1 Matthew Matthew 26:30-56 Betrayals and Trials ~ Part 1 The Lord was speaking to His disciples and they didn t like what they were hearing. I will not leave you desolate. I will return to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. In the meantime, children, you will weep and lament. I am so sorry to tell you so. The world will rejoice, and you will be sad. Worse, already tonight you will fall away from me. All of you, just as it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered abroad. No! Jesus recognized the shout immediately: Simon Peter. He had found something to say, and he was up on his knees to say it: No, Lord! Though they might, I will never fall away from you! Jesus wondered if this clamorous disciple knew how often his voice sounded like mere whining. Simon, Simon, he said, Satan asked to have you. He wanted to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, that you faith may not fail. Simon thumped the table: Lord, I m ready to go to prison with you. To prison? said Jesus. Oh, Peter, this very night before the first rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times. But Simon raised his arm and declared, Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you. In fact, Jesus had ceased listening to Simon s bluster. 1 XI Jesus Passion and Resurrection 26:1-28:20 A. Jesus Betrayed and Arrested 26: The Last Supper Verses d. Singing Verses Jesus Prayer and Arrest at Gethsemane Verses Introduction: Verse 30: And so the Passover service had come to an end. The evening closed with Jesus and the disciples singing a hymn. Since this was Passover what they would have sung would have been the Hallel Psalms ( ) or the last Hallel, Psalm 136. Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people... (Psalms 113:1-118:29). Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His 1 Wangerin, Jr., Walter, The Book of God, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996, p. 782.
2 love endures forever. to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. who made the great lights His love endures forever. the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever... (Psalm 136:1-26). d. Singing: Verses 31-35: Sadly, instead of a song of joy they would soon be singing a song of sorrow. For as they were leaving celebration Jesus told them of their coming betrayal. The betrayal of the group as a whole was not that of Judas, or as we ll see in a moment. But it was betrayal nevertheless. For all would flee, out of fear be unwilling to stand beside Him or for Him. Jesus quotes from Zachariah when He speaks of the shepherd falling and the sheep being scattered. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me! declares the LORD Almighty. Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones (Zechariah 13:7). The use of Zechariah s words here specifically referees to the disciples being scattered when Jesus is taken. It is obvious Peter understood them this way. But they may go beyond this one meaning. They may also be warning that when the Shepherd, Jesus, is cut off, the entire flock, Israel, will be scattered. This has certainly been the case because the nation was cast out into the world of the Gentiles, especially with the destruction of the Temple. Notice carefully! Immediately after stating the disciples will be scattered, abandon Him, He tells them that after His death He will be resurrected. It is obvious they didn t hear this at all. He even told them He arrive ahead of them in Galilee. We don t know what the disciples view of Jesus statement was. Even though one might argue John was present at the trial before Caiaphas and so didn t flee, it seems as if he was more an observer than a disciple standing with Jesus. After all Peter was there as well and he certainly abandoned and betrayed Christ. But, as usual, Peter s response was, I don t care what the rest of this bunch does, I ll never abandon You. And while he was talking out of emotions rather than thought, I m sure he was sincere. The problem was he didn t know himself very well. And neither did the rest because, even though Peter spoke up first, they all agreed. Jesus wouldn t let Peter s statement stand unchallenged. He now makes a prophetic statement. He tells Peter not only would he betray Him, but He gives the specific timing. Still, Peter knows himself better than Jesus did. He said he d be willing to die. And the day would come when He would. But Peter hadn t been tested. He hadn t gown into His faith. The mention in the New Testament of the death of Peter says that Jesus indicated its form by saying: "You will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. Early church tradition (as indicated below) says Peter probably died by crucifixion (with arms outstretched) at the time of the Great Fire of Rome of the year 64. Margherita Guarducci, who led the ) 760 (
