Tag Archives: Matthew 26

Small Town Drama

  • Exodus 30:11-31:18
  • Matthew 26: 47-68
  • Psalm 32:1-11
  • Proverbs 8:27-32

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

Matthew 26:52

We are at the point in the gospel of Matthew that Jesus is being arrested. The betrayer, “Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.” Mt 26:47. Judas, his friend had gathered a crowd and come after Jesus. Jesus had been betrayed by someone he spent time with, worked with, ministered with, loved and trusted. Have you been betrayed, friend? If so, I encourage you to keep reading…..

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 
"The one I kiss is the man; arrest him."
 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings Rabbi!" and kissed him.
Jesus replied, "Do what you came for friend."
Mt 26:48-50

How do you like them apples?!?! This guy had just eaten the Passover meal with Jesus, even dipped his bread in the same bowl as Jesus (vs 23). Jesus had warned them all that one of them would be the betrayer, and HE knew which one it was. But my understanding of the scriptures tell me, that the other Eleven didn’t. At this point, not only did Jesus feel betrayal, hurt and anger, but the others did too.

So naturally, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. vs 51 Wouldn’t you?

I have been known to have a hot temper. I’m not always proud of that, to be honest. You see, when I was growing up, we moved around alot. It was hard to make friends. Especially because of my appearance. I am 6’0 tall. That’s tall for a woman, right? Well, I grew this tall by the time I was in junior high school. We moved twice when I was in junior high school, so forever being the new girl, I got made fun of – ALOT. I really needed someone to come to my aid during those days, but of course, I was the new girl. It was a really difficult time.

Well, those childhood memories have created a warrior, of sorts, within me. One of the ways in which my temper can flare is when one of my friends or family gets hurt. When I see someone I love being betrayed, I can become a companion like Jesus and draw my sharp tongue and lash out at the betrayer.

Have you ever felt the need to draw out a sword to protect those you love?

Yesterday, actually God brought this verse to my mind, which I’m grateful for, because I remembered it when I needed it most. I live in a small town. Very small town. And there is a “feud” between two women in this town. There was some real betrayal by one of them toward the other. In fact, I’m sure that on both sides of that argument, you can find feelings of betrayal. One of them was being seen as taking advantage of a situation, the other came to the rescue of the situation. Things were said and done….and now 8-10 years later there’s still a feud. Because its a small town, these two women live near each other, they go to the same church, they share the same facebook friends, they shop at the same places, and visit the same venues. This conflict is like salt, it just keeps on rubbing and rubbing those wounds.

Well, I’m still kind of new here in this town, I’ve only lived in this town for going on five years, and so this situation that “everyone knows”, I have just come to know about over the past couple of years, and now I find myself right in the middle of it. One of the women has become my friend, and the other woman is stirring up hurt feelings and trying to “get back” at my friend.

Recently, very clearly during a conversation about the most current pot stirring, in my head I hear the words, “Put your sword back, Theresa, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Which I did obey. I just shut my mouth. I must admit that I really wanted to say some stuff, ya know what I mean? Because, Lord knows, I can rant and rave at some people when you hurt my friends!! But Thank you Lord, for the reminder to be quiet.

In understanding today’s readings we see that this situation HAD to happen in order that the Scriptures be fulfilled:

But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?

Matthew 26: 54

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Matthew 26: 56

I’m not saying or comparing the conflict between these two ladies as fulfillment of the Scriptures, no not at all. Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34. What I am saying is that Jesus knows our conflicts. In fact, He knows them even before they happen, just like he knew in advance about Judas being his betrayer. He knows our heart and he knows how we tend to react. This makes me think about Psalm 139:

You have searched me, Lord and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord know it completely.

Psalm 139:1-4

As we move forward through the gospel verses for today we find that in verse 63 “Jesus remained silent.” He knew the crucifixion was going to go through, just how God intended it. He knew every person and their heart, mind and soul in this entire upcoming horrific fulfillment of prophecy . He had told his disciples that in the end he would rise again. He’d already told them!

But friend, I’m with you. Its hard to remain silent sometimes. I promise you though, Jesus is present in your difficult situation. He knows it, even on the other side of the pain you are going through. He will see you through it, if you will just lean on him, and his promises of redemption and resurrection.

Oh Lord, I pray for the two women in our town, and I ask you to mend their hearts. In no way to I minimize their pain. If there is any evil in either of them or their households, I command in the name of Jesus that it quietly leave. Lord, I pray for a miracle of reconciliation between them. They were friends one time, a long time ago. I don’t know the whole story, but you do, Lord and I pray for you to give each of them exactly what they may need to heal. I thank you that you spoke to me yesterday and reminded me that YOU are in charge of this situation, and that I can rest in you, knowing that you make all things good for those who love you. I pray for the reader that stumbles upon this journal entry. I pray that it would minister to him or her in a very special way, and bring healing and hope for the future. Amen.

Is there a situation in your life that seems impossible to fix? Pray Psalm 139, I promise that God hears your prayer.

Is there a conversation in your life that needs to happen in order to bring reconciliation? I encourage you to read Matthew 5: 21-26, well, all of Chapter 5 really.

I’m praying for you, and all who read this. Is there something specific that I can pray for you? Comment below.

