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Matthew 26:17-30: The Last Supper

Posted by adventbiblestudy on August 19, 2012


Matthew 26:17-30 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” (18) “As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.'” (19) So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there. (20) When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. (21) While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” (22) Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?” (23) He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. (24) For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” (25) Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it.” (26) 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.” (27) 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, (28) 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. (29) Mark my words–I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” (30) Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

During the previous day Jesus ate dinner at Simon the leper’s house. Led by the Spirit, Mary poured an expensive blend of perfume over Jesus, who explained it was to anoint His body for burial. At that moment Judas’ jealousy got the best of him. He complained about the anointing, calling it a waste of money. After Jesus rebuked him, Judas decided to initiate his plan, not for himself, but for the good of the country.

 

Judas left the dinner going straight to the high priest’s house. Once his mind was made up there was no tuning back. He waited long enough for Jesus to prove His point and show His true reason for coming to Jerusalem. Either He was the Son of God, or another false Messiah. Three years was too much for Judas to invest without showing some sort of reward.

 

Judas stood in front of the gate to the courtyard of the high priest’s home. Looking at the tall walls he had a thought. Maybe they symbolized something? Without thinking he pulled the chain, ringing a bell to announce his arrival. In a moment the gate opened. Judas stood is awe gazing at the manicured garden and brick path leading to the grand home of the high priest. He though to himself, “this is a reward, a real sign of power.”

 

An armed guard asked Judas to state his business. Judas simply replied, “I have information on Jesus. I know where He goes and when.” Judas suddenly felt a feeling of shame. He thought it was best not to trust anyone. He added, “I will discuss this with no one but Caiaphas. The guard was aware of the matter and knew any information about Jesus was to be brought before the high priest immediately. Gaining entry was no problem at all.

 

Judas’ ambition grew as the passed through the garden and from room to room.. He convinced himself all this and more could be his when his plan showed Jesus it was time to take possession of His kingdom.

 

Finally they entered the meeting room. Caiaphas, dressed in royal robes was seated at the far end of a large table. Judas was not sure how to greet him. He stood there with a strange look on his face. Not wanting to waste time Caiaphas asked Judas to state his business.

 

Other priests began filing into the room as Judas began to tell his story. It appeared as if more were coming, so Judas began his story at the moment he left the temple court with Jesus. He thought the details would add some sort of credibility. “When we left the temple some of the disciples began to point on the walls and grand stones of the temple. That is when Jesus said, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” Judas continued, “after that Jesus took us to His favorite place in the garden. Some of the disciples gathered wood and started a fire as Jesus continued to teach throughout the night.” Judas told the priests the parable of the ten bridesmaids. They asked Judas what it meant. He replied, “I can’t be sure. I think it had something to do with how foolish bridesmaids act. You know how young girls can be when they have a sleep over. As a matter of fact Jesus called them foolish.”

 

Judas also told the priests the parable of the master leaving sums of money with his servant, but related it in his own fashion. In his version the servant with the five talents was the hero. Judas interjected a few details on how the wise servant doubled the money in such a short time. He used the opportunity to impress the priests. He wasn’t sure what role they would play in the new kingdom. To Judas it seemed like a good idea to build his own bridge between the two factions. He felt totally qualified to handle the situation.

 

Caiaphas and the others grew tired of listening to stories. He demanded Judas get to the point. How was he going to help them find Jesus? Judas relied, “I already told you. Jesus has a habit of retreating to His favorite spot in the garden. All I need to do is suggest it, and He will follow me.” Caiaphas asked, “when?” Judas relied, “soon.” Caiaphas stood and called Judas to his side. Looking at him face to face he instructed him, “the moment you hear Jesus is returning to the garden, bring me word and I will take care of all the details.”

