Matthew 26:20-29; Mark 14•17-25; Luke 22:14-23;John 13:18-27
At the Passover meal Jesus told his disciples, “I’m going to be betrayed by one of you!”
The disciples gasped. Who would turn the teacher over to his enemies? They looked at each other and wondered, “Is he the one?”
Jesus said, “I’m going to dip this piece of bread. Whoever dips his bread with Mine is the one.” Then Jesus dipped the bread. Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, joined Him. God’s enemy went into Judas then. Jesus said, “Go and do what you must.”Judas got up and left the room. The other disciples thought he might be going out to buy more food. Judas knew he was going to Jesus’ enemies. Jesus took a loaf of bread and tore it into pieces. He handed the chunks around the table. He thanked God for it and said, “Eat it. This is my body. Remember Me when you do this.”Then Jesus took the cup of wine. He lifted it up high. He thanked God again. Then He said, “This is My blood to take away sin. Drink from this, all of you. I will always be with you. I won’t drink this again until I drink it with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
Jesus had changed the Passover feast into “The Lord’s Supper.” This was Jesus’ last meal on earth. The Last Supper would become a very special way for Jesus’ followers to remember Him.
He and His disciples had finished the meal. They stood and sang a very old song of praise to God. Then it was time for them to leave the house. Jesus headed for the Mount of Olives. This was a quiet place with old trees. It was a place to rest and think a place to pray. It was a place to wait.
Jesus and His disciples climbed the hill to the garden which was called Gethsemane. As they walked, Jesus said, “Tonight, you will all run away. No matter what happens, remember that I’ll meet you in Galilee afterwards.”
Peter said, “No! Maybe the others will desert you, but I won’t!”
“Peter,” Jesus said, “before tonight is over, that is exactly what you will do. Before the cock crows three time sat dawn, you will have sworn three times that you don’t even know me.””Oh no! I’d sooner die than do that!” Peter cried out.
The other disciples said the same.”We’ll never run away!”
The disciples were very upset. They followed Jesus and tried to make sense of what Jesus had been telling them.”All evening long He’s talked about His being betrayed and dying. What does it all mean?”
“Did you see how upset the teacher was while we ate? Do you really think he’s going to die soon?”
“I don’t know,” another answered.”I don’t see how. Look how quiet everything is. Everyone is home.”
“What if He does go away? What will we do then?”
Jesus knew they were confused and afraid. He said, “Listen, you must stop worrying like this. You’ve been trusting God, now trust Me. When I die, I am going back to My Father. There is a place for everyone in heaven. I will prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you home with me. Then we will always be together.”
One of the disciples, Thomas, said, “But Lord, we don’t know where you’re going. How will we ever get here?”
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to reach the Father is through believing in me.” Jesus doesn’t just show us the way to God, He is the Way to God!
On the way to the garden, Jesus stopped. He wanted to pray with His disciples one last time.
He said, “Father, the time has come. You gave me these men. They listened and believed that you sent Me. For their sakes, keep them safe after I leave. While I was with them, I guarded them. Now I go to you sot hey can have more joy than they ever dreamed possible.
“The world may hate them, but you and I love them. Let them be one, as we are. As they go into the world now, be with them, as you were with Me. Let the love you gave me, now live inside them.”
Jesus was asking the Father to protect all His followers for all time. He was praying for people like you and me. When he had finished, He led them into the garden.
There, He took Peter, James and John. They went off alone together. Jesus was very upset. He said, “My soul is torn up inside, to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch.” He was going to talk with His Father. Then He said, “Pray that you won’t be weak tonight.” Jesus went off by himself to pray.
A short distance away from the disciples, He fell onto the ground. “Oh, Father!” Jesus cried out. “If it’s possible, don’t let Me go through this pain. My Father, isn’t there any other way, must I go through this?” Jesus knew God wasn’t making Him do anything. Jesus had chosen to obey. That way God could work miracles. He could offer all people for all times a chance to start over and be clean with God.
Jesus looked up at the stars. He said, “Father, I’m willing to do what you want.”
Then an angel from heaven came to Jesus. The angel made Him stronger. Jesus prayed and prayed. The sweat pouring down His face was like drops of blood. Each one left a mark in the dust as it fell onto the ground.
Finally He stood up and went back to His disciples. They had fallen asleep! They were so sad and confused.
They just curled up and went to sleep. “Peter, are you asleep? Couldn’t you even keep watch for one hour? Stay awake with me and pray that you won’t be tempted tonight.”This happened two more times. Jesus went off to pour His heart out to God. He came back, only to find the disciples fast asleep. It was a lonely time for Jesus. When He came back the third time, He said, “Are you still sleeping? All right. The time has finally come. Look! Get up! Let’s go. Look! There he is the one who betrays me!”