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Mark 14:1-26

Mark 14:1-11, "After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by trickery and put him to death. But they said, 'Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.'"

The Anointing at Bethany

"And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. And she broke the flask and poured it on his feet. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, 'Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.' And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, 'Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me. For you have the poor with you always, and wherever you wish you may do them good, but me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the whole world, what this woman did will also be spoken of as a memorial to her.'"

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

"Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray him to them. So when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray him."

"This is Mark chapter 14. Let's say a word of prayer and we'll begin our study together. 'Lord, as we are reminded again as we reflect upon your Word, you honor your Word above your name. And that is an amazing statement, in and of itself. We thank you for that, that we can come together and study your Word. We believe Lord, that as we read and study your Word this morning, that as we hear it, faith comes by hearing your Word. And we desire more faith Lord, faith that pleases you. We desire to walk so much more by faith and not by sight. And we believe that even by your Word you created the heavens and the earth, that there was nothing, and then there was, there was creation. [Don't believe that, or need proof? Have friends in the world, in school or college that don't believe that. Log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/
and read it. Print up a copy and pass it along to them. Creation can be proved, and evolution disproved. Don't believe it, log and see for yourself.] Lord, that's hard to understand. But thank you for your Word. And we know that the Logos, Jesus, is the Word [Greek: Logos, :"Word"]. May we look upon your Word this morning, we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.'

There's a story that I've heard before, of some folks that were in a museum, an art museum in Europe. And one particular gentleman came to a painting and this painting was of the crucifixion. And as he looked upon this painting, he was a believer--he began to consider what he looked upon. He actually began to weep, looking at Jesus there on the cross, you know, the blood and just the grotesque picture, but just a man that has been touched by the grace of God, just began to weep. And really the emotion began to stir in his heart. And as he stood there he began to speak out loud and say "Oh Lord, I love you, I love you, God. You're so good, I love you." Evidently, there were other people who had been touched by the grace of God in that museum that day, that came by and saw this man, and started to get caught up in the same emotion, as they looked upon this picture of Jesus on the cross, and began to just say, 'Lord, we love you, we worship you and praise you.' I think that's true of us at times, those of us who've been touched by the grace of God, at least it should be. You look upon the cross, you consider what Christ has done for us, you go 'Lord, man, I love you.' I certainly don't deserve to be where I am. I look in my own life, I look back just in the late '80s, where I was in the late '80s, in college and in Boston, a guy who had committed his life to that Lord at 15, but somehow had gotten far from the Lord by the age of 19, 20, 21. I can even think back to some of those years and the places I went and the things I did, and I come to the cross, and there's a sense of real shame in my heart. But at the same time I'm amazed by what God has done in my life. I can look back to those times and remember mornings and I would wake up and say 'Oh Lord, forgive me for last night, I don't want to do what I did last night Lord. I want to live differently.' But somehow as the hours transpired throughout the day I'd get in a different [mood] and by the evening I'd be doing what I was doing the night before. And somehow I got in this cycle for a long time. I'd continue to do that. I'd wake up in the morning and go 'Lord, forgive me for what I did the night before. I don't want to do that.' And amazingly, today I can look back in my life, that even in those prayers where I was torn between my flesh and the Spirit, knowing what I wanted in the Spirit, but my flesh so much wanting something else, I can look back and see that God in his grace began to work a series of events in my life--got me plugged back into a church, got me growing in the Lord and blessed me with a godly wife and godly children, and today I'm standing here and I certainly do not deserve to be here. So I come to the cross and I look on the cross and I'm like, 'Lord, you are so gracious to me. I love you Lord.' That's the response of those of us that have been touched by his grace--you're just in awe. But you know, in that museum, I would imagine many other folks had gone by that painting, looked upon it, said, 'Hey, nice picture, good art, kind of bloody', but it probably didn't have much effect upon them then--'Nice picture'--sentimental type of thing, probably didn't move their heart. I think of that as I look at these first couple verses of Mark chapter 14, about those types of hearts. Reading in verse 1, "After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by trickery and put him to death. But they said, 'Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.'" Now here's a group of leaders that have the Word of God, and not only do they have the Word of God, it happens to be the time of year where it's Passover, it's that time of year where the people of Israel would reflect back upon what God had done in their life. And of course, Passover, you remember from the Exodus there in the book of Exodus, that God had taken this community, this group of people out of bondage, out of slavery, and brought them into the Promised Land. And they were to reflect upon that at Passover, what God had done, the whole thing that night where they were to get the lamb's blood out and put it on the door posts and the lintels of their home and even the angel of death passed over and he would spare those who had the blood. And just all that took place as God redeemed this group of people and brought them to the Promised Land and brought them out of bondage. So it was a time for the people to look back and go 'Wow! God, look what you've done to us as your people, redeeming us, and taking us out of bondage.' And it's an amazing reflection of hardness of heart when you consider the Passover, and you consider these chief priests and scribes who were actually plotting during the Passover to take a man's life--a man that's only done good, and they know he's only done good. Yet their hearts are full of envy and they're just threatened by this man and they want to take his life. Not only that, you read in the book of John, they also want to take Lazarus's life, they were plotting to take his life. If you remember Lazarus, just a short while ago, the poor guy was dead (had just died) and Jesus raised him from the dead. And now these people want to go and take his life, because of the testimony of the power of God that's there [every time they see Lazarus walking around]. Such hard hearts. I think of James, James say, "For when envy and self-seeking exists, confusion and every evil thing are there." You've got envy, you've got self-seeking, you've got confusion and you've got black darkness. And that's what you see in those first two verses. These people should be reflecting upon what God has done for them, and just praising God as a result, touched by the grace of God. But instead their hearts are black. They're black because their minds have been dulled by just envy and envy of another person, and being threatened by another person, and ultimately [this turned to] hatred. Certainly that's a warning to you and I today, to not let envy and things like that grip our hearts. I'd encourage you to consider James's exhortation, because envy can really begin to twist your thoughts, twist your heart, hinder even your walk with God--get between the communion you have with God and just make a mess with your life. Because envy leads, James says, to confusion and every evil thing. And you see that in these two verses, men that should be just worshipping God are plotting to take the lives of two other men, instead. May that be a warning to you and I.

