Broken Beautiful: In the Breaking of Christ We Find Our Own Breaking

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first thirty verses of the twenty-sixth chapter of this New Testament book. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of many is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people” (Matthew 26:1-5).

            “Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that shed hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her” (Matthew 26:6-13).

            “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14-16).

            “Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover? And he said, GO into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover” (Matthew 26:17-19).

            “Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said” (Matthew 26:20-25).

            “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an humn, they went out into the mount of Olives” Matthew 26:26-30).

            BETRAYAL TO BE CRUCIFIED! CONSPIRACY TO KILL JESUS! THE ALABASTER BOX! PREPARING JESUS’ BODY FOR BURIAL! WHERESOEVER THIS GOSPEL SHALL BE PREACHED IN THE WHOLE/ WORLD, THERE SHALL ALSO THIS, THAT THIS WOMAN HATH DONE, BE TOLD FOR A MEMORIAL OF HER! THEN ONE OF THE TWELVE, CALLED JUDAS ISCARIOT, WENT UNTO THE CHIEF PRIESTS, AND SAID UNTO THEM, WHAT WILL YE GIVE ME, AND I WILL DELIVER HIM UNTO YOU! FROM THAT TIME HE SOUGHT OPPORTUNITY TO BETRAY HIM! THE DISCIPLES CAME TO JESUS, SAYING UNTO HIM, WHERE WILT THOU THAT WE PREPARE FOR THEE TO EAT THE PASSOVER! GO INTO THE CITY TO SUCH A MAN, AND SAY UNTO HIM, THE MASTER SAITH, MY TIME IS AT HAND! I WILL KEEP THE PASSOVER AT THY HOUSE WITH MY DISCIPLES! VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT ONE OF YOU SHALL BETRAY ME! AND THEY WERE EXCEEDING SORROWFUL, AND BEGAN EVERY ONE OF THEM TO SAY UNTO HIM, LORD, IS IT I? THE SON OF MAN GOETH AS IT IS WRITTEN OF HIM! TAKE, EAT; THIS IS MY BODY! DRINK YE ALL OF IT! THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS! I WILL NOT DRINK HENCEFORTH OF THIS FRUIT OF THE VINE, UNTIL THAT DAY WHEN I DRINK IT NEW WITH YOU IN MY FATHER’S KINGDOM!

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find and encounter the beginning of the suffering of Jesus taking shape as you will find in the opening two verses the apostle Matthew writes and records how “when Jesus had finished all these sayings” He would say something once more unto the disciples—something which they had already heard three times previously. If you turn and direct your attention to the words found in the opening verses of the twenty-sixth chapter you will find the apostle Matthew writing and recording how after Jesus had spoken those words which indicted the scribes and Pharisees, and after Jesus had warned and prepared them for the days which were coming to pass, and after Jesus had spoken unto them concerning the kingdom of heaven Jesus would essentially shift His attention and focus back to something which the disciples had already heard within their time walking with and following Jesus. You cannot read these words without encountering and coming face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to glorify the Father who was in heaven. Jesus knew that the time had come for His departure from this world and from this earth and that He might return unto the Father who was in heaven. Before, however, Jesus could return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven there was a work which needed to be done—a work which there was absolutely no way of avoiding or escaping it. Even when Jesus was in the garden praying unto the Father concerning the suffering He was about to face He would make the powerful declaration unto the Father that if it was possible this cup should pass from him. With this prayer, however, Jesus would also declare in the sight and presence of the living and holy God that it was not His will that would and must be done, but the will of the Father. As we come to the words which are presented before us in this passage we find Jesus once more speaking unto the disciples and making them aware of days in which they themselves would begin walking through—namely, days in which Jesus would be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close and careful attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture, for the words which we see here bring us face to face with a message Jesus sought to teach and speak unto His disciples—one which He Himself knew would make them sorrowful, but also one that was absolutely necessary.

