Matthew 26:30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee." 33 Peter answered him, "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away." 34 Jesus said to him, "Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." 35 Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!" And all the disciples said the same.
Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. All the disciples believed they would not deny Jesus and would even die for Him. The disciples did not know their weakness. Jesus knew all would deny Him when their lives were on the line and told them so. What Jesus says happens. All the disciples denied Jesus when their lives were threatened. They did not have the power to live for Jesus when their lives were threatened. Later, each of the disciples received the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended back into heaven. The disciples then had the power to live for Jesus and to die for Jesus.
We need to take Jesus at His word when we read the scriptures. Jesus has told us that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Paul tells us we must walk (or live life) by the Spirit so we will not gratify the flesh (sin nature). He instructs us that the life we live in the body (the flesh) we are to live by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 5:16; 2:20). We cannot overcome our sinful nature without the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to delight in Jesus' words because they instruct us how to live abundantly and eternally. Jesus' words instruct us concerning the power we have and how to use it. Jesus' words are the Bible. If we aren't learning the Bible, we will be deceived by sin, practice it, and experience the failures of sinful ways. If we are learning the Bible and practicing it, then we will live an abundant and eternal life in a sinful world.
Matthew 26:26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth the following concerning the Lord's Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
We need to do just as Paul did for the Church in Corinth. We need to make sure our local church is practicing the Lord's Supper as Jesus meant it to be practiced. Jesus wanted every believer to remember what He did for us on the cross and proclaim His death until He comes. Read the passages above and meditate on how the Lord's Supper is to be practiced in the local church and what happens if it isn't? Why is it important for us to practice the Lord's Supper? Where is the Supper to be eaten? Who is to eat of the Supper? When is the Lord's Supper to be eaten?
Matthew 26:20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. 21 And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" 23 He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, "Is it I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said so."
Jesus ate the Passover meal with His twelve disciples. Two days earlier He had told them that He would be delivered up to be crucified. While reclining at the table for the meal Jesus told His disciples that one of them would deliver Him up to be crucified. The mood of the meal was characterized by sorrow and each was asking if he was the one to be betray Jesus. Judas asked the same question, "Is it I Lord?" knowing full well he was the one. Even when Jesus stated the consequence of betraying Him, Judas was not deterred from his betrayal. Judas is living proof that we don't grasp the full consequences of the sin we are about to commit. We think of the current benefit, but don't really know the future consequences. Satan is a masterful tempter and Satan had deceived Judas that the money was more important than loyalty to Jesus (Luke 22:3-6). After the sin of betrayal's consequences became clear to Judas, the money was worth nothing and what he had done moved him to commit suicide by hanging himself (Matthew 27:3-5).
We can learn a lesson from what happened to Judas. Sin is destructive. Satan is deceptive. The consequences of sin are worse than we think and far out way any benefit we think we will get from sin. We will regret doing sin! The Bible instructs us how to live God's way. By learning and living the Bible, no matter how difficult it may seem at times, we will live regret free.
Matthew 26:17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?" 18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, 'The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'" 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.
To understand this passage better read Exodus 12:1-20 and Leviticus 23:4-8. The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted by God to remember His deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The Passover was on the fourteenth day of the first month, the month of deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Nisan, the first month, covers our time period of March/April. At twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month, a lamb was slaughtered, roasted and eaten in whole. The blood was put on the two door posts and the lintel of the houses of the Israelites. The last plague on the Egyptians to force them to release God's people from slavery was the death of the first born of everyone in Egypt. The death angel sent by God was to carry out this plague. The death angel would passover every house marked by the blood of the lamb. Jesus was the Passover lamb whose shed blood delivers all who repent of their sins and believe the gospel. He ate the Passover with His disciples before He became the Passover Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus sent His disciples to secure a location to keep the Passover. He gave them directions on what to do. The disciples did as Jesus directed, secured the house to keep the Passover in and prepared the Passover. Jesus' will was accomplished because the disciples acted on Jesus' directions. Jesus has given us His word, the Bible as our directions for completing His will to free people from slavery to sin and Satan. We need to listen to Jesus' directions and act on them promptly. A person who does this is daily listening to Jesus by reading the word of God and listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. What the person hears he acts upon. Looking at your life, do you see a person who is actively listening to Jesus and acting upon what He says? If yes, keep doing so the rest of your life and you will bear much fruit and be instrumental in freeing yourself and others from slavery to sin and Satan. If when you look at yourself and don't see a person listening to Jesus' directions and acting on them, begin doing so today. Your freedom from slavery to sin and Satan and many other peoples' freedom depend upon your learning and acting upon Jesus' directions given in His written word and prompted by His Spirit within us (whose promptings are always in line with His written word).