Verses 3-11, "And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. And she broke the flask and poured it on his head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves and said 'Why was this fragrant oil wasted, for it might have been sold for more than 300 denarii and given to the poor.' And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, 'Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good, but me you do not have always. She has done what she could, she has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial. Assuredly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached to the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.'" Reading these verses I think again of this artwork in this museum, here's a lady that's just been touched by the grace of God and you see a tremendous response because of that. Jesus is here in Bethany, and he's in the house of Simon the leper. We don't know much about Simon the leper. Evidently he was a leper, but I would guess that he isn't a leper anymore because of his encounter with Christ. God worked and touched so many lives that I would presume that Simon has also been healed. But he's still known as Simon the leper, you know, interestingly. He's a guy who was just set out, a guy you didn't want to spend any time with, but now Jesus is there and they're just fellowshipping together there in Bethany. But not only that, Lazarus is also there, as you read the other gospel accounts, and Mary and Martha, people who were just dear to Jesus. He just loved Lazarus, he loved Mary, Martha, they were just close friends. So they're together and just spending some time around the table, fellowshipping in a very tremendous way. One of the most tremendous examples of this in Scripture, a woman who we know as Mary, comes and takes this alabaster flask and breaks it, filled with very costly oil, and begins to just pour it upon Jesus' head. You read in John that she also begins to pour it upon his feet, then with her hair begins to wipe his feet, and with her tears just begins to worship and love her Lord. And Jesus says to those around him, he says in the New King James, the way it's translated, he says, "This lady has done a good work." I like the N.I.V. It says "She's done a beautiful thing", just a very beautiful thing. But I'm sure for many of us here, we'd like to do things that Jesus would say the same. What a beautiful thing, what a good work. And she's a great example of that. Looking at her and what she does here, many, man, some good things for you and I to learn about, pleasing the Lord and just doing beautiful things to him. There's several aspects of what Mary does here that I'd like to bring out, that I think are important. First of all, what she does here is very sacrificial, it's very costly. The guys around seeing what she's done, actually predominantly Judas, he's affected a few of the others--we read in John that Judas is the guy that really gets bent out of shape here--but they say, 'Hey, this is very expensive stuff, what is she doing? This is worth at least 300 denarii.' In this time, Jesus' time, Jesus' day, a denarii would be a day's wage, basically. So it's nearly a years' worth of wage, if you throw in all the Sabbaths and Holy Days, it'd be basically a year's worth of wage. So she's taken a year's worth of wage. Today that would be what, 20 or 30 thousand dollars worth of perfume. That's a lot of money she's taking and she's just pouring it on his head and on his feet, pouring it all over him. Tremendous sacrifice. No doubt, from what we can tell in the gospels, she's not necessarily a woman of means. This is a costly thing, this cost her. She's not like a wealthy woman that this would be easy. This was costly for her to do. And it's not necessarily the monetary amount that's so costly. We read just a few weeks ago, the widow, Jesus pointed her out, she put in two mites, two fifths of a penny in the treasury, and Jesus said "This is the same, I mean, she's given a lot, she's given all that she had."--trusting in the Lord and just adoring in the Lord that he was going to provide after she gave God her all there in the treasury. So it's not necessarily the monetary amount. It's the cost, and this woman, Mary, has given a very costly sacrifice to God. And then, as it says in the other gospels, she pours it on his feet, gets down on her knees, is at his feet, is crying there with tears and with her hair. Now a Jewish woman, their hair was their glory, if you were a Jewish woman your hair was just your glory. I mean, if you had beautiful hair, you were there, you know. So she's taken her hair, this thing of glory, her very glory and is just wiping his feet with it, a definite act of humility and of worship. I read that, let's turn to Romans chapter 12 and a verse that is familiar to many. But if we too are going to do something where Jesus is going to say 'What a good work, what a beautiful work, it's going to be something that's been sacrificial, something that costs. Doesn't mean a whole lot if it doesn't cost much. Chapter 12, verse 1, "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, Holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Paul reminds us, he says, 'I beseech you, I urge you, exhort you guys to present your bodies as a living sacrifice.' You know, there's people that tell you, even may know of people, maybe there's folks in this room this morning that'll say, 'You know, don't get too fanatical with this Jesus thing.' 