3 research leading to the rediscovery of Peter s tomb in its last stages ( ), concludes Peter died on October 13 A.D. 64 during the festivities on the occasion of the dies imperii of Emperor Nero. This took place three months after the disastrous fire that destroyed Rome for which the emperor wished to blame the Christians. This dies imperii (regnal day anniversary) was an important one, exactly ten years after Nero acceded to the throne, and it was as usual accompanied by much bloodshed. Traditionally, Roman authorities sentenced him to death by crucifixion. According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, he was crucified head down. Tradition also locates his burial place where the Basilica of Saint Peter was later built, directly beneath the Basilica's high altar. 2 And before we re too critical, also remember Peter hadn t been filled with the Holy Spirit yet. So he was out there on his own. What s our excuse? The wind had died. Houses were closed against the vapors of the night. Jesus took his small band down the long steps, the ancient steps into the lower city: Father, I ve given them the words you gave me. They know I came from you. They believe you sent me Through the City of David they walked, through roads a thousand years old, dim and unlit. The stars gave a dead light. The disciples had neither a lantern nor a torch. Jesus persisted in his praying: Holy Father; keep them in your name, that they may be one, even as we are one Out of the city of the Potsherd Gate and down again into the Kidron valley. The walls of Jerusalem rose high on their left side. On their right, like silent eyes, were the whitewashed tombs of the wealthy. And Jesus still was praying. The glory you gave me I ve given them, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me, and that you love them even as you love me And so, as was his custom whenever he stayed in Jerusalem, Jesus came in the dark shadow of the night to the Mount of Olives, and there he stopped. 3 Verses 36-42: Before entering the final events of Jesus life, and the culmination of HiStory, Jesus spends sometime with His father. He also needed the support of the inner circle of disciples. These are Peter, James, and John. And so the four go to Gethsemane. GETHSEMANE (Ge th se m aå n ) Place-name meaning olive press. Place where Jesus went after the Last Supper, a garden outside the city, across the Kidron on the Mount of. Here Jesus charged the disciples to watch as He prayed. Judas led the enemies of Jesus to Gethsemane where Jesus was arrested and taken away for trial. Here Jesus, the Son, showed He had learned obedience to the Father even in suffering. Gethsemane was probably a remote walled garden (Jesus entered and went out ) where Jesus went often for prayer, rest, and fellowship with His disciples. 4 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, Sit here while I pray. He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, he said to them. Stay here and keep watch. Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. Abba, Father, he said, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will Wangerin,, p Brand, Chad, gen. ed., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, TN, ) 761 (
4 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. Simon, he said to Peter, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning the third time, he said to them, Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer! (Mark 14:32-41). There are two events happening here. First, there is the behavior, or lack there of, of the disciples. Second, there are Jesus prayers and suffering. As for the disciples, we already noted Jesus asked the inner circle to come with Him to provide both spiritual, moral support. But here we see a hit of what was to come. Yes, it had been an emotional time. Yes they were exhausted. But they weren t even able to stay awake for Him while he was praying. By they way since they slept when Jesus was transfigured, it isn t surprising the same thing happened here. They should not only have kept awake for Jesus sake, but should have been in prayer for themselves, know what was coming. It was this testing Jesus was speaking of. And He had told them they d fail. That failure begins here, not when the soldiers arrive. Sleep though is also a way of escaping from that which it to painful to face. So let s not judge them harshly. Now to Jesus suffering. First, His pain, in one sense, can be a comfort to us in ours. He understands our trials, and our pain in being where God sometimes places us. He s been there. Jesus came to the culmination of His life s work. But that didn t mean He had come to terms with the suffering He was facing. To desire and be willing to be obedient is not synonymous with wanting to go through what is necessary. Barton, et. al. state: Jesus was not rebelling against his Father s will when he asked that the cup of suffering and separation be taken away. In fact, he reaffirmed his desire to do God s will by saying, Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. His prayer reveals to us his terrible suffering. His agony was worse than death because he paid for all sin by being separated from God. The sinless Son of God took our sins upon himself to save us from suffering and separation. 5 Some manuscripts of Luke add not only the passage regarding Jesus sweating drops of blood, but at the end angel coming and strengthening Him. While this isn t found in all manuscripts, the principle is valid. God provides the strength we need to carry out His will. He withdrew about a stone s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:41-44). 5 Barton, Bruce B., Mark Fackler, Linda K. Taylor, and David R. Veerman, Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, ) 762 (
