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Countdown to Betrayal, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2021 7:05 am

Countdown to Betrayal, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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October 19, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Commission: A Study of Matthew 21–28

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Mary, in a demonstration of love, gave everything she owned to Jesus. She knows of no better way to express her adoration of Jesus than this.

She breaks the ointment over him and pours it on his head as he's reclining at the table and she pours it on his feet. And for those hours that followed when they were around him, you could smell the worship of Mary all over him. As we read the first-hand account of Jesus' final week, an escalating crescendo of emotion and drama filled the air. Some hated Jesus. Others loved him.

Very few were on the fence. But among the most eloquent expressions of love came from Mary, who poured out an offering to him. And among the most disappointing acts was the betrayal by a good friend. These are the snapshots that Chuck Swindoll brings into focus today on insight for living. Their study in Matthew takes us to chapter 26. Chuck titled today's message, Countdown to Betrayal, and he begins with prayer. Father, thank you for your Word that lives and abides forever.

Thank you for giving it to us. We didn't write a line of it, but holy men of God, as they were moved along by your Spirit, were led to write under the God-breathed inspiration power of the Spirit. This account, these lines, these very words that capture our attention. May we not remain the same because of what we hear today. Deliver us from the perfunctory attitude of another church service, another sermon, another offering, another few minutes, another few songs, and we're back to business as usual.

God forbid that we would be caught in that plague. Minister deeply to us, touch our lives, change our thinking, break our habits, alter our direction so that we are better moms and dads, better single adults, better people in a world that has long since lost its way. May Christ be honored by the way we live and now by the way we give. In the matchless name of Jesus, we pray this.

Every one sin. Amen. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled, Countdown to Betrayal. This is the gathering storm, if you will, and Matthew waves no flags. There aren't exclamation points along the way, but he trusts us as readers to enter into the scene and to feel it. How wrong to read this and not feel it.

And so for some time I've felt, and now I invite you to feel this countdown to betrayal. Feel what it must have been like to have been a disciple. Feel what that meeting was like that Caiaphas led in that secret chamber. Every time Caiaphas is mentioned in the New Testament, he's working against Jesus.

Every time he hopes to weaken his message, he hopes to question his integrity, he hopes to spread doubt about his message. So Matthew changes the tone from one scene to another with very simple, smooth transitions that you'd miss if you didn't really feel what he's writing. After Jesus had finished saying all those things that he said on the mount, and the disciples are caught up in all of those things, he says to them, as you know, Passover begins in two days and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified. At that same time, the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. So we read in verse three that they were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas.

If this were a movie, the scene would fade from verse two and blend into the beginning of verse three as we're brought into this scene where there is the planning of the murder. And the one who carries the conversation is Joseph Caiaphas. Listen to a few background comments from one New Testament student. Caiaphas was high priest.

We know very little about him, but we do know one most suggestive fact. In the old days, the office of high priest had been hereditary and had been for life, but when the Romans took over, high priest came and went in rapid series for the Romans erected and deposed high priests to suit their own purposes. Between 37 B.C. and A.D. 67, when the last was appointed before the destruction of the temple, there were no fewer than 28 high priests. Caiaphas was high priest from A.D. 18 to A.D. 36. An extraordinarily long time for a high priest to last, and Caiaphas must have brought the technique of cooperating with the Romans to a fine art. Now go back to verse three. At that same time, leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas.

There's our man. He's identified as the high priest. What concerned them, they were plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. But not during Passover. You and I, most of us, being Gentile, don't understand Passover.

It isn't a festival on our calendar. But in those days, it was the major festival. Preparation in Jerusalem was extensive, and population in the city swelled enormously at Passover. According to Josephus, Jewish historian, some 256,500 sacrificial lambs were slain during a typical Passover festival. And because tradition required that no fewer than 10 people were to eat of one lamb, the number of celebrants could have exceeded 2 million since they came from all over, including Galilee. Many admirers of Jesus who had witnessed his miracles and heard his teachings would have been in the crowd.