'Don't go overboard, you need a proper balance in your life. You know, everything in proper balance and restraint, don't go too crazy with this Jesus thing. I mean, he's your Lord, sure, but keep it all in balance.' You meet Christians that say that. But you read Romans 12, verse 1, that does not say anything there about moderation and balance, it says "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice." Paul says 'Give God everything. Go for it completely with all your are, totally sold out, all your being, all your mind, all your finances, all your time, everything you've got, give it to the Lord.' And Paul says, "That's your reasonable service." He doesn't say it's unreasonable, like some people say. It's reasonable. It's reasonable because you go to that museum, you look at that art with Jesus on the cross, your' like, 'Wow, look at what Jesus has done for me. Of course I want to give him everything in response.' Paul says "Present your bodies a living sacrifice", that is a reasonable service, that is what God intended. And that's what pleases the Lord as we give sacrificially our life. You know, I think of the worship service here on a Sunday morning, that's the attitude that we should come with, is giving to the Lord sacrificially. And I know it comes, I learned this early on at the radio station, that with music, people have different preferences with music. I learned this the first week, signing on, my wife and I [thinking] we're going to play the best Christian music that you could ever play, we were excited, we started to play it, and phone calls started to come, some people going "Great music", other people going, "Hey, could you play a little bit more of so & so?" And then we play a little bit more of "so & so" and somebody else would call and say "Hey, could you play a little less of So & So, you know, I really don't like that person." And we found it confusing, you can't please people with the type of music that you play. I learned that early at the radio station, I thought that everybody liked the same music I did. But it's not the case. People like different things. I know with my wife at San Diego, she liked the Jammin' Band, you know, there was a guy Leo that played in Las Vegas, was an entertainer, became a Christian, was a pastor at out there in San Diego, and he would just jam with his band. They would go to town. And my wife especially liked when Leo was there leading worship and I found it kind of irritated me, to be honest with you. I thought I was at Las Vegas, and I'm not interested in going to Las Vegas, you know. It sounded like Las Vegas to me. I liked it when it was just simple basic acoustic guitar, somebody leading worship, but I know (some) people go there that, and like, "Ah, bum deal. Where's the electric guitars, man? Let's get rockin'!." But you know, we come to Jesus, sacrificially. You want to please the Lord with your life and you give him beautiful worship--it's a sacrificial giving. I just give to him. I give him my love, I give him my life. I remember hearing Bill Richie, I remember Bill Richie on the radio station talking about being in Europe at a church one day, and it was like an Anglican church, Church of England or something. There was a bunch of elderly people and they were singing hymns and they were way off tune, it was like one of those things like taking a violin and playing it the wrong way, it would kind of rub you the wrong way. But he shared on the radio one day, he said, "You know, it was a very worshipful time for me, as I just adored the Lord there. God was just moving in my heart." So we come, regardless (of whether we like the music or not), we just have a sacrificial heart. I give to you, Lord. And it might cost me, it might cost whatever it is, but I give because you've given me so much. And Mary, in Mary's case, no doubt, it was costly for her. If you're not willing to sacrifice much, you're not going to be doing a lot of beautiful things to the Lord, because it's beautiful when it costs. If it doesn't cost, what did you do? Big deal, you give, that was easy. But when it costs, you're like, 'Well it cost my will, I don't do something I wanted to do instead I do this for you Lord.' And, man, that's Mary. She's just, it's sacrificial, her giving, her worship unto the Lord.