            The more I read and the more I consider the four gospel narratives which were written by the gospel authors the more I can’t help but encounter the awesome and powerful truth that while Jesus walked upon this earth as the Word made flesh He would take the time to not only teach His disciples, but also prepare them for the days in which they were about to walk. As you continue reading the words found in the New Testament gospels you will find Jesus essentially preparing them for three distinct realities which would all be manifested among them in the earth. Upon reading the words found within these gospel narratives you will find and encounter the fact that Jesus sought to teach, prepare and make ready His disciples for the suffering He would face and endure within this life—and not only the suffering He would endure, but also the death He would endure as a direct result of that suffering. The four gospel narratives paint a powerful picture of how Jesus sought to teach His disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem, and it would be there in the city of Jerusalem He would be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel. Not only this, but Jesus would also teach His disciples how He would be mocked and scourged by the Gentiles before ultimately being put to death. It wouldn’t be until the third and fourth time Jesus taught His disciples concerning His death that He would actually reveal how He would ultimately die—that of being crucified at the hands of the Romans. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that Jesus not only know He would suffer, and Jesus not only knew He would be killed, but He also knew those who would kill and put Him to death, as crucifixion was not a practice of the Jews. For Jesus to declare that He would be crucified would describe and detail how it would be at the hands of the Romans He would be killed and crucified. What’s more, is when Jesus spoke of being mocked and scorned by the Gentiles He would in fact speak of the Romans who would scourge Him in the Praetorium before they would place a crown of thorns upon His brow and force Him to carry His own cross to the place of His crucifixion. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely incredible and necessary this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus not only knew He would be killed, but Jesus also knew the means by which He would be killed, and the people who would indeed kill Him.

            What makes the narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion so incredibly unique is that the same people who would scourge Jesus in the Praetorium, the same people who would mock and ridicule Jesus, the same people who would place a crown of thorns upon His brow, and the same people who would indeed force Him to carry His cross before they would crucify Him would be the same people who less than forty years later would surround and lay siege to the city of Jerusalem before they would ultimately destroy the city together with its walls and gates. Not only this, but it would be the Roman army that would also cast down all the stones and all the buildings which were present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, as well as utterly destroying the Temple which had stood on the Temple Mount. This takes on an entirely different meaning when you think about and consider the fact that the Romans actually destroyed two distinct and two Temples within a forty year period of time. You will recall in the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John how when the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus for a sign and by what authority He cleansed the Temple, He responded by declaring unto them that they would destroy this temple, and in three days He would raise it up again. This statement would confuse and confound the scribes and the Pharisees, for they would respond to Jesus by declaring how it took forty and six years to build the Temple, and would He as a mere man raise the Temple back up again in three days. The apostle John would write and record how the Temple which Jesus referred to was not the Temple which was made with and by human hands, but the Temple of His body. This is something that is worth noting and recognizing, for the Romans would not only be those who would destroy the temple which was Jesus’ physical body, but the Romans would also destroy the physical Temple which stood upon the Temple mount—that which was made and built with and by human hands. It would be the Romans who would destroy the physical and natural temple of the Lord Jesus Christ before He would indeed rise from the grave on the third day. Less than forty years later they would return unto the land of Judaea, and unto the city of Jerusalem, and would not only destroy the wall of the city together with its gates, and they would not only destroy the buildings which stood in the midst of the city, but they would also destroy the Temple which stood upon the Temple Mount.

            I wrote and mentioned how Jesus prepared His disciples for three distinct realities and manifestations which would take place within the earth, and we have already discussed the first reality Jesus prepared His disciples for—namely, His suffering, His death, and ultimately His burial and resurrection on the third day. Building upon this particular reality and truth we must needs understand and recognize how Jesus would also prepare the disciples for His departure from this world and from the earth as He would return unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. In the final verses of the twenty-eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, in the final verses of the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the physician Luke, and in chapters fourteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find Jesus preparing His disciples for His departure from this earth and His subsequent return unto His Father who was in heaven. Once He had finished and completed the work that was assigned to Him to do through suffering, death, burial and resurrection He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father in heaven. Forty days after Jesus was raised from death to life we find Jesus leading His disciples and followers to the mount of Olives, and it would be there from and there upon the mount of Olives Jesus would ascend into heaven and would be removed from the sight of all those who stood upon the mountain watching Him as He went. What’s more, is that it would also be in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we also find Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for His departure, and how He would indeed leave them upon the earth after His departure. This is something truly necessary and important to realize and recognize, for with Jesus’ departure there would be two distinct promises which would be made—yea, even three promises that would be made. In chapters fourteen through sixteen of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find Jesus promising that although He would depart unto His Father who was in heaven, He would indeed and would in fact come unto them. The first promise Jesus would make was that He would come unto the disciples—this even after He departed from the earth and returned unto His Father who was in heaven. The second promise Jesus made unto the disciples was that He would send unto them the person and presence of the Holy Spirit who would be unto them a Comforter and a Teacher. The third and final promise Jesus would make unto them was that He would not only come unto them, but He would also come again that where He was they might also be.

