Matthew 26:17-35 … The passage before us takes us within a day of the crucifixion. Our Lord Jesus was fully aware of the unfolding events and fully in control as He told his disciples to make preparations for the Passover (v.18). As the meal began, Jesus dropped a real bombshell when He announced, “One of you will betray me” (v.21). Based on Judas’ poor reputation as the disciples “treasurer” (John 12:6), you might think that some of those in attendance would be staring at Judas. But no: each asked, “Is it I?” from which we might conclude their uncertainty about all these events and their disorientation from the frightening disclosure that one of them was a betrayer. Of course, when Judas Iscariot asked, he knew that he was the traitor, and Jesus confirmed that it was he.
Moving on from that conversation, the Passover meal was eaten and is recorded in all four Gospels and in 1 Corinthians 11. Jesus compared the elements of the meal with his own impending sacrifice, wherein He died “for many,” including you and me (v.28). The quotation in verse 31 is from Zechariah 13:7, which is one of the many Old Testament verses that pre-figures events in the life of Christ. The passage then ends with Peter’s protest about his faithfulness to Jesus. No doubt he meant every word of it, but when the rubber met the road (as the expression goes), his personal efforts didn’t match up to his commitment and he failed. We should be grateful for the example of Peter, who shows us that we too will fail, and when we do, Jesus is there; Jesus forgives, and Jesus strengthens us for the next trial.
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