-The instance of the anointing occurs right before Christ’s crucifixion and burial in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, where Mary (simply indentified as a woman in Matthew and Mark), the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1-19) pours the alabaster ointment on the Head of Christ in preparation for His burial, as Jesus puts it. He assures the guests that observed this act that it was righteous and that it would be remembered throughout the course of gospel history in the whole world (which has certainly come to pass). The disciples, with the spokesman being the pilfering betrayer Judas Iscariot, were indignant and deceitfully remarked about using the money from this having greater potential with the poor. Jesus rebuked them and let them know that there would always be opportunity to help the poor, but He was only with them at this particular time. Had they really realized the significance of this moment and the fact that they were in the presence of Almighty God, their reaction would probably have been much different. Their eyes and ears were still somewhat dull and unperceptive. Jesus corrects them on this and commends the woman’s act of kindness done unto Him. *Application* The issue for us here is to consider our love and devotion to the King of kings and Lord of lords. We must anoint Him as God and Lord every day in our lives by coming into His presence and worshipping at His feet. For Mary to wipe the feet of Jesus with her hair, she had to bow before Him (John 12:3) We must also come humbly before Him every day and all the time for recognition as to who He is. It is only in this manner that we can rise up and do the service of our great and mighty King in the world in which we live. “Bless the LORD O my soul and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name (Psalm 103)!”
-Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, goes to the chief priests and works out a deal for his own personal benefit to betray the Lord Jesus Christ. He is awarded 30 pieces of silver for the delivering over of the Lord to the religious authorities by seeking an opportunity to betray Him in the absence of a crowd. Some have speculated that Judas may have had decent motives in this activity. They will give him too much benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps he was simply trying to usher in the Kingdom by force through instigating a conflict. This in my opinion is a short-sighted misinterpretation of the Scriptures. John and Luke are very poignant that Satan had filled his heart and only had greedy and evil intent with this betrayal (Luke 22:3, John 13:2). Judas Iscariot goes down as one of the greatest villains of all time by denying the Lord Jesus. *Application* Anytime greed and selfish motivation become our foray we are in deep trouble with the Lord. Be careful not to turn away from God and His plans for your life by seeking your own desires and the world’s pleasures. It could absolutely mean your demise and lead to your destruction.
-This last supper with the disciples occurs on the Thursday evening before the Christ’s crucifixion, Nisan 15, which is the first day of Unleavened Bread. Jesus instructs Peter and John to go and prepare the supper in an upper room in the city of Jerusalem at an unknown man’s guest room whom Jesus directed them to, either prearranged or supernaturally. When it was evening they ate the meal together as to the custom of the Jews reclining at the table. It is at this time that Jesus reveals that one with them will betray Him. He dips in the dish bowl with Judas Iscariot, and He pronounces woe upon him saying it would have been better if he had not been born. Ouch! The Lord reminds us that all had been written and determined beforehand concerning His going to the cross.
-The communion is given for the first time here in this occasion. They eat the bread of the body and drink the cup of the blood of the New Covenant together for the last time before Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of all mankind unto the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28). Jesus prophecies that they will not drink of the fruit of the vine again until they drink it new together in the Father’s Kingdom. This refers to the Messianic wedding banquet in the eschaton (Matthew 8:11, Revelation 19:9). *Application* Communion is a holy, somber, and righteous act done in remembrance of the Son and His salvific activities at the cross. It represents how the Lord has reunified us together with Him and each other as believers in perfect union. It is the consummation of the New Covenant ratified in His blood shed for us in pain and suffering for the purpose of justification from all sin in the Father’s sight unto the believer. Never lose sight of the importance of this offering God in His grace bestowed upon us, His beloved. Some have wrongly taken communion unto serious consequences in the spiritual realm (1 Corinthians 11:27-31). Don’t be flippant when partaking of the Lord’s bread and cup.