Secondly, her giving unto the Lord here is motivated obviously by love. The basis, the heart of it all is love. She's just loving her Lord, it's just so moved with love for him, he's just so dear to her that she's just loving him. And when you and I love someone it's so easy to do things for them. Maybe you remember when you dated in high school, you know that first crush you had. You'd do anything for that girl or you do anything for that guy, whoever it was. You had a crush on him, you could walk 20 miles, go buy an ice-cream and walk back on the hottest day, and do it joyfully, but you could just do anything. Because your heart was just beating for this person. [Like the gal I liked when she went into the hospital for a serious operation--I took the day off from work, drove her to the hospital, went shopping with her mother to buy her some stuffed animals and flowers, and went back to her hospital room with them when she got out of recovery. Next day I went and set up her VCR so she could watch it in her living room, and I had also recorded a whole large box of movies for her to watch while she was laid-up. If I could have done anything more I would have. She lived about 70 miles from my house.] You could just do anything, because your heart was just beating for this person. I remember even being young in high school and remember being with friends on a beach and there's a girl there that I thought was cute and getting to know her a little bit. And I remember one night we stayed up all night on this beach, we were just goofing off, and then I had to go straight to work. It was easy to go to work, didn't have any sleep, went straight to work. Now, keep me up late, got a bad attitude, got to go to work, you know. But I had this crush, and it was easy to stay up all night, spend some time with this person and then go to work. It's easy when there's love in your heart to do something for someone else. And that's true when it comes to walking with the Lord. Man, you love him, it's just easy to do every day when it's motivated by love. There's times when I minister that I really struggle. There's times when I prepare studies that I really struggle. I was being honest with folks in the first service, that even this week I had the hardest time preparing the Bible study, I just, my mind was wondering the whole time. I was even at one moment thinking about old engineering formulas that I used to know. What good would that do me, right? But I'm thinking about 'em and trying to figure out if I can solve them, and I'm supposed to be studying for a Bible study to share with you guys. And here my mind is God knows where. And there's times it's just a struggle for me, but as I think back, I think about the heart of everything, the reason why it's a struggle, if I was in tune with the Lord and I was passionately in love with him it would be easy, I wouldn't be getting distracted so much. I would just be thinking about, well, I want to share his Word and I want to serve other people, because I want to serve him. When there's a love in your heart for your Lord, it's very easy to give and to sacrifice. We're told in 1 Corinthians 13 without that love, regardless of what you do it's futile. Love makes a great difference, love makes obedience a thing of joy. You know, there's a piece of poetry I read, it says, "To do the will of one we like to please, it's never a hardship, though it attacks our strength. Each privilege of service love will seize. Love makes us loyal, glad to do or go, and eager to defend a name or cause, love takes the drudgery from common work and asks no rich reward or great applause. Love gives us satisfaction in our task, and wealth in learning lessons of the heart. Love sheds a light of glory on our toil, and makes us humbly glad to have a part. Love makes us choose to do the will of God, to run his errands and proclaim his truth, gives our hearts an eager lifting song, our feet are shod with tireless wings of youth." When there's love it's just easy to do anything for the Lord. I struggle, when I struggle in my service to the Lord, it ultimately comes down to 'it's a heart issue.' The love isn't there, I'm distracted, I'm more concerned about other things, and because of that I'm having a hard time going ahead and serving him. What a beautiful thing Mary does, I tell you, man it's a beautiful thing to be a Jesus-freak, just all guns for the Lord, man. Just adoring him with all your heart, all your life in every way regardless of how costly it might be.

