Have you ever hated that you were being controlled by something or someone? We all hate control freaks and especially when they get upset that cannot stand it when they are not calling the shots. But are we not all control freaks in some way?
What most people do not understand is that all of us are being controlled by something. For some it is an addiction, for some it is a person and for some it may actually be God. Matthew 12 warns us to not just get rid of things in our lives, but to also fill our lives with the Holy Spirit. Today we are going to see what happens when you allow the spirit or your flesh to control you.
Read Matthew 26:1-5
1) God is in control
The Passover is coming and the Son of Man is going to be handed over to be crucified.
The Passover was the celebration of God rescuing the Israelites out of Egypt but especially since the death angel passing over them if they had sacrificed a lamb, and put blood on the door post.
The purpose of Jesus coming is about to come about. There are many thoughts about Jesus Christ, about who He was and what His mission was on this earth. Everyone has an opinion about why He came but the reason He came is clearly stated in what He said. Jesus came to die for our sins and a substitute for us.
John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Christianity is built on the fact that Jesus Christ came to die for our sins which allows us to be in a right standing with God. We may not understand all the things about Jesus being a sacrificial lamb but that is exactly what He did. He took the sins that we committed and the punishment we deserved and He paid them through His death on the Cross. His resurrection was the celebration that Christ not only paid for our sins and took our punishment but that He also defeated death.
Jesus did not come to just have great teachings although He did.
Jesus did not come to just heal the sick, although He did.
Jesus did not come to show us how to love the unlovely, although He did.
Jesus did not come to show us how to live, although He did.
Jesus came to provide us the way to Heaven through His sacrifice as the perfect lamb of God.
Then the chief priests and elders of the people met in the palace of the high priest named Caiaphas.
I just want to point out that those who call the Bible fictional have to explain all the historical people and places that are mentioned in it. They have to explain how other historical writers mention the exact same people that are mentioned and how non biblical records match what the Bible says. So for someone to say that the Bible is a made up fictional book are not looking at the facts of what is presented.
These guys were wealthy religious leaders and it may be why Judas was later attracted to them. Jesus was disrupting their power and their financial gain and as a result they hated Him. They were making money off the people and extorting them to their own financial gain and Jesus not only confronted them He literally broke up their operation by kicking them out of the temple. So to say they did not like Jesus was an understatement.
And they plotted together so that by deceit thy might arrest Jesus and have Him killed. But not during the feast, in case the people riot.
Throughout Jesus ministry they were trying to kill Him (Mark 3:6; Luke 4:16-30; John 5:18)
John 5:18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
There were 4 times as many people as normal present and some believe around 2 million people were there for Passover. The religious leaders knew if the people got upset when they arrested Jesus it would spell trouble very quickly for them with Rome.
Jesus whole life was about listening to God as He submitted His authority to come to earth. Jesus knew that His life would not be taken one day earlier than it should be and He trusted God totally with His life. This is a very hard concept to grasp as we watch evil people that seem to be prevailing. It is hard to trust God as He is allowing the evil and using it to fulfill His purposes. Because God is all knowing He is never caught off guard by what evil men do and so He knows their hearts and actions and is already way ahead of them. This is why we can say, God’s Sovereignty and Man’s responsibility. Both of them are active just God is never caught off guard by them like we are.
God does not cause people to make their decisions, but He does know ahead of time what they are going to do. Even when they choose evil He has somehow beautifully weaved it into a wonderful plan.
Acts 2:22-24 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[d] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
See Also: Job 42:2; Luke 22:22; 1 Peter 1:19-20
Jesus was not shocked by his upcoming crucifixion as some claim but knew this is why He came to earth. Jesus was not a great teacher who was not planning to be killed. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and how the whole scenario would happen before it did happen.
“Even the treacherous plots of the Sanhedrin cannot do anything but work out Gods will. This message is critical in our times. We live in a society with unprecedented affluence and plenty. As a result, people do not know how to handle life’s setback and so often have the same complaints as Israel in Isaiah 40:27 “My way is hidden from the Lord (He doesn’t know where I am) and my cause is disregarded (He is an unjust judge)” Exegetical Commentary of the New Testament
Have you ever felt that way? That God is not paying attention to you or He is not paying attention to what others are doing? Every crisis is an opportunity to watch God at work. If you believe God is in control then you can relax when it seems that evil people seem to be winning.
You can enjoy life more when you realize that no matter what is happening God is in control and He has a plan.
Read Matthew 26:6-13
2) The Spirit is in control
How would you like to be known for a disease you had? To make sure everyone understood exactly where these things were taking place, Matthew names not only Simon but which Simon it was. If anything could have been questioned then this Simon the Leper could attest to what Matthew has written down.
Simon, more than likely, was healed by Jesus and wanted to show his gratitude to Jesus by having Him over for a meal.
A woman came to Him having an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. And poured it over his head as he reclined at the table
It was estimated that this was the equivalent of a year’s salary for the average person. So think of what you make in a year being poured out on Jesus. Think of all the bills you could pay if you had another years salary right now.
