Today has SO much for us! We are going to read through the rest of Matthew, 26:17-75, but before we get into that, I think it’s important we read John 13:1-17 for the account of where Jesus washes the disciples feet before the Last Supper.
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
What stands out to you about this passage?
I mean this passage, this is Jesus. Our application tells us that “washing guests’ feet was a job for a household servant to carry out when guests arrived. But Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist, as the lowliest slave would do , and washed and dried his disciples’ feet. If even he, God in the flesh, is willing to serve, we his followers must also be servants, willing to serve in any way that glorifies God.”
After reading this, list out 3 words you would use to describe Jesus in this moment.
What is a way or someone you could serve today?
In his final full day, he teaches the disciples to live to love and serve one another. How does that impact your life?
What happens next is in our reading from Matthew. There is a lot happening here, so we are going to take it section by section.
The Last Supper
20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”
23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 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.”
30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Who in this passage does scripture specifically call out denying betrayal, straight to Jesus’ face?
Judas, even though at this point he had already betrayed him by agreeing to turn him in and accepted the bribe. Describe Judas in two words here.
Jesus knew everything that was about to happen, he took his last moments to teach. What act of worship do you see happen in this passage?
Jesus gives us the first communion (verse 26-28.). An act that holds so much significance to us as believers. We take his body and his the blood he shed for our sins in this act. In verse 26 and 27, what do you notice him doing BEFORE offering the elements?
He gives THANKS! He knew his body and blood were about to be sacrificed for you and for me, the pain he was about to endure, but he thanked God and he showed his disciples not only a way to remember and honor him and his sacrifice, but also to serve as a reminder to follow in his footsteps and in doing so to be thankful.
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
What words does Peter speak in verse 33?
How many times does Jesus say Peter will disown him? And by when?
Jesus knows every detail of what is about to happen, Peter does not, so of course he doesn’t want to think he would ever do this, it is easy for him to say, when there is no pressure, let’s see what happens when the pressure hits! Our application touches on this, “Talk is cheap. It is easy to say we are devoted to Christ, but our claims are meaningful ONLY when they are tested in the crucible of persecution. How strong is your faith? Is it strong enough to stand up under intense trial?”
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
This part of the story makes Jesus so real for me, he was fully human, he knew there was no other way, but he still asked God, but in a posture of I don’t want this to happen, but if this needs to happen, I know your plan is greater. Jesus knew there was no other way to fulfill what God was doing, the prophesies, it was on Him to take this burden, but he still prays to God about it. This section of our reading shows us that Jesus understands us. He gets our struggles, he himself struggled, he knows what it’s like for God to say no and because of this moment, we know he can relate to us in our suffering, especially when God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we were hoping. But, despite knowing he was going to suffer, what does he do?
He obeys, he says not his will, but God’s will. “What does it mean to be able to say, ‘as you will’? It takes firm trust in God’s plans; it takes prayer and obedience each step of the way.” (application) Where in your life are you struggling with the “as you will” response? How could you take a step towards God in it?
Jesus also is teaching us something in his talking to the disciples about their sleeping. What do you think it is?
Our application tells us that Jesus is warning Peter specifically because he is about to be tempted to deny Christ, but also warning all of us, because temptations are always there, that we need to be aware of the possibilities of temptation and be prepared to fight them. “Because temptation strikes where we are most vulnerable, we can’t resist it alone.” (application) So, what can we do when we are feeling tempted? List two ways that you feel you could equip yourself in this position?
47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Jesus is still speaking to Peter when Judas walks up. Judas has the nerve to greet Jesus with the literal kiss of death, but I learned that he didn’t do this because Jesus wasn’t recognizable, he did this as a sign to the religious leaders that he was agreeing to be the formal accuser of Jesus, in case this went to trial!!! What is Jesus’ posture in his response?
I feel like I can almost hear these words and that from this moment on, Jesus is calm, that his words are all spoken calmly, even in verse 55, I don’t suspect his voice raised to a yell, He chose peace. In fact in the gospel account of Luke, it says when Peter cut off the soldiers ear in 51, that Jesus touches his ear and heals it! He continued to show love in his final moments, even to his enemies.
We learn a couple things with this incident. 1. This was not an arrest by the Roman soldiers, it was by the religious leaders. 2. They did it in the middle of the night because they knew with Jesus’ following that his followers would have rebelled against them during the day. 3. In verse 56 it says all the disciples fled, even though just hours before, they said they never would.
Jesus Before the Sanhedrin
57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.
59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”
There is so much wrong taking place against Jesus right there. They were in such a rush to have this trial against Him finished by the Sabbath, which I believe back then was recognized sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, so at this point it was less than 24 hours away, so they take Jesus to Caiaphas’s home, the high priest at the time, instead of waiting until daylight to give him a proper trial.
Verse 59 & 60 show us Jesus’ innocence. What were they doing here?
Searching. Searching for accusations, evidence against him, but they found nothing! Well, then comes two witnesses, who had obviously heard Jesus preach because they take words He had spoken out of context and use his own teaching against him. John 2:19 tells us the actual account of what Jesus said/was talking about: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” Our application tells us “Jesus, of course, had been talking about his body, not the building, ironically, the religious leaders were about to destroy Jesus’ body just as he said…”
Does Jesus really commit blasphemy here in verse 64?
No, he was speaking the truth of who he was and what was going to happen.
At the time this was a huge crime to claim to be the Messiah, Jesus knew that, he knew this was going to be the reason for his death, but it was the truth and the only way. But, the story doesn’t end there because at this time, the Sanhedrin, who were the most powerful religious leaders, the group the Roman government gave them the power to handle religious problems was setting him up. However, when it came to the death sentence, a punishment like that had to be approved by the Roman government.
Peter Disowns Jesus
69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Here, the pressure hits, and what does Peter do?
Exactly what Jesus said he would.
Verse 74 makes Jesus words spoken before to Peter so powerful, He said “I don’t know the man” and scripture tells us IMMEDIATELY the rooster crowed. There was no denying what Jesus told Peter and he knew it!
Describe Peter’s reaction after realizing what he did.
How does this relate to us?
I think we need to be careful, especially in our world today, when conversations come up that put pressure or possibly make us uncomfortable about our faith in God, that we aren’t denying the truth that we know about God, Jesus and the words in the Bible. This is scary and can be so hard for us, this is why Peter denied him, he was faced with opposition for following Christ and he got scared. What area of your faith do you feel “pressure”?
Heavenly Father, Lord, Wow, what a day for Jesus. We see him teach us to serve in the most selfless, humble way. We see him love his enemies. We see betrayal and disowning of his closest friends, help us God that when trouble comes that we can turn to Jesus, not turn away as his friends did. Help us in the pressure to put your as our protector. We know God that this all had to happen to fulfill the prophesies and so that we could have direct relationship with you. Thank you for showing us Jesus coming before you to pray, for making him feel so relatable and we can understand that he knows what it means when you answer know, he knows hurt and suffering beyond what we can imagine, but he chose love and forgiveness. Help us to choose the same, no matter the situation. Thank you for this day and your word that teaches us what happened in detail, we are so grateful to be free to hold your word, we pray that you keep our freedom to do so and protect those that are not in a place where worshipping you is allowed. Lord, be with us and guide us in your ways. In your humble name we pray, AMEN!