Matthew 26:14 - 27:66

Illustrated New Resources

  • Passion Sunday (A)(2020)

    by Katie Hines-Shah
    The recent film Just Mercy, based on the book of the same name, tells the story of Walter McMillan, an innocent man nearly sent to death, and the lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, who fought for his release. Last January Bryan Alexander interviewed Stevenson for USA Today. When Stevenson first began representing wrongly convicted men in Mississippi, people would tell him he ought to visit the To Kill a Mockingbird museum. Stevenson told Alexander, “I had the same response every time: ‘I’d love to, but I’m really busy freeing an innocent black man who has been wrongly convicted of a crime and facing execution’ . . . the disconnect between romanticizing that story and indifference to injustice in a real wrongful conviction, that very much parallels my story.”...
  • The Suffering of Jesus and Others

    by Katie Hines-Shah
    Matthew writes about Jesus’ unjust conviction, torture, humiliation, and crucifixion. While the back and forth of the trial takes up the majority of the assigned reading, many Christians will focus on the more physical parts of the story. Matthew’s writing is terse. The torture of Jesus takes place in a subclause: “after flogging him.” His execution is more a description of time than of action: “and when they had crucified him..” This hasn’t stopped some from imagining grimmer details. I have read descriptions of the process of flogging that will turn your stomach. I have heard pastors debate the location of nails on a crucified body. There are long chapters in books about blood and gore, suffering and pain. Mel Gibson’s controversial film The Passion of the Christ focused on the torture and crucifixion of Jesus to the exclusion of other elements of the story. David Edelstein called it a “two hour snuff-movie.” Roger Ebert wrote that it was “the most violent movie I have ever seen,” yet, as a former altar boy, he thought the film aptly portrayed “the central event in Christian tradition.” There are plenty of Christians that agree with him...
  • Sermon Starters (Passion Sunday)(A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    She didn’t know what else to say. As a mother, she had always steered well clear of religious clap-trap, even priding herself on not force-feeding her children to believe in anything when it came to spiritual matters. But then a beloved neighbor died. He had been a kindly old man whom this woman’s children had adopted as a kind of local grandpa. But now he was dead, and the woman’s young son was very upset. The little boy wanted to know why this had to happen. So his mother reached for some naturalistic rhetoric. “It’s just the way of the world, honey. It’s part of the natural cycle of all things, and so our friend has now returned to the earth. And next spring, when you see the daffodils and tulips coming up, you can know that your friend is helping to fertilize them.” The little boy did not hesitate. He shrieked, “But I don’t want him to be fertilizer!” In relating that story, author Peter Kreeft notes that indeed, even the non-religious in this world have a deep-down sense that humanity is meant to be more than fertilizer. Death is a natural part of the world, yet internally we rebel.
  • The Cross as Revealing the Inner Life of God

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    There’s a particularly poignant line in the account of Jesus’ death which says that, when he died, “the veil in the sanctuary was torn from top to bottom.” I remember, as a boy, hearing that read in church, picturing it literally, and thinking: “Now they’ll know what a terrible thing they’ve done!” But that line doesn’t refer to some ominous, dark sign at the moment of the crucifixion, meant to stun the world and prove it made a gross mistake. It refers to something else, not dark and fateful at all. The sanctuary veil was the curtain that hung between the ordinary people and the holy of holies—the most sacred of all places—and prevented them from seeing what was behind. What the gospel-writers are saying is that, at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil that sits between us and the inner life of God was ripped open so that we can now see what God looks like inside. The cross, then, is the ultimate icon, the real depiction of the Holy. It shows us God’s heart, the inner life of the Trinity...
  • Costly Love of The Passion

    by Alex Thomas
    A few years ago there was a book by Margaret Craven called I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME. It was a heartwarming novel about a young priest who went into the Native mission of Kingcome up the coast of B.C.. The people looked at him with suspicion and didn’t really accept him at first. They always talked about building a new rectory but never did. But as time went on he became totally involved with their lives. He faced sickness with them. He faced tragedy with them. He faced death with them. He entered into their sadness. Eventually a group of people came to say that they were ready to build the rectory. The priest wrote the Bishop about this turn of events, and the Bishop wrote back, “You suffered with them, and now you are theirs, and nothing will ever be the same again.”...
  • A Crucified God

