Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February 5, 2014 – Matthew 26 – Never Give Up

Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.

What Does this Passage Say?
  • It feels sort of like decision day. Jesus knows that the hour is closing in that He will be killed. Jesus has predicted His death before, but what a shocking statement this is when He includes the mode of death. All that Jesus has said these last few day has become the final nail in the coffin. There is now real activity in the planning of Jesus death.
  • For the past week Jesus has been staying in Bethany, a small town outside the city of Jerusalem. From other accounts we know He is staying with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. It is in this home that a woman pours out an expensive perfume all over Jesus. This woman does a beautiful thing, but the disciples, possibly lead by Judas, rebuke her … there might be a mix of motives here, maybe they have learned from Jesus and their hearts are really for the poor or maybe they are covering up evil intentions … i.e. Judas whose betrayal to the religious leaders is immediately shared. Jesus reminds them that His presence is only temporary and the time stamp is almost up.
  • On Thursday night Jesus sends the disciples ahead to prepare the Passover feast. He has arranged a room for this to happen and they go and secure it. During the traditional Passover meal, Jesus shares that one will betray Him and another will deny Him. He presents them both, and tells Judas to go do what he has set in his mind to do.
  • It is during this meal that Jesus establishes the Lord’s Supper, a meal Christians partake of each and every week. This meal reminds us that Jesus body was given up for our life. This meal reminds that it is the shed blood that saves man from sin. The elements of bread and fruit of the vine represent this sacrifice!
  • After the meal, Jesus and His disciples return to the Mount of Olives. Here on the Mount is a private garden named Gethsemane that Jesus probably has an open invitation to visit. More than likely from this spot Jesus can see all of Jerusalem, especially the Temple mount. The week has been long. The week has been exciting … remember how it began; people lining the streets, Jesus riding in on a donkey to the shouts of praise? Jesus has taught and strongly confronted the Pharisees. Whatever Jesus is getting ready for the anticipation must be at a boiling point. But along with this long week comes exhaustion. As Jesus heart feels overwhelmed and as He goes to pray, He asks His disciples to keep watch and to pray, but they are not able; they fall asleep.
  • Jesus returns to His disciples in between prayers, prayers where He asks God to take the cup of wrath that is coming, understanding that is not God’s will, and finds them asleep. While talking with them, the one, Judas, who has betrayed Jesus, arrives with a crowd of guards sent by the High Priest. Judas kissed Jesus signaling that He was the one, causing Jesus to be arrested.
  • It is here that Jesus is brought in for His first series of trails before the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees. They were the ruling body in the legislative branch of Judaism.  Here Jesus is presented His charge … blaspheme. It is during this first trial that Peter denies any relationship with Jesus to the crowds standing on the outside watching. 

What is this passage teaching?
  • Jesus has had a remarkable week. It is all coming to a crashing end. The last few hours of Jesus life is consumed with Jesus pouring into His disciples. All the way until the end He is teaching them and guiding them and building them up. 

How can I apply this passage to my life?

  • Do you have someone you are investing into? Do you get frustrated with their slow growth? Do you feel like they just don’t get it? Jesus had to feel that way from time to time. But He never gave up. Until the very end He was pouring into them; at Lazarus home, at the Last Supper, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and after Peter cuts the ear the servant. Do not give up. Find patience, Continuing pouring into and investing in those you love and care for. Who knows but God when the seed will begin to grow.
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