-After the disciples had sung a hymn, they were at the Mount of Olives when Jesus told them that the Shepherd would be struck down and the sheep would scatter. Peter, speaking for the entire group piped up and said that he would go to the death with Christ promising to never leave Him or forsake Him. However, Jesus, knowing the heart of man once again, predicted that in that very night before the rooster crowed (Mark says twice, Matthew gives three times) he would deny Him three times. This in fact happens as Jesus is taken into custody, and Peter realizes the truth of the Lord’s claims to the point of immense grief (Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-62). However, just as Jesus also predicted, Peter is restored and his faith turns again to the Christ (Luke 22:32). His faith ultimately does not fail and he becomes a tremendous leader in the church as the gospel goes out to the world. *Application* The Lord deals in reality and truth. Optimism without reality and truth produces no hope. The reality in Peter’s life was that there were deficiencies, which he was not even aware of. Jesus pointed out his condition and brought His beloved disciple to the point of brokenness and the realization that he wasn’t as faithful as he thought. Allow the Lord to shape your life in the same way. Ask Him to expose the weaknesses and reveal all to you for the purpose of repentance and restoration in Him. You will arise a spiritual giant once the Lord has refined you for His purposes. This is a difficult process, but absolutely rewarding. It is the death to self and the resurrection in His power that we need.
-Jesus, in the night, takes His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray earnestly for the cup of the Lord’s wrath on Him to be removed. Nevertheless, the Christ wanted the Father’s will over His own will in this matter and was obedient to the plans of God. He brought Peter, James, and John into the area about a stone’s throw away from where He was praying. They were tired, weary, and sorrowful at this point and could not resist sleeping in their physical bodies even though the Lord said their spirit was willing (Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38). This happened three times as Jesus went to pray, came back, went to pray, came back and went to pray and came back a third time. He was deeply grieved and sorrowful to the point of death, the Word tells us, in His final hours before His crucifixion. The stress was enormous as we read about as the perspiration of blood dripped from His body while He knelt in prayer. Luke tells us that an angel came to strengthen Him in these moments. Jesus was in the presence of the Lord, but He was suffering terribly. The realization that His disciples were sleeping probably caused Him even greater rejection sorrow because He knew the supreme significance of this hour and the spiritual warfare that was present. He warned them to pray so that they would not be overcome with temptation. The truth was, Peter would draw a sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest (Malchus, John 18:10), and the rest of them would scatter in fear. They succumbed to the temptation of the moment, but God eventually restored them and not one of them was lost other than Judas Iscariot (John 17:12; 18:9). *Application* How often does the Lord call on us to do difficult things for His Kingdom and His purposes here on earth? The answer is all the time if we are sensitive enough to hear His voice and obey. It is never easy to completely follow the will and the direction of the Lord, but it will yield the harvest of righteousness and goodness in the end when you do. There is always sacrifice in the offering, but the reward is tremendous as we see in the final victory of Christ Jesus after He had gone through His torture and death but resurrected with power and glory. Obey the Lord in all that He is asking you to do in His Name. Answer the call willingly as Jesus did and put aside your own will. The Lord’s example should inspire our complete devotion (1 Kings 8:61, 2 Chronicles 16:9, Hebrews 12:1-3).
-The crowd of people from the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the people came at night with Judas Iscariot, swords, clubs, and torches to possibly do battle with the people of Jesus and bring Him into custody. Several, if not many, of the disciples probably thought at the time that the Kingdom of God would have to be won by force such as is common to man and the natural order of things on this earth. The Lord turns this potentially violent scene into a virtually harmless event with His words and healing action after the cutting off of the ear of Malchus by Peter (Luke 22:51, John 18:8-11). Judas Iscariot betrayed His Lord with a kiss as a sign in the dark night as to who His Rabbi was for all the throng of captors. The Christ asked him the question, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss (Luke 22:48)?” The Lord, as we see in the book of John, was willing to go with them without a fight and readily identified Himself to the shock and awe of those around (John 18:6). The falling to the ground and back may have been proof of some Divine revelation, which is not uncommon in the Scriptures (Ezekiel 1:28; 44:4, Daniel 2:46; 8:18; 10:9, Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14, Revelation 1:17; 19:10; 22:8). Jesus was now in the hands of evil men for the purpose of humanity’s salvation. *Application* I doubt many of us have been in a physical situation like this where people are coming to capture or detain us. The presence Christ had in this tense moment, however, should give us confidence in stressful situations we sometimes face in life. I’m sure we can identify with altercations with mean spirited and angry people who intend to disrupt our peace in stressful environments or situations. Let the serenity of Christ overwhelm you in those moments and put on the Spirit-filled fruit of self-control when these temptations arise. Don’t freak out, stay cool under pressure! It will be a testimony to all.
