08 April 2014

BSF 2013-2014: Matthew 26:1-46

In our study, we have reached the evening before Jesus’ crucifixion. He still is teaching His disciples and preparing them for what is to come.

At the beginning of Matthew chapter 26, we see Jesus enjoying a meal at a home in Bethany. He was surrounded by a beloved family -- Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Mary breaks an alabaster jar of expensive perfume, pours it over Jesus’ feet and wipes His feet with her hair. Mary always was willing to listen to Jesus’ teachings. And this act shows that she understands Jesus was the Messiah and that He was leaving, though she may not understand the horrible death and suffering He was facing. Whether or not she knows it, Mary is preparing Jesus for His death and burial.

Mary gives Jesus the most valuable thing she has. She gives it all, and she gives it in an extravagant way. She is not ashamed of her sacrifice.

Judas responds to Mary’s sacrifice. Even after spending three years alongside the Messiah, Judas loves money more than Jesus. Judas complains that Mary has wasted her gift, which could be used to help the poor. Jesus commends Mary and tells Judas to leave her alone.

Now Judas is ready to betray Jesus. This event causes Judas to go to the religious leaders and plan for Jesus’ arrest.

Next Jesus leads the disciples in the Last Supper. At this meal, Jesus celebrates the Passover Feast with his followers. Passover first occurred in Egypt. The final plague on Pharaoh and the Egyptians was killing the firstborn in every family. But God protected the Israelites from this plague.

God told the Israelites to kill a perfect lamb for each family, to eat the meat of the lamb for strength on the upcoming journey and to use the lamb’s blood to paint over the doorposts of their homes. The angel of death passed over the Israelites’ homes.

Jesus fulfilled the true meaning of the Passover Feast. Jesus was the Perfect Lamb, killed to save each of us. We must eat the meat of His Word to get strength on the Christian journey. When God looks at us and sees that our sins are covered in Jesus’ blood, God’s eternal judgment passes over us.

We don’t celebrate Passover today. Instead, we use the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion to remind us of what Jesus did on the cross and to remind us that one day soon He will return to take us to Heaven.

After the Last Supper, Jesus predicts that all of the disciples will fall away on this night. Peter claims he will not fall away. Jesus then predicts that Peter will deny Him three times that very night.

Jesus takes His disciples to the Mount of Olives to pray. He leaves eight of them and goes a little farther with Peter, James and John. Then he leaves Peter, James and John and prays by Himself. He asks God if it’s possible for Him to remove the suffering and death Jesus is facing. Jesus made this request, but when He realizes that God’s answer is no, Jesus surrenders from His will to God’s will. Then He prays for comfort and strength to face His suffering and death.

Next week, we will see Judas betray Jesus who then endures several trials and sufferings.

Things to Think About
  • Any gift to Jesus is not wasted. Don’t be afraid to go overboard for Him.
  • Am I willing to give my most precious possession to God?
  • Mary and Judas both acted on what they believed. We also have a choice to believe the truths of God.
  • Am I willing to say, “Thy will be done” no matter the circumstances I am facing?

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