From here on events move quickly to the climax of the Gospel – Jesus’ death and resurrection. Chapter 26 outlines the events that set the stage for Jesus’ condemnation and execution. Chronologically, the items narrated in 26:1-16 precede “Maundy” Thursday night, the night of His arrest. These include a final reminder that Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to Him. When He submitted, He would do so voluntarily and thoughtfully. The Jewish leaders plotted against Him. Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus with precious perfume, symbolizing possibly inadvertently, His coming death and burial. Judas prepared to betray Him.
Matthew 26:17-46 details the final hours Jesus and His disciples shared. They were celebrating the Passover meal, the Jewish festival that commemorated the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt at the expense of the Egyptian firstborn. Lambs were slaughtered, special meals celebrated, and an elaborate liturgy rehearsed. Extended families ate together on this joyous occasion.
Jesus and the eleven (minus Judas) constituted such a “family,” and Jesus Himself would soon become the sacrificial lamb to spiritually liberate all people of their sins. During this Last Supper Jesus ate with His followers, He turned the Passover meal into the first celebration of what Christians have come to call the Lord’s Supper (or Holy Communion or the Eucharist).
As He broke the loaf of bread and drank the cups of wine that formed part of this festive meal, He invested them with new and deeper significance. They symbolized His soon-to-be-broken body and shed blood for the forgiveness of the sins of all humanity, inaugurating God’s new covenant, which fulfills the prophecies of Jeremiah 31:31-34. Christians must repeat this ceremony to commemorate Christ’s atoning death but also to anticipate His glorious return.
After celebrating this meal in an “”upper room” somewhere in Jerusalem, the little troupe adjourned to the Mount of Olives to the east of town across the Kidron Valley. On its western slopes lay the garden of Gethsemane – a wooded olive grove. Here Jesus took His three closest companions aside and asked them to stay awake and pray with Him. Three times they failed Him, even as He has predicted Peter would shortly deny Him three times.
Credits: Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor and Holy Bible, King James Version.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Wednesday, October 12
In our prayers: Jeannie, Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Donna Hotaling, Meredith Mitchell, Betty Jo, Jerry Callahan, Russ Meyne, April Goodwin, Laura Bushnell, Loretta M. in Cayce, Kody Oswald, Tina Bailey, Oliver Crawford, Edgar Maxwell, Laura Lou Rummans, Elizabeth Adams, Rootie Pope in Leesville, Gene Awtrey in Spring Valley, John Conde, Millie Husbands, Clyde Ireland, Sam King, Bob Whiteside, Chuck Witten, Lindsay Cathcart, Raven Tarpley, Elizabeth F., Steven and Janelle, William Alex McDaniels, Maddie Rosenthal, DuBose Tuller, Nancy, Doris C., Lynn in Camden, John in Forest Acres, Frances R., Chris Johansson in Blythewood, Nancy in West Columbia, John in Forest Acres
In memoriam: Claire Amanda BrownWalter O’Dell Renew, Margaret Patricia O’Donnell Hemmingway, Mildred Linda Starr, Brian Richard Yount, James Van Williamson, Robert Earl Combs
Our prayers are with: The homeless, the unemployed, all those fighting breast cancer and all breast cancer survivors, Mandy and all beloved pets, our president and congress and all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily as prayers are requested.
Sharon is a member of the Community Church of the Midlands that meets at Seven Oaks Community Center at 200 Leisure Lane In Columbia and is a frequent participant, with her husband Douglas, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral located in Columbia.
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