Read Matthew 26:26-46.
We have three major scenes in this passage.
1. SORROW (VV. 26-38)
During the Passover meal, I picture the disciples enjoying this day like most Jews. They, no doubt, would have remembered God’s mighty works to rescue Israel. They also likely had a good laugh, maybe poking fun with one another. Jesus may have joined in. But inwardly, He was deeply grieved. It begins to surface in the giving of the bread and cup.
2. SOLITUDE (VV. 39-41)
In this moment of solitude, what was Jesus thinking? How did He visualize His situation. The word Gethsemane means “oil-press.” Certainly, He felt “pressed.” He had the weight of the world’s sin on Him, pressing down.
He was alone in this. Only He was called to be the Lamb of God. Only He had the power to atone for sin. He was alone in that His disciples were elsewhere, on mission from Him. But He was not alone spiritually. He suffered, but with His Father’s listening ear, and the ministry of the angels.
3. SUBMISSION (VV. 42-46)
In prayer, He submitted to the eternal and divine plan of redemption. In the flesh, He submitted to sinful men, who had no clue what they were about to do in the grand scheme of things, nor what they were going to be offered through His death.
Likewise, in the Lord’s Supper, we have sorrow, thinking of what our Lord went through. However, we also have joy, knowing we have been reconciled to God through death.
In the Lord’s Supper, we often reflect in solitude, with thankful hearts to the Lord. But we also partake in communion as the body of the Lord.
In the Lord’s Supper, we submit to the will and knowledge of the Lord, knowing that it is the sacrifice that truly sets us free.
Read Matthew 26:36-45.
It is sad to find the disciples sleeping multiple times. We give them a hard time, and perhaps they deserve it. However, they also deserve a bit more credit than they receive. Consider that for a week they have been following the very busy Master through Jerusalem during the days leading to Passover. If they were busy not listening to His teachings, they were likely answering private questions and defending Him.
Plus, in the past twenty four hours they would have heard these things (consider the effect this would have on anyone who has spent 3 years with the Master):
We often think that when they fell asleep in the garden, the did so out of apathy. Did they not care enough for the Lord and His situation?
And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
They had fallen asleep from sorrow. We get this image that they were distressed with Him. Jesus prayed in His distress. But the disciples cried themselves to sleep. Is that acceptable? In some situations, maybe, but their job was to watch and pray with Him.
They cared deeply for their Master. He had warned them what was coming.
Read Hebrews 2:17-18.
Jesus did not go straight to the cross at His birth. Instead, He spent over thirty years on the earth, facing the “daily grind.” Why? He had to become like us to redeem us, so much like us that He had to be tempted in all ways as we are.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Though He became like us in temptation, He is unique in this gigantic way: He never gave into temptation.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.
Through His suffering, He obeyed. He obeyed to the point of death. Doing so “perfected” Him, or as the Greek may indicate, it completed Him – all for our sakes.
As Jesus is the source of salvation to all who obey Him, let us obey Him now in this manner: He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”
Read John 1:1-18.
The death of Christ was no accident, so when God purchased the church “with His own blood” (Acts 20:28), He had counted the cost. He looked at you and me and proclaimed the price was worth it.
Read Matthew 26:57.
Take me to the scene of the crucifixion, and try to tell me that He doesn’t know what He is doing. It was His decision to create these men, plus Judas, Pilate, and the Roman soldiers, in His own image.
Read Matthew 26:58-68 and Matt 27:27-32.
Take me to this scene of mockery, and try to tell me that He doesn’t know what He is doing. It was His creativity from the beginning that told the seed to bear fruit and multiply. It was His word that held together the molecules of the bough that grew the thorns. He purposed the tree to grow that produced the wood for the cross. His plan from the beginning purposed the elements to bind together to create the nails.
Read Matthew 27:45-46.
Take me to the scene of redemption, and try to tell me that He doesn’t know what He is doing.
Read Psalm 22:16.
This Psalm was quoted by Christ and John the apostle during the time of the crucifixion (cf. Matt. 27:46 [v. 1]; John 19:24 [v. 18]).
Psalm 22:16 mentions the piercing of Jesus' hands.
These same hands:
These same hands:
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
One of the synagogue officials named Jairus *came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.”
Do we have this type of faith in the hands of Jesus?
The Lord calls us around His table. As we gather, He commands us, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:25). As I consider the great invitation to share in the blood and body of the Lord, I also share these thoughts with you. Perhaps, they will help you reflect.
Except where noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation