In Matthew 26, two houses are presented. The first house is extravagantly beautiful, but there is nothing within but satanically driven self-worship. Christ is not present. In the second house, there is a mixture of true and false worship, but it is the house in which Christ is present and honored. It is not extravagantly beautiful, it is not filled with notable individuals, but it is precious in the sight of Christ. Friends, in which house do you dwell?
Here is the account of Matthew:
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests. (Matthew 26:1-14)
In the first house, those who abhor Jesus Christ are found. The high priest, the chief priests, and the elders are plotting how they might take down the Son of God. They are not interested in bowing the knee to God’s only Son. They are not interested in loving the people they lead. They are not interested in justice. They are only interested in that which safeguards their power, prestige, positions, purse, and pleasure. It is an extravagantly beautiful place, but it is the place in which devilish wickedness dwells.
Friends, is this the house in which you dwell today? Are you interested in religion and Jesus as long as he acts like your magic genie in the bottle and does what you desire? Now that you see your duty to submit to his lordship, do you find yourself wishing to be rid of him as you pant to worship yourself? Friends, this is the house of the lost. This is the house of the damned. Please, open the door, flee the house, find the Son, kiss his hand, and find refuge in his sacred domicile. You are not safe in your palace. It may be delightful for the moment, but it will not end well for you. It is a house built on godless sand. Come to Christ and be saved!
In the second house, the home of a former leper, men and women are found worshiping the Son of God. Some are found serving in the kitchen. Some are found seated with him about the table. Others are found coming towards him with expensive gifts and overflowing affection. But there is a common theme amongst most in the house – Oh, how they love Jesus! Now friends, it is certainly not a perfect place. Within this house, many judgmental and errant disciples are found. They love Jesus; they love the poor; they think they know that which is best; they think they are guardians of Jesus’ worship, but they are wrong in many of their assessments, and in their error they wound their brothers and sisters. In addition, within this house, there are duplicitous, hypocritical, pretending disciples who love not the Savior. Oh, they are not outed, exposed, or known by the Lord’s men, but they are known by the Lord, and they will prove themselves in due time. And sadly, quite often the worst of worshipers go on without being troubled while precious souls are judged and found wanting by men in the church. It is a sad reality found in many ecclesiastical circles. However, despite the dysfunction in this house, it is still a precious place. This is the place of worship, and education, fellowship. This is the place where men and women seek to honor, glorify, and enjoy the Son of God. This is the house where Christ is present.
Friends, this is the church. It is a place of hypocrites; within her doors are both sheep and goats, lambs and wolves, wheat and tares, Peters and Judases. It is also the place of legalistic, judgmental brothers and sisters. They do not mean to make improper judgments; they desire to have the mind of Christ; but they are quite often so wrong in their judgments and assessments. However, this is the place where Jesus dwells, and where he allows imperfect worship to bring pleasure to him. Brothers and sisters, be found there often. Come and enjoy Jesus and the fellowship of the saints. Within these doors are former tax collectors, insubordinate zealots, salty fishermen, dirty lepers, errant legalists, and unchaste women. However, Jesus delights in receiving your worship. So dwell in his house and please him. And as you do so, strive to keep the peace and purity of the church. Give your brothers and sisters a break when they worship not according to your traditional or preconceived notions. The house of Christ is not a perfect place; paradise has not yet arrived, but it is a far better house than that palace occupied by those who care not for the Messiah. It is better to be a sinner in the house of Jesus, than a sinner in the house of Caiaphas.