            Within the four gospel narratives which were written by the gospel authors we find it wonderfully and powerful written how Jesus not only prepared His disciples for His suffering, His death, His burial and His resurrection, but He also prepared them for His departure. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely necessary and important this truly is, for directly linked and connected to Jesus’ preparing His disciples for His departure from this life would also be His preparing them for that which they would face in the days which lie ahead of them. You cannot read the words which are found in the tenth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, nor the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the same gospel narrative, nor even the words which are found in chapters fourteen through sixteen of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John, for Jesus would indeed and would in fact prepare His disciples for the days in which they would enter—namely, days of tremendous trial, trouble and tribulation. Jesus would indeed prepare and make ready His disciples for the days ahead of them in which they would walk upon the earth, and with that preparation would be His preparing them for the suffering and persecution they would indeed face and experience within this life. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this, for Jesus would spend a considerable amount of time preparing and making ready His disciples for His suffering and death, for their own suffering and subsequent deaths, as well as for the coming of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit who would teach them concerning all things which Christ had spoken unto them while He was present among them.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering just how absolutely incredible these words are and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the fact that what we find before us in the twenty-sixth chapter—at least in the opening verses is Jesus once more teaching and reminding His disciples that He would suffer and that He would be killed before being raised from death to life on the third day. What makes the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture so incredibly intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus would now speak unto His disciples and give them a time frame and a time period for when He would be betrayed, when He would suffer, and when He would indeed be killed and crucified. Within this passage of Scripture we find Jesus emphatically declaring unto His disciples that after two days was the feast of the Passover, and it would be during and at the feast of the Passover the Son of man was to be crucified. Each of the words Jesus spoke unto the disciples up to this point would be that which would take place in the future at some point, however, that which is before us at this particular point is Jesus actually describing unto the disciples how in two days He would actually be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel before He would be crucified. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for it is in direct alignment with the words we find in chapters sixteen, seventeen and twenty of this New Testament gospel narrative. If you take the time to read and consider the words which are found within each of these chapters you will find Jesus beginning to teach—and not only beginning to teach, but also continuing to teach the disciples how He must needs suffer, how He must needs be killed and put to death, and how He would rise again on the third day. I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order for us to truly understand the words which are found before us within this passage of Scripture we must needs turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in each of these chapters, for they help form the foundation and background for what Jesus would once more speak and teach unto the disciples . Consider if you will the following words which are found within each of these chapters within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:

            “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? OR what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:21-28).

            “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry” (Matthew 17:22-23).

            “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Matthew 20:17-19).

            Each of these passages of Scripture help paint the tremendous and powerful picture Jesus began painting before and unto His disciples concerning His suffering and His death which He would indeed face and experience within this life. What I find to be so absolutely astonishing about the words which are before us in these chapters is that Jesus knew that there was absolutely no way around the suffering, nor was there any way around the cross. Jesus knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was for this purpose—for the purpose of suffering, and the purpose of dying upon the cross—He had come unto the earth and was manifested as the Word which became flesh. Oh there is something about knowing something is about to take place and merely keeping it unto yourself, and actually beginning to open your mouth and speak about that which you know is coming. Jesus not only spoke and declared unto the disciples that He would suffer and be killed once, but there would be three additional times Jesus would speak and declare unto His disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem, and how it would be there in the city of Jerusalem He would be betrayed. It would be as a direct result of His being betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel that He would suffer many things of the religious elite and the religious community of that day. It would be as a direct result of His suffering many things at the hands of the religious elite Jesus would then be handed over to the Gentiles—which would in turn be the Romans—who would not only mock and scourge Him, but would also crucify and put Him to death. With these words Jesus prepared and made His disciples for His suffering and His death which would indeed come and be manifested within and upon the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for each of these times leading up to Jesus actually being in Jerusalem we find Him teaching His disciples about a time in the future when He would suffer and be crucified, and now here in the twenty-sixth chapter of the same New Testament gospel we find Jesus putting a definitive time frame upon that suffering and death—namely, that in two days time at the feast of the Passover He would be betrayed and would be crucified.

