Day Thirty-seven: Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Bible Lesson: Matthew 26:1-35
Reflection from Pastor Wayne Eberly:
With chapter 26 the journey to the cross accelerates. We are reading 35 verses today, and just in those 35 verses we have the following headlines to alert us to the dangerous road Jesus is walking. The headlines include the following:
- The Plot Against Jesus (Matthew 26:1-5)
- Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16)
- The Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:17-30, where Jesus predicts his betrayal and speaks of the cup as being the blood of the covenant poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins)
- Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial (Matthew 26:31-35)
These headlines tell a tale of impending doom. But there is one headline in the midst of these bleak warnings of betrayal and denial that bears special note, because this headline tells of one whose worship and adoration of Jesus stands in stark contrast to the other events we will encounter in our reading for this day. The headline in my bible says, “Jesus anointed at Bethany.” Of course, Jesus is always the headline. But in this particular encounter, Jesus himself shines the spotlight on the woman who anoints him. (Matthew 26:6-13)
Here is what takes place. “While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he reclined at the table.” Her actions cause the disciples to be filled with indignation. They complain that her actions have been wasteful. In contrast to their vehement objections and accusations of the woman being wasteful, Jesus makes known in no uncertain terms that her actions are worshipful. She is anointing him, as he says, “To prepare me for burial.”
One noted author has taken the encounter of this woman who anoints Jesus and created a title for a book with the headline, “In memory of her.” That headline captures the very words of our Lord. In the midst of a whole slew of other headlines pointing to the denials and betrayals that would lead to his suffering and death, Jesus pointed to the actions of this woman and said, “I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:13)
These final chapters lend themselves to devotional thoughts. We are blessed to have hymns that offer just such words of devotion. As you spend a few moments remembering the worshipful actions of this woman who anointed Jesus, I hope you will find this verse from the hymn, “A Prophet-Woman Broke a Jar” to be helpful.
A prophet-woman broke a jar, by Love’s divine appointing.
With rare perfume she filled the room, presiding and anointing.
A prophet-woman broke a jar, the sneers of scorn defying.
With rare perfume she filled the room, preparing Christ for dying.
Text: Brian Wren
“In memory of her”, let us explore how we can pour out the sacrifices of our hearts so that we might anoint Jesus with our worship and adoration as he makes his way to the cross.
“The story of Jesus’ last night has many scenes, beginning with the disciples’ preparation of the
Passover seder and concluding with the sorry tale of Peter’s denial. The mood throughout is somber, yet the story is shot through with the conviction that what is happening is not mere happenstance or blind fate but in some mysterious way the outworking of God’s plan for the world.” (Douglas Hare, Matthew, p. 295)