Summary: March 24, 2002 -- SUNDAY OF THE PASSION -- Palm Sunday Title: “The Passion Narrative” According to Matthew 26: 14-27: 66

March 24, 2002 -- SUNDAY OF THE PASSION -- Palm Sunday

Title: “The Passion Narrative”

According to Matthew 26: 14-27: 66

This can be read at the service. The commentary, based on solid exegesis, avoids scholarly detail. The questions after each scene or station, sixteen of them, attempt to apply the revealed text to the personal lives of Christians.

The longer text is treated, but it can easily be shortened, as time permits. It can be further shortened in that not every scene needs to be commented upon. The preacher is free to adapt. The pages are presented to facilitate that approach.

This text can also be used as a scriptural alternative to the traditional Stations of the Cross. Each scene or station is distinct.

Finally, this text can be used in a class to teach the salient features and the applied meaning of the Passion Narrative according to Matthew.

Matthew 26: 14-16: JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS

14.Then, one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests

15. and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?

They paid him thirty pieces of silver,

16. and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

Judas had a higher opinion of money than did Jesus. In fact, in John, we are told Judas used to help himself to the community funds. He was a closet thief.

For a paltry sum he would betray a friend.

Loyalty is the “price,” of friendship, but it was too high a price to pay when a better offer is made. Judas went to the highest bidder.

Is money more important to me than friendship?

Have I sold my values to buy money or what money buys?


17. On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?

18. He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, “The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”

19. The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

The Feast attracted so many people that Jesus had to book reservations for dinner in advance. Jesus had friends besides the disciples who would bend over backwards to help him. The disciples were willing to do menial tasks to aid in accomplishing Jesus’ purposes.

Am I willing to bend over backwards, to suspend my plans, to help those in need?

Am I willing to engage in menial tasks, like helping to prepare for a family celebration, to work behind the scenes, to do my part to make the important events in life come off smoothly?

Am I willing to let Jesus be in charge and assign me tasks, large and small?


20. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve.

21. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

22. Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?’

23. He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me.

24. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.

25. Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’ He answered, “You have said so.”

The constant study and application of Scripture to real life makes one more astute about what is really going on. Jesus sensed betrayal long before it happened and was not duped by Judas’ denials or coy attempt at cover-up.

Of course, God knows ahead of time what any human will do, but that does not exonerate the person from responsibility and accountability.

God is in charge at all times, but humans are still responsible for their free-will actions.

Calling Jesus “Rabbi,” a title only Jesus’ enemies used in Matthew, gave him away. Judas was not a real friend of Jesus.

Do I realize that God’s love for me includes his knowing that I will betray his trust even while I am professing, especially in prayer, what a trustworthy and faithful friend I am?

Can I imitate that love when it comes to others who may only disappoint me, let alone betray me?

Do I realize that I cannot fool God?


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