Thirdly, Mary, what she does is sacrificial, it's motivated by love, but it's led in the Spirit. She's the only one who's really got a clue of what's going on. All those folks around Jesus, even the disciples aren't clueing into what's going on. He would share about his suffering, he'd share about where he's going shortly, and they wouldn't grasp it. But Mary's tuned right into the Spirit. She knows what's going down. And he even says, he says 'This lady's prepared me for burial.' She knows that he's going to the cross. She's maybe understood some of his teachings, also Isaiah 53 is now beginning to really take hold in her heart and her mind, what that means. Psalm 22, you know he's going to the cross, he's come, the Messiah has come to save man, to save us from our sin. She's tuned right into the Spirit. So, with that she comes and prepares him for burial. It's possible, you know you have 20 or 30 dollars worth of perfume in a bottle, people in this culture, the Jewish people, when you came to a Jewish family, they would have this expensive perfume that generally they got from India, and if you were a guest they'd put a little dab on you, and you'd smell good. It was just a way to kind of bless you. But to have this much in a vessel, you know it seems like a lot, it's possible that this was set aside for her burial later in her life. Maybe a family member had put it aside or something, one day when she dies this was going to be used to prepare her body. She has a lot of it for some reason, and she uses it sacrificially just to prepare the body of Christ. But she's very led in what she does. You know maybe today God has prompted your heart to serve him, to do an act of kindness for another individual, and maybe you've kind of put it off, there's things the Lord's led you to do and you just haven't followed through. You know, that perfume bottle doesn't do anything while it's in there, until the neck of the flask is broken. And when it's broken and the perfume comes out, then it begins to smell up the room and the people and bless--it becomes a blessing when it's broken and used. And if God has spoken to you about doing something it does no good just to have this thought in your mind if you don't respond. That's why I've taken the practice now in my life that when I feel the Lord is moving my heart to do something, I write it down. It makes me accountable. There's something I even did, finally got done this week that the Lord told me to do back in May [this sermon given August 29, 1999], I just wasn't getting it done. I was at a pastors conference and I came home and said I know the Lord wants me to do something, and I hadn't done it yet, it was essential I would say, an act of kindness, and I hadn't done it and I was seeking the Lord this week and he reminded me, 'Hey, you've got it written down on paper. You've believed and your heart was moved one day that I wanted you to do something and you haven't done it yet.' So I went and did it this week. But if the Lord has moved on your heart to do something, it doesn't do any good if it's just a stirring in your heart and it's still in the bottle, it doesn't do anything. But to respond and then to be obedient, man it becomes a blessing, it becomes a beautiful act, touches lives. So get blessed and go forward in obedience and do it. It says in John chapter 12, verse 3 that the entire home was filled with the fragrance of this oil. Man she just put so much on him, you know it was like some of those sprays you use in your house, little incense, it just filled the house. I'm sure the whole block went "Wow! Nice smell. It smells good over there in Simon the leper's house. What is he doing over there?" But it says in John it just filled the home.

