Summary: Matthew uses three electric contrasts to jolt us into recognizing three ways that people respond to the Love of Jesus.
"WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH LOVE?"
Today begins an eight-week series that will lead us from the days just prior to Jesus’ death to the empty tomb. We call these events, "The Passion of Jesus." Here we see unfold His intense love for us all. Matthew begins with three electric contrasts that jolt the reader. In these three scenes we meet most of the major players in this drama of Jesus’ death, and we see revealed THREE WAYS OF DEALING WITH THE LOVE OF JESUS:
I. YOU CAN REJECT HIS LOVE AND ITS LIFE-CHANGING POWER (26:1-5).
A. Jesus was only two days away from His death and He calmly tells His disciples that crucifixion is coming.
B. Jesus had spent three years offering His love and compassion to all. Some followed Him -- most did not.
C. The religious leaders, in contrast to Jesus’ calmness and openness, secretly plot to arrest and kill Jesus. Why? They could not submit their own ideas and will to His. They did not want life to change -- they rejected God desired change in their lives.
D. Jesus had said it would happen at Passover. They were afraid of the people. Jesus’ majesty and power is here illustrated.
E. Have you rejected Jesus love because you are afraid to change? Jesus stands ready to change your life for the good and forever if you will submit your will to His will.
II. YOU CAN RECEIVE HIS LOVE AS THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT OF ALL ( 26:6-13).
A. Jesus and the disciples stayed at Bethany, just east of Jerusalem, just over the Mount of Olives. Simon may have been the leper that Jesus healed in Matthew 8.
B. Here we see a ripping contrast to the first scene. A woman appears with a flask of oil. She anoints Jesus head with oil -- a Jewish burial custom. Mark says it was worth 300 denarii, which was more than an average year’s wages!
C. The disciples chided her, but Jesus affirmed her act as "a good work done for me." She loved Jesus!!! She was preparing Him for burial.
D. Her act demonstrated the selfless commitment of a person committed to following Jesus.
E. Jesus did not intend to downplay or minimize selfless commitment to the poor here. But those acts do not replace love for Christ Himself and selfless devotion to knowing Him personally.
F. Is your relationship with Jesus this precious to you?
III. YOU CAN SEEK TO REPLACE HIS LOVE WITH EARTHLY SECURITY (26:14-16).
A. Judas lived with Jesus, but never really knew Him or followed Him. He sought security on earth more than anything else.
B. He sold Jesus to His enemies for 120 denarii -- the price paid for the death of a slave. This was far less than the woman in scene two spent to anoint Jesus.
C. Like Judas, we "sell Jesus out" when we seek to replace our commitment to Him with anyone or anything else. Satan will supply many good activities or causes as a replacement for personal devotion and commitment to Jesus.
1. Jesus allows each individual to personally respond to Him. No one is forced to be committed to Jesus.
2. Religious activity is not a substitute for personal devotion to Christ.