5 The Cup, the suffering was what Jesus was to face on the cross. It wasn t the physical suffering that was the issue. It wasn t martyrdom because Jesus wasn t a martyr because He gave up His life. It wasn t taken. The suffering was that moment on which in carrying your and my sins, the Father turned away from them. But more on that when we get to the events of the crucifixion. Keep in mind though, we ll never fully understand what is going on here. MacArthur states: We cannot comprehend the depth of Jesus agony, because, as sinless and holy God incarnate, He was able to perceive the horror of sin in a way we cannot. Therefore even to attempt to understand the suffering of Jesus that night on the Mount of Olives is to tread on holy ground. The mystery is too profound for human beings to comprehend and even for angels. We can only stand in awe of the God-Man. 6 All we know is that Christ accepted God s wrath so we would not have to. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9). As we will see in coming sessions, all this darkness was so we can live in the light. This should be the source, of comfort, praise, and a motivation to serve God, to love Him and others with all we have to give in dependency on Him. Conclusion: There are three important points to take from these verses. The first is never to fall into the trap of thinking we aren t capable of denying the Lord given the right pressure. Too often we think I d never do that. But the truth is we are al capable of falling. But, the good news is the second point. God does provide us with the strength to be obedient. Remember, in any given situation, in dependency on the Holy Spirit, we can do what God calls us to do. all things are possible with God (Mark 10:27). It is through humility that we recognize we are all capable of falling. But in the knowledge comes strength, a strength provided by the Holy Spirit. Our greatest danger comes in believing we aren t in danger. We are most safe when we know we are only capable of walking in God s ways as we let Him walk through us. The third point is, we can find ourselves in God s will and not like where He has us. As we ve seen with Christ, this is an acceptable place to be. The issue isn t our comfort, or even a lack of suffering it is being obedient and bringing God glory. If we realize this, even though we may struggle, even though we are in pain, God will not only strengthen us, but He will bring us supernatural peace and contentment. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want (Philippians 4:11-12). 6 MacArthur, John, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 1-7, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1985, p ) 763 (
6 And though we may struggle with sorrow, remember we don t carry it by ourselves. We have a loving God who carries it with us because once He suffered great sorrow so that we may be comforted. He was truly the Man of Sorrows. Man of Sorrows! what a name For the Son of God, Who came Ruined sinners to reclaim. Hallelujah! What a Savior! Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood; Sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior! Guilty, vile, and helpless we; Spotless Lamb of God was He; Full atonement can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior! Lifted up was He to die; It is finished! was His cry; Now in heaven exalted high. Hallelujah! What a Savior! When He comes, our glorious King, All His ransomed home to bring, Then anew His song we'll sing: Hallelujah! What a Savior! 7 7 Bliss, Philip P., Man of Sorrows! what name, Public Domain ) 764 (
7 Matthew Matthew 26:30-56 Betrayals and Trials ~ Part 1 XI Jesus Passion and Resurrection 26:1-28:20 A. Jesus Betrayed and Arrested 26: The Last Supper Verses d. Singing Verses Jesus Prayer and Arrest at Gethsemane Verses Introduction: Verse 30: (Psalms 113:1-118:29; Psalm 136:1-26) d. Singing: Verses 31-35: (Zechariah 13:7) Verses 36-42: (Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:41-44; 1 Thessalonians 5:9) GETHSEMANE
8 Conclusion: (Mark 10:27; Philippians 4:11-12) Personal Application: I would like to continue to focus on the same issues over the next weeks, so again, though we still have to discuss the crucifixion, read ahead through the end of Matthew. Here meditate on Christ s time in the garden as it applies to us. Consider how we see ourselves reflected in the disciples. What do we take from these truths? Prayer for the Week: Father, help me to see me for who I am and truly understand the reality of all that Christ has done for me. May I praise You and bring You glory, sharing my blessings with those You place in my path. In Christ s name, amen.