3 - Warnings and Traps?
Reading: Psalm 23, Luke 21:34-38, 22:1-6, Mark 14:1-11
Content: There is scriptural evidence (Mark and Luke) that Jesus was once again in the Temple on Wednesday morning teaching. What Jesus said that morning took on a clear tone of warning to those listening to Him. Warning to stay aware and alert to the traps ahead. Warning about things that were going to take place.
But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with corruption, self-indulgence and the meaningless cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
The rest of Wednesday is not well detailed by the others, but Mark’s consistent timeline gives us considerable insight into some of those inevitable events that had to have happened later that evening and into the night. Because of the traps already set in place to kill Jesus, the High Priests and Scribes secretly got word out through their minions that they were willing to pay for information of Jesus movements and plans. From Tuesday afternoon until sometime during the day on Wednesday – Judas had clearly been identified as a vulnerable target for their plans.
It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.” 3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
The dinner taking place at Simon’s on Wednesday evening makes sense for two reasons. First, was the proximity of his home in the Mount Olive-Bethany area (literally, a 30-minute walk to Jerusalem). And secondly, Mark’s timeline clearly shows the following day as the Feast of Unleavened Bread – Passover Meal (Thursday).
Among many insights and moments of truth, Jesus gave 3 watchful warnings on that Wednesday.
… watch yourself so that day does not catch you like a trap.
…stay alert at all times, pray that you will have the strength to escape all these things that are going to take place.
… leave this woman alone, she has done a beautiful thing by anointing my body for burial ahead of time.
By the time Jesus pushes back from the table and from the frustration of His disciples, Judas has had enough. Leaving Simon’s and making the 30-minute walk back to Jerusalem into his own trap – the temple and 30 pieces of silver.
Meditation: Three questions to consider and then pray about today.
Are we what Jesus would call alert, really watching for the traps, or have we like millions of others who have become pre-occupied, apathetic, or overlooking the real spiritual urgency and choices before us?
Is it really a trap if we know what is coming?
Jesus knew what was coming His way – He tried to warn those He loved and those who were learning to love Him. He was not trapped – He made a choice, He chose us.
Is there someone you can warn today by choosing to love them?
My prayer is that you will lead to them Jesus.
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