Today’s Reading: Matthew 26:1-75
The Passage tells of the plot to kill Jesus, and the events that precede the event, namely Judas’ Betrayal, Institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus’ Arrest, and Peter’s Denial of Jesus. This scripture passage encompasses the very essence of our Christianity, and the great love Jesus has for us, and echoes many themes of the Lenten Season. Lent is a period to be spent in solidarity with Jesus. As Jesus suffered in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, so we must live in suffering with our sinful nature, just as Peter did once he denied Jesus. Peter denies Jesus three times, something Jesus told him he would do prior to being arrested. After this event is fulfilled and Peter does in fact deny Jesus three times, he weeps bitterly (Matthew 26:69-75). I think this is a strong parallel to the Lenten season as well. We acknowledge our sinful nature, and the fact that we have disobeyed the commands that God has set out for us, just as Peter sadly acknowledged his own faults after he denied Jesus. However, I think an important component of Lent is this feeling of hope, hope that is fulfilled by Christ’s great sacrifice on the Cross. In the passage, Jesus is prepared for death – he speaks of it and enters willingly into it as he peacefully succumbs to the hands of his accusers in Gethsemane. On the night of the Passover, outlined in Matthew 26:26, Jesus offers his disciples his body and blood which has become a very important component of our faith.
As He willingly goes before Caiaphas and the Council, Jesus knows his fate. The body and blood he offered at the Last Supper becomes a reality. He gives his body, and He gives his Blood, the ultimate sacrifice for us sinners. I think this has another important parallel to the Lenten period. As Jesus prepares for his own death, we reflect and prepare for Easter Sunday, the day He rose from the dead. We come to understand that although we are sinners, Christ still entered willingly into his passion for our own sake. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22 “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”. In this chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells us he is going to shed his blood for us as he offers it in the form of wine. Without Jesus preparing for the cross in this way, we would all be lost souls without forgiveness. So, although this season is about reflection of ourselves and our sins, we must remember that Christ loves us so much that he willingly entered into the hands of his accusers, and shed his own blood for our forgiveness.
This Bible passage is very fitting for the start of Holy Week. It is all about Jesus’ preparation for his crucifixion, and eventual ascension into Heaven. As the Lord prepared for his death and resurrection, we too must prepare and acknowledge our sins, but it is these sins and Jesus’ great love for us that pushed him to willingly take up the cross for our own salvation.
James Sullivan ’19 is an economics concentrator in Dunster.