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Shameful Betrayal

Matthew 26:14-16 

The woman who broke a jar of perfume over Jesus' head showed that she valued Him more than the wealth locked up in the fragrance (Matthew 26:6-9). In a tragic juxtaposition of events in the next narrative, Judas Iscariot, the treasurer for Jesus and a thief (John 12:6), proved that he prized the value of money much more highly than his relationship with Jesus Christ.

All Planned

Matthew 26:17-19

Although we may like to think that we have got our life planned out, it hardly ever works out as we had wanted. But for Jesus, it was different. He was coming to the climax of His ministry when He would become the Passover Lamb to take away the sins of the world. Although He would be arrested and killed, He was still in charge of every detail. He was not a victim of human greed or jealousy, nor the loser of a power struggle – although all those were present – because He was able to use each sinful thought and action in order to achieve God's purpose.

The Betrayer Exposed

Matthew 26:20-25 

The Passover celebration was a family meal, and it was in that style that Jesus ate the Last Supper. Although the traditional formality of the Passover order of service focussed their minds on being grateful to God for His goodness, it was combined with informal domestic conversation. As they were relaxing, Jesus caught them by surprise and said that His betrayer was sitting at the table with Him. It was a shock. Each one of the twelve disciples, realising something of the unreliability of his own heart, asked Him if he was the culprit.

The Precious Body and Blood of Christ

Matthew 26:26-30

Central to the Passover celebration is the distribution of broken bread and the sharing of four symbolic cups of wine. It was a celebration of the first meal of roast lamb to fortify each family in preparation for their journey from Egypt; but it held the secret to their protection from God's wrath – the blood of the sacrificed lamb had been applied to the outer door frames (Exodus chapter 11 & 12). God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass-over you".

Unwilling To Accept The Truth

Matthew 26:31-35

Jesus and eleven disciples had left the Upper Room; the Passover meal was over. Judas Iscariot had gone to do his evil business, but more evil was waiting to tempt the disciples. Jesus knew what would happen but His men refused to accept the truth about their own weakness and His power. Quoting from Zechariah 13:7-8, Jesus predicted that none of the disciples would stay loyal to Him: they would all fall away.

Fellowship In Grief

Matthew 26:36-38 

It is difficult to think of God as being overwhelmed. Surely He is always above everything and in command of everything. Yes, He is. But God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, chose to make Himself nothing and submit to being overwhelmed by death (Philippians 2:6-8). It was His choice.

Watching And Praying

Matthew 26:39-41

Jesus had taken Peter, James and John into the Garden of Gethsemane that Passover night. The other disciples were left sitting at the gateway, but the three trainee apostles were witnesses to the agony which Jesus was going through. He also wanted them to be prayerful supporters lest Satan should gain the upper hand in the battle. As Jesus stepped further into the darkness, away from the light of flickering torches, His voice could be heard praying to His Father.

Submission Versus Sleeping

Matthew 26:42-46

Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane in the final hour before His arrest. Peter, James and John were close by and the other disciples were a little further away, probably at the gate to the garden. In Jesus' first prayer He asked, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Now the second time He prays, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

The Betrayer's Final Lie

Matthew 26:47-50

Jesus was not taken by surprise. In the darkness, He gathered His sleepy disciples around Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer" (Matthew 26:46). It was hardly an ambush: Jesus knew that Judas had already betrayed Him to the religious authorities and that they would know where to find Him.

The Arrogance Of Protecting Jesus

Matthew 26:51-54

The Creator of the world (John 1:1-3) had just been arrested, but it was in a place and at a time that was His own choice. God was in control; it was prophesied centuries before. But the disciples did not understand. Peter, who had declared his intention to die with Jesus if necessary (a foolish statement made more with bravado than true courage) had a sword; one of two that they took with them (Luke 22:38).