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Countdown to Betrayal, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 20, 2021 7:05 am

Countdown to Betrayal, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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October 20, 2021 7:05 am

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

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Gratefully, the Bible is filled with stories about real people who dealt with real-life issues.

In doing so, we can readily relate to flawed personalities who, just like us, struggled with their human condition. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll invites us to follow along, as he describes the final week in Jesus' life, during which time several personalities entered the scene. Some loved Jesus.

Others hated Him. But among the most painful relationships to watch were those who betrayed Jesus. Chuck is teaching from Matthew chapter 26. He titled today's message, Countdown to Betrayal. 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.

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 urged 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 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 his legs. 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 she pours them, 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 it 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. You could smell the worship of Mary all over him. Praise God for Mary for that kind of worship. And then he adds, I'll tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached, this woman will be attached to the message.

She'll be remembered and discussed. Before I go further, may I add this for all of us, there are moments when our worship needs to reach such a peak that we care little what others think or say. I have, I'll just confess, I've often been in my study and I come to a passage as I did in this one and I just sang at the top of my voice. Majestic sweetness sits enthroned upon the Savior's brow. It was marvelous in his presence. For you it may be in your car, it may be alone on a walk, it may be gazing at some marvelous scene that only God could have put together. Let it out. Let it out.

You know what I love? She didn't care that the room was filled with only men. They couldn't sing anyway, so she was in there lost in wonder, love, and praise, as Wesley writes. And while lost in praise, she cared little what they thought and even less what they said, as you will when you truly worship. Or does this sound strange to you? Are you so contained and so restrained that everything is gauged by what someone may say or think?

Her model is marvelous to witness. Judas couldn't take it. If you follow the story of Judas, you realize that he is losing patience, being zealous at heart, and waiting for the moment Jesus will begin the move against Rome and overthrow that kingdom, but not seeing it come, Judas is now disillusioned. And remember, remember Judas, he's seen the miracles, he's heard the teaching, he's been right there witnessing the whole thing as Jesus has lived this marvelous life. And when he sees this woman in this act of spontaneous and extravagant worship, by the way, one of the other Gospels says that Judas led the pack in this criticism, deceiver that he was, I mean Judas is a thief.

He had been trusted to be the treasurer of the group, he held the purse, and yet he pilfered from it. And here he is seeing this woman lost in her praise, and that's all he could stand. Look at it for yourself in this passage. 26, verse 14. Then, don't miss the connective, then when?

When the woman has poured out the perfume. Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the leading priests. By the way, how do you know where they were meeting? I thought they were meeting in secret. And by the way, why did they let him in knowing he was one of the twelve? I suggest he had been flirting with the idea for some time and struck up a friendship. Conjecture, I admit, but how else can you explain that one of the disciples is allowed in the meeting, and immediately given an audience with these murderers, planning this conspiracy, and he has the audacity to ask, how much will you pay me to betray him?

Like a slithering snake, coiled and ready to strike. In fact, it reads, from that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. But I should return to this moment when he bargains with them, how much are you willing to give me? For 30 measly pieces of silver, verse 15, he agreed to be the traitor. There's an old English couplet I've quoted for years that's worth mentioning here, still as of old, man by himself is priced for 30 pieces. Judas sold himself, not Christ.

Why, of course. Christ isn't for sale. Judas is. And he's cheap. What a deal.

This group of murderers never produced 30 pieces of silver more quickly in their lives. They pulled it out and they laid it in front of him. He grabbed it, was on his way with plans to carry out the betrayal. And he's the one earlier who had the audacity to say to the woman, think of the poor.

You could have given this money to the poor. He cared nothing for the woman or for the poor. What he cared about was that anyone would worship this one who was not doing what he expected him to be doing. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray him. A good place to pause and search our own hearts. I think there is a timely and timeless lesson woven through all of this that says everyone is either for Christ or against him.

There's no neutral zone. In eternity, there is no neutrality. You will not find yourself in a comfortable place by answering the Lord God I'm still making up my mind. When you have breathed your last and you stand before your eternal King, you better have your mind made up. He looks for a time and opportunity to betray him and surely it will come not long from now in the garden. And can't you see it? The act of betrayal.

