Day 377 | Wednesday, 31 March 2021
“Loving God, walk with us on the road to Calvary. Hold us close so we might see your love in the midst of the twists and turns. Let us see how the palms of honor and the shouts of praise get dried and twisted into cries for a crucifixion. Let us feel the bumps of denial, the rocks of betrayal and the dark night of prayer. Let us feel the heavy weight of the cross and know Christ carried it for us.
Holy God, place us in the story so we might see our weakness but learn of your grace. Take us through the twists and turns on the road to Calvary and lead us to the glory of Easter. Amen.”
On this day of Holy Week I lift up the warning parables in Matthew 24:45-25:46. “Wise servants are those who fulfill their duties in preparation for their master’s unexpected return. Christians are to be faithfully working at the Lord’s business while Jesus is away; this is the business of 25:34-40.
We read the parable of the ten young bridesmaids, five who were wise and five who were foolish. It ends with the reminder to keep alert.
This is followed by the parable of the valuable coins.
The chapter concludes with a judgement which contains the familiar words in verse 45: “I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.”
Chapter 26 begins with the plotting to kill Jesus, which has been the desire of the temple priests since Jesus arrived in Jerusalem. 3 Then the chief priests and elders of the people gathered in the courtyard of Caiaphas the high priest. 4 They were plotting to arrest Jesus by cunning tricks and to kill him. They did agree that it should not be done at Passover. “Passover is a yearly festival to remember and celebrate God’s liberation of Israel from Egypt.”
Next, we read of the anointing of Jesus with very expensive perfume. Once again, the disciples do not understand what is happening and claim that this is a waste. 8 When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. "That's criminal! 9 This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor." 10 When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. "Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. 11 You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial.”
“Anointing the head is an act reserved for priests or kings. This act is symbolic preparation for burial. In Matthew, this woman’s act of faithfulness begins the preparation for Jesus’ death, and it is women to whom the risen Christ first appears.”
I want to conclude today’s journey with Judas. 14 That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests 15 and said, "What will you give me if I hand him over to you?" They settled on thirty silver pieces. 16 He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over.
“We know Easter is coming, but we pray, loving God, that you would hold us on the path of small steps. Take us slowly through this week so we may truly feel, clearly see and tenderly know the depths of your love, which you shared with us in the life of Jesus. Let us take a small step to see our own denials - especially the denial of our own self-worth. Let us take a small step to face our own fears and angers - fear that we will be left alone, anger that erupts like Peter's sword. Let us take a small step on the path to encounter our betrayals - especially of those we love and care for most. Loving God, walk us through pain and searching, be with us through doubt and despair, and lead us to the joy of Easter. In Jesus name Amen”