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Simon the Leper

Exodus 28:1-43; Matthew 25:31-26:13; Ps 31:9-18; Pv 8:12-13

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of 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.

Matthew 26:6-7

Mic-drop….wait….Jesus is in the home of a leper?!?!? His disciples must have felt so nervous and confused. Or were they used to being in the company of the fringes of society by now? Have you ever been to the inner city and hung out with the homeless? I have.

Each summer, a church we attended in Houston, took about 125 kids on mission trip to downtown Houston. One blessed summer, when our youngest daughter, Dakota, was in 7th grade, I signed up to be one of the many chaperones on this mission trip. My group included Dakota and about 6 of the cutest 7th grader girls in all of history. We stayed in a bunk house in a church in downtown. One of the mission trip events was to go down to the “Pierce Elevated” area of downtown Houston and feed the people who lived outside. Under a freeway. Rain or shine. This was quite an eye opening experience to us who lived in the ‘burbs. I must humbly admit, the young moldable hearts and minds of the middle schoolers were much more loving, gentle and open than mine. I can only hope that the other adults who had “been around the block a time or two” felt has uncomfortable as I did. I felt deeply humbled by my own fear AND shame in my own judgmental attitude.

Lepers were the ultimate outcast. The homeless encampments of the inner city could be a today’s image of a refuge to those afflicted with leprosy. The Levitical regulations were strict and strictly adhered to. In Leviticus 13; it is written that anyone who has a defiling skin disease, must be brought to the priest, examined by the priest and if he determines leprosy the priest shall pronounce them “unclean“. Then that person is to be isolated “because they are unclean”. Anyone with such a defiling disease “must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face” and if that’s not humiliating enough….get this….they must CRY OUT “Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean and they must live alone and live outside the camp.

How horrifying! Here’s a person who, through no fault of his own, is ostracized from his friends, family, and community. She can’t get a job. He can’t provide for himself. He’s alone and isolated. And worse yet, by a church official. Many of the people that my junior high crew met under the bridge had/have mental and physical diseases that are of no fault of their own, which purge them to the fringes of society. Where they are destined to find nourishment from wherever they can get it.

But Jesus dines with Simon the Leper. The footnotes in my Bible state that Simon was likely well known for being healed by Jesus. Leprosy really is a contagious disease. Everyone who approaches a person with leprosy should protect themselves, and the leper really needs to be mindful about commuting their ailment.

Kinda like coronavirus. Right?

If you feel sick, stay home. If you’re nervous about getting coronavirus, especially if you have a compromised immune system, wear a mask. Wash your hands, don’t share eating utensils. Keep socially distant.

Addiction and mental illness too are diseases, that are genetic and not a necessarily just “choices” made by those to whom they afflict. Sometimes, they are brought on by family history, by events that happen to a person, or a chemical imbalance of the brain. These diseases too need to be monitored and watched out for….but they are in fact diseases and are affecting human beings. Men and women, and sadly sometimes children created by God.

So anyway, back to Jesus….we find Him here in the house of Simon the Leper. What a title right? He’s no longer “Simon ________(insert last name here)_______, CEO of the Simon Corporation” or “Simon, you know, Chucky’s dad” or “Simon from our Tuesday night Bible Study group”. He’s become known as Simon the Leper. Simon the outcast. Simon the homeless guy always on the corner of Main Street and Elm. We talk about Simon to our children like, “Honey, don’t play with little Chucky anymore, you know he has/had leprosy”. We talk about Simon at the water cooler like, “Oh gosh, have you heard? Well, I don’t mean to gossip, but I heard that Simon got leprosy!! But you didn’t hear it from me…..” We see Simon on the corner and don’t dare roll down our window or look in his direction.

But they’ll all know anyway, because Simon will be known when he has to come to town for toilet paper by his prescribed torn clothes & face mask, shouting, “Unclean! Unclean!”

I love this image of Jesus and his friends, all having dinner at Simon’s house. Hanging out having dinner. At a lepers table. Lots of hand sanitizer nearby. But Jesus reclined at the table just enjoying the company of his friends, watching their unique reactions. I bet Jesus enjoys watching us squirm a bit. If only we could find comfort and doing what he does…following his lead. Resting in his peace.

But mostly, I think about Simon how grateful he must have felt for the company of Jesus and company. Don’t you know that he knew REALLY KNEW what it meant to lose everything.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.

My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.

Because of all my enemies I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends – those who see me on the street flee from me.

I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.

For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

Let me not be put to shame, Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead.

Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

How abundant are the good things.

Psalm 31: 9-19

Lord, may I not take for granted the love of Jesus. God, create me to be like the woman at the feet of Jesus anointing his feet. Lord, teach me to rest in the peace of knowing you are with me in all circumstances. God I repent for the times that I judge others for what they are wearing, or what others are saying, or even for what they are saying about themselves. Create me new today, soften my heart for your people, take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh.

Friend, are you isolating yourself in this climate of unrest? If so, reach out to the savior for the Lord is merciful.

Look around, good things are abundant! What abundant good things are you grateful for today?

Do you feel like an outcast? If so, Jesus wants to dine with you today. Reach out for help. Find a good Bible based church, seek His face in a community of believers.

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