    by Debie Thomas
    Some years ago, when my daughter was in middle school, she became anorexic. During the worst of her illness, she had to be hospitalized for both her physical and mental health. On the morning of her admission, after the doctors explained that I would not be able to see my depressed, malnourished child for several days, I walked out of the hospital, got into my car, and started driving without aim or purpose. I ended up in the parking lot of a Catholic gift shop I’d never seen before. Shaking, I walked in and wandered the aisles until a woman with a kind face approached me. “Can I help you find anything?” she asked. I burst into tears and said nothing. She gave me a hug and said, “Wait here.” After disappearing for a minute, she returned with a small, velvet box. Inside it was a tiny silver crucifix on a chain. Pressing the necklace into my hands, she said, “Hold this. Keep it with you. Only a suffering God can help.” I’ve never forgotten the line (which I later learned was Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s), and I’ve been thinking about it pretty much nonstop since the coronavirus pandemic began. Only a suffering God can help...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

  • Illustration on Death

    from the Archives
  • Sacrifice

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Passion Sunday

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Many years ago, when Dr. Helen Roseveare was running a medical mission in Zaire, she was kidnapped by a team of guerilla soldiers. They beat and raped her, and locked her in a dirty cell. In despair, Dr. Roseveare considered giving up her ministry. She chose to turn the situation over to God instead..." and several other illustrations - recommended!!)
  • Under His Wings

    by Sil Galvan
    An article in National Geographic several years ago described the following scene. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.
  • Passion Sunday (A)

    by Bill Loader
  • The Humiliation of Crucifixion

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("In the crucifixion, Jesus was humiliated, shamed, brutalized. That pain stretched his heart to a great depth. But that new space did not fill in with bitterness and anger. It filled in instead with a depth of empathy and forgiveness that we have yet to fully understand...")
  • Exegetical Notes (Matthew 26:1-27:66)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (always excellent exegesis with numerous quotes from commentaries)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Palm Sunday)(ABC)

    by Various Authors
    ("Some years ago a book was written by Gene Smith, a noted American historian. The title was When The Cheering Stopped. It was the story of President Woodrow Wilson and the events leading up to and following WWI. When that war was over Wilson was an international hero. There was a great spirit of optimism abroad, and people actually believed that the last war had been fought..." and many more)

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2019

  • Thy Will Be Done

    by Phil Bloom
    Perhaps you have heard about King Henry of Bavaria. Being a man of deep piety, the intrigues of court life made him weary. Henry decided that he wanted to spend his final years in a monastery. He approached Prior Richard with the request. Fr. Richard explained the strict rules of prayer and work. King Henry listened eagerly and said he would gladly accept that discipline. The prior told the king he would have to pledge unquestioning obedience to the superior. King Henry said, yes, he knew how authority worked and he would obey the superior without question. "Then," said Prior Richard, "Go back to your throne and do your duty in the station God assigned you." The monk's words shocked the king, but he obeyed and became one of the fairest rulers in Europe. After his death, the people called for his canonization. The King who learned obedience to the Father's will is now known as St. Henry of Bavaria.
  • God Is Guilty?

    by Jim Chern
    One special a few years ago that caught my attention was simply titled "who really killed Jesus?" You think that would be a pretty cut and dry question to answer - how would they milk a few hours out of it? But they explored different aspects of the passion narratives from the Gospels, including this one from Matthew we just proclaimed and look at the list of possible defendants...
  • Everyday Crosses

    by Delmer Chilton
    At a pastors conference a few years ago, I heard Presbyterian preacher Lloyd John Ogilvie tell about a time he was in a jewelry store buying a watch battery. While he was there, a young woman came in and asked to see some crosses. The clerk took her to a display case and proceeded to show her a selection of expensive crosses. Most of them were large, fashion accessory crosses. The young woman said, “Oh, I don’t want anything like that. I want an everyday cross.” When I heard those words, I began to wonder, “Does she, do I, do any of us, really want to carry a cross every day?”
  • What Does the 'Blood Curse' of Matthew's Passion Teach Chrisitans?