They were sympathetic to his cause. It would be too risky to arrest him. With so many of them around, they would riot. And that's the last thing Romans allowed. No public riots.

In fact, their preference was no public meeting of any size. Suddenly, the scene changes from a hostile group making dark plans to a gathering of joyful celebration. Look how Matthew writes.

He moves from this room where murder is being arranged to a little village named Bethany, where one Simon is hosting a meal. Simon known as Simon the leper. Here again, it's strange to our ears because we don't deal with leprosy in our culture today. Very little of it is ever even mentioned in our lifetime. Most of us could say we live and die and never knew one person with the disease. Not so in that day. And when one was a leper, one was an outcast for life. Not even buried among the family. And the thought of his being cleansed of leprosy, never referred to one as being healed of it, but cleansed of it, was so impossible.

Once you got it, you died with it. But Simon didn't. No doubt Jesus has cleansed the leper Simon, though he still lives with the tag Simon the leper. And so he calls this gathering together, maybe to celebrate, since Jesus was among them.

And what a marvelous celebration it must have been as he describes the change that's come over him as a result of being cleansed of this awful dread disease. And in this setting of harmony and intimacy, all men, in bursts a woman, unannounced, and she walks right up to this group that had gathered for a meal. Now, I don't understand meals in those days. Most of us only have artists rendering from Middle Ages and beyond. And so all the disciples are sitting in New England ladder back chairs at a long table looking at the photographer.

Ooh. All of these faces. They're not in chairs. And it isn't a long table.

And they're not all facing one direction. It's a low table like a low coffee table. And you reclined at a meal. You leaned on an elbow and you ate with your hands.

What a great idea. You could shovel it in. You know, whatever it was, you just ate it.

You had a little sop there. You dip it in there. Eat that. You dip this over there and you'd eat that. And that's the way they were reclined at the table. Really a relaxed, casual setting. And that's where they were at this meal.

Again, it was customary that only men would be together. And in comes a woman who remains unnamed in Matthew's gospel. Thankfully, we had Mark's account and John's to tell us that this is Mary. She's the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

They live in Bethany, same village, different house. But she comes on the scene for a specific purpose unrelated to the meal. Again, I urge you to feel it. So put yourself in her sandals, in her place, as she walks in this all-male gathering and she brings with her a priceless treasure. It is a small container called an alabaster jar of perfume.

Another writer calls it nard. This particular perfume is extremely expensive. Ladies, you would know the cost of perfume better than us men unless we're husbands and then we would know only because we're the resisting ones who say, do you have to get something that expensive? But you would never get something that cost $25,000 to $30,000.

I hope you would not go there. But she had this in her possession. Someone asked me following the earlier service, how could a woman of her meager means have wound up with something this expensive?

Probably hereditary. Probably passed along to her from the family or given by a wealthy friend. But this is an immensely wealthy perfume and it's in this jar sealed and we read that she came in with this beautiful alabaster jar and she breaks it and she pours it on the head and we know from Mark and John's words, she came to his feet and she smeared it on his feet and let her let her hair down and with her hair she smears it across his feet and and and his legs.

This is shocking stuff. First of all, a woman is in an all male gathering and of all things, she does this spontaneously unannounced and by the way, she never says a word here or in the other accounts. She doesn't come to preach. She doesn't come to give a little devotional, doesn't quote a verse of scripture from the Old Testament. She just does this pantomime of extravagant spontaneous worship. That's what happens. She knows of no better way to express her adoration of Jesus than this.

She breaks the ointment over him and pours it on his head as he's reclining at the table and then goes down where his feet and and and he she pours him pours it on his on his feet. What a moment. But the disciples, we read the word they were indignant. Not, oh what a marvelous act of worship.

Not, what a loving woman of God whose adoration knows no bounds. Stand back men. Look at this. None of that. Their first response is, what a waste. Look at it. What a waste, they said.

It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor. They are so pious. Since when are they so concerned about others? The point is, they don't know what to say so they decide to say the wrong thing and they yell at her for what she has done. Jesus' response is magnificent.

