October 26th, 2006
We will never know for sure what caused Judas to betray Jesus, but today’s reading does give us some clues. Jesus was at a party and he let a woman pour expensive perfume over him. Judas must have been thinking that if Jesus was really true to his principles, he would have made sure that the perfume was not wasted in such a decadent manner. Jesus had spent a lot of time preaching about how people should give their money to the poor, and this was a clear violation of that principle. So Judas went out and signed up to hand him over to the authorities. The problem with Judas’s thinking was that he let principles become more important than people, and that was something which he would bitterly regret.
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 26
26:1 After saying all these things, Jesus said to his disciples, 26:2 “You know that in two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
26:3 The senior priests, religious lawyers and elders of the people were gathered in the court of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas. 26:4 They plotted cunning ways of capturing and killing Jesus, 26:5 but decided, “Not during the feast, in case the people start a riot.”
26:6 Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper. 26:7 A woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment and poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 26:8 His disciples were indignant when they saw this, “Why this waste? 26:9 This ointment could have been sold and a lot of money given to the poor.”
26:10 Reading their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why criticise the woman? She has done a fine thing for me. 26:11 You will always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me. 26:12 By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 26:13 I can guarantee that wherever this Good News is preached throughout the world, the story of what this woman has done will be told in memory of her.”
26:14 Then one of the twelve called Judas Iscariot went to the senior priests 26:15 and said, “How much will you offer me to deliver him to you?” They counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 26:16 From that time he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
26:17 On the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to ask Jesus, “Where do you want us to make arrangements for you to eat the Passover?”
26:18 He told them to go to a particular person in the city and tell him, “The Teacher says, ‘My time has arrived. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'”
26:19 The disciples did as Jesus instructed, and they prepared the Passover. 26:20 Evening came and he was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 26:21 As they were eating he said, “I can guarantee that one of you will betray me.” 26:22 They were distressed to hear this and each began to ask him, “It isn’t me is it Lord?”
26:23 He answered, “The person who dipped his hand with me in the dish is the one who will betray me. 26:24 The Son of Man will go as the prophecies predict, but woe to the man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! That man would be better off if he had not been born.”
26:25 Judas the betrayer asked, “It isn’t me is it Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “They are your words not mine.”
26:26 While they were eating Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it and broke it. He gave to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 26:27 He took the cup, gave thanks and gave it to them saying, “All of you drink it. 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out to allow the sins of many people to be forgiven. 26:29 I will not drink this fruit of the vine again until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” 26:30 They sang a hymn then went out to the Mount of Olives.
26:31 Jesus told them, “You will all stumble because of me tonight. It is predicted, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 26:32 But after I am raised up I will go before you into Galilee.” 26:33 Peter answered him, “Even if everyone else stumbles because of you, I will never stumble.” 26:34 Jesus said, “I can guarantee that you will deny me three times tonight before the cock crows.” 26:35 Peter protested, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” All of the disciples said the same.
26:36 Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane and said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there to pray.” 26:37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to grieve and be distressed. 26:38 He said, “My soul is overflowing with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.”
26:39 He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by; nevertheless, not what I want, but what you want.”
26:40 Finding the disciples sleeping when he came to them, he said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me for one hour? 26:41 Watch and pray that you don’t enter into temptation. The spirit is eager but the flesh is weak.”
26:42 He went away and prayed a second time, “My Father, if this cup can’t pass by without me drinking it, then let your will be done.” 26:43 He came back and found them sleeping again because their eyes were heavy. 26:44 A third time he left them and went to pray, using the same words. 26:45 Then he came to his disciples and said, “Are you sleeping and resting? The hour has arrived for the Son of Man to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. 26:46 Let’s get up and go. The betrayer is advancing.”
26:47 While he was still speaking Judas, one of the twelve, arrived with a great crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priest and elders of the people. 26:48 The betrayer had given them a signal, “Whoever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him.” 26:49 He came straight up to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
26:50 Jesus said, “Friend, do what you are here for.” Then they seized Jesus and arrested him. 26:51 One of the people who were with Jesus drew his sword, and lunged at the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. 26:52 Jesus said, “Put your sword away, because everyone who uses the sword will die by the sword. 26:53 Do you think that I can’t call on my Father, so that he would immediately send more than twelve legions of angels? 26:54 But how would the Scriptures be fulfilled if it happened that way?”
26:55 Jesus said to the crowd, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as if I was a robber? You didn’t arrest me when I sat teaching in the temple each day. 26:56 But all this has happened to fulfil the predictions of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left him, and ran away.
26:57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the religious lawyers and elders had gathered. 26:58 Peter followed from a distance to the court of the high priest, and went in to sit with the officers to see how it would end. 26:59 The senior priests, the elders and the whole council wanted fabricated evidence against Jesus to justify imposing the death penalty, 26:60 but they found none that they could use, in spite of many false witnesses who came forward. At last two people came forward 26:61 to say, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.'”
26:62 The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is this that they testify against you?” 26:63 But Jesus said nothing. The high priest said, “I order under oath by the living God that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
26:64 Jesus said, “They are your words, not mine. Nevertheless, I tell you after this you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of the sky.”
26:65 The high priest tore his clothing, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. 26:66 What do you think?” They answered, “He deserves to die!” 26:67 Then they spat in his face and beat him with their fists, and some slapped him, 26:68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who hit you?”
26:69 Peter was sitting outside in the court and a maid came to him and said, “You were also with Jesus, the Galilean!” 26:70 But he denied it in front of them all, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
26:71 When he had gone out onto the porch, someone else saw him, and said to those who were there, “This man was also with Jesus of Nazareth.” 26:72 Again he denied it with an oath, “I don’t know the man.”
26:73 A little while later some bystanders said to Peter, “You must also be one of them, because your accent gives you away.” 26:74 Then he began to curse and to swear, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately the rooster crowed. 26:75 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and wept bitterly.
Entry Filed under: Legalism