    by Terrance Klein
    In his “Passion of Saint Matthew” Johann Sebastian Bach follows up the blood curse with a magisterial alto aria, “Können Tränen meiner Wangen.” If the tears upon my cheeks can Nought accomplish, Oh, then take my heart away! But then let amidst the streaming Of the wounds abundant bleeding Be the sacrificial cup! Bach implicates us all. We hate Christ; we fail to pity him. Yet, how can we not be softened by the sight of his suffering? How can it not move our souls? It does move us, surely, but is it enough? On our part, no. On the part of Christ, yes.
  • The Passion of Jesus

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    The renowned spiritual writer Henri Nouwen, shares how he once went to a hospital to visit a man dying of cancer. The man was still relatively young and had been a very hardworking and generative person. He was the father of a family and provided well for them. He was the chief executive officer in a large company and took good care of both the company and his employees. Moreover he was involved in many other organizations, including his church, and, because of his leadership abilities, was often the one in charge. But now, this once-so-active man, this person who was so used to being in control of things, was lying on a hospital bed, dying, unable to take care of even his most basic needs. As Nouwen approached the bed, the man took his hand. It’s significant to note the particular frustration he expressed: “Father, you have to help me! I’m dying, and I am trying to make peace with that, but there is something else too: You know me, I have always been in charge—I took care of my family. I took care of the company. I took care of the church. I took care of things! Now I am lying here, on this bed and I can’t even take care of myself. I can’t even go to the bathroom! Dying is one thing, but this is another! I’m helpless! I can’t do anything anymore!”

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2016

  • Hope for Youth Without Hope

    by Jocelyn Breeland
    ("At W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, VA, six students have committed suicide in the last three years. Students there, along with school officials, parents and others from the community, have gathered together in recent weeks to grieve, to raise awareness, and to learn about resources to prevent suicides. The CDC reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24...")
  • The Passion Hurts

    by MaryAnn McKibben Dana
    Sarah Vowell has a piece called "Shooting Dad," featured some years ago on This American Life. It's about her father, who builds cannons and other armaments as a hobby. Sarah is a pacifist and has a hard time understanding her father's gun-loving avocation, and the essay is about how the two work through that. Near the end, Sarah reveals that her father, after he dies, wants his ashes to be blasted out of the cannon into the Montana wilderness he loves.
  • Judas, Today's Guest Speaker

    Narrative Sermon by Vince Gerhardy
  • Why Do You Love Me Even When I Hurt You?

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("The owner of a beautiful hunting lodge in Scotland invited some of his friends to spend the weekend there. In their revelling and partying, one of the guests opened a bottle of champagne and it shot out onto a wall. It left an ugly stain. The owner was very disturbed, very angry, and he let his guests know it. When the weekend was over, they all started home, except for one of the guests who stayed behind. He kept staring at that stain on the wall and he took some charcoal and started sketching around that stain...")
  • Palm/Passion Sunday

    by Scott Hoezee
    She didn't know what else to say. As a mother, she had always steered well clear of religious clap-trap, even priding herself on not force-feeding her children to believe in anything when it came to spiritual matters. But then a beloved neighbor died. He had been a kindly old man whom this woman's children had adopted as a kind of local grandpa...
  • Palm/Passion Sunday

    by Paul Larsen
    ("German theologian Martin Niemoller spoke to the US Congress after the Second World War and said, 'When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned...")
  • Hope for the Hopeless in the Potter's Field

    by Dr. Jeffrey K. London
    Presbyterian author Frederick Buechner ends his character sketch of Judas by conjuring up an image bigger than any we may have ever dared to dream. Now mind you, it’s just an image — but Buechner dares to imagine a dark place where two old friends, both of them a little worse for the wear, meet. And after all that has happened it is now Jesus who gives the kiss, and this time it is not the kiss of death.
  • The Walking Dead and the Waking Saints

    by Ragan Sutterfield
    ("In a New York Times op-ed, 'A Zombie is a Slave Forever', Amy Wilentz offered a sobering history of the idea of the zombie. She traced its roots to Haiti where the lives of slaves were so miserable that suicide seemed the only way out. The plantation owners borrowed concepts from African religion to create the idea of the zombie, a being that is neither dead nor alive and lives as a slave forever. If a slave were to commit suicide the threat was that they would be raised as a zombie—even death was no escape...")
  • Gethsemane