-The band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews lead the crowd that arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane near the base of the Mount of Olives, just to the east across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem. It was in the dark of night, and Jesus commented concerning this power of darkness and the underhanded way that these had come to Him undercover rather than openly (Matthew 26:55, Mark 14:48-49, Luke 22:53). This was in fulfillment of the prophets in the Scriptures (Isaiah 53:1-12, Daniel 9:25-26). The Lamb must go to the slaughter without a fight sacrificially and carrying the load. No one took Jesus into custody. He could have called down twelve legions of angels (72,000) to deliver Him if He had appealed to the Father (Matthew 26:53), but He didn’t. He suffered, the just for the unjust for the purpose of our salvation if we turn to Him in faith (1 Peter 3:18). Again, He refrained from violence and denounced it commenting that, “…all who take up the sword will perish by the sword (Matthew 26:52).” This was not the way of the Kingdom of God. It would be won through love, faith, and sacrifice, not by force (Luke 16:15-16, John 3:16, 1 John 5:4-5). The Christ will drink from the cup that the LORD had given Him (John 18:11) *Application* Christ’s teaching here seems to our natural minds so antithetical to the normal manner of operation. In other words, He goes against the flow of this marred, diluted, and depraved world and radically alters our perception of how things should be. We would never think naturally that to give up would gain the greatest victory, but in the end it is God’s power that conquers through sacrificial obedience. This is the revolutionary message of the cross and it is still transforming lives today! For an excellent example see the movie To End All Wars.
-Jesus is led by the officers from Gethsemane to Annas and then to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, as we can ascertain from the Scriptures. He is taken in for questioning in an attempt to garner testimony that would condemn Him before the chief priest, the scribes, and the elders. This was an illegal gathering according to their laws of the Sanhedrin (prominent Sadducees and Pharisees). Many were brought forward to give accusation against the Lord, but they did not concur and were proven false again and again because of disagreements in their witness. It finally came down to a direct question from the high priest as to if He was the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed (Mark 14:61). When Jesus claimed that, “I Am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right Hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven (Matthew 26:64, Mark 14:62, Luke 22:69-70),” it was enough to draw the ire of the council and condemn Him for blasphemy. His fate in the eyes of the Jewish leaders was sealed at that point, but they could not crucify Him without permission from the governor, which would be the next step in the passion of Christ Jesus. *Application* When we stand against the accusers in our life, how do we react? We learn from Jesus here that our testimony needs to be true and accurate with no deception or lies. We don’t need to make up stories or excuses when confronted, and we don’t have to say all that much. Christ really made no defense. His life backed up His testimony. He would come with Power from on High, which was not a lie fabricated in His mind with falsehood. He simply spoke the facts and left the results to God. So should we when accusation arises. Live with integrity.
-Peter, and one other disciple unknown to the high priest (probably John), follow the Christ into His custody hearing before the high priests, the scribes, and the elders at the house of Caiaphas. There are different accounts of how things happened in the gospels, but we see the Word of Christ coming to fulfillment in the life of Peter, the man who claimed just hours earlier he would never leave or forsake the Lord even to death (Matthew 26:35, Mark 14:29, Luke 22:33). Peter is with Him, but denies even knowing the Man three times before the rooster crowed twice. His response was remorse and bitter weeping knowing that he was not the man he thought he was in light of all that had just happened. He had not yet received the Holy Spirit and the power that would later characterize his life as we read in Acts. Satan had desired to sift him like wheat (Luke 22:31), but Christ prayed for him and he would be restored in faith and turn back to the Lord to strengthen his brothers (Luke 22:32). He had cursed the very association with Christ Jesus and denied Him flatly and plainly. However, this was not the end and he would receive the grace and forgiveness every person needs from the Savior. *Application* O how sweet restoration is! We have it in Christ, who is our great Intercessor before the LORD (Romans 8:34). Please realize how great a God we have that cares for us in our weakness and restores us, and our weak constitutions in depravity, through the remission of sins. Even when we have great intentions, we like Peter, fail and don’t stand for God at times. Turn back to Him and let Him fill you with His strength and power through the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.
Verses to Memorize: Matthew 26:39, 52