Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 130 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Matthew 26 today and our focus is on She Got it More than Almost Anybody Jesus Knew, and He Missed It The Worst of Anybody Jesus Knew. A Tale of Two Jesus Followers. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Stuttgart, Germany, South Africa, Odisha, India, Tyler, Texas, Beaumont, Texas, Salinas, California, Anchorage, Alaska, Tampa, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Long passage today, and short commentary, but Matthew 26 is an incredibly important passage. In it, we will see a woman who understood the importance and teachings of Jesus more than almost any other person alive at the time, and we will see a person that made such an absolute wreck of His life that graceful, kind and gentle Jesus summed up his life with this statement, “It would be better for him if he had never been born.” Ouch. Better to have NOT EXISTED at all than to have existed. That is a stunning indictment. When you realize that Jesus is talking about one of His hand-chosen disciples – one of the men He chose to spend His life with, it is even more stunning.
We don’t know much about Judas Iscariot. Iscariot probably, but not certainly, means that Judas was born in a village called Kerioth in the southern part of Judea. Some people have used Judas as a basis for anti-semitism, which is pretty ridiculous considering that the other 11 disciples – you know, the good ones – were also Jews, and, oh yeah, Jesus? He was Jewish too. Anti-semitism amongst Christians is perhaps the dumbest and most illogical thing in the history of dumb ideas. A very few liberal scholars think Judas was not a real figure, but was added to the Gospel narratives to foster anti-semitism, which might be the only thing dumber than Christian anti-semitism, considering, again, the other 11 disciples and Jesus and Paul and pretty much everybody in the New Testament was Jewish.
What we reliably know about Judas is that it appears the straw that broke the camel’s back – the incident that caused Judas to decide to betray Jesus, happens in Matthew 26. And that event is really quite surprising. What could possibly cause one of the disciples of Jesus to decide to betray Him? What if I told you that it was an act of extravagant love and devotion? An act of intense and pure sacrifice and worship. Would you be surprised that the greatest betrayal in history happened because somebody expressed their love to Jesus in such a profound way that Jesus said her act of devotion would be remembered for millenia?
Here’s what happened: Jesus was friends with a family that lived in the city of Bethany. Lazarus, the one raised from the dead, was the brother in the family. Martha the older sister, and Mary of Bethany the other sister. Apparently they lived in the same house with Martha – perhaps because their parents had both died at an early age – the Bible never says. Martha, you might remember, was a very serving-oriented woman. She waited hand and foot on the disciples and expressed frustration when her sister Mary just sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to Him. When Martha complained about this to Jesus, He gently told her that Mary had chosen the BETTER thing. As great as serving is – and it is great to Jesus – sitting and listening to Him is even better. In today’s chapter, Mary comes, sees Jesus, and breaks a jar of perfume worth the equivalent of 300 days of labor – maybe $40000 in American dollars – and anoints Jesus with it. The disciples were indignant at this sacrifice of the perfume – realizing that Mary had just basically spent a year’s wages worth of perfume in one extravagant act. They complain…and Jesus weighs in, defending Mary, and indicating that she gets what is important more than anybody present. He says that what she has done will always be remembered – Mary of Bethany got it. She understood who Jesus was, and how to respond to His greatness. She loved Him with ever fiber of her being and every bit of her material wealth, and He was blessed and blessed her. She got it. Judas? He missed it by light years.
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they weighed out thirty pieces of silver for him. 16 And from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him. Matthew 26:14-16
Mary’s devotion and Jesus’ value of her devotion caused Judas to be so angry that he immediately got up and decided to betray Jesus. Nobody has ever missed it more than Judas – nobody has ever failed to grasp important truth like Judas has. If you’ve ever made a mistake – no matter how bad it was – at least be comforted that you didn’t make the biggest mistake in the history of the world. Judas Iscariot did. And Mary of Bethany may have understood things better than anybody on Earth in her day. Simple Mary. Not famous, not rich, not married. But she got it.
Be like Mary, not like Judas! Let’s read our passage.
Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
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