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Wednesday - The Silent Storm approaches

It is Wednesday in this Final week of Jesus' life.  As the week progressed Jesus retreated from Jerusalem for a day, staying in Bethany with his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  The storm that was about to occur was quiet – silent.  Yet what happened was clearly a picture of the rest of the week. 

Matthew 26:1-16
 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,
 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas,
 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.
 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?
 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”
10  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.
11  For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.
12  In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.
13  Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
14  Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15  and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
16  And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

It’s Wednesday and these events happen in parallel ways.  Jesus is in Bethany at the home of Simon, who was a leper.  At the same time, he is fully aware of what is going on behind the scenes.  The chief priests and elders have had enough and they are plotting to arrest Jesus…looking for a way and an opportunity. Their original idea is to do it after the feast is over with.  It would be easier, and a lot of the pilgrims coming for the feast will have left to return to their homes.

It all changes when Judas decides that he will betray Jesus to the leaders.  It gives them the impetus to put together a group of soldiers and ambush Jesus and his disciples at a time when they weren’t with the crowds.  Why did he do it?  We don’t know for certain.  Given Judas’ background it seems safe to conjecture that he simply lost faith in Jesus as the Messiah he wanted.  Judas was looking for a Messiah who would come to overthrow the Romans and set up God’s Kingdom rule governing over Israel and all the nations of the world...a militaristic King forcing his rule and authority on people’s lives.   It simply was not the Messiah Jesus was presenting.  Jesus is King – yes – but a King who sought the heart and those who would follow.  He didn’t call people to embrace a new religion, but rather a new covenant. 

As the day progresses, Jesus anointed with oil from “a woman”.  It might have been Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, or one of the other women who were part of Jesus’ followers.  She anoints Jesus “pre” his death.  Did she know?  Did she see it as an inevitable result of Jesus’ life?  We don’t know.  What we know is that her action is in itself prophetic.  She is declaring what is about to happen and the disciples probably didn’t see it until much later – Judas certainly didn’t.  In fact, no one probably understood what was going on and what was about to happen.  It’s indicative of our Spiritual lives that we can live day by day and be oblivious to what God is doing “in” and “around” us.  

The woman was moved to do the anointing.  It was an act of worship and an act that would serve to be remembered by the disciples after it was all over.  Judas’ accusation is that it was a waste, but Jesus’ rebuke describes her action as worship, and one that is forever remembered. 

Judas is the tragic figure…all that time walking with Jesus, watching Jesus, witnessing Jesus’ words and works…and he never got it.  Why?  Lots of reasons, but first of all is that he had a religious agenda that Jesus would not fulfill.  
A lot of people simple don’t get it…we aren’t saved by being religious…nor even by being good…we can’t perform our way into God’s favor.  Jesus is not going to fulfill our agenda – no matter how much we think it is of God.  We come to Him by faith alone and it’s his grace alone that saves us.

This Wednesday serve as a pivot…it is a silent storm that is coming. Today is a day of prophetic actions…betrayal by a friend…and Jesus resting until tomorrow’s events begin.



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