Thoughts on Matthew 26 - The Poor and The Passover
Personal Study 2008
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
- How many people in the church in this hour have committed themselves to the (public) poor? Surely this is commendable, but it is not the call of God’s people (Israel or the church which is His Body). God is always first in any calling. We are called to defend the faith and commit it to “faithful men” not commit the faith to “educated men” or to “philanthropic men.”
- It is wonderful that this account follows the parable of the sheep and the goats. The clear statement of the Lord Jesus is very helpful. It is not the “works” done for the nameless poor that commend one to God, but rather one’s willingness to honor Christ; particularly honoring his death and “burial.” How often does the church ignore His “burial?” Our Lord’s time in the grave is part of Peter’s message at Pentecost (Acts 2-3) and part of Paul’s message in Acts 13. Lack of decay is central to the atonement, an undoing of the curse.
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
- The scriptures reveal that Judas was the most outspoken advocate of the poor (Jn 12:4-6), yet we know his heart was full of evil. He did not honor the Lord first.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.' So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
- Is it obvious that this was the Passover during the Feast of Unleavened Bread? This was a Jewish ordinance given to Israel as part of the Old Covenant. The Lord tells us in Matthew that He was sent to “none, but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (15:24). The “gospel of the kingdom” was not to be sent to gentiles (Matt 10:5-6). This Passover meal is absent from John’s gospel. John tells us that his gospel is to “whosoever believeth” and that it contains what we need to know to have eternal life (Jn 20:30-31). John omits the Last Passover (Lord’s Supper).
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."
The body and blood are clearly symbolized in the bread and wine. He had not yet been to the cross.
- The connection to the covenants is also clear. Just as the blood of a lamb was shed to protect the Israelites from death, so too will the blood of the new covenant provide shelter for Israel. The New Covenant is only given to those under the Old Covenant. This is given to those God brought out of the land of Egypt (Jer 31; Heb 8). Ø The New Covenant (NC) is not salvation; its provisions and promises can be read in Jeremiah 31. The NC is for Israel alone. We are not part of the NC. Does anyone believe that we live in an age in which no man has need to tell his neighbor about God for that knowledge is universal? Among other characterizations of the NC, that alone should put to rest this notion of the church which is His Body being under the NC.
- The Lord’s Supper spoken of by Paul was given to the Corinthian church (the church of the Acts age) and is the Passover meal. Gentiles in that age were “grafted in” to Israel (Rom 11); not the other way around. The Jew was still “first” in that age. The expectation was soon coming King (see notes on Matt 25). Ø Since the twelve would “sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes” the Lord promises that He will drink of the vine with them in that Kingdom. The Lord taught His disciples concerning the kingdom for 40 days following His resurrection (Acts 1). Their expectation was that He would return upon Israel’s repentance (“Will you AT THIS TIME restore the Kingdom to ISRAEL?”). Peter promised His return if Israel would repent (Acts 3). Because of this, the eleven elected a 12th immediately before Pentecost.