It's always magnificent. Look at what he does. But Jesus, aware of this, replied, why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? Now look at the next line.

Look at it. You will always have the poor with you. You will always have the poor among you.

But you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. To tell you the truth, wherever the good news is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be remembered and discussed. And by the way, here we are centuries later doing that very thing. She's the star of the show, if you will.

But she doesn't come to be the star. She comes overwhelmed with her adoration and knowing she may never see him again, she brought her most expensive possession and pours it all over him. Notice where. Here we read it's going on his head, the other disciples, the other gospel writers write of pouring it on his feet, taking her hair and smearing it on his feet. As expensive as this perfume was, we can be certain of this, that fragrance remained on his body even when it became a cadaver. It is the most precious aroma that's often overlooked by all of us who preach the message of Christ. When they nailed him to the cross, the fragrance was on his head under the crown of thorns.

When they pulled him from the cross and lifted the body from the spikes, there's ugly holes in his feet. The fragrance was all around his feet. When he came out of the tomb, the fragrance was with him. And for those hours that followed when they were around him, you could smell the worship of Mary all over him. Praise God for Mary, for that kind of worship. Samuel Stinnett, by the middle 18th century, sits down and begins to put into words what may have been her thoughts.

All conjecture, but I think very well might have been. Majestic sweetness sits enthroned upon the Savior's brow. His head with radiance glories crown his lips with grace or flow his lips with grace or flow. He saw me plunged in deep distress and flew to my relief. For me, he bore the shameful cross and carried all my grief and carried all my grief. To him, I owe my life and breath and all the joys I have. He makes me triumph over death and saves me from the grave and saves me from the grave. Since from his bounty I received such proofs of love divine had I a thousand hearts to give. Lord, they would all be thine.

They would all be thine. I love that hymn. She would have sung it with Samuel Stinnett. Those were her feelings. And Jesus could hear from her actions why she did what she did. And all the disciples could think of, probably out of envy, was what a waste.

What a waste. It's a sweet picture of indulgent generosity and love. Mary gave everything she owned in an expression of love and commitment to Jesus. You're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll, and this is Insight for Living. We'll look forward to learning more from these sacred encounters with Jesus during the final week of his life.

But right now, if you'd like to discover a variety of resources available on this topic, please visit us online at insightworld.org. Briefly as we attempt to understand these emotional snapshots in the first century, unlike Mary and the disciples, we have the added benefit of hindsight and perspective. Centuries of time help us see with clarity the magnitude of Jesus' suffering and what does death, burial, and resurrection mean to us today. Well, to help you remain focused on Jesus and his resurrection power, I'm pleased to remind you Chuck has written a 30-day devotional. It's called God's Word for You, and it's subtitled An Invitation to Find the Nourishment Your Soul Needs. Every entry in this book contains an insightful quote about the Scriptures, a brief devotional from Chuck, a prompt to help you grow in spiritual maturity, and a Bible verse to meditate on.

And it's printed in a beautiful leather-like cover. To purchase a copy of Chuck's book called God's Word for You, go to insight.org slash offer, or give us a phone call if you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. It's your generous donations that empower Insight for Living to deliver these daily visits with Chuck. When you give, you're actually making it possible for others across our country and even around the world to have access to practical Bible teaching. By giving, you enable them to grow in Christ just as you have. So thanks for giving generously to this nonprofit ministry.

Once again, if you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888, or give a donation today online by visiting insight.org. Travelers who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but few measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for Living Ministries. With a proper mix of historical information and biblical context, we provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in.

Our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord. Experience an unforgettable 12-day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 6-17, 2022. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by hand-picked Israeli guides, and we choose the best, along with seminary-trained pastors and professors to enhance your spiritual journey. No organization I know of offers this level of exceptional, in-depth instruction and personal care for Holy Land travelers.

To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along sacred sites and watching the Bible come to life. Make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries' tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. Join us again tomorrow when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe the countdown to Jesus' betrayal, here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Countdown to Betrayal, was copyrighted in 2017 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-07 15:42:34 / 2023-08-07 15:50:24 / 8

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