Taking part in what God is doing

Matthew 26

Jerry A Collins




v                 Do we celebrate the Passover       when we have communion?

v                 Are any of us capable of       denying Jesus?

v                 Should we be afraid to die as        believers?


Investigating a crime involves the discovery of what led up to the crime. Was it an argument, revenge, random, accident—like the shooting death of the young man a year ago in GR who was not the target of the killers? Determining the outcome of a game can often be calculated by a turnaround play that changed momentum and led up to the victory—like Michigan’s interception of Wisconsin and score after just scoring on the previous play. America is in a financial crisis because of the lead up to it by the policies of financial firms and our government for years. Most often things just do not happen but they are led off by moments that change the momentum or move events along a path to the ultimate conclusion. So, too, there were certain things that led up to Jesus crucifixion. Certain momentum changers that culminated in the death of Jesus Christ. Matthew reviews some of those in Chp 26.


Vs 1 is the last time Matthew mentions Jesus had finished His teaching. This endS the series of events and discourses of Jesus. Not abruptly Jesus brings the disciples back to the reality of his death. It would occur in two days. From God’s perspective vs 2, it was divinely appointed. On several previous occasions there were plots to kill Jesus—Herod, Hometown people at cliff, and Jesus even known as the man they are seeking to kill Jn 7:25. All of these attempts failed because it was not God’s timetable or way. Passover was the appropriate time—a time when sacrifice was on everybody’s mind. Jesus would die right on time. It would be by crucifixion because it conveyed a criminal’s death—on one hand the people thought he was but on other hand God said He was as the bearer of our sin—he who knew no sin became sin for us.


This gathering had one purpose—to

finally determine how to seize this Jesus by stealth and kill him. They knew Jesus was popular so they had to calculate their plan to kill him without antagonizing the masses of people they sought to control. It would not be during the festival or out in the open. This prepared the way for a traitor to step forward. God will use their hatred and their fear to accomplish His plan. So behind the scenes is the hatred and envy of Jesus’ enemies to destroy Him. We already know what Jesus thinks about this, And do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell Matt 10:28.


Now in Bethany Jesus is in the home of Simon the Leper. John tell us in Jn 12:3 that this woman unidentified by Matthew is Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Mary seizes the opportunity vs 7 to display her devotion pouring costly perfume on Him. What she did had no practical value for people. Notice that it was done to Christ not for Christ. In other words, this is an act of devotion and worship, gratitude and sacrifice. So my giving should be humbly, as to Christ, with the hope of participating with Christ in what He is doing. Not something done for Christ in addition to what He is doing. He is going to die and this act Jesus said she did to prepare Him for his burial vs 12. So she did it to Him not for Him and she took part in what He was doing. In contrast the plotters motive was to stop Jesus—Mary’s was to participate with Jesus. Jesus says she will always be remembered for this vs 13.


Events are not spiraling out of control at all even though it may seem that way at first glance. Instead everything is leading up to Jesus death. Judas is a major piece in this lead up. In contrast to Mary’s devotion is Judas betrayal. Jesus has already sold Jesus out vs 14-16. Committed to this treachery he is looking for an opportune moment and he will soon find it away from the crowds and in the Garden of Gethsemane. The plot gains momentum as Jesus and the disciples get alone in the upper room vs 17-19. Further away from the crowds the plotters are getting just what they had hoped for. Don’t think that as long as you hang around Jesus, the Bible, church, you can  have  a  relationship  with God. It was during this Passover meal—an intimate setting—where Jesus had washed the disciples feet, it was here that the betrayal’s final step took place. It was not from a setting of anger, revenge, hatred but friendship and  intimacy making this deed even more dastardly.


During this meal vs 26-35, Jesus emphasizes His body by the bread and His blood by the cup. Catholics take this literally and during communion the bread and wine are converted in to the actual body and blood of Christ. Lutherans say it is present or alongside the bread and wine. Jesus meant the same about the bread and wine as when he said ‘I am the vine’ or ‘I am the door’. In context they are symbols and here a memorial of his death for every generation. His blood is for forgiveness of sins vs 28. They sang a hymn vs 30—imagine Jesus and disciples singing—singing becomes regular pattern for early church. Then surprisingly Jesus says disciples will fall away vs 31-32. Peter and the disciples deny this will happen vs 33, 35. Never say ‘never to your sin nature. You are capable of denying Christ at any time.


Jesus gets away with only a few to come face to face with the reality of His death. He is grieved to the point of death vs 38 and prays alone to remove the cup He is about to drink. That cup is the cup of God’s wrath against sin—Jesus completely innocent will face the full brunt of that wrath until not one drop is left in that cup. Jesus is willing to do this vs 42 because there is just no way around it. God’s holiness demands judgment of sin and Jesus will become that sacrifice. There is not turning back on this and so another piece is in place to the lead up to Christ’s death. He prays alone—they are sleeping. He dies alone—they will desert Him. He waits alone—His Father is silent.


Seizure 47-47 There is no way out now. Judas betrayal fulfills scripture vs 54, 56. The disciples desert Jesus and he is left alone 56-57. Everyone and everything is being accomplished in their own scriptures.

Conspiracy 58-67 They could not find false testimony against Christ vs 59. They did find accurate testimony later vs 61. Inducing self-incrimination, Jesus testifies He is the Son of God and one day they will see Him glorified when He returns vs 64. This testimony condemns Jesus as a blasphemer deserving of death 65-67. As we mature, God will conform us to the image of Christ and that includes His suffering and His grief. For each of us that will be different—we even die differently but for most it will be a suffering situation of some kind. We to take up our cross and follow.

Denial 69-75 Peter denies 3 times 69, 71, 73. Judas felt remorse but Peter eventually repented. That is the difference between being sorry and confession. Confession agrees with God about the sin and then changes direction—Peter was certainly a different man in the Acts.

1. God is at work in your life right now meeting your needs as He was with Jesus.

2. All things lead up to working out His plan