Treachery, Passover, and The Cup
“Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. 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?” 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.’ ” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 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.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” 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.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 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.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 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.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.””
Judas Iscariot goes to the chief priests, seeking an unthinkable bargain. He asks what he could expect to receive if he delivered Jesus to the people who sought to murder him. With sinister intentions, they quickly offer the sum of thirty pieces of silver. Judas' treachery cannot be exaggerated. He sold out his Rabbi and began to look for the perfect opportunity to hand him over to his enemies. We have no explanation of his motives, but we certainly understand his character.
An Unforgettable Passover
Jesus informs his disciples that it is time for the Passover meal and directs them to find a man whose house they can use for the occasion. They do as instructed, and Jesus gathers them around a table for the sacred meal. Unexpectedly, Jesus reveals that one of his own will betray him, leaving the disciples shocked and fearful. Judas must have felt particularly uneasy. Jesus sadly states, "It would have been better if he had not been born." Judas calls him simply Rabbi out of respect. This moment reflects the magnitude of betrayal that Jesus endured with the knowledge that he would soon be abandoned by one of his own.
The Lord's Supper
Jesus uses a living parable to give a fresh understanding of the traditional meal the disciples had been celebrating for years. He took the bread, thanked God for it, and said it symbolized his body. He then took the cup and blessed it since it represented his blood, shed as a sacrifice for sins. Lastly, he declared that the King would not partake of the fruit of the vine again until his Father's Kingdom came to its fulfillment.
After singing a hymn in the upper room, they head to the Mount of Olives. Jesus informs them that His betrayal would fulfill prophecy but that they should meet Him in Galilee after He rises again. Peter speaks up immediately, swearing that he won't abandon Jesus like everyone else. Jesus warns him that he will deny Him three times before the rooster crows the next day. Peter and the other disciples pledge their complete loyalty to Jesus, declaring their willingness to die before denying Him.
Let This Cup Pass
Jesus leads the disciples to Gethsemane, where He takes Peter, James, and John with Him, while the rest are asked to stay back. Knowing the terrible suffering He will soon endure, He is afflicted and filled with sorrow. So He asks His closest friends to watch and pray with Him as He falls to His face and pleads with the Father to let the cup of wrath pass from Him, yet He ultimately accepts His Father's will. When He returns, He finds them asleep and rebukes them for their inability to stay awake for even an hour. He encourages them to pray so that they may not fall into temptation. Jesus was in agony, but he would obey the Father's will no matter the cost. Finally, He rouses them—the hour of betrayal has arrived, and the tragedy that follows is immeasurable.
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