Pastor’s Corner: “Passion Week” Day 3
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1
Passion Week, which is also known as Holy Week, starts on Palm Sunday and continues until Resurrection Sunday. It covers the major events of Jesus’ last days on earth before His crucifixion and resurrection. It is a great week to slow down and observe the last moments of Jesus’ life.
- What did Jesus do during His final week?
- What was He like?
- What was He teaching about?
- How were other people treating Him
All of these things help us get a fuller picture of those last days, and help us understand what it was really like for Christ.
WEDNESDAY: “Pieces of Silver & Perfume”
Zechariah 11:12-13 (AMP) – 12 I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, do not.” So they weighed out thirty pieces of silver as my wages. 13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter [as if to the dogs]—that magnificent sum at which I am valued by them!” So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.
In Old Testament times, thirty pieces of silver was the value of a slave accidentally gored to death by an ox. The amount given to the prophet Zechariah is an intentional insult for the rejected shepherd, who was a pre-figure of the Messiah. In a prophetic fulfillment that occurred centuries later, that same sum of thirty pieces of silver was all it took for Judas to agree to hand over Jesus to the Pharisees. Such a measly sum speaks of how lowly Jesus was viewed not only by Judas, but also by the chief priests. They traded away the Savior of the World, the Holy Son of God, the promised Messiah, for the price of a dead slave. Matthew 26:14-16 (AMP) – Judas’ Bargain – 14 Then one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment Judas began looking for an opportune time to betray Jesus.
In contrast to Judas’ thirty pieces of silver, that same evening Mary expresses her value for Christ in a one of the most beautiful acts of love for Jesus revealed in scripture. Matthew 26:6-13 (AMP) – The Anointing in Bethany – 6 Now when Jesus was [back] in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very expensive perfume and she poured it on Jesus’ head as He reclined at the table. 8 But when the disciples saw it they were indignant and angry, saying, “Why all this waste [of money]? 9 For this perfume might have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware [of the malice] of this [remark], said to them, “Why are you bothering the woman? She has done a good thing to Me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you will not always have Me. 12 When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, wherever this gospel [of salvation] is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her [for her act of love and devotion].” John 12:3-4 (AMP) – 3 Then Mary took a pound of very expensive perfume of pure nard, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair (and tears); and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
She had been saving this perfume, worth a year’s wages, to perform this very act. She began to pour the perfume on Jesus’ head and feet, which required breaking open its container. Like popping the cork on a $20,000 bottle of champagne, Mary intentionally and deliberately offered Jesus everything she had by giving Him her most valuable possession. The disciples considered the value of her perfume and regarded her actions as though she might as well have been burning a year’s wages in the fire. But they dressed their indignation up in noble concern for the poor: Think of the poor people who could have benefited from the sale of this perfume (Mark 14:4-5).
But this was not how her actions hit Jesus. He came to her aid. What Mary is doing is beautiful, He said to them (Mark 14:6). She was preparing Him for burial. Not only was the room filled with the fragrance of the perfume, but by the fragrance of her beautiful act of love 2 Corinthians 2:15 (AMP) – 15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; There was honor and kindness in her gesture. He returned the honor by saying history would never forget her act of beauty (Mark 14:8-9). And we haven’t.
Take a moment and consider what value you place on your relationship with Christ. How much is Jesus worth to you? What have you been willing to “trade” your faith for this past year? Did you trade your witness for social acceptance because you were afraid someone would mock you or think unfavorably of you because of your commitment to Christ? Have you given away your time and treasure to pursue personal ambition, an inappropriate relationship, or some habitual sin rather than spending your time, effort, and energy seeking first the Kingdom of God? What does your offering of thanksgiving to Christ for what He has done for you smell like?
In His Grace,