            As you continue reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that immediately after Jesus taught and spoke unto His disciples how in two days time He would be betrayed and would be crucified the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people would assemble themselves together. The purpose of this assembling together was quite simple and quite clear, for the religious elite and the religious community of this day would indeed and would in fact assemble themselves together for the sole purpose of conspiring together against Jesus that they might kill Him. The more you read the words which are found within the gospel narratives the more you will discover and uncover that it wasn’t simply about the religious leaders conspiring together how they might kill Jesus and put Him to death, for there were other elements that would need to be manifested. The more you read the gospel narratives the more you will find that in order for Jesus to be killed and crucified—not only would it take the conspiracy of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, but it would also take the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, as well as Pontius Pilate who would condemn Jesus to die before He would be handed over to be scourged, and ultimately be nailed to and hung upon a cross. The death of Jesus wasn’t merely about the conspiracy of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people—although this would indeed and would in fact be a tremendous part of it. In order for Jesus to suffer in the flesh, and in order for Jesus to be killed and crucified—not only would it have to be according to the will of the Father, but it would also require many different elements coming together to actually make it happen.

What we find here within the twenty-sixth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew is a truly astonishing picture of the conspiracy of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people to take Jesus secretly and put Him to death. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found present within this chapter, for the words we find within this chapter reminds me of the words which the psalmist wrote in the second chapter of the Old Testament poetic book of the Psalms. It is when you come to the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms you will find and encounter the awesome and powerful truth of how nations and peoples conspired together against the LORD and against His anointed. When I read the words presented before us in the twenty-sixth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the words which were written in the second chapter of the poetic book of the Psalms serves as a powerful picture of those who would dare conspire together against the LORD and against His anointed. What we find in the twenty-sixth chapter of this gospel narrative is something that is quite intriguing, for that which we find in this passage is the religious community conspiring together amongst themselves how they might take Jesus secretly and privately that they might kill and destroy Him. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to this, for within this chapter we also find the apostle Matthew describing how the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people would do more than simply conspire together amongst themselves, for that conspiracy would also lead to a covenant between themselves and Judas—one that would agree to pay Judas a certain sum of money if he would betray Jesus unto them and into their hands. Before we delve into the conspiracy of religion and the covenant of the disciple it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and acknowledge the words which are found in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms beginning to read with and from the opening verse:

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; This day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise, therefore, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:1-12).

It is necessary that we recognize the words which are found within this second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms, for the words we find in this passage describe and paint a powerful picture of the heathen raging, the people imagining a vain thing, the kings of the earth setting themselves, and the rulers taking counsel together against the LORD, and against his anointed. The sole purpose for this conspiracy was essentially two-fold, for this conspiracy was to break the bands of the LORD and of the LORD’s anointed asunder, and to cast away their cords from them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found and presented within this chapter, for if you truly want to recognize and understand that which is found in the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will not only find the conspiracy of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people to take Jesus and put Him to death, but you will also find a covenant which would be made between themselves and with Judas. As you read the twenty-sixth chapter of this gospel narrative you will find that in the opening five verses of the chapter you have the religious elite and the religious community conspiring together how they might destroy and put Jesus to death, while in verses fourteen through sixteen you find Judas Iscariot entering into the picture and aligning himself together with them and their conspiracy. WHEN RELATIONSHIP ALIGNS ITSELF WITH THE CONSPIRACY OF RELIGION! WHEN FELLOWSHIP ALIGNS ITSELF WITH THE AGENDA OF THE RELIGIOUS! It is quite remarkable and astonishing to read the words which are found in the twenty-sixth chapter, for it begins with Jesus describing unto His disciples how He would be betrayed and would be crucified in two days time, and how the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people conspired together how they might take Jesus quietly, secretly, and privately that they might kill Him. Not only this, but as the chapter progresses you will find Judas conspiring together with them that he might betray the Son of man into their hands.

