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The Plot Thickens | Matthew 26

Religious leaders that have gone completely awry, disciples that miss the beauty of the anointing, the meal, the prayer time, and betrayal. 

This week, we continue our study of Matthew 26. Let’s dig in!

Listen along to the episode here or on your favorite podcast app.

We are familiar with all those stories.  We are getting to the part of the Bible that we know.  Here is what I notice.  So much of this chapter is about us getting completely off track.  Religious leaders that have gone completely awry, disciples that miss the beauty of the anointing, the meal, the prayer time, and betrayal. 

I got stuck on Caiaphas and Judas. 

Caiaphas was the Chief Priest for goodness sake.  But he likely had a good relationship with Rome and Herod which would mean he didn’t have a good relationship with the Jews.  He enjoyed a long tenure of being chief priest.  He gained a lot while in the position.  He had a lot to lose by what Jesus was trying to set straight.  He took everything Jesus did personally.  He was out for Jesus’s blood.  He didn’t just want him to be taught a lesson, he wanted him dead.  Money, prestige, power.  All things that would inspire the anger needed to plot death to a known innocent man. 

Judas.  Oh, Judas.  I struggle with him.  What was he thinking?  He was called to be a disciple.  He chose to follow.  He stuck with it.  Apparently, even though he witnessed first-hand all the miracles Jesus performed, heard him speak with power and authority, was able to cast out demons and heal himself when Jesus sent him out…his heart was not moved.  He couldn’t have truly loved Jesus.  Right?  Did he not believe Jesus was who he said he was?  How is that possible?  Did God harden his heart so that he could do what he was supposed to do?  Or did God choose him because he knew Judas would be able to do what he needed to do all on his own?  Did he know they wanted to kill Jesus?  Did he think they just wanted to put him in jail for a bit?  Did he really think that Jesus would get himself out of it like he had so far?  The magnitude of this betrayal for thirty pieces of silver, the going rate for a slave.  Matthew says in chapter 27 that he felt remorse.  Does that mean repentance?  Or was he sorry that everyone knew it was him?

Judas Iscariot.  Iscariot refers to the place where he was from, Moab.  Interesting.  Genesis 19 tells this story.  Moab was the son of Lot and his oldest daughter.  Gross.  Moabites were hostile to the Israelites.  They were pagans.  Jeremiah 48 tells the prophecy of their destruction.  They were a people conceived outside of the will of God.  Yet God used them throughout the Israelites history in good ways.  They were still destined for destruction.  As was Judas. 

But Ruth was also from Moab.  And she is in the family tree of Jesus, David’s great-grandmother. 

Moab brought Jesus in the world and Moab took him out. 

Judas served a purpose.  A horrible, yet necessary one. 

Matthew 26 tells us a lot of things.  It’s a pretty important chapter.  Here’s what happens in a nutshell:

*Chief Priests, teachers of the law, elders plot to kill Jesus.

* Woman (maybe Mary, Lazarus’s sister) anoints Jesus with perfume

* Judas makes a deal.

* Passover/Last Supper

* Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane

*Jesus arrested (thanks, Judas)

*Jesus before Caiaphas

*Peter denies Jesus 3x

All that happens in 75 verses.

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