Matthew 26:14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Our text today is brief but very important for us. Jesus has told us ahead of time that we could expect the same treatment He got. John 15:20 records Jesus statement, "Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master'. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours." Jesus also told us what would happen to us in order to keep us from falling away. Jesus states in John 16:1 "I have said these things to you to keep you from falling away." A third thing we're told in scripture and need to know as we look at Matthew 26:14-16, is that the devil is behind Judas betraying Jesus and will be behind the people who are close to us and betray us (John 13:2; Ephesians 6:12).
One of the most hurtful things that happens to us is betrayal by someone close to us who is supposed to be for us. This can cause us to doubt our faith in God. Jesus told us ahead of time what our enemy Satan would do to get us to quit following Him. Armed with Jesus warning, we expect to be betrayed and we stand firm in our faith in God and keep doing our assigned work knowing Jesus is standing with us.
In our devotional passage we see scripture being fulfilled. Psalm 41:9 is fulfilled in Jesus' life when He is betrayed by Judas, "Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me." God predicted hundreds of years before it happened that Jesus would be betrayed. We, too, will be betrayed by a trusted friend in our life just as Jesus has told us in His written word. We need to stand firm in our faith and keep accomplishing the work God has given us to do. Satan is looking for an opportune time to betray us and get us off track from doing God's work in our families, our work places, our communities and our churches. Let's stand firm in the faith and complete God's life giving work just as Jesus did.
Matthew 26:6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor." 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her."
Jesus' last statement has been proved true over the past two thousand years. The woman's act of preparing Jesus for burial by pouring the ointment on His body is part of the scripture taught to every believer that has ever lived and been taught the Bible. What Jesus says happens!
We need to determine what waste is and isn't when we use our material resources. How do we do that? We do that by being directed by the will of God written in the Bible and prompted by the Holy Spirit (Note: Holy Spirit promptings never violate the written word of God). If the poor have food and clothing for a day, they are supplied the amount promised by the word of God. When we do the will of God, we are doing for the Lord. Giving an expensive gift to your wife or husband to express love is doing it for Jesus. We don't need to feel guilty, thinking we should have sent the money to the poor. Building up your mate is not waste. Giving gifts to your children instead of giving them a card saying you sent the money to the poor is not a waste of money.
Another question to ask springs from Jesus statement, "You always have the poor with you." Will we ever eliminate poverty in the world? No. We will always have the poor with us. We are to help the poor indeed, but that does not mean we are wasting our money by giving expensive gifts to express our love for others.
Luke 11:28 But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
We live a blessed life when we hear and obey (keep) the word of God. Jesus said this in response to a woman's statement that Jesus' mother was the blessed one. Jesus' statement in Luke 11:28 opens being blessed to every person who learns and lives the word of God.
Begin today to read the word of God. It instructs us on how to live a blessed life now and forever whatever circumstances we are in. If you have never read the Bible, begin by reading Genesis chapters 1-11 and then turn to the gospel of Matthew and read systematically all the way through the New Testament. As you practice what you learn you will experience a blessed life.
Matthew 26:1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2 "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people."
As we read the scriptures we need to be asking, "Is there an example to follow?" We can follow the example of Jesus. Jesus had two days left before He was crucified. He didn't back off His God-given assignment. Jesus reminded His disciples what was going to happen and moved forward to complete His God-given assignment to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples and prayed with them in those last two days. Jesus' disciples deserted Him, but His Father sustained Him and helped Him complete His assignment to die on the cross for the sins of all mankind.
We are to follow the example of Jesus and be willing to die to complete our God-given assignments in the home, at work, in our neighborhoods, in our local church, among all in our sphere of influence. Jesus was unstoppable. We need to be unstoppable in completing the work Jesus has given us to do. We need to stay in fellowship with other believers and to be asking our Father in heaven to give us the grace to complete the tasks He has given us. We will at some time in our Christian life have people plot together to keep us from completing our work. We need to follow Jesus' example and complete our work no matter how we feel or what happens around us.
