The last section of Matthew’s gospel (chapters 26-28) relates the betrayal, lawless apprehension and trial, death by crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Jews did not expect this of their promised Messiah and King, which is why Matthew tells how such events fulfilled Scripture. Matthew details how the religious leaders’ plans were characterized by trickery (v. 4), paying off faithless Judas to betray Jesus (vv. 14-16), and secured false witnesses against him (vv. 59-61).
In contrast, Jesus knew God’s will (vv. 2, 12, 18, 21, 23-24, 28, 31, 56; cf. Acts 2:23; 4:27-28) and never fought against it (cf. Isa 53:7), but rather faithfully and prayerfully submitted (vv. 36-44).
At the Passover meal (vv. 17-29), Jesus told the disciples that would be the last meal they would have together until he returned and established the kingdom (v. 29). Jesus initiated the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, where the bread and cup symbolized his substitutionary death for sinners (v. 26-28). Jesus’ death provided the basis for the new covenant, which included the forgiveness of sins.
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Jesus died, not because he was a sinner, but because of God’s love for sinners (cf. John 3:16; Rom 5:8). God declared his love for Israel in the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-33:26), and Jesus’ death was necessary for sins to be forgiven (Jer 31:34). Dear friend, your only hope of God forgiving your sins is if you receive and rest on Jesus alone!
- When Jesus was greatly distraught he prayed (vv. 36-44). You will never face a trial as difficult as Jesus did, yet you have the same resource of prayer. Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation, for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!
- Peter illustrates the weakness of human flesh. Despite his brave boasting (vv. 33, 35) and even though Jesus told him what would happen (v. 34), Peter’s strength wilted under pressure (vv. 69-75). Heed Jesus’ instruction (v. 41)!