I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I am absolutely captivated with the elements of conspiracy and covenant that are found within this chapter, for that which set in motion the events leading to the suffering of Jesus would indeed be the conspiracy of religion and the covenant of relationship. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when you read these words, for that which would ultimately bring about the suffering and death of Jesus would begin with the conspiracy of religion within itself, which would eventually and ultimately lead to the covenant which relationship and fellowship would make with religion. We cannot afford to miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for it helps us understand the foundation of the suffering which Jesus the Christ would indeed face and experience during those days. It would be during those days when religion would conspire together with itself that they might take and lay hold of Jesus to put Him to death—something which they had long and often desired to do. The gospel narratives are replete with example after example of the religious elite and community seeking to lay hold of Jesus, and how despite their desire to lay hold of them they could not do so for it was not yet His time, nor had His hour come. What makes the words Jesus spoke in this passage of Scripture so captivating is when you think about and consider it in light of the knowledge of the time and hour coming for His suffering and death. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely tremendous this truly is, for no longer was the suffering and death of Jesus something that would take place at some point in the future, for now Jesus taught and spoke unto His disciples how that suffering and death would be just two days away. Pause for a moment and think about how this must have sounded for the disciples, and how they would have heard Him previously declare how He would suffer many things at the behest of the religious elite during those days, and how He must needs die and be crucified, and how now they weren’t simply hearing how that would come to pass, but how it was only two days away. What adds even more weight to this is when you think about and consider the words which are found in the opening verses of the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded” (John 13:1-5).

OH it is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for the words we find here in this passage present us with the tremendous truth that during the three and a half years Jesus walked among us as the Word became flesh which was manifested unto the world He knew that He would suffer and ultimately be killed and crucified. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus knew—even before He was publicly manifested and revealed at the Jordan River—that He had come to this earth to suffer and to be killed and crucified. I do not doubt for a single moment that Jesus was not aware of the fact that He took on the form of human flesh that He might not only suffer in the flesh, but might also die and be killed and crucified. What makes these words so incredibly unique and powerful is when you think about and consider the fact that in the twenty-sixth chapter of the gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus speaking unto His disciples and letting them know that in just two days time He would be betrayed and would ultimately be killed and crucified. In the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find Jesus recognizing that in just two days time He would be betrayed, and as a result of His being betrayed He would ultimately suffer and be killed. What is presented before us in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is a powerful picture of Jesus knowing that His hour had come—and not only that His hour had come, but also that the hour had come that He should depart from this world unto the Father. It’s necessary for us to recognize and pay close and careful attention to this, for Jesus knew that He would ultimately return unto the Father, however, the path that would lead to the Father would be one that would lead straight through suffering. Not only this, but the path to the Father would not only lead directly through suffering, but the path to the Father would also lead directly through death. WHEN THE PATH TO THE FATHER LEADS US THROUGH SUFFERING! WHEN THE PATH TO THE FATHER LEADS US THROUGH DEATH! Oh dear reader—please recognize and please understand that while it was true Jesus knew that His hour had come, and while it was true Jesus knew that He was going to depart from this world unto the Father, He also knew that the road and path to the Father would indeed lead Him directly through suffering and the valley of the shadow of death.

I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome truth that Jesus knew that His hour had come, and yet that hour which had come wasn’t merely about His return unto the Father which was in heaven, but the hour of His suffering and His death. We must needs realize and understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that while it was indeed true Jesus would return unto His Father who was in heaven—He would not and could not return unto Him without and apart from passing through the valley of the shadow of death. The road and the path to the Father would be one that would lead directly through betrayal by one of His own, suffering at the hands of the religious elite during those days, suffering at the hands of heathen and the Gentiles, and ultimately being killed and crucified. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—there is an underlying question I find myself asking as I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture. The question I find myself asking is what we do and how we respond when the road and the path to the Father leads us directly through suffering. What do we do and how do we respond when the road to the Father is one that will take us directly through the path of suffering? Jesus knew and recognized that His hour had come, and He knew that HE would return unto the Father, yet that return would and could not come without and apart from suffering and death. The road and the path to the Father would not be one that would be easy, for it would require Jesus to walk through intense suffering, it would require Jesus to take up and carry His cross, and it would require Jesus to ultimately die upon and be killed on the cross which He had carried along the Via Dolorosa.

