What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus created a new covenant—a new way of being in relationship with God—through his blood (verse 20).
- Jesus expected his disciples to be tempted as with Judas and Peter, and rather than prevent it, he prayed that their “faith may not fail,” (verse 32).
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Again, it is good to pass on responsibility to disciples (verses 7-13).
- We are not to exercise authority as if to achieve greatness, but rather we are to serve (verses 25-27).
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
What stands out for me is the stark “aloneness” of Jesus in this passage. Everyone, even his closest friends, are abandoning him.
- First, Judas. We know from John 6:64; 70 that Judas never really believed in Jesus. Perhaps we find that amazing. After all, he was right there with the rest of the Twelve, getting the insider’s teaching, witnessing the same miracles and exorcisms. You might wonder how it is possible that someone could have so many profound encounters with Jesus and yet still not believe. But we can look at the earliest accounts in the Bible, the Exodus, for instance, and we see how quickly people forget the miraculous things God has done and begin to doubt and mutter. And truth be told, we can look at God’s work in our own life, see his miraculous intervention, and yet our hearts still grow cold and suspicious. God help us!
- Then, they share a powerful spiritual feast. It is part Passover meal (known as the Seder). We sense in verses 28 and following that this meal anticipates the great wedding feast of the lamb which will come at the consummation of all things (Rev 19: 9.) In other words, in the Passover, they experience Jesus, the ultimate Passover Lamb and they also get a taste of the Heavenly Feast of the Lamb.
Anyhow, on the heels of this powerful experience in which Jesus says, explicitly, that he will be betrayed and “Woe to that man who betrays him,” the VERY next words are about the disciples arguing among themselves who is the greatest. Can you sense the distance growing between Jesus, bound for the cross, and the disciples who want to leverage Jesus’ friendship into power for themselves?
- The abandonment continues in the Mt. of Olives. He begs them to stand vigil in his time of anguish. Only Dr. Luke mentions that Jesus sweats blood drops, a condition called hematidrosis, which occurs in extreme stress. And yet, when he returns from wrestling with the Father about his impending torment, he finds the disciples asleep. Again, alone!
- When he is arrested, Judas obviously betrays him but the rest appear to scatter. Even bold Peter, who promised to die for him, denies him thrice.
- The soldiers mock him and beat him.
- And, of course, the religious leaders conspire against him.
Has ever a man felt more alone, more abandoned, than Jesus did in this moment? How great his love for us must be that he would endure such brutal isolation!