Read: Matthew 26
The narrative captured in this chapter covers a wide range of activity during a short period of time. To be fair, this should be nine separate posts, but I’m not trying to write a commentary, simply point out some thoughts from reading through the Bible.
- The Plot Against Jesus (85): Matthew 26:1-5
- Jesus Anointed at Bethany (151): Matthew 26:6-13
- Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus (55): Matthew 26:14-15
- The Last Supper (329): Matthew 26:17-30
- Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial (109): Matthew 26:31-35
- Gethsemane (261): Matthew 26:36-46
- Jesus Arrested (240): Matthew 26:47-56
- Jesus Before the Sanhedrin (279): Matthew 26:57-68
- Peter Disowns Jesus (155): Matthew 26:69-75
It’s interesting that Matthew provides the most words on The Last Supper in this chapter. Of all the topics he captured, we read 329 words about this event while the fewest words are used to describe Judas’ agreement to betray Jesus.
When Jesus was anointed with precious perfume in Bethany, I remember the words, “the poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11), but today I was drawn to the beginning of the passage,
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper Matthew 26:6
Jesus was known as the “friend of sinners,” but the significance of meeting in the home of one who is known as “Simon the Leper” escaped me. You simply can’t hang out with lepers! If leprosy.org is correct, the disease still affects more than 3 million people in over 100 countries around the world, and get this:
Scientists don’t fully understand how leprosy is spread.
Interesting, fun fact to enrich the day and give us some appreciation for the context of this occasion — Jesus is hanging out in the home of a guy that previously had been infected with a mysterious disease that categorized people as unclean and unapproachable. Simon was healed by Jesus and was restored to his position in society, regained his home, but did not lose the label, “the Leper.” This was so common that Matthew lets it slip by as the introductory words for Jesus preparation for burial.
The Last Supper
To gain a Jewish perspective on the events in Jesus’ time on earth, I often venture over to chabad.org. With regard to the Passover celebration in particular, there are lots of steps and procedures to follow. Here’s the process I hope you’ll find interesting:
- Set the Table
The disciples, mature Jewish followers of Yahweh knew the process even without the internet, but Jesus changes the final meal from one of anticipation for the “final exodus” to remembrance of His sacrifice.
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.” Matthew 26:26
We, the professional church people, have this quote engraved in our memory, but this was radically different for Jewish ears to hear. Jesus is the final sacrifice and the elaborate Passover celebration now has a completely new meaning. We’re no longer drinking wine and breaking Matzos crackers just to remember deliverance from Egypt, we’re now remembering His sacrifice for our ultimate escape from the bondage of sin.
At Hope Fellowship, we’re going through a sermon series on Exodus. I hope at some point we arrange to have a Seder meal, to take time to go through the rituals of our Jewish ancestors. It provides an interesting perspective and helps us consider the difficulties they faced in the Exodus. Powerful stuff. Perhaps then we’ll stop and think about “this is my body” with a new perspective and deeper appreciation.
This is a deep chapter that covers many topics. I hope you’ll find something you haven’t seen before as you read through the theme of Jesus’ last hours walking amongst us.
Grace and Peace.
Love God. Love Yourself. Love Others.