Today, we continue in our Holy Week series as we explore the road to the cross.
Over the past couple of days, we have heard that the road to the cross has gone through Jerusalem (triumphant entry) and Bethany with the anointing of Jesus along with the beginnings of Judas’ betrayal.
The time had come for Passover, and the Lord wanted to spend it with His disciples, so he sent a few of them on ahead to secure a place for the meal.
Once again, we see Jesus guide the disciples to the person who will have the right location for such a time as this.
Matthew 26:18 says,
“As you go into the city,” he told them, ‘you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’”
One of the things I love about Matthew’s account is the unnamed hero’s and heroines of the stories. A man has a colt and a woman came with expensive perfume and ”a certain man” who happens to have a place for the disciples to prepare their meal.
The Lord used ordinary men and women to play pivotal roles in the redemptive story. This is not the first time we have seen ordinary men and women play leading roles in Israel's story.
A few examples come to mind:
- Joseph's story – sold by his brothers to traders where he ended up being the second most powerful man in Egypt and ultimately saved his family and the soon-to-be nation of Israel from extinction.
- Rahab, the prostitute, hid the spies when they explored the Promised Land.
- Ruth met a man named Boaz who would be her kinsman-redeemer (from this line came King David and Jesus)
Once the disciples prepared the meal, all of the disciples (including Judas) joined Jesus for the Passover meal. And then Jesus drops the bombshell,
“I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” (Matthew 26:21)
Can’t you imagine the scene, the disciples are eating and drinking and talking amongst themselves when Jesus says someone is going to betray him.
I imagine there might have been some choking on their food or spraying of liquid as they strained to comprehend what Jesus had just said.
The silence must have been deafening at that moment.
Once they regained their senses and wits, they asked Jesus if they were the one to betray Him.
I wonder what Judas thought at that moment. I’m surprised he didn’t choke to death right there at the table, but even he asked Jesus if he was the one to betray Jesus. From our passage yesterday, we know that Judas initiated the betrayal of Jesus, but I assume he did not want to come out and admit to his fellow disciples.
Jesus responds to Judas in Matthew 26:25,
“You have said it.”
If we step back a little bit, Jesus says in Matthew 26:24,
“For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
Judas must have felt like an elephant just sat on him? Jesus said it would have been far better for this person to have not been born. He was talking about Judas.
The second thoughts must have started creeping in, and as we will see in a few days' times, those thoughts got the best of him.
The Birth of Communion
In churches all across the globe, communion is standard practice. The Catholics provide communion at each mass, and the frequency of the practice is not as important as the symbology that it represents.
Communion is the practice of remembering what Jesus did for each one of us – the sacrifice He bore so you and I could live an eternal life with Him in His Kingdom.
Matthew 26:26 says,
“As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘Take this and eat it, for this is my body.’”
Jesus used the breaking of bread to symbolize His body's breaking that would be done for our sins.
Matthew continues in 26:27-28,
“And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, ‘Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.’”
In a few short days, known only to Jesus and His Father, His blood would be spilled out for our sins – past, present, and future.
He is the Great Redeemer who came as a living sacrifice for us so we would not need to die for our sins. He took our place so we could live.
As it is now known, Communion is a remembrance of what Jesus did for us so many years ago. When we take communion, we must do it with a repentant heart while asking God to reveal anything that stands between Him and us.
If there is anything between God and us, scripture says we are to take care of our business first (repent) and then take the elements so that we do not bring judgment upon ourselves.
The Lord takes this act of worship very seriously, and He sees it as a covenant between Him and us.
The next time you are at church, and the elements come by, ensure your heart is ready to receive them; otherwise, it’s okay to let them pass and take care of business between you and the Lord.
Jesus concludes by saying in Matthew 26:29,
“Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
Jesus is waiting for us and is ready to have communion with us when the time is right.
After the meal had concluded, they headed to the Mount of Olives, where we pick up Jesus’ journey to the cross tomorrow.
Lord, thank you for using ordinary people to be a part of your redemptive story. Thank you for showing us how we can remember You and Your sacrifice every time we take communion. Please continue to give us insights into your journey to the cross this week. Amen!
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