Sunday, 17th October 6.00 pm Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN Blessed be the tie that binds

Blest be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds

Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne,

We pour our ardent prayers;

Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,

Our comforts, and our cares.

We share our mutual woes,

Our mutual burdens bear;

And often for each other flows

The sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,

It gives us inward pain;

But we shall still be joined in heart,

And hope to meet again.

PRAYER

READING Matthew 26 : 1-16

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

SERMON Judas & Mary

Here we have beauty and the beast:

The woman is a FRIEND of Jesus – the man a FOE…

she is giving something – his interests are in GETTING…

hers is DEVOTION – his is DECEIT…

see her sacrifice – compare his selfishness…

she is alone – he is in alliance with others…

contrast her box of ointment with his 30 pieces of silver…

she is BLESSED – he is cursed !

I don’t want to end this evening with Judas– so let’s start with him. Some people feel sorry for this poor misunderstood fellow. Are you one of those who pities him ? DON’T ! There is not a single redeeming feature about this awful man.

Here is the man who was inspired by the Devil. As early as John 6:70 Jesus said : Have I not chosen you, the twelve ? Yet one of you is a devil!”.

In Luke 22:3 we read that Satan entered Judas. John 12:6 tells us he was a thief: as keeper of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it

Judas is in hell – Acts 1:25: Judas left to go where he belongs.

The forces of evil were not confined to his solitary life – the enemy was amassing against God’s Son. At the beginning of our chapter – in verses 3-5 we see the chief priests and elders had assembled in the palace of the high priest. What was their discussion … the plot to kill Jesus.

Even the very High Priest was in on this dirty business – And notice how they work – IN SECRET! Secrecy is almost always a sign of the deeds of darkness

Although these men, from the worst of motives, and at the worst of times, determined to do away with Jesus – it turned out to be entirely right! That day – the Passover, which was the starting day of the Israelite nation – also turned out to be the starting day of the Christian Church

Judas’ decision was sparked by the kindness and goodness of one who was devoted to Jesus. Real and honest goodness provokes some of the fiercest venom.

Judas, having lost the money he could have gained through the ointment – he settles for less in betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver – the price of a slave – Zechariah 11:12 prophesied that price.

MARY.

Jesus was in the house of someone called Simon the Leper. We know very little about him – but it seems most likely that he was one whom Jesus had healed of leprosy. He has great reason to be thankful to Jesus and hospitable to Him. But there is also this woman – we know from the other Gospels that her name was Mary. We presume that she is the same Mary who was the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Was Simon, perhaps, her father?

There is a story told about Queen Mary. One day while out walking near Balmoral, the clouds burst and the rain poured down.

She stopped at a cottage door and asked the lady of the house for the loan of an umbrella. The lady did not recognise the Queen and so gave her an old umbrella with a broken spoke. The next day, a man in gold braid appeared at the woman’s house and said : The queen asked me to thank you for lending her your umbrella. The woman was dumbstruck – the tears were rolling down her cheeks as she said : What an opportunity I have missed ! Why did 1 not give the Queen my best umbrella ?

A similar story tells of the great thinker Nietzsche. His sister tells how as children they were asked to take one of their toys to the Moravian sisters for their missionary work.

Nietzsche was very sour faced when he returned and his sister asked him why. Well, he said, I have done a very wicked thing – my best and favourite toy is my box of cavalry soldiers – I should have taken that. His sister then asked him “But do you think God always wants our best ? !” Yes – always, always – he replied !

Mary gave her very best thing to Jesus – because she loved Him with all of her heart. Mary shows that she holds Jesus in the highest honour – She shows her LOVE for Jesus – nothing and no-one will hold her back – Judas incited the other disciples to grumble about her – but she would not be moved one whit from this act of love.

If you took from the world all the unselfish acts done in Christ’s power, the world would be a very harsh and cruel place indeed.

Christians, when they demonstrate this kind of love, are acting as salt in society – preserving and purifying it.

Abel only had a little lamb to offer to God : God was pleased with that offering. Moses had a staff in his hands – but God used that! What is in your hand – old widow ? Only a couple of copper coins – almost worthless – but they are all I have. God says – bring them, dear one, they are vital to my work – and to your heart.

But what could Jesus possibly have wanted with perfume ? Was it to prepare His body for burial ? I think it is deeper than that – I think this was the very act that helped to prepare Jesus MIND for His impending death.

Would it not move you at all to think that YOU could encourage the heart of Jesus by following Mary’s devotion. Does it not fill up your heart – and even your eyes – to think that you could move the very heart of the Son of God by throwing yourself and all your costliest treasures into his treasure store ?

PRAYER

Hymn Let there be love shared among us

Let there be love shared among us

Let there be love in our eyes

May now Your love sweep this nation.

Cause us oh Lord to arise

Give us a fresh understanding

Of brotherly love that is real,

Let there be love shared among us,

Let there be love

Let there be hope shared among us

Let there be hope in our eyes

May now Your hope sweep this nation.

Cause us oh Lord to arise

Give us a fresh understanding

Of brotherly love that is real,

Let there be hope shared among us,

Let there be hope.

Let there be joy shared among us

Let there be joy in our eyes

May now Your joy sweep this nation.

Cause us oh Lord to arise

Give us a fresh understanding

Of brotherly love that is real,

Let there be joy shared among us,

Let there be joy.

Benediction

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