21 March 2021

Jesus Anointed at Bethany – Matthew 26:1-13

The “uncomfortable truth”

Matt 26 1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

Acts 8 32 “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth.” (A passage about Jesus from Isaiah 53:7 which Philip explains to the Ethiopian Eunuch)

Question 1: To what extent did Jesus appear to be either in control or led by others through the events of these last days?

The extravagant act

a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.

Question 2: In what ways was this act extravagant?

Question 3: Why was it a “beautiful thing” (v10)?

Question 4: What extravagant act or beautiful thing might God be calling you to do?

The balanced perspective

11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.

Question 5: What should we be doing for the poor (also the needy, lonely, refugee) today?

Question 6: When might an extravagant act be justified in displacing what we might otherwise do for disadvantaged people?

Our response to Jesus

Philemon 4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have towards the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. (Paul’s encouragement to Philemon)

Question 7: What next steps will lead us to deepen our own love “towards the Lord Jesus and for all the saints”?

Question 8: How might the loving actions of each of the main characters in this story (Simon’s gratitude, the woman’s extravagant act of love or the disciples’ mission to bring the kingdom of God to the poor) delight God?

Question 9: And as you plan your escape from lockdown, what act for the sharing of your faith should you also be planning?

An eternal perspective

Matt 26 13Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Question 10: What will others tell of your actions in memory of you? What additional actions would you like to place in the memories of others?

A Prayer

Loving Heavenly Father, thank you for the knowledge of your extravagant love for us. May I grow deeper in my understanding and love of you, reflecting your love of me in all I do. Save me from appearing mean or uncaring through misplaced prudence or complacency. Prompt me when I should be as extravagant as the unnamed woman in my response to you or towards others; may I share my gratitude with my neighbours like Simon; and grant me generosity of heart in showing others the kingdom of God in the practical ways that tell of your love. I ask this for the sake of your Son, my Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.