Thursday Morning, 24 Oct 2019 – Matthew 26:1-19 ~ The conspiracy unfolds.

Thursday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: Guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our lives we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 26:1-19 (NLT)

The Plot to Kill Jesus

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

At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.

The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”

But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.

The Last Supper

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”

“As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
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Morning Reflection:

The conspiracy unfolds.

At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest,
plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him.
– Matthew 26:3-4 –

In today’s reading, Matthew surrounds Jesus with a wide range of characters – each with their own relationship to Jesus, each with their own agenda. Most of them fade from memory, but two will be remembered forever.

  1. The woman who anointed Jesus – “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
  2. Judas who betrayed Jesus – “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.”

But there are several other interesting characters in the background –

  • Simon whom Jesus’ healed of leprosy welcomed Jesus into his home as a gesture of gratitude.
  • The disciples who chided the woman for wasting her resources instead of attending to the needs of the poor.
  • The religious leaders who rejected and secretly plotted against Jesus, careful not to incense the crowd.
  • The crowd, religious in form, but passive concerning Jesus.
  • The man who opened his home for Jesus and the disciples to celebrate the Passover.

Each one of these characters experienced Jesus differently and responded accordingly. but with very different consequences for them and those around them.

Questions for consideration:

  • With whom do you identify in today’s reading? Please explain.
  • Can you identify some of these characters in the contemporary world in which you live? Please explain.
  • Each of these characters respond to Jesus with varying degrees of enthusiasm, both positive and negative. How would you rate their levels of enthusiasm? Please explain.
  • How would you like to be remembered by future believers? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – A Covenant Prayer – John Wesley

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which
I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
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“Jesus At The Center” – Darlene Zschech

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Wednesday Morning: 23 Oct 2019 – Matthew 25:31-46 ~ The Separation

Wednesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Grace – Wednesday)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading –

The Final Judgment

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
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Morning Reflection:

The Separation

‘I tell you the truth,
when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,
you were doing it to me!’  – Matthew 25:40 –

At the Final Judgement, Jesus – enthroned in heaven – will separate the righteous from the wicked. The basis for His judgment will be reception or rejection of Him, as seen in people’s reception or rejection of His brothers and sisters.

Who are Jesus’ brothers and sisters? Certainly those who do God’s will – including the believing poor of the world. Are all the poor of the world Jesus’ brothers and sisters? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Questions for consideration:

  • When you consider the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned, who comes to mind? Please explain.
  • Do you think that Jesus’ brothers and sisters, in this context, include both believers and unbelievers? What are the implications for you? Please explain.
  • How have you cared for the poor included in Jesus’ description of His brothers and sisters? Do you view this as a burden or privilege? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:  You Offer Us the Kingdom – written by Christine Jerrett,

We name you gracious Master and our God, Great Redeemer and King.

You offer us the kingdom, Lord Jesus;
a realm where the hungry are fed, the thirsty are given something to drink; and the homeless are housed, You offer us a realm where those who are shivering are clothed, the sick are visited, those in prison hear good news.

We wonder how we are to receive such a gift:
Will you require of us more than what we are already doing?
Will you judge us for what we have done and what we have left undone? Will you leave us out of your community of salvation?

In your great love and mercy, move us beyond fear;
move us beyond guilt; move us beyond our anxious worry. Move us deeper into your surprising grace; Heal the blindness that does not see you when you come to us in distressing disguise. Set us free from serving lesser gods.

Most of all, form in us the mind of Christ, so that we see the world through your eyes, so that our hearts are broken by the things that break your heart, and so that we delight in the things that delight you, and you create in us courage enough not to duck.

We ask in your life-giving name.

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“When Its All Been Said and Done” – Robin Mark

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen