Vs. 2, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Jesus points to Thursday evening at sundown where they will celebrate the Passover supper; this would also become known as the Lord’s Supper. However, at that same time the enemies were plotting ways to kill Jesus (vs. 3-5). Matthew also records the anointing of Jesus by Mary in Bethany (vs. 6-13). Bear in mind, Matthew does not place this chronologically for this happened the day before Jesus entered Jerusalem. I preached on this a few weeks ago and it is a wonderful reminder of the sacrificial love she gave Jesus. This nard (perfume) was the equivalent of about $60,000 in our present day (at least in LA county where I live). Sadly, Judas Iscariot goes to the chief priests (vs. 14-16) and unknowingly fulfills prophesied scripture (Zechariah 11:12). The thirty pieces of silver were about four months wages (a price of a slave) which would be the equivalent of $20,000. As the disciples gather for the Passover supper, Jesus informs that He not only will be betrayed, but that the betrayer is one of them (vs. 20-25). It is here that Jesus calls out Judas, but the disciples were probably confused with what was going on. The Gospel of John (John 13:30) further sheds light and tells us that Judas left the supper that night to go prepare for the arrest. Jesus than instructs the disciples that the bread would signify His body (vs. 26). You may recall the Passover was commemorated when God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. Every home that had the lamb’s blood on the door, the Spirit of God would Passover that house and not kill the newborns. Jesus was the Passover lamb (I Corinthians 5:7). The cup (vs. 27-29) would signify the blood of Christ that would bring redemption to all. Upon leaving the upper room, they travel over to Gethsemane a garden near the Mount of Olives to pray. Sadly, Jesus predicts that not only was Judas a betrayer, but all of the other disciples will fall away and scatter (vs. 31-35). Led by Peter protests, Jesus informs Peter he will deny Him three times. It’s important also to note the others stated they too would not scatter. The prayers at the Gethsemane (vs. 36-46) are incredibly intense as we get insight to the struggle Jesus was having. He knew what He was about to face and it was going to be excruciating. Being beaten and dying by crucifixion was intense, but nothing compared to bearing the sins of all and having the Father turn His face from His son. The enemies temptation was strong for Satan early had tried to offer Jesus an easy way out (Matthew 4:8-9). Judas now comes to the garden knowing the Jesus and the disciples would have been there. He brings an angry mob ready to arrest Jesus (vs. 47-56). Jesus accepts, Peter overreacts and all disciples scatter. Caiaphas, the High Priest, broke even the Jewish laws by assembling a disgraceful trial at night and in his own home. They even concoct bringing false witnesses to contrive lies. They charge Jesus was blasphemy (speak contemptuously about God) and proceed to seek Jesus’ death. It’s important to note that capital punishment was only delivered by the Romans (they gave the Jews some power, but not on this). Additionally, blasphemy to the Romans was a not a legit reason for death. And lastly, upon Peter witnessing the trial and seeing Jesus beaten, proceeds to deny he knows Jesus.
Regarding application…Overcoming Temptation. Vs. 41, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Question: Since our body is weak, how then do we overcome temptation? Watch and pray. For believers, certainly our spirit is willing to do the will of God. But our body/flesh lives by a different code. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of surrender and trust in the Father. We see His prayer to the Father if there was any other way, make it so, but if not…He was willing to go through with it. Isn’t it amazing that the solution is simply prayer? For in prayer, we surrender our will. Not my will but yours be done (vs. 39). We are one day before Easter and I’m so thankful for the resurrection and defeat of sin on the cross! Last night, we had so many souls turn to the Lord in trust to Jesus at our Good Friday service! Thank you Lord!