I was thinking, the dating of this event is, there's some conflict in the gospels, here it says two days, John says it was 6 days before the Passover. That can be rectified in a number of ways. Depending on how you look at the Passover as one day or the entire Feast, the eight days [of Unleavened Bread]. Sometimes though Mark doesn't seem to do things chronologically anyway. He has another purpose in his writings, so sometimes he puts the things a little out of order. But let's say it's six days before this woman comes and pours all this beautiful perfume upon Jesus' body, I must assume, I know they didn't bath a lot in that day, that when Jesus was on the cross he must have been giving off a pretty good smell. You know, all the guys that he was with, those Roman soldiers, Pilate, they all, when they were with him probably had a pretty good smell. You know, you go to the cross, I go to the cross, I picture this gory, I look at the cross and I see gore, the blood, the broken body. But I guess if you were there and closed your eyes and tuned out all the noise it would just be a beautiful smell, from what Mary had done in just preparing his body. And there's no doubt in my mind that certainly there was a beautiful fragrance that was going from this earth up to heaven as Jesus was there on the cross, because he said 'I'm giving it all, I'm giving my life. I'm dying for the world.' I tell you, at that moment there's never been a more beautiful fragrance that's filled the throne room of God as Jesus himself died on the cross giving his life, and is an example to you and I to give sacrificially, to give in love and in the Spirit. Man, it's just a beautiful, no doubt, smell that is passed around. I pray by God's abundant grace in my own home, that I'm an example to my wife and my children. Sometimes I'm so far from that. But I pray that I'm a fragrance in my own home that my wife and my kids are like, 'Ah, it smells good around here. Ah, Jesus, I just can't stop thinking about Jesus.' I pray when people come into this church [a local Calvary Chapel], that we as a group of people, in the same sense, people go, 'Ah, there's just a fragrance here, man. There's just worship to God, people giving with love and sacrificially and in the Spirit. Indeed, it's a beautiful thing, as Jesus made note of in those verses. The guys around this, so often like us, are not clueing in, they're like 'This is a waste of money.' It's never a waste. If you're doing it unto the Lord, everything starts there as 'unto to the Lord.' They say "this could be given to the poor." Judas is actually the heart behind that because Judas, as we read in John, he was just reaching into the money bag as he took care of it, and was getting some of the excess for himself. He's thinking '300 denarii, I could probably sneak 10, 20 denarii out of that to my own self.' So that's essentially a smart read in John, that's essentially what John says. He's says this because he's a thief, that's what John says. But he gets others to thinking too, you know they're around, because it says "they", so they're thinking "Oh, what a waste. All this just being poured on Jesus, hey we could have fed a lot of people", and Jesus says, man, "You've got the poor with you all the time, but I'm with you just a few more hours. And what she's done is beautiful, and it's prepared me for burial." It all starts there, 'as unto the Lord.' If I go out and I'm serving the poor, and it's not 'as unto the Lord', it doesn't mean a thing, it's completely futile. But when it's 'as unto the Lord', all that I do 'as unto the Lord' is a beautiful thing, that's where it starts, my heart. I come to church, I go to the nursery, I go to the classes, serving the kids on Wednesday night, I prepare a Bible study at home, I go out and serve my neighbor, I do it all with the attitude 'Lord, I love you man. As unto you, I do this, as unto you.' And it's beautiful, it's beautiful when it's done 'as unto the Lord.'

