Sunday 13 October 2013

Matthew 26:36-75 - Betrayed and arrested

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Now events play out as Jesus had said they would. He is betrayed, arrested, brought before the Sanhedrin, and disowned by Peter (Matthew 26:36-75).

It is very clear that Jesus is human just as we are. He is desperate for a way out; he prays for a way out; yet he knows the Father's will and intends to do what he must. As he puts it, the spirit is strong but the flesh is weak. He does not want to die, and especially he is desperate to avoid the dreadful pain and torment of crucifixion. Unlike us, he had no doubt seen criminals crucified by the Roman authorities, he knew exactly what lay ahead.

He craves the presence of close friends in this time of angst, but they fail him. We are just like them. But as with them, he understands our weakness and doesn't hold it against us. We are weak not deliberately, but inherently. Tiredness overwhelms them because they are not capable of truly identifying with what is in his heart and mind.

Perhaps they don't even understand that he really is going to die. When he is arrested it must have suddenly seemed more serious and urgent to them. But Peter still disowns Jesus. He is afraid, confused, anxious about his own safety. We are in all respects like Peter; what would it take for me to disown Jesus? How far would I tough it out?

But Jesus loves us anyway, despite our many failures and weaknesses - just as he did Peter and the other disciples.

Pray for strength in times of testing and weakness. And thank the Father and the Son that they stepped in and filled the gap on our behalf. And remember when you eat and drink together, the meaning of the broken bread and the wine poured out.

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