Summary: This is on the Lord’s Supper.
The action really kicks into gear now. The events move at an ever-increasing pace from this point. It’s a blur, a whirlwind. Chapter 26 starts with the religious elite plotting to kill Jesus. Jesus is then anointed. Judas agrees to hand Jesus over.
Read Matthew 26:17-29. The first thing we see is…
I. Preparing for SUPPER
The disciples were naturally curious about how and where they would celebrate the all-important feast of the Passover. Jesus gives them instructions similar to those when he was preparing for the triumphal entry.
Much had to be done to prepare. The food had to bought and cooked. The utensils and dinnerware had to be secured. The big preparation was the purging of leaven from the room. All in all, the preparations took about one whole day. This was bigger than the Fourth of July cookout.
II. Questioning at SUPPER
Jesus made a startling accusation during the course of the meal. One of YOU will betray me. The disciples were taken aback by this, as any of us would be. Jesus says that it was a friend. One who dipped from the same dish (shared a meal) was considered a close friend, and betrayal was the worst.
A. “Is it I, Lord?”
The disciples asked, “Is it I, Lord?” This question was asked in a way that they expected an answer of no. They had a grasp of their potential frailties.
B. “Is it I, Master?”
The traitor Judas had the nerve to ask as well. Notice he didn’t call Jesus “Lord,” he called him “Master,” which means “teacher.” He was well aware of what he had done.
C. Jesus knows the ANSWER
Jesus’ answer is “You have said it yourself.” Judas was testing Jesus. Jesus passed. He knew what Judas had been doing. Psalm 41:9 says, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.” Just because Judas’ betrayal was predicted in Scripture, does not mean he wasn’t responsible. We can’t use the excuse, “The devil made me do it.” Judas left at this time.
III. Eating and Drinking at SUPPER
What we think of as the Communion Meal, was not what went on in the Upper Room that night. They ate the Passover Meal as prescribed in the Book of Exodus. During the meal they had the conversation about the betrayer. At the end of the meal they came to the point that we consider so important.
A. Eating the BREAD
Jesus took the cake of unleavened bread. He says, “Take, eat; this is my body.” The bread represents the body of Christ. We break the bread like Jesus broke the bread. The bread is broken to symbolize Christ’s broken body. The broken body shows that Jesus’ death would be violent. It wouldn’t be a matter of him slipping out of consciousness to death. We can think of the violence, for which Mel Gibson was criticized for showing. There was the whipping with the cat of nine tails with shards of glass and metal. There was the crown of thorns pushed down on his head. The nails were driven into his hands and feet. It wasn’t sanitary. It was gruesome.
B. Drinking from the CUP
Jesus commanded his all disciples to drink of the cup. We are his disciples, and we are commanded to drink of the cup. The cup symbolizes the blood of Jesus that was spilled for us. Again, this indicates a violent death. It wasn’t a trickle, but a gush. The blood loss was incredible. That is one reason he died so quickly.
C. For FORGIVENESS of SINS
All of this was done so our sins could be forgiven. Jesus suffered in our place. We deserve death for our sin. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Everyone of us is a sinner. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Sin brings death, but God’s gift is eternal life. Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus died for us before we even thought about him. Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” All we need to do is confess. There are no hoops to jump through.
IV. Remembering the SACRIFICE
We take communion to remember what Jesus did for us.
A. The Agony of the GARDEN
Next week will look at this. The opening scene of The Passion of the Christ shows this well. Sweat like blood.
B. The TRIAL and Humiliation