These guys are so bent out of shape, the Greek says in verse 4 that they're almost snorting like horses, that the sense of the Greek, that they're kind of snorting, you know, like a horse, however a horse snorts. But they're snorting like horses. You can just imagine their attitudes. You can get like that. What are they doing? We can get like that, judging other people's motives and missing a beautiful thing that God is doing through somebody's life. Jesus said that this is going to be preached as a memorial to all the world. [Know this, if you're doing a beautiful work 'as unto the Lord' and are being 'misjudged' for it--be patient, for the Lord will take up your cause, he will proclaim your works. He did it for Mary. The Lord is the same, yesterday, today and always.] So we're here studying it today. It was true prophetically that we're here studying it. But what a tremendous example of what you and I should be today in our lives. And you know, you look at the cross, it should be our response of what Jesus has done for us.

Verses 10-11, Judas has got a different heart. "Then Judas Iscariot [Heb. Ish Keriot.:man of Keriot, a town in Judea], one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray him to them. And when they heard it they were glad and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray him." Amazing, this man has been with Jesus all these days, seeing Jesus touch so many lives, love so many people, stay up sleepless nights praying. Jesus is motivated 100 percent by love, he's been around him, and yet Judas's heart all along, it's not like his heart has changed, all along he's had a different motive. And his motive has been that of selfish greed. Presumably, the Messiah, he thinks Jesus is the Messiah, he's thinking, 'Well, if I get in on this ground work of this Messiah thing, and when the kingdom is established I'm going to fare pretty well, you know, I'm with the inner group, I'll do pretty well financially and with authority in the kingdom of the Messiah.' And then over time he's realizing 'This guy, I thought was the Messiah. It isn't quite working out.' So now, still motivated by greed and self-seeking, just that type of heart, he goes to the chief priests, believe it or not, and the scribes, and says 'Hey, you want Jesus? Tell you what, I'll help you out. I'll help you out, just give me some money.' And 30 shekels of silver is what he sells out for. 30 shekels of silver, that's hardly anything. That is the money you would pay for a slave. And that fulfills Zechariah, the prophecy. But that's it, 30 shekels, and he'd sell out for Jesus. I wonder here today if there's any of us, what we'd sell out for? Maybe there's a thing, if the enemy came and said 'I'll give you this, 30 shekels of silver, I'll give you that.' If you got it, would you with that, sell out on the Lord and walk away from the Lord and betray your Lord? Well, Judas is an example of a guy who's heart is hard. He's been around Jesus for a long time, but there's absolutely no love in his heart for Jesus. And I think of what Paul said at the end of Corinthians. Paul says this as he concludes his letter to the Corinthians, this is the second to last verse, I believe. He says, "If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha." He says, "If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ let him be accursed, Oh Lord come." That's a heavy thing for him to say. I understand it, if you don't love the Lord Jesus Christ you're going to be accursed. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), if you haven't turned in love to the Lord and received him as your Lord, then you're going to be judged for your sin. But that's just a heavy way to say it, isn't it? "If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.", that's what he says. If anyone does not love, it's all about love, it's the word "love". Judas has been there serving as a disciple. The Pharisees and the scribes and the chief priests, earlier, you know, they've got all the religious stuff, but no love, man. And they're missing it completely. That word anathema can be translated, I've read it translated this way, somebody interpreted it this way, meaning "cursed with a curse, cursed of God with bitter and a grievous curse." That anathema, that's what the weight of that word has. That when Paul actually ends his letter, he says "If you don't love the Lord Jesus, if anyone doesn't, let him be accursed." That's pretty heavy, that he would say that. Well, Judas doesn't love the Lord, and he experiences the judgment of not loving Christ-- and responding to the work that Jesus just wanted to do in his life.

Verses 12-15, "Now on the first Day of Unleavened Bread when they killed the Passover lambs, his disciples said to him, 'Where do you want us to go and prepare that you may eat the Passover?' And he sent out two of his disciples and said to them, 'Go into the city and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him. Wherever he goes in say to the Master of the house, The Teacher says Where is the guestroom in which I may eat the Passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared. There make ready for us.'" So Jesus says, you know the disciples come to him and say 'Hey, where are we going to have the Passover? It's that time. Where do you want us to prepare?' He says, 'Go to this area, and you're going to find a man who has a water vessel, follow him, he'll be carrying it.' That was unusual because typically the women in those days had the earthen water vessels on their heads or shoulders. It would not be typical to see a man. 'But you're going to see a guy carrying water. Follow him. And he'll take you to a house, just follow him to a house and when you get there say, Where's the guestroom for the Teacher? And this guy will show you this room.' Now millions of people came to Jerusalem from around the world for Passover, so it was common for people that live in Jerusalem to have a guestroom set aside for these people that would journey from different places, so that they could prepare and celebrate the Passover. But this particular man has his guestroom aside specifically for the Lord's doing. And I tell you, you can use your home certainly to the glory of God, and whatever you have, just to his glory. Just say, "Lord, it's prepared for you, use it as you want."

