Day: November 10, 2018

35. Why do you trouble the woman?

Matthew 26:10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.

Read: Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8 


Setting: meal time at the home of Simon the leper

Jesus, the Twelve; Mary, Martha, Lazarus present; Simon the host (maybe a leper Jesus healed), perhaps other guests also

Judas speaks, probably after some undertone discussion and consensus among the other eleven

flask of spikenard (300 denarii value), anointed Jesus’ feet (John), emptied the flask over his head (Matthew & Mark)

Person(s) being questioned:

Judas particularly, all the disciples included

talking like good Democrats, redistribution of wealth (imagine what sister Martha was thinking!)

Question behind the question:

why are you criticizing her

why do you think she did it

what does her action signify

why should I (Jesus) not take your criticism personally

Expected response:

not any proper response to give

acted according to their “worldview”, did not comprehend how it was wrong

only thing they could / should do: listen and learn

Jesus’ point:

compassion for less fortunate should be common part of daily life

special circumstances justify special actions

if Mary heard Jesus statement v.2, she took him seriously, believed what he said and understood what it meant… on some level

significance of anointing can be understood several ways:

anointing with oil shows great respect for an honored guest

what Jesus said: in anticipation of his upcoming arrest, trial, conviction, death – preparing for burial (anointing might not be possible when the time for burial actually arrived)

something that would rightly be done to signify Jesus’ true identity as Messiah, God’s Anointed One

second of three specific actions (or interactions) designed to encourage Jesus and ready him for his death: his transfiguration (Luke 9:30-31; his anointing; his angelic visitor in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43)

Modern Application:

Mary’s wise discernment – given good options, choosing the better or best one given circumstances

recognizing when to be extravagant and not neglecting responsibility – includes preparing for extravagance

includes when it is the proper response to perceived need for encouragement

The Vision of the Cleansing of Joshua

Zechariah 3:1-10 

 This vision departs from pattern of first 3 – interpreter angel not in sight, no question asked by prophet so no answer given. Apparently God figured there was enough information in vision for Zechariah to accurately know message God intended to send. Holds true for subsequent readers… like us :-)  So… will do best we can to glean truths God has for us here.

Like rest of Zechariah’s message, vision one to encourage prophet and, through him, others. The one most in need of encouragement… the high priest on trial. Yet are lessons for us individually and corporately as we do our part to advance Christ’s kingdom.

A. Setting

courtroom scene

only barest minimum of details given, just enough to allow filling in blanks – at same time, open enough to have broad application

not told where scene takes place but reminds us of opening portion of Job, when sons of God… incl. Satan came before God

leads us to think spiritual realm including heaven not as far away as might think – a different dimension beyond our sense capability, not different part of universe

important when consider spiritual activities taking place then and now and their proximity to us

judge, prosecutor, defendant

scene opens with defendant standing in the dock, judge in his place, prosecuting attorney standing by ready to substantiate charges brought against defendant

no indication of observers in courtroom; were others present, by their actions were those whose task to carry out judge’s orders

could easily have been art imitating life: defendant carrying out duties in Temple, being challenged by Accuser, setting around changes to that of courtroom

B. Actors

Joshua, the high priest

identified Hag. 1:1 as “son of Jehozadak, the high priest”, one of the men listed (Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7) as returning to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel following Cyrus’ edict

the one chiefly responsible for overseeing spiritual well-being of people in/around Jerusalem – was this a “Luther” moment? something that happened in line of duty?

Angel of the Lord

somewhat mysterious figure seen numerous times in OT, not always totally clear just who he is – this time, not much question

notice what he says v.4 – “See, I have removed your iniquity from you” – only one who can remove iniquity from another, who can declare sins forgiven… Lord Jesus

was preincarnate Christ represented here in prophet’s vision with large role to play – that of Judge (Acts 17:31) and Advocate (1 John 2:1), both explicitly assigned to Christ in NT

Satan, the accuser

perhaps not a proper name here, has definite article “the” attached – “the adversary”, “the accuser” – know who he is, the devil

for this being, his name is accurately descriptive – also keep in mind Jesus’ description: “there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

his accusations intended to be destructive – small goal to destroy individuals, large goal to destroy Christ and his church

side note: Satan’s activity primarily directed to opposing advance of Christ’s kingdom, by no means limited to that – think about how he directly or indirectly influences unsaved: convincing they have no worth, no hope apart from self-destructive ways he falsely promises will deliver

C. Conflict


charges against Joshua not stated, can be inferred from the Lord’s response and opening statement – probably related to Joshua’s fitness for his office of high priest

specifics don’t really matter, accusations were generally true – Joshua just like everyone else… a sinner by nature and act

Satan the king of spin – select / present only the details that make his point, leave out the rest – talk about what was true, leave out what is true

frequently asks leading questions that lead to despair, not hope: “remember this that you said/thought/did? how can you pretend to worship God in public since you’re guilty of that? If you can’t worship sincerely, how can you lead others sincerely? How could God ever forgive you for that plus that plus that….?”


case effectively thrown out of court – no legal arguments allowed, no attempt allowed to persuade Judge beyond initial charges

defendant declared as one rescued from destruction, iniquity has been removed, charges if valid at one point no longer apply

final decision: Joshua declared not guilty, fully pardoned, restored to his place of service – was a just outcome because of what Advocate did… he took Joshua’s iniquity, gave him righteous not available anywhere else

D. Resolution

changed clothes

played out differently from our judicial system – judge did not tell defendant to go change his clothes, then come back to court

Judge ordered dirty clothes taken away, new ones given, Joshua just stood there accepting / receiving gracious gift from Judge

dirty clothes would have kept Joshua out of Temple, unable to serve – with clean robe and turban, truly fit for priestly duties

and… with clean clothes and what they signified, Satan no longer had basis for accusation – the Judge declared “not guilty” (Rom. 8:33)

changed character

God especially would not put rich robes on a pretender, someone who truly was not as he seemed – changed outward appearance reflected inward change also

meant Angel’s admonishment not empty words, setting up standard/goal Joshua could not achieve – with God’s help he could do it

yet another reminder that one who will be of greatest service to God and accomplish God’s purpose must walk in God’s ways

God admonishing Joshua, highest spiritual leader at that time – principle applies to all God’s people involved in every aspect of church ministry

confirmed future

applied to both present and future (v.7), Joshua and Jerusalem (v.2) – immediate an encouragement to Joshua and contemporaries, broader application an encouragement to all God’s people

if Joshua lived and served according to God’s expectations, God would ensure his ongoing active ministry leadership

and… Joshua would have access to God’s presence and all resources he needed to carry out his spiritual ministry duties

meant he could expect God to continue protecting / defending him from the accuser throughout rest of his ministry

back to v.2, reference to both Joshua’s circumstances and Jerusalem

that along with references to Joshua’s ministry make strong point about Jerusalem and the Temple – city and church both had a future… guaranteed by God

temple would be completed, worship fully instituted there; defensive wall around city would be completed, would continue to be inhabited city where God was worshiped

Visions supplied by God to prophet addressed variety of issues and needs. Several address the problem of temporal enemies of God’s people and program. This fourth vision of the eight make it plain not all our enemies are ones that attack and try to hinder from outside. This one works (or tries to) on the inside… and in different realm/dimension. Spiritual enemies are powerful, effective, dangerous, able to do far more damage to both church and family than other forces.

The solution not to circle the wagons, go underground somehow, think that we can somehow tough it through. We must do as Paul exhorted – Eph. 6:14-18 

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints;”