Tuesday after Laetare
Scripture: St. Matthew 26:1-35 (NKJV)
26:1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. 5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.
8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”
10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. 16 So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.
17 Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”‘” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.
20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. 21 Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”
22 And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”
23 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”
He said to him, “You have said it.”
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”
33 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”
34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.
“…for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it…” (Acts 5:38-39).
Jesus tells His disciples on Tuesday (Nisan 12) that He will die by crucifixion on the day of the Passover in just two days. The Jewish Passover (Nisan 14) begins at sundown on Thursday. At about the same time, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders had decided not to have Jesus arrested and killed during the seven-day Passover celebration.
Who is really in charge? On the first day of the feast, between Thursday night and Friday night, Jesus had been arrested, declared guilty, crucified and buried. Yes, Jesus is in charge! He tells us “Therefore, My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17-18). His work is all according to the Father’s will so that He might secure our atonement. The Gospel promise is sure, “everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43).
When a woman anoints Jesus at the house of Simon, He says, “For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.” Jesus approves of her action! Even though the disciples do not seem to be paying attention to Jesus’ words about His upcoming death, burial and resurrection, she did.
Heavenly Father, lead us to receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save our souls. Amen (James 1:21 paraphrased).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.