So, verses 16-22, "His disciples went out and they came to the city and found it just as he had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. In the evening he came with the twelve. Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said 'Assuredly I say to you, one of you who eats with me will betray me.' And they began to be sorrowful and to say to him one by one 'Is it I?' And another said to him, 'Is it I?' He answered and said to them, 'It is one of the twelve who dips with me in the dish. 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 never been born.'" Heavy, heavy moment here as they prepare and partake in this Passover supper. Evidently Peter and the other disciples they just prepared. They went out and they got the lamb, they went to the temple, the lamb was sacrificed, the blood was sprinkled on the altar, and then they took the meat as they were instructed in Exodus and Deuteronomy, they took the meat back to the guestroom here and began to just roast it. And after it was roasted they now are having this lamb and this Passover meal as prescribed in the Law and by their customs. [To read an excellent description of those customs and see how they point to Jesus, the Messiah, log onto and read http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/lamb/
. Also there is an excellent movie on either DVD or VCR cassette, available from (or call: 1-877-256-1446) titled "THE MESSIAH IN PASSOVER", starring Nick Mancuso ($24.95US or $29.95CAN, plus shipping and handling). In this film, Nick Mancuso stars in a dramatic Gospel presentation, showing how one Rabbi becomes a follower of Yeshua of Nazareth. He arrives to his hometown on the Eve of Passover. During the Passover Seder, Yehudah shows the Passover Seder's prophetic nature and fulfillment in Yeshua [Jesus] of Nazareth.] And there were several rounds to this partaking in this supper, and at one point Jesus says to them, and it must have changed the whole spirit of what was going on, he says, "One of you who eats with me will betray me." Now the disciples, 11 of the 12, are really sorrowful about that, as I think most of us here would be if Jesus said that to us. I mean 'Hey, I wouldn't want to do that, Lord, I wouldn't want to betray you, nor would I want any of my friends to betray you.' That's very sad that anyone would do such a thing. And they begin to ask, 'Lord, is it I? Am I the one you're referring to? Am I the one that's going to do that?' We read in John that Peter then leans toward John and says "John", (you know John was leaning against Jesus' bosom), he said, "John, ask Jesus who it is." And Jesus says to John, he says, 'Well, the man with whom dips with me in the bowl and takes this piece of bread, he's the guy.' And Jesus dips it and gives it to Judas, and then he says to Judas, 'Go and do what you must do', if you remember from John. You know the Pharisees and chief priests and scribes, they intended, they wanted to even use trickery to get Jesus, even to use dishonest stealthy means. But they said, "We're not going to do it during the Passover, lest there be an uproar." But you know, Jesus is orchestrating this whole thing. This doesn't happen, he's not like a victim here, he actually orchestrates this, ultimately. And he actually turns out to be sacrificed on Passover, the very day, right in the middle of the whole thing, right at the highlight of the whole thing he goes to the cross [and ends up dying at the time the last Passover lamb is being sacrifice in the temple--3 O'clock Passover Day]. By really his orchestrating, he really is in control. He's not just a victim here. Well, Jesus says in verse 21, "It is written that the Son of man is going to go, but woe to the man that is the one that betrays him." And I tell you, to betray our Lord is not a good thing.

But in verses 22-26, we read of the amazing grace of God too, we obviously struggle at times. "As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it and gave it to them and said, 'Take, eat, this is my body.' And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them and they all drank from it. And he said to them, 'This is the blood of the new covenant which is shed for many. Assuredly I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.' [for those who say the kingdom is here right now, in our hearts, they're right in the spiritual sense, but right here from Jesus' own words we see there is a physical aspect of the kingdom of God which is coming and will be established over the entire world (Zechariah 14:9).] And when they had sung a hymn they went out to the mount of Olives." So as their Passover feast progressed further, Jesus now takes an opportunity, and he takes the bread as we study many times, and he breaks it and says to them, "Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you." And he takes the cup and says, "This cup, this is the blood of the new covenant"--we're in the new covenant now--"which is shed for many." The Passover before, the people of Israel would look back, reminded of God's grace, but at the same time it looks forward to the ultimate Passover lamb which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But now Jesus says this is a new covenant, the Passover lamb has come. You know, John said in John chapter 1, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." He's taking away all the sin, and he says, 'Now it's a new covenant, it's one of grace, faith and love, just received in faith--it's a work that I'm doing completely.' And he says to them, "No longer will I drink of the fruit of the vine until I drink it new in the Kingdom of God." And then they depart singing a song.

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial

Verses 27-31, "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 will be scattered [Zechariah 13:7]. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.' But Peter said to him, 'Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.' And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.' But he spoke more vehemently, 'If I have to die with you, I will not deny you!' And they all said likewise."

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