The act of anointing special guest with oil was common but not to this extent where it would cover their whole body. The picture is that Jesus would have been drenched with the perfume from head to toe and it would be dripping on the floor.
She was so overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus that she did something that was never done before.
When the Disciples saw this they were indignant saying. Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a great deal and given to the poor.
Sounds like many church business meetings I have been in when people do not find out why the church is doing what it is doing, they just complain about the money that is being spent.
If you follow God you will encounter church people who will question what you are doing.
They knew that Jesus was concerned with the poor, so they made it sound like they cared for the poor as well and that their anger toward her was justified. .
But knowing this, Jesus told them, Why are you bothering this woman, for she had done a good deed for me?
The disciples were not speaking out loud but Jesus knew their thoughts. They may have been whispering to each other but for Jesus to call them out would have shocked them.
Jesus ask them why are they bringing trouble or hardship. Many Christians become critical of what other people are doing if they are not doing ministry the way they think they should do it. We need to be careful that we do not become critical of others when in fact they may be carrying out the will of God.
I am not saying you cannot question what people or doing but to automatically have a critical spirit toward someone is wrong. Matthew 18 talks about how to deal with issues when there is disagreement but some things in life or not black and white and so we have to get to know the people and get to know their heart.
You will always have the poor with you but you will not always have me.
The poor is a group of people that the Bible continually commands us to watch out for and help. Churches need to figure out how they can help the poor without hurting them deeper by making them more dependent on the church. It is a difficult ministry that many are trying to figure out but each church needs to have some plan to help those who are less fortunate.
“Genuine worship is the supreme service a Christian can offer Christ. There is a time for ministering to the poor, the sick, the naked, and the imprisoned. There is a time for witnessing to the lost and the seeking to lead them to the Savior. There is a time for discipling new believers and helping them grow in the faith. There is a time for carful study and teaching God’s Word. But above all else that that Lord requires of His people is their true worship, with which everything else they may do in His name is empty and powerless.” John Macarthur
For when she poured this perfume on my body, she did it in order to prepare me for burial
I believe she had no clue why she was doing what she was doing, because it was way out of the ordinary for someone to do this. She did not know why she poured the oil the way she did, maybe she was going to just pour a little which was custom but then was overwhelmed by the spirit of God, and continued not knowing she was preparing Jesus for His death.
In her obedience she fulfilled Gods will. It was common to pour perfume over the whole body once the person was deceased, but not while they were still alive. What seems to be a waste of money for us may be Gods will for someone else to do.
There will be times that you will be prompted to do things for God that you will not be able to explain, or fully know the reason why He is asking you to do them.
I know there is a lot of talk about having a vision, a plan and a purpose but the reality is there will be times you will be able to offer nothing but this is what I believe the Lord is leading me to do.
I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the entire world, what she had done will also be told in remembrance of her.
She did not dream a big dream for God, she just did what the spirit of God was leading her to do. We must always remember that with God it is the small things that make a big difference. The cup of water, the clothes, and the visits in time of need is what God will reward. (Matthew 25:34-40)
What is remembered about this woman is that she obeyed the prompting she was given for purposes she had no clue about until Jesus explained it to her.
Read Matthew 26:14-16
3) I’m in control
Then one of the twelve named Judas Iscariot went to the Chief priest
Jesus was controlled by the Spirit of God to the do the Will of God. The Woman was controlled by the Spirit of God to do things that had never been done. Judas was controlled by his desire for power and wealth. Remember, we are all controlled by something, no one is neutral.
The chief priest did not come to him, he went to them. The chief priest were trying to figure out how and when to get Jesus by Himself, away from the crowds, and Judas gave them that opportunity.
What are you willing to give to me so I will hand him over to you? And they paid out thirty pieces of silver to him.
Matthew wants to make it clear that Judas is motivated by money “What are you willing to give me” is the statement made by every person who wants to be in control of their own lives. What is in it for me? is what Judas was asking. John 12:6 tells us that Judas would steal from the ministry so he was always wanting to follow Jesus for his own gain.
Judas did not barter with them from what we can tell, he took whatever they offered and 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave. Judas followed Jesus until he realized Jesus was not going to get him what he wanted, which was power and money, so he went to the people that could.
Many people walk away from Christ because God does not act the way they think He should. This is a man who saw people healed, the dead raised and heard the best teacher in history, and yet missed Jesus real reason for coming to earth. He not only missed it he became an enemy to Jesus by planning to betray Him.
The woman gave all she had even at a great cost to herself and gained eternity. Judas betrayed Jesus for almost nothing and lost his soul.
Do you trust God to have control of your life even when life does not go your way?
Are you willing to be led by the spirit even when it cost you not only financially but to take criticism from others?
Do you have a tendency to be a Judas where you will only serve God as long as it benefits you?
The problem with trusting God and being led by the Spirit of God, is that you are not in control. Are you a control Freak?