The rising tide of opposition that I discussed yesterday continues in today’s reading as the hardhearted leaders decide that Jesus should die, callously respond to Judas’ remorse, hand Jesus over to Pilate (who recognizes their jealousy), and work the crowds up to choose Barabbas over Jesus for mercy. Then the soldiers beat Jesus before leading him away to be crucified.
Once more, Matthew calls on the Old Testament, in this case, Jeremiah (Matthew 27:9) to prove Jesus’ Messiahship – a passage that predicts Judas’ betrayal. Matthew refers to the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas to betray Jesus as “the price set on him by the people of Israel.” Is that all the people thought Jesus was worth?
Isn’t that stunning?
God betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. God picked to die instead of a criminal. God beaten and spat on.
For you. For me.
Now, that’s a Valentine.
I was in a mood today. Feeling Jesus hung up-y. Then I read the Matthew passage and knew once more that I can’t feel away the existence of a God who would die for me.
I want so to enter into that love more deeply, for it seem more deeply real. And to know in a bitty way what the Father and Jesus — as Wisdom — experienced here (from today’s reading in Proverbs):
The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.
When he established the heavens, I was there;
…when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the children of man.
Proverbs 8: 22, 271, 29b, 30-31 (ESV)
The Trinity rejoiced as they created together. They were daily each other’s delight.
I bet they celebrated Valentine’s every day.
And they delighted in us, too. In fact, Jesus prayed that we could enter that delight. Right before He went to the Cross to purchase our way back into a relationship with the Trinity, Jesus prayed:
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.… Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17: 20-21, 24 ESV)
Oh, Lord, help me to grasp like I never have how you delight in me, how I don’t deserve your eternal Valentine’s present yet you gave it anyway, and to really, really comprehend your love and return it like I never have. Amen.
P.S. And help me love others a whole lot more like you love me, too.
Readings: Exodus 39:1-40:38, Psalm 22: 19-21, Proverbs 8:22-31, Matthew 27:1-31. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.