READ : Matthew 26
Consider the events which take place the night before the crucifixion:
- The Celebration of the Passover, a symbol of belonging to God’s people, and rejoicing that God had set his people free from the bondage of Egypt.
- The Inauguration of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus uses some of the elements of the Passover to provide a new symbol of belonging to God’s people, a symbol which reminds us of being set free from the bondage of sin through the atoning death of Christ.
- The prayer in the garden. Jesus realizes the horror of the cross which he will soon endure. Being truly human, he prays earnestly that some other way be found to save God’s people, but he concludes in complete surrender: “Not as I will, but as you will” (v. 39 ESV). May we also be completely surrendered to God’s plan for our lives.
- The betrayal by Judas, who sees that Jesus is not the kind of Messiah he wants. He feels he has wasted the years in following Jesus and decides to get something out of it, 30 pieces of silver. How sad for Judas. How painful for Jesus. Be careful not to betray him.
- The denial of Peter. Peter had been so sure of his own allegiance, but when the pressure is on, he caves in. Yet how different from Judas; when he realizes he has done wrong, he weeps bitterly. Let us not deny our Lord; but if we do, let us weep bitterly in repentance and faith with hope. He forgave Peter. Will he not forgive you, too?
Father, how grateful we are that our Lord was willing to die for us. Help us to be faithful to him. Amen.