A kiss. Why of course, so like Judas. Matthew has recorded the scene that we might feel the gathering storm because it represents some of you today.

Through life, events have occurred that have moved you toward or away from the claims of Christ. And it may have been as quiet and as secretive as Judas himself who doesn't announce his plans to those closest to him. In fact, I'm convinced by now he may have been much closer to the enemies of Christ than he ever had been to the fellow disciples.

Isn't it amazing? He knew the songs. He knew the prayers. He could describe to you the setting when the lame were healed and the dead was raised, but it never touched his heart. Everyone is either for Christ or against him.

Every one of us as well. Bow your heads, will you? Right where you're sitting, are you for him? Have you told him? Does your life reveal it or is it all a secret very diplomatically lived out so that there would be those on the sideline who would think of you as a disciple when in fact you were not that at all? I urge you to move in the right direction as the message of this passage reaches you. Turn to Christ. Lay out before him all the things that have become a part of the struggle. Tell him where you are. He knows but he loves for you to repeat it and to acknowledge that all of that has created where you are today.

Wouldn't it be great if upon departure on your lips are words like majestic sweetness sits enthroned upon the Savior's brow, his head with radiant glories crown, his lips with grace or flow. He saw me plunged in deep distress and flew to my relief. Trust in him now. Take his relief. Take his forgiveness. Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed, we search our souls in moments like this. In every scene of the scriptures, we are somewhere and today the question is where are you? If you choose Christ for the very first time, we have men and women available to help you.

All of us happy to talk with you about your soul. Don't leave unsure. Don't.

Don't go there. This day could be your last. Thank you, dear Father, for your ministry in and among us. Thank you for giving us a book that is so tied into our day where we're able to see and touch and even smell the scene.

It makes us quiet. It captures our hearts and we find ourselves wanting to affirm again more deeply how grateful we are for the bounty we received in such proofs of love divine. Had we a thousand hearts to give, Lord, they would all be thine.

They would all be thine. I pray for those who've never yet made this decision that you would give them a restlessness, sleepless nights, troubled heart, until they turn to you as Lord and Savior. This we pray through Christ our Lord. Everyone said, Amen. Concluding a three-day study in Matthew chapter 26 called Countdown to Betrayal, you're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll, and this is Insight for Living.

To discover a variety of resources available on this topic, please visit us online at insightworld.org. As Chuck said a moment ago, in eternity there is no neutrality. Everyone is either for Christ or against Him.

There's no such thing as teetering on the fence. To that end, Insight for Living provides a variety of helpful resources to help you remain focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ. And today I'm pleased to point out an engaging 30-day devotional from Chuck. It's titled God's Word for You. The subtitle gives you a taste of what this book is all about, an invitation to find the nourishment your soul needs. This leather-like devotional is perfect for those who are just beginning their lifelong journey with Christ or for those who hope to rekindle their daily devotional times with Him.

Spend a few minutes every day feeding your soul. To purchase a copy right now, go to insight.org slash offer and look for the devotional titled God's Word for You. As you're led to give a donation to Insight for Living, you can be confident that your investment truly makes a difference.

For instance, I just saw a note that read, Chuck, all the fretting I do throughout the night is endless. When tears of my confusion swell and smother me, you and God always seem to foster my heart and relieve the pressure. And then this listener added, manna was waiting when I clicked on the link and read your devotional. Well, your gift to Insight for Living Ministries enables us to touch lives like this one. So thank you for giving generously as God prompts you to do so.

If you're listening in the United States, call 1-800-772-8888. To give a donation today online, go to insight.org. You've heard Him teach about the Holy Land, using word pictures to make us feel like we're actually strolling through the old city. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life-changing.

In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by Insight for Living Ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12-day tour, March 6th through 17th, 2022. At special sites along the way, I will teach from God's Word. We'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes and share the Lord's Table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together, and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and talked. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444.

Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 6th through 17th, 2022. And 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. I'm Dave Spiker. Tomorrow Chuck Swindoll describes the emotional scene the night before Jesus' crucifixion. Be sure to join us Thursday to hear 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 / 2023-08-06 06:24:06 / 2023-08-06 06:31:42 / 8

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