- Sermon Notes
A New Covenant
As we continue our study in Matthew 26, we remember that when Jesus was at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came in to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume and poured it upon His head as He reclined at the table to eat.
The disciples were indignant when they saw this, saying, "Why this waste? This perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor." We know from another gospel that it was Judas Iscariot who led in this objection. We also know that he said this not because he was concerned for the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he was the one who held the money box; he used to pilfer what was in it. Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that Jesus directed his rebuke and correction directly at Judas.
Immediately after this, Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus for a price. The chief priests weighed out for him 30 pieces of silver.
What a contrast. First we see this woman, whom we assume to be Mary, sister of Martha, who loved Jesus with extravagant love in anointing Him with the expensive perfume that she would have held in reserve either for her wedding day for the burial of someone very dear.
Then we see Judas Iscariot who had seen the miracles of Jesus with his own eyes, yet in spite of all that God had poured out before him, his singular priority was himself. And in Judas we see the nature of man and the depravity that we all have the potential to fall into; and we also see why we need a Savior.
Last week we talked about God's extravagant love toward us, and now this week, we understand more deeply what that extravagant love looks like as we begin to understand the depths of what God has done to save us and redeem us from our own sin and then bring us into a relationship of nearness and intimacy with Himself.
When we understand more deeply God's extravagant love toward us, it should cause us to love Him with a deeper and deeper love, even with a more extravagant love in return.
I. No One will Have an Excuse
- Last week we were contrasting Mary's extravagant love with the attitude and character of Judas.
- This week we look at Judas, but then see the heart of Jesus toward him, even knowing that Judas would betray Him.
- You look at just how low man can go in his depravity and set that against how high God will go in His love and we are truly amazed yet again.
A. Our choices are ours to choose
- When you look at Judas, you have to ask the question "why." Why did he do it? How is it possible?
- A number of possibilities come to mind, but all of them seem to fall short of being reasonable.
- Maybe Judas’ pride was undone because Jesus embarrassed him and rebuked him in front of the others. But Jesus rebuked them all.
- Maybe Judas resented the fact that Jesus chose simple Galilean fishermen and a tax collector over him for leadership. After all, Judas was the only "sophisticated Judean" among them.
- Maybe he was disappointed because Jesus didn't lead a revolt against the Roman government.
- But the fact remains that none of these seem reasonable. One of the greatest conclusions I've come to in life is that sin is never reasonable!
Illus – I tried to never ask my kids to explain why they did something dumb. There is no reasonable explanation. “Why did you pour glue in your sister's hair?" a parent may ask, but no answer will make any sense.
Illus - I remember sitting down with my dad many years ago when we had a life changing conversation…
- I like the simple truth of the scriptures that explains the reason Judas objected to the extravagant waste of Mary anointing Jesus with expensive perfume.
- "He said it not because he was concerned for the poor, but because he was a thief."
- One thing is for certain, our choices are ours to choose and we can blame no one else.
- I like the challenge that Joshua gave Israel to come to a place of choosing, and he himself was the example.
Joshua 24:15, "Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
B. God is the One who redeems
- It's interesting because there are many people who even try to blame God for their condition, or will say that He isn't doing enough.
- But God makes it clear that He has revealed Himself, so that no one has an excuse.
Romans 1:18-22 No one will have an excuse before God
- Then, when you look at the events of Matthew 26 and 27 regarding Judas Iscariot, there are some who would even say that Judas had no choice because he was just fulfilling what God had prophesied beforehand.
- Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. There is a scripture that tells us that 30 pieces of silver was the price of a servant killed by an ox.
- But more than that it was the specific fulfillment from the books of Zechariah and Jeremiah.
Matthew 27:1-10 The Potter’s field was purchased.
- When you step back and realize how many specific prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus and the events surrounding his life, it's an astounding declaration of God revealing Himself.
- The possibility of all of those prophecies being fulfilled randomly would be too astronomical to calculate.
- Some have suggested that Judas did not have responsibility because of God's sovereignty.
- There is a scripture, Romans 8:28, that says that "God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God and called according to His purpose."
- But it would also be fair to say that "God causes all things to work together," not that He causes all things, for we are responsible for our own decisions, but He causes all things to work together according to His will.
- When Jesus said that one of them would betray Him, each of them asked, "Surely not I, Lord?" meaning, “It isn't me, is it?"
- Why would they ask? Did they recognize at that moment their own potential for terrible things?
- But seeing the condition of man, we are then greatly relieved and encouraged to see the degree of God's extravagant love in redeeming us.
II. There is No Greater Love than This
- When Jesus was having this last supper with His disciples, it was the Passover meal.
- Jesus goes on to explain that He is the fulfillment of this great Jewish feast and that all of the aspects of the Passover meal pointed to Jesus and the extent of God's love for us through Him.
- All of the feasts were about Jesus, but this one had special meaning to Jesus because it would be on this Passover that He would become the Lamb who was slain, for the forgiveness of our sins.
- We are called to a deeper understanding of what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, because faith is increased as we hear more and more of the depths of God's love for us.
A. Take and eat; He gave His body for you
- Jesus took the bread at the table, which was unleavened, broke it and said, "This is my body, take and eat."
- There is something important about the fact that it was unleavened, representing the fact that Jesus was without sin.
- It's a picture of the righteousness of God which is given as a gift to us, a righteousness we could never obtain on our own merits.
John 6:26-35 He is the Bread of Life
John 6:51, 53, "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." … "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves."
- But eating the bread is important because it means that we have gone beyond just giving mental agreement, we are receiving Christ into our own bodies, sinful and broken.
- "He stands at the door and knocks, if anyone opens the door, He will come in and eat with him." We must open the door of our hearts, we must partake."
B. His blood must be applied to our lives
- The Passover remembers when Israel was redeemed out of slavery in Egypt when the blood of a lamb was applied to the doorposts and lintel of a house so that death would "Passover" that house and they would be saved by the blood.
Exodus 12:7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
- In the same way then, the blood of Jesus must be applied to our lives and drinking of the cup is the symbol of that very thing; that we have asked for the blood of Christ to be applied to our lives.
- The scripture says that the wages of sin is death; therefore applying the blood of a lamb who was slain is a picture of applying the death of Christ to us so that our sins have been forgiven. (Verse 28)
- Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that a man should examine himself and not take of the bread or the blood in an unworthy manner.
1 Corinthians 11:27-28 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
- But what does it mean an unworthy manner? that someone must become righteous enough to take communion?
Illus - That would be like telling a person who has cancer, that they can see the doctor as soon as they conquer their cancer on their own.
- No, in a worthy manner means that we recognize the worth, the value, the greatness of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.
- To eat and drink is a picture of our desire to receive life, righteousness and the forgiveness of sin from Him and to be filled up to the full and satisfied in the soul because of His life in us.
Matthew 26:14-30 NASB