God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November 9 - Matthew 26; Mark 14: The Betrayal of Abandoned Jesus

Today’s Reading: Matthew 26; Mark 14

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

The Creator is arrested and put on trial for suggesting He is the Savior of the world.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

A woman anointed Jesus with perfume.
Judas would betray Jesus for 30 silver coins.
During the Passover meal Jesus asserted that an Apostle would betray Him.
They ate bread and wine, representing His Body and Blood.
Jesus informed the Apostles, "You will leave Me." Peter protested. "Peter, you will deny Me three times before morning."
Jesus submitted to God's Plan, though He prayed that God find a different way.
Judas betrayed Jesus. The Disciples fled.
Caiaphas heard accusations against Jesus. Jesus told Caiaphas He was the Messiah. The crowds cried for Jesus' execution.
Three times Peter denied he knew Jesus.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

The Pharisees wanted a quick and easy execution to prevent a riot.

They realized if Jesus was taken while teaching the crowds would turn into a mob and remove the Pharisees from power. Therefore they wanted a quick, easy trial to sweep Jesus away.

Even though it was necessary for the world, it was better that Judas never had been born.

This is a difficult statement. Jesus is setting up a paradox which would seem contradictory—a vital act which would cause significant punishment to the one carrying it out. I'm not sure I can understand it. What we should know is that even though God can use any and all situations for good, the ones who do not set things right will still be punished.

The Passover Supper was given new meaning—God's New Covenant.

The Passover Supper was meant to remind Israel who removed them from Egypt. They were to teach their children that the bread and wine were eaten to remember what God did for them. Later, God changed His defining act to the removal of the Exile. Jesus takes the Passover and redefines it as His Body and His Blood. His Body was His Teachings. The Blood was the New Covenant—God providing an innocent sacrifice which would cover all sins. When we eat the Lord's Supper, we commemorate both the teachings of Jesus and the blood He shed for us.

Jesus would lead the Apostles into Galilee.

Jesus warned the Apostles that He would die and three days later come back. In today's reading, He suggested that He would not only come back but He would gather them again and lead them once more. Jesus is willing to use anyone willing to follow Him. It doesn't matter what you have done in the past. He will lead you if you allow Him to.

The Apostles fled because their entire world came crashing down.

Thomas showed great faith in Jesus. Peter confessed that Jesus was the Son of God and that He had the words of eternal life. The Apostles had left everything and followed Jesus. When Jesus was arrested, their lives were over. They had assumed Jesus would be the ruler of the world, not a prisoner. They came face-to-face with failure and questioned their involvement in Jesus' life. We should not think harsh of the Apostles. They ran because their world came crashing down.

Jesus wanted an easier way, but He submitted Himself to God's Plan.

The prayer in Gethsemane is heart-wrenching. Jesus stands before the Father—the One who sent Him to set things right and the one He is One with—and begs for His Life. If God had any other ideas on how to redeem His Creation, Jesus was willing to entertain them. However, Jesus knew there was no other way and He would have to die. That is why He ended the prayer, "But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?" (Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, The Message, emphasis original).
When we pray we should cry out for things we need—even if they are emotional outbursts. God will listen. What we must include, though, is our intention to fully obey God's Will, no matter how it lines up with our expectations or wishes. God's Chosen People are willing to question God's Plan but will do so understanding they will obey it in any case.

Those who get their way by violence will always have violence.

Jesus did not want His Apostles to fight for Him. He wanted them to teach for Him. The reason is simple—violence never changes a person's mind. Jesus does not call people to Him through violence. He calls them through teaching them to set things right. Violence cannot do that well.

How do you pray to God?

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