Saturday 16 April 2022

Matthew 26:17-30 (NIV)

17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” 25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.” 26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

This is probably a passage you may have heard or read many times. The second half is one of the passages often used during communion. I noticed a couple of things as I read this passage today that I have never noticed before.

Verse 30 talks about the disciples and Jesus singing a hymn or a psalm at the end of the Passover meal. A beautiful reminder that, when we worship with music, we are just doing the same thing as Jesus. Maybe finishing a meal in worship is something we can try.

The interaction between Jesus and Judas was also interesting. Jesus effectively confirms that Judas is the one who will betray Him but no one else at the table appears to notice. I can imagine the meal was a loud affair – it was a celebration and there were many people in the room – but surely the other disciples would have noticed. Given their surprise when Judas does betray Jesus, it appears not. If I was at dinner with Jesus, I think I would pay attention to every word He said – wouldn’t you? They were relaxed, He was their friend/mate and they were just having dinner. Do I have that sort of relationship with Jesus?

Dear Lord, thank you for the amazing details you include in the stories you give us. The little details that paint such pictures for us – of the richness of relationship and the intricacies of life. Help us to include worship of you more in our daily lives. Help us to build relationship with you such that we are just so comfortable in your presence. Help us to pay attention to all that you say – to not miss anything. Thank you so much. Amen.

Written by Therese Manning

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