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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 20: Matthew 26:1-30, by Kevin M. Williams

However, not all theologians agree on this matter, let alone the gospels themselves. John’s gospel, written decades after Matthew, records, “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there” (John 12:1-8).

I cannot speak to the incongruity. That Yeshua may have dined in more than one persons’ home is not outside the realm of possibility. However, that his feet would be anointed so ceremonially on two separate occasions in the same week with the same outcome seems unlikely. For those who wish to debate such technical inconsistencies while ignoring spiritual uniformity—may they soon come to understand the futility of their work.

I can however, speak to the religious spirit that asked “Why this waste?” First of all, the text is careful to point out, “But Jesus, aware of this, said to them …” implies that the disciples were gossiping in secret, and trying to sound pious (at least to one another). One of the first signs of a religious spirit is to complain out of earshot of those with the authority. This religious spirit divides congregations, destroys unity, betrays, and operates to bring down honest, righteous leadership.

That a betrayal was indeed going on is evident in verses 14-15: “Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said, ‘What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?’ And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver. And from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him.” Certainly Judas Iscariot was not operating in a messianic spirit.

“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her” (Matthew 26:13) is worth repeating. Strong’s Concordance defines “gospel” as the “gospel of the kingdom of Heaven,” which has also been discussed previously. Yeshua was not speaking of the texts of the gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but rather, the witness of the message of the kingdom of God as a whole.

What this woman did, presumably Mary (though which Mary is not absolutely clear), the outpouring not only of a costly oil, but the outpouring of herself and her earthly wealth to glorify the Messiah, is lifted by Yeshua to a very high standard of excellence, that it would be “spoken of in memory of her,” wherever the gospel was preached in the entire world. Those are high accolades indeed, and a deed worth emulating in our own lives.

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“Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?’” (Matthew 26:17).

This becomes a stumbling stone for many critics of the Bible. Was Yeshua sacrificed on Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread? Was he sacrificed on Nisan 14 or 15 in the Jewish calendar? This verse would seem to indicate that they did not sit down to eat until the 15th and therefore, missed the actual Passover. Some also indicate that Yeshua was already breaking with the commandments of the Torah in favor of a more liberated theology, in which the Law had been fulfilled and was no longer binding.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Spring 2006

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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