Matthew, Chapter 26
Matt. 26:26 "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it,
and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is
my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them,
saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new
testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I
say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine,
until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. 30
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives."
This passage details to us the first two parts of what is
commonly referred to as the communion service. The third part of the
communion service is found in John chapter 13. There are two New
Testament ordinances: baptism and the communion service. Both of these
ordinances show forth the death of Jesus and what he accomplished for us
in his death. Baptism shows forth the death, burial and resurrection of
the Lord Jesus.
The communion service is divided into three parts. The
first part is the breaking and eating of bread. The bread is a symbolic
memorial of the body of Christ. The Lord took the bread and blessed it
and break it and gave it to the disciples. He said, "Take, eat, this is
my body." The bread used is unleavened bread. We know they used
unleavened bread because the feast of the Passover and the next seven
days was required to be observed with unleavened bread:
1. Ex. 12:8 "And they shall eat the flesh in that night,
roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall
2. Ex. 12:15 "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first
day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth
leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall
be cut off from Israel."
Furthermore, leaven is used in the scriptures to
represent sin and evil:
1. Mat 16:6 "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and
beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." Mat 16:11
"How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you
concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees
and of the Sadducees? 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them
not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees
and of the Sadducees."
2. Luke 12:1 "In the mean time, when there were gathered together an
innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon
another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of
the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."
3. 1 Cor 5:6 "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little
leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven,
that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.
For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the
leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of
sincerity and truth."
Unleavened bread represents in the scriptures, sincerity,
truth, and purity: 1 Cor 5:7 "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that
ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover
is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old
leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the
unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
From the above we glean that Christ's sinless, spotless,
pure body was offered in sacrifice and broken for us as is symbolized by
the unleavened bread.
Next, the Lord "took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave
it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the
new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." The
element in the cup is wine. We know it was wine and not grape juice for
the following reasons:
1. First, wine was the Old Testament drink offering:
a. Ex. 29:39 "The one lamb thou shalt offer in the
morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: 40 And with the
one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of
beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.
41 And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto
according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the
drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire
unto the LORD."
b. Lev. 23:12 "And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he
lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the
LORD. 13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine
flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a
sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the
fourth part of an hin."
c. Num. 15:5 "And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering
shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb. 6
Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meat offering two tenth deals of
flour mingled with the third part of an hin of oil. 7 And for a drink
offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet
savour unto the LORD."
Notice that these Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the sacrificial
offering of the Lord and the meat offering was unleavened bread and the
drink offering was wine.
2. The church at Corinth had misapplied the meaning of the communion and
some had become drunken on the wine: 1 Cor. 11:20 "When ye come together
therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 21 For
in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is
hungry, and another is drunken."
Wine is used as a symbol of the blood of Christ because
there is no leaven in wine. There is a natural leaven in grape juice and
it will ferment. Since there is no leaven in wine, it will not ferment.
Wine represents the pure sinless blood of Christ which he offered for us
to redeem us from our sins.
The third part of the communion service is the washing of
the saints feet. This is found in the 13th chapter of John: John 13:3
"Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and
that he was come from God, and went to God; 4 He riseth from supper, and
laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After
that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples'
feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded."
Next, the Lord taught his disciples to wash one another's
feet: John 13:12 "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his
garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have
done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I
am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also
ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example,
that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto
you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent
greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye
if ye do them."
The washing of the saints feet is a service of humility.
The one who washes has humbled himself, and the one who allows his feet
to be washed has also humbled himself. By washing one another's feet we
are showing our willingness to humbly serve one another because of the
love that the Lord has manifest to us by going to the cross and
suffering in our stead and redeeming us from our sins. Now we want to
serve the Lord by serving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Matt. 26:31 "Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended
because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am
risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and
said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet
will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto
thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not
deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples."
It is truly amazing just how closed the eyes of the
disciples were to the things that the Lord was speaking to them. Yet
there are times when we have already made up our minds about the things
that we are going to believe that we too have our eyes closes to the
plain teachings of God's word, when they contradict our preconceived
notions. As we have already noted the disciples had rejected the idea
that the Messiah would die. They were looking more for a conquering King
more than they were looking for a Savior. Yet, according to God's
amazing grace they and we got both.
On this occasion, the Lord pointed the disciples to the
scripture which said, "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the
flock shall be scattered abroad. But, the Lord continued to tell the
disciples, that though he would die, that he would rise again. This
should have been exciting news to the disciples, but they could never
get past their rejection of the fact that Christ would die.
Now, the Lord told them that they would all be offended
because of him that night. To this Peter vehemently objected, saying,
"Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be
offended." How little we know of our own sin-cursed heart and how it
will react under pressure. No doubt, at the time Peter said this, he
believed it to be true. Yet Peter was being boastful as he bragged that
he had greater love for the Lord than any other man did. How careful we
should be of our conceits. We really know little about what is in our
own hearts. Yet the Lord has perfect understanding and knows exactly how
we will react. The Lord knows what is in the heart of man. To this end
the Lord said, "Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock
crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.”
The rest of the disciples also claimed that they would
not deny the Lord. Yet the Lord knowing what was in their hearts knew
how they would react to the things that would transpire on that night
and told them that they would be offended and deny him.
