Redeemer Family, During holy week, our pastors and other leaders are sharing reflections about the week. What was Jesus doing each day? And how does this show more about who He is and what He accomplished for us in His death and resurrection? Follow along each day. - Pastor Kevin
Day 5: Thursday by Dale Googer
Matthew 26:17-29 17 On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
18 “Go into the city to a certain man,” he said, “and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time is near; I am celebrating the Passover at your place with my disciples.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 20 When evening came, he was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 While they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
22 Deeply distressed, each one began to say to him, “Surely not I, Lord?”
23 He replied, “The one who dipped his hand with me in the bowl—he will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.”
25 Judas, his betrayer, replied, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
“You have said it,” he told him.
26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is my blood of the covenant,[b] which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
How could we ever fully capture the emotion of Jesus’ last full day on earth before the cross? In this passage and the other gospel accounts supporting it we see some of the most vivid pictures of Jesus’ full authority and plan, both as God and man, in all the gospels.
Christ’s final act with his disciples, his friends, was to eat a holiday meal together in celebration of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. They found the house, under Jesus’ direction, they prepared the meal. He washed their feet in an unbelievable act of service that embarrassed Peter. Later, they sang a hymn together. They relaxed. In John’s account we can see that he is literally leaning against Jesus during the meal.
None of the disciples understood the full reality of what was going on, though it might be fair to guess that they had an ominous sense that they were on the verge of something big. Judas, who might have thought he actually had a handle on the situation, with silver weighing down his pockets, didn’t know that he was already a puppet being used by Satan. With the exception of John and Peter, the other disciples didn’t even know that Jesus had signaled Judas would betray him (John 13:28).
Later, following Judas’ information, the authorities that are going to come in the night to arrest Jesus have no idea what heavenly play is happening before them. They think their commanding officer is in charge. They can’t be blamed for not knowing that their prisoner is the one orchestrating all the events.
The remaining eleven disciples didn’t know exactly why Jesus so desired their prayers and company so much that night in the garden. Peter, who was willing to fight to the death in defense of Jesus, did not know that he had an army of angels at their posts already being told to stand down. He didn’t know that Jesus keeps a sword in his mouth if he needs it (Revelation 19:15).
The only human who knew what was happening on Thursday, who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, was Jesus Christ. He knew the symbolism that his death was about to infuse into the Passover meal (or rather, he knew that his death was about to bring about the true Passover, as sinners are saved by the blood of the innocent). He knew Satan’s plan, he knew about the kangaroo court he was to be subjected to, and he knew about his impending torture and crucifixion.
He knew that there had been a prophecy in which he must be wounded in his final act of salvation (Gen 3:15). He knew it because he was there when the promise was made, and as sin and death multiplied over the eons the preincarnate Word knew that it was only a matter of his perfect timing before he himself would enter the ring with death.
To do this, God had to take on a body of flesh and weakness. To become a fitting sacrifice for our pitiable estate, he had to take up residence in our slums. God had been betrayed by his people before, but in this night, they actually had to look him in the eyes while they did it. If he had not made it so explicitly clear why he was doing it, I think the reason could escape us:
“… whenJesus knewthat his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world,he loved them to the end.” John 13:1
Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in heaven has in store. He already knows, but it is for us to look forward and remember, as often as we can. I pray our communion cups, plastic and small though they are, will weigh more heavily in our hands this week.