 

Looking around Judas got another idea and asked, “what is your sign of good faith? I’ve heard you have been offering a reward. Caiaphas motioned, another priest approach Judas, handing him a small bag. Judas poured the contents into his hand, then back into the pouch. Caiaphas stood up, walking past Judas as if he wasn’t these and left the room. The other priests followed. One of the guards escorted Judas to the gate.

 

The disciples still clung onto their hopes and dreams. They knew the meaning of the Passover, how Moses lead Israel out of Egypt, the land of bondage into the promised land. They remembered how God’s hand turned on Pharaoh with many plagues, signs and wonders. Wondering if Jesus would use the Passover to deliver His followers from the oppressive hand of Rome they came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”

 

Jesus knew why they asked. They were anticipating something. He looked over His group of disciples and asked Himself if they were ready. Jesus knew what the coming days would bring. He understood why they had to go through such a dramatic event. Looking at them in their hopeless state gave Jesus a feeling of concern. He knew the Spirit would be with them in the coming days and the years to follow. For a moment He wondered why men had such little faith and even less hope. He knew they were waiting for instructions. “As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.”

 

It was not a spectacular house. Simple, but large enough to accommodate all the disciples. The upper room was hot. It didn’t matter. The sun would soon set and the gentle breeze would quickly cool the room.

 

The meal was as simple as the room. Judas sat quietly as usual, looking over the surroundings and his fellow disciples. He compared the simple residence Jesus chose to that of the high priest as he thought to himself, “soon we will be dining in a hall fit for a king.” His hand reached inside his cloak, once again checking to make sure his silver was still at his side. While they were eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” This caught the disciples off guard, especially Judas. Sweat began to roll down his forehead as the salty moisture clouded his vision. He pulled back from the table for a moment then quickly shifted back to his previous position hoping he did not attract any attention. John spoke up first. “Am I the one, Lord?”

 

John’s question brought a sense of relief to Judas as he took a piece of bread and slowly moved it to the bowl in front of him. His eyes were scanning the faces of the other disciple. Suddenly he felt a shock run through his fingers. He looked at the bowl. Jesus held a piece of bread between His thumb and index finger while His other fingers covered Judas’ hand, holding it firm in the bowl. Judas wanted to pull back, but did not want to attract attention. He looked in Jesus eyes. Jesus lifted His hand from the bowl, placing the morsel of bread in His mouth. After swallowing He said, One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

 

All the disciples began to speak in a low mummer. Judas tried to keep his mind focused. For some reason his hidden jealousy for John controlled his mind. Always wanting to out do John, Judas asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” Jesus could not bear to look Judas in the eye. Judas stared at Him, hoping for some type of sign. Judas suddenly remembered how Jesus knew a man was preparing this room for Him and the disciples. If Jesus could see into the future, into men’s hearts, surely He knew where Judas had been, what he was planning. Judas waited for an answer. His hands began to shake as heat flashes soared through every fiber of his body. Jesus calmly took another morel of bread, dipped it in the bowl and quickly spoke before eating the bread. “You have said it.”

 

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.” The disciples slowly passed the bread, each taking a piece, waiting for instructions from Jesus. Judas took his piece of bread and stared at it. His only thought was how Jesus used a piece of bread to identify him. He wondered how much Jesus knew. To him the bread represented how Jesus did not understand him or appreciate his dedication. He held the piece of bread in front of him until he noticed the others eating. He looked up and quickly put the bread in his mouth to appear like the other disciples.

 

After that Jesus 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.” Judas turned around, startled by a brief gust of cool wind blowing into the hot upper room. He looked back at Jesus and the other disciples, each taking a long look into the cup before taking a drink. Judas took the cup, looked inside of it like the others, wondering what they saw. Judas knew there must be a spiritual meaning to the cup, but other things were more pressing. Jesus would have plenty of time to explain all of this spiritual stuff to them later. Without taking a drink Judas placed the cup on the table, got up and left the room. Jesus watched his every step, hoping Judas would look back, if only for a moment.

 

After Judas left Jesus continued. “Mark my words–I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

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