Matthewby Mike Raiter
Jesus has just been anointed with perfume in preparation for His burial (Matthew 26:12). Now He is moving towards His crucifixion. Clearly, He knows precisely what lies ahead of Him, even to the smallest details. Everything in this passage reminds us that ultimately, Jesus died and rose again according to the preordained will and plan of God.
The disciples have asked Jesus where they should make preparations for Him to eat the Passover (v. 17). Of course they will all share in this meal, but unknown to the disciples, this is the last Passover meal Jesus will eat. Jesus then says that His ″appointed time is near″ (v. 18).
That evening, as they celebrate the Passover, Jesus announces that one of them will betray Him (v. 20). Jesus knows precisely who will betray Him (v.23), for His betrayal and death have been ordained by God (v.24). However, God's ordaining of the betrayal does not lessen the traitor's culpability-″woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man″ (v. 24).
The Passover meal included unleavened bread and wine (vv. 26-27). Jesus teaches the disciples the true meaning of the bread and wine. The first Passover in Egypt (Exodus 12) foreshadowed that the Christ would die, His body would be broken, and blood shed, just as one breaks the loaf of bread and pours the wine into the cup.
Finally, Jesus predicts the falling away of the disciples, just as Zechariah 13:7 prophesied (v. 31). Yes, the soldiers and the Jewish priests will hit Jesus, but God will strike the shepherd because this has always been the deliberate plan of God. In particular, Jesus warns Peter of his betrayal and foretells his denial of Jesus, even to the precise moment: ″before the cock crows″ (v. 34).
Though I can make plans for my future, I can never guarantee their success. But we believe in an almighty God who works all things together for our good, and mysteriously accomplishes this through the wilful, responsible choices and actions of sinful men and women (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). Only this sovereign God is worth entrusting your future to. He knew you before you knew Him. He has ordained good for you, namely your sanctification and glorification. What God wills, He accomplishes (Isaiah 14:27; 46:11).
Read this passage again. What other examples can you find that demonstrate that Jesus knew exactly what the future held for Him?
Reflect upon Matthew's description of the Passover meal (vv. 26-29). How does it help us to understand our observance of the Lord's Supper?