Jesus was purposeful in preparing His disciples for His death. His time had come to be handed over to the enemy and pay the penalty for man’s sins. Jesus, who is sinless, chose to become sin so you and I can walk abundantly with Him in this world and into eternity, free from sin. Jesus’ last meal was taking place and He still had things He wanted to teach His followers.
In studying Matthew 26:17-30, there are many life applications for you and me today. One is the demonstration of God’s unconditional love; another is how intimate Jesus walks with us when we choose to follow Him. Then there is a warning. It is one that each of us can fall prey to if we do not watch ourselves.
We are just one choice away from separating ourselves from the presence of God, just one wrong choice.
The Passover meal was needing to be prepared. You can read about the Passover in Exodus 12, and the Festival of Unleavened Bread in Leviticus 23. Jesus gave the disciples directions in what to do in preparing for the meal. They followed Jesus’ words and found everything to be as He said, see verses 18-19.
You will find Jesus’ words to be faithful, true, and reliable. You can trust Him.
When they sat down to enjoy their meal together, Jesus gave them some startling news. One of them was going to betray Him. This caused the disciples to be stressed and each one questioned, “Am I the one, Lord?” It’s a question that we each need to ask often. It’s a question that if not addressed, your faith will go kapow!
To ignore the idea that you could betray Christ, look at what the Bible has to say: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Read 1 John 1:8-10. “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts.” Read Mark 7:20-23. “Now the works of the flesh are evident…I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Read Galatians 5:19-21.
You and I are one choice away from telling Christ no.
How does Jesus describe who the betrayer is and how awful betrayal is, see verses 23-24? Let the Holy Spirit speak to you as you study Christ’s words.
Judas. Did you know that his name means “he who is praised”? While on the outside it looks like he praised Jesus, inside he praised himself. He asked Jesus if he was the one. Notice how he referred to Jesus. He called him Rabbi, see verse 25. All the other disciples referred to Jesus as Lord. Judas called him a teacher, an earthly fellow like the disciples. He didn’t see Jesus as God.
Judas revealed the missing piece to walking with Christ. He liked keeping company with Jesus, but he never let Him into his own heart. He kept God at arm’s length. Close enough to reap some benefits but not enough to let Jesus change him. Judas was never a true believer. How about you?
Jesus confirmed his question, “You have said it.”25
Notice how Jesus remains abiding in the Father. He didn’t tell Judas to get away from Him. He continued on with His teachings as He was preparing them by explaining communion. Jesus was showing them a tangible way to remember His death and to understand how He was going to resurrect from the dead. They already had a precursor in understanding this with Lazarus, read John 11.
Communion is a tangible way to express your love to God for what He has done for you through His Son. Stop and consider each step made:
Step 1: Jesus took some bread, see verse 26, and He blessed it. For us, it is important to pray to God and give honor where it is due. You are alive right now because of God. It has nothing to do with how smart you are, or how hard you work, or anything you do. Your heart beats because God says it does.
Step 2: He broke the bread into pieces. Jesus was broken for you. You are to be broken for Him. Your flesh must be broken for you to see God. You must humble yourself at His feet and allow God to change you into the likeness of His Son. There is no other way than through a surrendering of your will.
Step 3: You are to take and eat the bread. You are to ingest Christ into your very being. When you confess your sins, the Holy Spirit enters into you, and you become a child of God, see John 1:12. From that moment forward, you align yourself with God’s Word and follow what God tells you to do and how to live.
Step 4: Jesus took some wine and gave thanks to God for it. Again, redo step 1.
Step 5: You must drink from the cup of wine for it represents His shed blood for your sins. What do you learn from verse 28 about His blood?
Jesus ends this intimate teaching letting the disciples know that He wouldn’t drink wine with them again until He is home in His Father’s Kingdom with His redeemed children. This is a day for you and me to look forward to.
Step 6: They sang a hymn. It is good to praise God. Worshiping God through music lifts your soul, reorientates your heart and clears your mind of anything that the enemy can use to dissuade you from getting too close to Jesus. Satan will use anything and everything to get you to choose poorly.
Here is something to ponder, how is listening to secular music detrimental to your faith?
Don’t be caught off guard. Keep your focus on Jesus and He will lead you home safely. His presence is the remedy, so your faith won’t go kapow!
Jude 20-24 says, “Dear friends, you must build each other in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. You must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault.”