Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller


How to go through Suffering and Betrayal

Matthew 26:20-46

If I could sum up Matthew 26:20 through 46 in word it would be this: intimate. As we continue to look at the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we see the last moments before the stopper was removed from the evil building up against the Lord. The two intimate events we encounter are the Last Supper and the prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane. ?In the Last Supper we see incredible symbolism realized now in the person of Christ. At that small group setting Jesus had some final encouraging words for His men who were about to undergo the greatest trial they had ever faced and would see their Master violently removed from them and tortured. We also see the intimate meeting of Savior and Betrayer in Judas. Looking into the face of a brother who hates you is an otherworldly experience. Then we see the intimacy of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus pours His heart out the Father.

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It shows us the intimate nature of suffering and the presence of a God who loves us so much He allows suffering for His redemptive purposes.

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20 - 29 The Betrayer and the Betrayed

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Matthew gives us the Readers Digest? version of the Last Supper. He seems to focus more on the plot to kill Jesus and how Judas and the disciples respond to events leading up to His arrest.

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The time period is between sunset and midnight. Jesus and the disciples would recline on couches around the table-this was to show the freedom they had from slavery in Egypt. The meal consisted of drinking four cups of wine to symbolize the four part promise of Exodus 6:6-7:

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Exodus 6:6-7 (1) I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and (2) I will deliver you from slavery to them, and (3) I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7 (4) I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God ESV

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The significance of the four parts of the Seder is incredible (A great summary is found here: http://www.chosenpeople.com/main/index.php/holidays-and-festivals/190-the-meaning-of-passover). Though we could spend much time discussing them, I\'ll just outline them and how they fit into this narrative:

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1.????? First cup of wine

The festival was blessed and the first cup of wine drunk (the cup of blessing or sanctification. They usually had water at meals). This was followed by food and the youngest son would ask the father why this meal was special. The father would then tell the story of the Exodus, pointing to the items on the table and their significance, like the bitter herbs symbolizing their bitter slavery. They would sing from Psalm 113-114.

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2.????? The Second Cup of Wine

They would drink the second cup (the cup of suffering, judgment or deliverance), and recite each of the ten plagues of Egypt, spilling a drop of wine at each plague. After, the bread would be broken and distributed. There is a great tradition the rabbis created for this. There would be a compartment on the table with three parts. Pieces of unleavened bread would be put in each, but the middle one (called afikomen) was broken first (it represented the priest, or mediator between God and man). Half of it was wrapped in linen and placed back in the bag, and the other half was hidden and not revealed until after the meal. The bread was then eaten with the bitter herbs and dipped into a sauce made usually from fruit. That last piece of bread is searched for after the meal and broken up into little pieces for everyone to eat, promising a long life.

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3.????? The Third Cup of Wine

Next came the meal featuring the Passover lamb, and then the third cup of wine (the cup of redemption), with the singing of the second part of the Hallel from Psalms 115-118 (they do this in verse 30). The third cup is the cup of redemption and is the cup Jesus used to say \"this is my blood of the covenant.\"

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4.????? Fourth Cup of Wine

A fourth cup of wine (the cup of praise or restoration) would conclude the meal. Notice in the Last Supper only three cups were used. Jesus said He would drink the fourth cup \"new\" when they go to heaven, which is a foretaste of the menu at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).

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30 - 35

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We don\'t know exactly what they sang, but Psalms 115-118 (the second Hallel) contains some of these verses:

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Ps 116:3-4 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. 4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:

\"O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!\"

Ps 116:13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,

Ps 118:14 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

Ps 118:25-27 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!

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John records a lengthy discourse that Jesus had with His men, but Matthew focuses more on the events. In that talk Jesus tells them He\'s going somewhere they can\'t come yet, but He is preparing a place there for them. He tells them He and the Father are one and that they can ask the Father anything that glorifies Jesus. He commands them to love one another. He talks about the importance of abiding in Him and the intimacy they have with Him as friends. He warns them what will happen to them in the world but gives the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide them. Then He prays for them and us the High Priestly prayer: \"Keep them in your name\". The group leaves the upper room they think back on their way to Bethany, but Jesus stops at the Garden of Gethsemane.

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Jesus quotes Zechariah 13:7-9 which talks about the sheep being tested and becoming stronger in the process. Jesus knows his guys, despite their bravado, don\'t have the strength to withstand their fears. And this is the way God wanted it. Jesus had to go to the cross alone because only He could bear our sins, Peter couldn\'t, John couldn\'t, and neither can you. We need to let Jesus go to the cross for us-admit our weakness and cling to His strength.

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Jesus also promises that this wouldn\'t be the end - that He would rise and go ahead of them into Galilee. In the midst of the idea of a betrayer and that they would fall away, it just doesn\'t stick in their heads-now anyway.

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36 - 46

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Gethsemane means \"olive press.\" Some of the trees there now sprung from roots after the Roman occupation in 70AD. So walking in that garden today, you are essentially walking amongst the same trees that Jesus and His men walked under.

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In these verses we see both Jesus and the leaders of the disciples at their weakest (though one could argue that we see Peter at his weakest in the hours to come). But here the resolve of \"we\'ll stick by You no matter what\" is tested-they couldn\'t even stay awake for a short time! Probably the lateness of the night and the presence of wine in their systems added to their sleepiness.

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We also see Jesus at His most vulnerable (though one could argue that it was really on the cross). Never the less, He prays, three times, that if there was any other way to do this, please do it. Notice the humanity of Jesus. But this doesn\'t show weakness in any way. He knew there was no other way and this is another way to show that the cross was the only way to deal with our evil. If there had been another way, the Father would have answered.

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Back in Chapter 4 Satan tempted Jesus to take the easy way out. But when it comes to cleansing evil there was no easy way.

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Conclusions:

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Our attitude when facing tough situations

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Fellowship with the support of others.

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Brutal honesty with God. When facing extreme difficulty it is okay to be honest and seek deliverance.

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Willing submission to the Father\'s plan over our fears.

It is also right to submit to the Father\'s will, no matter what.

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Jesus admitted His humanity. He really suffered. And God knows that we will too.

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It brings us into a deeper place in our walk. Are we willing? As we saw, the spirit is willing but the flesh weak. We should pray for a willing spirit to overcome a reluctant flesh.

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Seek the way that moves God\'s plan forward, but only what He is calling you to undergo.

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Jesus\' Attitude while Facing Suffering

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Even in the midst of betrayal, Jesus gives, loves, and prays for us. So we should take care not to \"fall asleep\" when others around us are suffering.

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In conclusion let me read from:

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Isaiah 53:2-6 For he grew up before him like a young plant,? and like a root out of dry ground;? he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

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4? Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken,? smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;? and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

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