The more I read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that there are times within our lives when we seek access unto the Father, and yet that access and that path is paved directly through suffering. It was Jesus Himself who declared that broad was the way that leads to destruction and many there be that find it, while also declaring that narrow is the path that leads to life and there be few that find it. Jesus would also declare that those who sought to save their lives in this life would lose it, and those who were willing to lose their lives in this life for His sake would find and gain it. On two separate occasions Jesus would instruct His disciples to deny themselves and to take up their cross, and on one such occasion Jesus would actually declare that anyone who did not deny themselves and take up their cross would not be worthy of Him. We must pause and think about these tremendous truths and realities, for when you read the words which are found within the gospel narratives—not only will you find Jesus preparing His disciples for His suffering and His death, but you will also find Him preparing the disciples for their own suffering and their own death. If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand when reading this particular passage of Scripture it’s that Jesus did indeed and did in fact take the time to prepare His disciples for His own suffering and death, however, we must needs realize and understand that with that also came His preparing the disciples for their own suffering and death. It’s quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that Jesus Himself knew that He was going to suffer and that He was going to die, and that the path to the Father would indeed lead through suffering and death. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that Jesus also knew that His own disciples were going to suffer themselves, and were going to face and experience death. We must needs realize and recognize that Jesus was well aware of the fact that He Himself would face and experience suffering, but He also knew and understood that His disciples would themselves also face and experience the same type of suffering He would. OH perhaps they wouldn’t face being scourged like He was in the Roman Praetorium, but they would face suffering, persecution, affliction and opposition as a direct result of the name of Jesus. Consider if you will the following words which are written and recorded in the tenth and twenty-fourth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not yet that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israe, till the Son of man be come. The disciples is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own hosehould. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:16-39).

Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? OR what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:24-28).

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:4-14).

We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within these chapters, for these words not only point to the tremendous truth of Jesus Himself experiencing suffering and ultimately death, but they also point to the fact that the disciples of Jesus would themselves also face and experience suffering and persecution. It is something worth noting and pointing out when reading and considering these words that Jesus did indeed and did in fact prepare His disciples for the suffering He Himself would walk through and experience, however, directly linked and connected to that suffering would be their own suffering and their own death. In fact—you cannot read the narrative of the suffering which Jesus Christ Himself faced and experienced within this life and not also come face to face with the fact that we ourselves as His disciples and His followers have been called to suffer with Him, and have been called to die. Remember what the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ speaks of in the twelfth chapter—“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death?” Think about how absolutely incredible that particular truth truly is—the idea and concept that we love not our loves unto the death, and that we indeed are willing to give up and lose our lives for the sake of the name of Christ. We have great need to pay close attention to these words, for they bring us face to face with the fact that as much as Jesus prepared the disciples for His own suffering He also prepared them for their suffering. If and when we speak about the suffering of Jesus we must also equate it with our own suffering—particularly and especially when we think about and consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote and spoke concerning the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for it calls and draws our attention into the wonderful and powerful truth that we as the disciples and followers of Jesus have been called into a life that resembles His—not only in His nature and character, but also in the fellowship of His sufferings.

That which adds even mor weight to this tremendous chapter is when you think about and consider the fact that when you come to verses seventeen through nineteen you will find Jesus not only preparing the disciples for His suffering and subsequent death, but also preparing them for the Passover meal. This chapter begins and opens with the feast of the Passover being just two days away and Jesus declaring unto the disciples that He would be betrayed and would be crucified. When we come to the seventeenth verse of the chapter we find that in light of what would take place during the feast of the Passover Jesus would instruct His disciples to go into the city and to such a man, and declare unto that man how His time was at hand. These disciples were to also declare unto this certain man that Jesus would keep the Passover at his house with the disciples. What makes this absolutely wonderful and astonishing is when you think about and consider the fact that while Jesus did indeed and did in fact prepare the disciples for His suffering and His death, He also prepared to participate in fellowship together with them. The fellowship which we find in this particular chapter, however, is something that is dramatically different from any thing they had previously experienced, for it would in this particular setting Jesus would emphasis the bread and the cup—the bread which represented His body and His flesh, and the cup which represented His blood. It would be here in the upper room Jesus would enter into covenant with the disciples and would invite them into a place of fellowship and relationship. There in the upper room Jesus would extend and offer the cup which would represent His blood, and the bread which represented His body, and would give it unto the disciples. There in the upper room Jesus would offer unto His disciples His body and His blood first and foremost before He would every experience the suffering and scourging at the hands of the Roman soldiers. Before Jesus would ever physically offer His body and His flesh, and before Jesus would ever shed His blood during His suffering and death we find Him spiritually and symbolically offering it unto His disciples. There in the upper room Jesus would willingly and voluntarily offer His disciples His own blood and His own body which would be given unto and for them.