Matthew 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' 41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45 Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
As we read this portion of scripture we look at the facts given and we look at the people involved. Facts: (1) Jesus is coming in all His glory with all His angels to judge all the peoples of the world (Matthew 25:31-33); (2) The people will be judged according to what they did or didn't do (Matthew 25:35-40, 42-45); (3) The judgment will result in eternal punishment or eternal life. The people involved: (1) The righteous and the cursed or unrighteous; (2) The people the righteous and unrighteous live among who are brothers of Jesus or in other words, family of Jesus (Matthew 25:40); (3) The King, Jesus (Matthew 25:31, 34, 40).
Jesus will judge the righteous (sheep) and the unrighteous (goats) according to what they did. The righteous are those made righteous by the Lord when they repented of their sins and believed the gospel (Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9). Those who repent and believe the gospel are justified or made righteous by God immediately upon belief in the gospel (Romans 5:1, 17). The belief is not a mere intellectual acknowledgement that Jesus exists, died, rose again from the dead and is Lord, but is a saving belief that includes a desire to obey and do as the King commands. The King desires those in need be helped by those who have resources (James 2:14-17; 1 John 3:16-18). The Apostle Paul teaches this to us in 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; Romans 15:25-28 and Galatians 6:9-10. The people in our passage today are not the criminals in jail, but the people who believe in Jesus, people like the Apostles Paul and Peter who were imprisoned for their faith. The people who are in need are believers who are in need because of natural disasters (i.e. famine) or persecution (Revelation 13:7, 16-18) or personal economic conditions (Ephesians 4:28; 2 Corinthians 8:14).
Jesus the King, will judge all people. He will judge people by their works when He looks in the books of their lives and the book of life (Revelation 20:12). A person's name must be written in the book of life to gain eternal life. If a person's name is not in the book of life then they will experience the 2nd death when judged by Jesus. The second death is being cast into the Lake of Fire, the place of eternal torment or punishment (Revelation 20:14-15; Matthew 25:46a). A person's name is written in the book of life when they repent and believe the gospel.
Lessons to be known: People who repent of their sins and believe the gospel are made righteous and desire to obey the Lord Jesus Christ by helping those in need. People who don't repent and believe the gospel are unrighteous and can't obey the Lord Jesus Christ and don't help the believers in need. The righteous will be judged and gain eternal life. The unrighteous will be judged and experience eternal punishment or torment.
Lesson to be practiced: We are to use the resources we have to help believers in need. We are to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ so people can call on the Lord and be saved (be made righteous) and escape eternal torment (Read Romans 10:13-17).
Matthew 25:14 "For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
"It" in verse 14 refers to the "Kingdom of Heaven" as in Matthew 25:1. Jesus is using an illustration from everyday life to describe what happens in the Kingdom of Heaven. The property owner entrusted his slaves with various amounts of his resources when he went on a journey. This illustrates what Jesus did with His followers when He ascended into heaven with the promise to return one day to rule. Jesus entrusted each follower with His Spirit and His resources (John 16:6; 2 Peter 1:3-4). Just as the property owner expected his servants to profitably invest the resources he gave them, so Jesus expects us to profitably invest the resources He has given to us. Just as the property owner returned after a long time to settle accounts with his servants, so Jesus will return after a long time to settle accounts with each of those He entrusted with His resources. Just as the property owner rewarded those who invested profitably so Jesus will reward His disciples who invest profitably. Just as the property owner brought judgment on the servant who didn't invest his resources, so Jesus will bring judgment on the people who didn't invest the resources given to them.
As believers in Jesus Christ we have been given His resources to profitably invest. We have been given the fruit of the Holy Spirit to invest in every relationship we have. People around us should experience the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control the Christ has given us. Our children are given us by God. We are to help them become followers of Christ. We are to invest the grace gifts given us to serve others (1 Peter 4:10). We are to invest the gospel given us to help other people believe and be saved from their sin. We are to invest the material goods we have been given in order to multiply followers of Jesus Christ.
We need to know the resources we have been entrusted with. Do you know? We are to be profitably investing the resources given us by Jesus until He returns. Are you investing His resources profitably? Will Jesus say to you, "Well done good and faithful servant", when He returns to settle accounts or will He say, "Depart from me you wicked, evil servant." ? Those who are investing Jesus' resources will be given more. Those not investing Jesus' resources will have taken away even what they have.
The lesson to be learned is: We are to profitably invest the resources we have been given by Jesus knowing He will reward us with more when He returns to settle accounts.