Bible Reading Blog
“Jesus Knew”Categories: Congregational Bible Reading
BIBLE READING: Matthew 26
“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.’” (Matthew 26.31)
In Matthew 26.26-29, Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper. It was an intimate occasion Jesus deliberately chose to spend with his friends. But this meal was not a festive formality. He used this time to say some very direct things to his friends. In fact, just prior to their partaking, he had announced to them that someone would betray him... even looking Judas in eyes and telling him to do his work quickly (John 13.27).
Jesus knew what was coming. He knew Judas had already made his plans (Matthew 26.14-16). He knew even his closest friends were going to abandon him in this critical moment. Jesus knew all that was coming, and he didn’t keep it a secret. What a convicting thing to have Jesus look you in the eyes and tell you your sin (Matthew 26.25).
Sandwiched between these two confrontations Jesus sat down to eat with his friends. This context speaks powerfully to what the Lord’s supper memorial should include as we participate each week.
Yes, we are supposed to do this in remembrance of Jesus (Luke 22.19). He was focused, steadfast and immovable even though he knew what was about to happen. But it’s not just about us remembering him; we must also examine ourselves in light of what he did (1 Corinthians 11.28). The Lord’s supper is a time of personal evaluation. We will falter and fail miserably. We too will betray and deny and fall away from Jesus at times.
Jesus already knows that. His word calls us to account, and we are often aware of our failures. But sandwiched in between his words of conviction is this memorial that we participate in. It reminds us that even though he knows our sins and shortcomings, he still went to the cross and suffer for them. Our fellowship with Jesus is in “the light” of this communion (1 John 1.7). While we were enemies of his, dead in our trespasses and sins, he made us alive together with him (Romans 5.6-9). At one point in our lives, we didn’t realize that. The disciples didn’t fully realize it in this moment. But as they did afterwards, we too reflect on the choices Jesus made: to go to the cross to die for us; and it ought to change us.
The Lord’s supper is a necessary and needed remembrance we do each week. It is a time for us to reflect on who we will be in light of what Jesus has done. But we have a choice. Will we respond like Judas and wallow in our sin and shortcomings? Or will we respond like Peter: Weeping bitterly for our sins and choosing to repent and be different?