Mt. 26:14-46
Of the 33 verses in today’s New Testament passage, Matthew 26:14-46, sixteen of them deal with someone betraying, denying or disobeying the Lord Jesus. These actions were done by Jesus’ 12 closest disciples/followers who had been with Him for several years. The passage begins with Judas planning a mercenary betrayal and ends with an actual betrayal by leading a mob to seize Jesus. The remaining eleven disciples promise to never deny Him regardless the circumstances or cost. We all know how that turns out. And, at the point where an hour of encouragement and prayer support was specifically asked for, His three closest disciples disobeyed and fell asleep. This missed opportunity was to their own hurt as well (v.41).

Yet, sandwiched in between the disciples’ failures in following Him, Jesus establishes communion - symbolizing forgiveness and unity of His church. Aware of their weaknesses and coming failures, Jesus is steadfast in following God’s Will and His willingness to sacrifice Himself for their (and our) good. Quite a contrast.

Reading this passage led me to ask, ‘surely not I?’ as all the disciples did (v. 22). That resulted in reflecting on the times and ways I have denied, disobeyed or ignored Jesus by distancing myself or not identifying myself clearly as His follower. After confessing those sins, I gratefully praised and thanked Jesus that He steadfastly offers forgiveness and community.

by Rick Hays, Deacon

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