Passion Week Staff Devotionals: Wednesday

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Matthew 26:6-16

“6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[a] 7 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. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 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 is Wednesday and there are only two days left until Jesus is taken to the cross. There are two different important events that happen this day. We pick up in scripture where Jesus is visiting with a leper in the town of Bethany. A nameless woman comes to the house with a “very expensive ointment,” and she poured it on Jesus’ head for his burial preparations. When the disciples saw this taking place, they were enraged. They believed that the ointment could be sold for a great sum of money and that money could be given to the poor. They saw this use of ointment on Jesus as a waste.

Jesus corrects their quick judgment with a pure explanation of how beautiful of an act the woman actually just performed. The nameless woman brought what she had to exalt the Son of God in a way that was very sacrificial for her. She brought what was an expensive bottle of ointment to just be used for the burial of Jesus. It seems to me that she was bringing what she had to Jesus and nothing less. She did not count her losses when she used the ointment on Jesus’ head, but she is now known for her sacrificial giving whenever the gospel is preached. (Matthew 26:13)

The second event that happened on Wednesday was the betrayal of Jesus plotted by Judas. The gospel of John alludes to what was really happening in Judas’ heart during the time of ointment anointing. Judas did not care for the poor, but he is called a thief and was planning on taking some of the money for himself. (John 12) This enraged Judas when Jesus allowed the woman to use the ointment on his head. Judas decided to plot against Jesus. Judas went the chief priests and asked them what he could get for handing over Jesus. And it did not seem like Judas cared how much money he would get for the betrayal, but as long as he got some money. As the scripture tells us, Judas was rewarded with thirty pieces of silver and later gave up the place of Jesus for his arrest.

Reflection:

When you read about this Holy Wednesday who do you relate with the most? Are you the nameless woman who brings all that she has to the head of Jesus, or are you a seemingly close follower of Jesus who just wants to be rewarded any way you can?

It is possible that you are like one of the disciples and you are more concerned with what you can do instead of recognizing the exaltation of Jesus. Wherever you relate on this Wednesday, remember that Jesus became and now is the risen Savior who deserves nothing less than all that we have!