Matt. 26:36 "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane,
and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to
be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is
exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed,
saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:
nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the
disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye
not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into
temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He
went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if
this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time,
saying the same words."
The Lord went with the disciples, except Judas Iscariot,
who had gone to gather a band of men together to take the Lord, into a
garden known as Gethsemane. He had the disciples to wait for him, while
he and three of the disciples, Peter, James and John, went further into
the garden. He had the three to sit and wait for him and to watch while
he went to pray.
The Lord began to be sorrowful and very heavy. This is
talking about the humanity of Christ and not the divinity of Christ. In
his human nature, he experienced sorrow and heaviness concerning the
things that he was soon to suffer. He said, "My soul is exceeding
sorrowful, even unto death."
"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and
prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from
me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Several things can be
noted here. First, the humility of Christ is manifest when he fell on
his face and prayed. The picture portrayed here is not the divinity of
Christ as the Son of God, but it shows the humility of Christ as the Son
of Man. The events concerning the next three days are primarily set
forth to show us the picture of the man Christ Jesus who came to redeem
his people from their sins. In addition, we learn a practical lesson in
that we should humble ourselves to approach unto our heavenly Father as
Christ humbled himself.
Second, the prayer request was not to cast doubt on what
needed to be done, or on the willingness of Christ to do it. Rather,
Christ was showing to us the necessity that he drink the cup of death.
If there had been any other way for the elect to be redeemed other than
Christ suffering death for them, then it would not have been necessary
for Christ to drink the cup of death.
Third, it shows Christ's subjugation to the will of the
Father. The will of the Father is stated in John 6:38 "For I came down
from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which
he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at
the last day." Jesus was reiterating this subjugated will as he said,
"Not my will, but thine be done." Further we should follow the example
of Jesus and couch our prayer request with "not my will, but thine be
done." Above all else, we should follow the will of the Father and not
our own will, when the Father's will is different from our will.
While the Lord thus prayed, the three disciples had
fallen asleep and the Lord rebuked them and said, "What, could ye not
watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into
temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Here
the Lord rebukes the disciples for falling to watch and pray. He also
tells us that we have a two-fold nature: the nature of the inner man or
the spirit; and the nature of the outer man or flesh. When it comes to
serving the Lord, the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
We who have been born of the Spirit have an indwelling spiritual inner
man who indeed is willing to serve the Lord, yet we also have a fleshly
outer man who does not want to serve the Lord. No doubt, the disciples
were tired and the flesh wanted to sleep, yet the inner man wanted to do
what the Lord told them to do. This is a constant battle that the
disciple must ever fight: the flesh warring against the spirit, and the
spirit the flesh.
The Lord admonished the disciples to: "Watch and pray,
that ye enter not into temptation." It is needful that we overcome and
mortify the deeds of the flesh. Watchfulness and prayer are necessary
deeds that we need to keep from entering into temptation. While it may
not seem significant at the time that the disciples went to sleep rather
than watching and praying, yet when the events transpire during the
night there failure to watch and pray is very much manifest in their
actions. Thankfully, the Lord does not fall asleep but is ever vigilant
in all things.
The Lord prayed the same prayer three times. Sometimes
people suggest that we should only pray for something one time, yet we
have the example of the Lord that it is all right to pray for something
more than one time.
The Lord spoke of the cup and drinking the cup. This cup
was the cup of death and it was necessary that the Lord drink the cup of
death in order that the elect be redeemed from their sins. Here we make
a distinction between death and dying. The Lord was not praying that his
body not die, but rather he was praying about death. Death is a state of
being, while dying is a process. The cup of death refers to the
suffering required because of God's wrathful judgment of sins. The Lord
suffered on the cross the equivalent amount of suffering that all the
elect deserved at the hands of God because of all of their sins. This
suffering the eternal punishment of God is what we refer to as the cup
of death. Christ drank it and it was necessary for our eternal
redemption that he drink it.
Matt. 26:45 "Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep
on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of
man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going:
behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. 47 And while he yet spake,
lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with
swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48
Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall
kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus,
and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him,
Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on
Jesus, and took him."
What a contrast is presented to us here. While the disciples were
sleeping and taking their rest, the Lord was in heaviness and an agony.
Also, the Lord does not sleep while there is work to be done and to us
the greatest work imaginable was about to be done of the Lord, i.e., the
salvation of God's elect.
This was the hour of which the Lord had previously spoken:
1. John 2:4 "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?
mine hour is not yet come."
2. John 12:23 "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that
the Son of man should be glorified."
3. John 17:1 "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven,
and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also
may glorify thee:" This was the hour of suffering, of death, and
ultimately of redemption from sin.
There has been much speculation about the physical appearance of the
Lord, yet we can conclude that Jesus' appearance did not stand out from
those about him. It was necessary that Judas give the mob that was come
out to take Jesus a sign as to who he was. The sign was a kiss. If he
had a special appearance or otherwise stood out in appearance from the
disciples, it would not have been necessary to give the mob a sign.
Once again, an Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled: Psa 41:9 "Yea, mine
own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath
lifted up his heel against me." Judas had come and betrayed the Lord
that he might obtain his thirty pieces of silver.