I find it absolutely remarkable and astonishing when reading and considering this chapter how within this passage we find a lowly woman presenting and offering unto Jesus the offering of her worship as evidenced through the breaking of the alabaster box, and within the same chapter we find Jesus offering unto the disciples His broken body and flesh, as well as His blood which would be shed for the remission of sins. Within this chapter we would find the broken alabaster box which would be poured out upon Jesus as an act of worship in His presence, while in the upper room we find the bread being broken as a symbolic gesture of the breaking of Jesus’ body and physical flesh through His suffering. It is truly astonishing how within this chapter we find this subject of breaking—not only the breaking that we ourselves do within and through our worship, but also the breaking which Christ did. There would initially be the breaking of the alabaster jar that would release the fragrant oil that would not only be poured upon Jesus, but would also fill the room with the aroma of that worship. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that the broken alabaster jar would not only release that which would be poured out upon the Lord Jesus, but it would also release the fragrant aroma that would fill the room. In all reality, we must needs realize and understand that our worship is centered upon the act of breaking and being broken—and not only that what is contained inside might be poured out, but also that what is poured out might fill the room with a fragrant aroma of that worship and that expression. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and draws our attention to just how incredibly important this act of breaking truly is within our own hearts and lives as much as it was within the life of Jesus. Within this passage of Scripture we find this woman breaking the alabaster box that the fragrant aroma and perfume contained within it might be released—and not only released, but also released upon the body and person of Jesus.

THE BROKEN ALABASTER BOX! THE BROKEN BREAD! THE BROKEN BODY! We dare not and must not miss the awesome and powerful truth that is found within these verses, for this process of breaking would begin with the woman who showed up with an alabaster box full of costly perfume and did not think the jar itself, nor the perfume contained within it was too great a cost to break and pour upon the person of Jesus. For this woman—the alabaster jar and the perfume that was contained within it was nothing compared to the ability to pour out this worship upon the person of Jesus. What we must needs realize is that within this chapter we not only find this woman deliberately and intentionally choosing to break this alabaster jar that the contents within it might be poured out, but so also was Jesus Himself an alabaster jar that was broken that His blood might be poured out. The physical body and temple of Jesus was indeed broken and was indeed ripped open that His blood might be poured out for the remission of sins for mankind. Just as this alabaster jar was considered of little importance for this woman that she might pour out the contents upon the person of Jesus, so also was the physical body of Jesus considered as such that Jesus would willingly and voluntarily allow to be broken for the remission of sins. We see in the alabaster jar an example—not only of our being broken before the person and in the presence of Jesus, but also Jesus being broken for us. What’s more, is that it is in the breaking of the bread we symbolically see the broken body of Jesus which would indeed be broken for the purpose of our redemption. It is absolutely astonishing to think about and consider the fact that within this chapter we find the broken alabaster jar which in all reality is a powerful representation of us, and we see the broken bread which is a powerful representation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Essentially the beautiful picture we find in this picture is the breaking of both the disciple and his Lord, for both are and both would be broken together. Oh that would recognize and understand that in the breaking of Jesus we are to find our own breaking, and that we would truly recognize and understand that we have been called to be broken open and be broken beautiful and fragrant in the sight of Jesus.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close we are brought face to face with the fact that we must fin and see ourselves broken in the broken body of Jesus the Christ, and we ourselves must needs be willing to be broken as Jesus Himself was broken. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to recognize that it is in the breaking of Jesus that we ourselves are broken, and that we dare not and must not withhold ourselves from being broken. Just as this woman chose not to withhold this alabaster jar, and just as she chose to break it in the presence of Jesus that the contents inside might be poured out upon Him, so also must we consider ourselves as being able to be broken in the presence of Jesus that our lives might be an offering in the sight and presence of the Lord Jesus. We must needs realize and understand that in the breaking of Jesus we find our own breaking, and in the breaking of both we find the fragrant aroma of death and worship. The underlying question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to be broken in the sight and presence of the Lord Jesus, and whether we are willing to deliberately and intentionally offer our bodies in His sight and presence that the contents which are inside might be broken. Are we willing to find our breaking in the breaking which Jesus experienced, for just as He Himself was broken in sacrifice and death, so also must we be broken as living sacrifices in the sight and presence of Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this tremendous reality, for it calls and draws our attention into the absolutely awesome and powerful truth that we have been called to walk in the process and path of breaking—a path that is found and experienced the more we are willing to present our bodies as living sacrifices which are holy and acceptable in the sight of the living God. Oh that we would be men and women who are ready, willing and able to be those who are broken beautiful and broken lovely in the sight and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that we might allow the contents which are present inside to be poured out and released. There is within this passage the symbolism of the broken alabaster jar, as well as the symbolism of the broken bread, and both would representing two different breakings which would need to take place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s