Matthew 26: Two Very Different Roads Converge

We are approaching Jesus’ death and I am struck by how there are two very different roads to the same place, Mt. Calvary.

The chapter begins by telling us that Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders are both contemplating the same event, but have very different intentions:

Jesus said to his disciples, “In two days’ time, as you know, it’ll be Passover!  That’s when the son of man will be handed over to be crucified.” (26:1-2)

The chief priests got together with the elders of the people. . . . They plotted how to capture Jesus by some trick, and kill him. (26:4)

Next, we have the two groups making preparation for death.  An unnamed woman comes to Jesus and anoints his head with very expensive perfume, unbeknownst to her as preparation for his burial.  She does this as a sign of honor.  Meanwhile, the chief priests strike a deal with Judas to lead them to Jesus in a private place so they can arrest him without a scene.  Preparations are made for betrayal.

When Jesus is arrested in Gethsemane, a stark divergence is seen again.  Everyone around Jesus — including impetuous Peter — operates by force.  Swords are brandished, an ear is cut off, and Jesus is manhandled away to the house of the high priest.  In contrast, throughout it all Jesus operates by peace.  He so opposes force that he heals the high priest’s slave’s ear and chastises his own defender Peter.  These are two radically different ways of operating in the world.

Both groups see Jesus’ body as an object to satisfy a need.  For Jesus, his body is an instrument of “forgiveness of sins” and healing (26:28).  Later, as the palace guard spat on Jesus and beat him, they show that Jesus’ body is simply an object on which to show hatred and humiliation.

Yet, both of these roads end up at the same place.  However, for one it is a cross of shame, mockery, and elimination.  For Jesus it is the cross of victory, love, and forgiveness.

What did you see anew in this very familiar chapter?

Categories: Matthew | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Matthew 26: Two Very Different Roads Converge

  1. did you mistype the title? Matthew 26? or 28? anyway.

    I love how Jesus was examine by the chief Priest.

    It speaks of how the sacrifice in the old testament is examined to be without blemished.
    and they couldn’t find an iota of blemish or spot in Jesus.

    His accusers, have to twist the words of Jesus in order to accuse Him.

    today, when we preach Grace, we are accused of telling people to go and sin because all their sins are forgiven anyway. its the same twisting of twist.

    its good to be back here 🙂

    – grace and peace

  2. its the same twisting of words i meant

  3. “Jesus kept silent.”

    But then he didn’t. And what Jesus said next got him killed.

    Jesus was framed and murdered. The Jewish religious leaders killed him. But there is a degree to which Matthew is reminding us that Jesus laid down his own life. What happens if Jesus stays silent? What if Jesus had never said the fateful line that gets the charge of blaspheme and the death sentence? It would seem his death does not happen. And we have an insurmountable problem.

    Jesus is murdered, no doubt about it. But Jesus opened the door to his murderers. This is self-sacrifice, most of all.

  4. Pingback: Anointing as a sign of Promotion – Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven

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