Today’s Reading: Matthew 26:1-5, 14-35; Mark 14:1-2, 10-31; Luke 22:1-38; John 13:1-38
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.” – Matthew 26:1-5
HOW COULD HE? Caiaphas had been set apart from the rest of the community to carry out duties of worship and sacrifice. He was called to be a mediator of God’s presence. How many times had he heard or spoken the Ten Commandments? Did he hear the words “Thou shalt not murder” when he joined in with the others in this plot to kill Jesus.
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. – Matthew 26:14-16
HOW COULD HE? Judas had been chosen among all of Jesus’ followers to be one of the elite Twelve. They did not come to him, he went to them. He went out seeking an opportunity and found it. Judas had spent all of that time following Jesus without ever becoming a true follower of Jesus.
It was time for the Passover Lamb to be sacrificed, so the disciples asked Jesus where he wanted them to prepare the Passover meal. He sent them on ahead of him and they found a room already set up for this ceremonial moment. They began their preparations for this special time in the Jewish tradition – the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end…So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him…
“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” – John 13:1, 4-5, 8
HOW COULD HE? How could the son of God stoop down to the level of a servant? How could the King of Kings humble himself to clean the dirty feet of those who were there to serve him?
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that is what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” – John 13:12-16
Jesus turned to his disciples and told them that one of them would betray him. They were confused and wondered who it would be. Jesus dipped a piece of bread in the bowl and gave it to Judas. Judas ate the bread and scripture says that Satan entered into him. Jesus told him to hurry and do what he was going to do. No one understood but Judas, who left at once, going out into the night (John 13:21-30).
HOW COULD HE? How could Judas miss this opportunity to change his mind? How could he look into the eyes of Jesus and still walk away with a plan to betray him? There was a bigger plan in place – a battle waging around them that they were unaware of. Jesus was more than just a carpenter and a teacher, he was their Savior and the time had come for him to give his life for our salvation.
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words – I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” – Matthew 26:26-29
“I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-35
HOW COULD HE? How could Jesus keep talking about leaving them, about dying? Peter was so upset. He wanted to know where Jesus was going. He wanted to die for Jesus.
Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter – before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” – John 13:38
HOW COULD HE? How could Peter deny knowing the One who loved him so much and how could Judas betray the One who was willing to die for him? It was not part of the plan for Peter to die for Jesus. Jesus was going to die for Peter, for the rest of the disciples, and for all of us. God sent His son as the Passover Lamb and as a sacrifice for all of our sins.
We often walk away not understanding the bigger picture of God’s plan and why He allows some things to happen and others not to happen. But we are His children and He is our Savior. Let’s sit at His feet and learn from the One who was willing to die for us.
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5