We have now begun the final section of Matthew’s Gospel. I don’t want to interrupt the narrative of Matthew’s story, so I will compile a Bonus Post for tomorrow afternoon with the background on this section, which is quite interesting. I will say that you will notice that Matthew really picks up the pace from this point forward…
This text has three parts that flow in rapid succession. By arranging the narrative in this way, Matthew shows us that there is quite a lot going on behind the scenes at or about the same time. We begin with Jesus and the disciples (26:1-2) which is set in time as “When Jesus had finished saying all these things…” (26:1). From this transition we come to see that they are all sitting there where Jesus has been giving the Olivet Discourse; Jesus finished the Parable of the Sheep and Goats… and then said…
That He was about to be crucified.
Isn’t it interesting that He has told them everything we have seen in 24-25, and then brings them right back to His messianic mission: He must die?
Matthew immediately follows this statement by shifting to the Jewish leaders behind closed doors plotting His secret arrest and His murder (26:3-5).
Next, in verse 6 we have a scene change; now Jesus and the disciples have left the Mount of Olives and walked the few miles to Bethany where they are in the home of Simon the Leper. Nothing more is said about Simon, and thus we can’t be quite sure of who he was, or if he was even present. The scene centers on an unidentified woman who anoints Jesus with “a very expensive perfume”. The disciples object, saying that the ointment could have been sold for a lot of money, and then the money given to the poor; apparently they had been listening to Jesus’ story of the sheep and goats. Yet Jesus tells them something else that should bring them back to His messianic mission: she was preparing His body for burial!
Is It just me, or are those disciples just not hearing Him when He tells them that He is about to be killed?
Then Judas slips out and goes back into Jerusalem and makes his deal with the chief priests to deliver Jesus into their hands so they can kill Him.
Yes, momentous events are moving quickly now.