Over the span of 75 verses, Matthew narrates the events of Jesus’ final hours with his disciples prior to his arrest. This action packed narrative contains a number of significant stories about Jesus and his disciples. I want to highlight two .
Jesus is Anointed
The story of the woman anointing Jesus in Bethany is fascinating as she breaks social protocol by entering the room where Jesus reclined with his disciples and pouring expensive perfume over the Lord’s head. This action brought the ire of the others in the room. One disciple even protested, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” Others were more confused than angry. We may join them and ask, “Why would she do this?”
The answer is quite simple — she was only concerned with giving the Lord Jesus her best. She didn’t care about the other men in the room. She didn’t care about the cost of the perfume. She simply wanted to worship him. She wanted to please him. She spared no expense. She counted the costs and found him worthy. And, she is both an example and challenge for us. Do we worship our King in the same way?
After celebrating the Passover with his disciples, Jesus takes James, John, and Peter into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He instructs the disciples to remain steadfast in prayer and then leaves them behind as he enters into communion with his father in heaven. The prayer that follows is one of great sorrow and agony. He prays, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (26:39).
A Submissive King
These two stories connect two themes that run through the Gospel. Jesus is the long promised King. He is the King of the Nations. Jesus is also the obedient and submissive Son of God. The woman anoints Jesus as her King. Jesus willingly submits to the will of the Father. He is the Submissive King that invites you to come into his kingdom of grace through the work of his cross.
“And the high priest said to him, ‘I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so. But I tell you, form now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven'” (26:63-64)