the Middle East, but changed the entire universe, both the spiritual and physical realms.
3. we have been listening to the hero; Jesus Christ, as he has been teaching since chapter 4 of Matthew.
4. and now, in 26:1; a dramatic change.
5. talking essentially done, from now on it is action.
6. in v2 Jesus introduces that action like a narrator might do at the beginning of a play.
7. in two days, during the very significant feast of Passover, will be “turned over” to people whose purpose will be to crucify him.
8. so we have a hero and villains in conflict, and the righteous or unrighteous character of each will be a focus we can’t afford to miss.
9. so let’s open the curtain on scene #1
I. Scene 1: A Conspiracy to Commit Murder
1. this scene is dimly lit, a little ground fog
2. the group is solemn, with smoldering anger
3. they skulk down Jerusalem’s streets to assemble in the house of the chief priest, Caiaphas.
PP Ruins of Caiaphas house
4. this group was made up of the highest of Jewish religious, and therefore civil power.
5. they were the Law, under the authority of the Romans
6. and so they met to plot the death of Jesus, but notice the words used to define their plan.
7. “to take counsel together”, but use other words to make it clearer
8. “dolo”=deceit, cunning, treachery
PP think of that smokey back room with a guard at the door, and people speaking in hushed tone.
9. and the purpose is clear. “to kill”
10. in v1, Jesus used a word and a specific verb tense to indicate purpose “to crucify”
10. and final dialogue in v5, “make sure this takes place quietly, secretly
Il) population of Jerusalem swelled to 5 times normal during Feast, and full of country folk who tended to like Jesus.
11. so before we leave this dark scene, lets catalogue the characteristics we saw.
12. spiritual darkness, secrecy, deceit, anger, murderous intentions.
13. and as we go thru this drama over the next months, we will see these again and again.
14. and now, a contrast.
II. Scene 2: Submission to God’s Costly Plan
1. scene much brighter, but lights are not blazing
2. it s a different gathering in vv6-13
3. at “Simon the Lepers” house.
4. since lepers could not live in houses by Law, must have been healed.
5. John tells us Mary and Martha were also there.
6. what was their purpose for being there? To honor the Son
Il) remember back in Matthew 22, parable of wedding banquet? Many invited to wedding banquet “to honor the Son”
7. and here is a specific act of honor, by Mary, according to John
8. years wages worth of costly perfume poured out on Jesus head is a lavish display of honor. Caused a problem.
9. John identifies the speaker as Judas.
PP John 12:4-5
10. but watch here! Judas real motivation was a little more selfish.
PP John 12:6
11. so sin even invades this beautiful scene, but it is forcefully dealt with.
12. and notice the focus of the rebuke!
13. she has done a beautiful thing “for me”
14. She is honoring the Son!! And that is what God is doing, even as Jesus marches to the cross, the greatest dishonor man can devise.
15. money doesn’t matter. What others think doesn’t matter.
16. she is aligning herself with what God is doing, and what God is doing is honoring the Son.
17. Caiaphas house is in ruin, the Roman empire is long gone, the Jewish leaders and Judas are names remembered with distaste.
18. but Mary is remembered for honoring the one God was honoring.
19. watch for this is the rest of the drama. Some dishonor, some honor
20. and those who honor the Son are characterized by peace, joy, submission to God, and trust in God.
III. Scene 3: The Missing Ingredient is Found
1. again the light dims, and we see Judas striding purposely to betray Jesus
2. notice the first words out of his mouth in v15
3. “what are you willing to give me”
4. we would call this “soliciting a bribe.”
5. “I am willing to sell out my friend, betray my Master to what I know is certain death.”
6. don’t miss the financial focus here.
7. he was bummed that he lost out on all that expensive perfume, and was now getting what he could
8. maybe political disappointment, but the clearest motivation in the text is that he was trying to enrich himself, and was willing to do it at Jesus’ expense.