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    This short verse of a an anonymous poem illustrates the point very well: "I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day,/I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray.
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Redemption

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • One Question, Many Answers

    by Tom Cox
    ("75 years ago, a man names Asibi, a West African native, was stricken with the deadly disease, yellow fever. Somehow Asibi lived. It seemed that his body had developed the antibodies from which to begin a successful vaccine. Today's efficient vaccination against yellow fever that has saved countless lives, can be traced back to one original blood sample, that of Asibi...")
  • Passion Sunday (C)(1998)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once there was a woman stock broker who presided over a very successful mutal fund. It was a highly speculative fund and identified as such. It made, as the teens would say, tons of money, gaining twice as much as the Dow during its first year. The woman was a hero to everyone but rivals in her own company...")
  • Passion Sunday (B)(1997)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time two young people were planning a summer trip to Europe (we will leave gender out of it lest we be accused of stereotyping). For months they talked about almost nothing else. The read all the books, they studied all the maps, they bought the right clothes and the right luggage so they could travel light...")
  • Passion Sunday (B)(1997)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time two young people were planning a summer trip to Europe (we will leave gender out of it lest we be accused of stereotyping). For months they talked about almost nothing else. The read all the books, they studied all the maps, they bought the right clothes and the right luggage so they could travel light...")
  • Passion

    by Edward Markquart
    ("I need to tell you a story that gets at this wonderful but bewildering truth. It is a famous story, made into a movie, and it is entitled The Bridge Over the River Kwai. You may have seen the movie, starring Alec Guinness. There is one scene from this book that I particularly remember. It is the story of some English prisoners of war who are now in prison camp in Thailand...")
  • You Can't Kill the King

    by Edward Markquart
    ("Some of you who are older and were raised on television back in the good old days, in the 1950s, may remember that TV program called Queen for a Day, starring Jack Bailey. Back in the old days, I used to watch Queen for a Day on our black and white television set...")
  • Passion Sunday (A)(2002)

    by William Morley
    With all that's going on today with governmental regulations and increased security, a writer noted recently, Jesus would be a wanted man. Yes, if Jesus had entered into one of our modern cities leading the "Palm Sunday" parade today, He would have been arrested immediately. The FDA would want him for turning water into wine without a license; the EPA for killing fig trees; the AMA for practicing medicine without a license; the Dept of Health for asking people to open graves, for raising the dead and for feeding five thousand people in the wilderness without a food permit; the NEA for teaching without a certificate; OSHA for walking on water without a life jacket; the SPCA for driving hogs into the sea; the National Board of Psychiatrists for giving advice on how to live a guilt free life; the National Organization of Women for not choosing a female disciple; the Abortion Rights League for saying whoever harms children, it is better that they had never been born; the Interfaith Movement for condemning all other religions; and the Zoning Dept for building mansions without a permit...
  • Judas

    by Stephen Portner
    ("I invite you to take an imaginative journey with me -- into the possible thoughts of a man named Judas Iscariot: 'Let's see. What can I get away with today? Doing things in secret seems -- well -- so compelling somehow...")
  • The Man for Others

    by Joshua Schneider
    ("Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew this truth well. He said: 'The truthfulness Jesus demands of his disciples is self-denial that does not conceal sin… Precisely because truthfulness is concerned first and last with uncovering human beings in the entirety of their being...")
  • The Battleground

    by Alex Thomas
    ("I remember years ago in early seventies singing the song Sit Down Young Stranger during the service on Passion Sunday. It had be written by Gordon Lightfoot around 1967 and I believe it was trying to deal with our way of life and a search for what is real and authentic in our world...")
  • The Last Supper

    Narrative Sermon by Pam Tinnin
  • The Insecurity of Men

    by Samuel Zumwalt
    ("That's the irony of our text tonight. The insecurity of men led to the crucifixion of Jesus in the first place. Now the insecurity of men leads them to demand a security detail to be placed at Jesus' tomb - presumably to keep Jesus where they thought He belonged - dead!...")

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

Other Resources from 2005 to 2007

Other Resources from the Archives

Resources from the Bookstore

  • Judas

    by William Barclay, from the Daily Study Bible

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable