Matthew: Day 25

Jesus Gives His Life

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Today's Text: Matthew 26:1-75, Leviticus 23:5-6, Isaiah 53:7, Jeremiah 31:31

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:1-75, Leviticus 23:5-6, Isaiah 53:7, Jeremiah 31:31

“What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” (Matthew 26:15).

This historical record of Jesus Christ contains some of the most chilling sentences in all of literature and history. In this chapter of Matthew 26, we follow Christ through His final days and hours and watch, blow by agonizing blow, how He gives His life away in little pieces, even before He gasps His last breath on Golgotha. Judas plays his role, but Christ handed Himself over.

What did it look like for Christ to give His life, while He still breathed, as He willingly walked to His death? He gives it away in so many big and small ways in this chapter alone, that I don’t have space here to touch on each. (If you can, take time to circle all the ways you see Christ giving away His life in these verses.) But we can look at a few here together.

Within the first two verses of the chapter, Jesus tells His disciples the exact day He will die. He specifies that it will happen in two days’ time. We don’t have a record here of their response, but judging from their other responses in Scripture, disbelief is a fair guess. Jesus gives His life by declaring His intention to do so.

He then allows the woman to prepare His body for burial. He defends her extravagance and celebrates her for seeing a small part of the truth of what would happen to Him, declaring her actions as noble (vv. 6-13). He knows what is coming, yet He doesn’t run from it. Jesus gives His life by preparing for His own burial.

While He shares His final meal with the disciples, Jesus distresses His disciples by saying, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me” (v. 21). He suffers one of the deepest human sorrows: betrayal by a friend. In spite of their protestations, His disciples continue to betray Him as they fall asleep (vv. 36-46), desert Him (v. 56), and deny Him (vv. 69-75). Jesus gives His life by suffering betrayal.

In all these little ways and more, Jesus gave up His life for us. He suffered the whole gamut of human pain from heartbreak to torture. Reading all of this horror would feel gratuitous, except this is the narrative of our own happy ending. Because of Jesus’ thousand tiny deaths, and one literal death, we can live. We not only live, but we get to live happily ever after, with Him. This harrowing history is the key. He slayed the dragon of death and sin, and we can live in grateful joy for His precious sacrifice.

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  • Abandonment by friends hits home in this life season. Particularly sucks when it’s the season of wedding planning.

    • Shelby

      Cori,
      I experienced that type of desertion when I was planning my wedding. My best friend of years refused to come and then quit speaking to me, thus because of that a nice coworker said she would help me. So instead of friends beside me, I had one coworker (whom after I got married she stopped talking to me–I believe God sent her for one role in my life, as I see it now typing this) and 3 random friends from old jobs/nursing school. I was envious of my husband and his 6 male best friends. But I realized that God was my true Maid of Honor because he’s never left me.

      I pray for peace as this time is tough when you try to count on friends and they disappear.
      <3

  • Olivia Bass

    “And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’”

    This stood out to me, because Jesus was asking his friends to spend quiet time with him, and yet they kept falling asleep. They could not even spare him an hour. This has been my struggle, lately — having the attention span to spare Jesus an hour, or even fifteen minutes. The same was done by those closest to him in the last hours of his life. This parallel shook me, and the warning is still the same: spend at least an hour with Jesus (a day? a week?) because our spirit is willing, but we are susceptible to temptations of the greatest magnitude when we neglect our Savior.

  • The words “But Peter followed Him at a distance” (Matthew 26:58) stood out to me as I was reading this chapter. Peter, who had always followed Jesus closely, was now following Him at a distance. And this choice led to Peter’s denial of Jesus.

    This reminded me that it’s so dangerous to let distance form in our relationship with Jesus. Once we start to drift from Him, even just a little, it becomes easier to deny Him – maybe not with our tongues, but certainly with our lives.

    For a long time I did follow Jesus from a distance, and it has been two years since I answered His call to follow Him closely. He has changed my life in so many ways and this reading has reminded me that I have to keep seeking Him each day and drawing close to Him. There is no standing still. We are always moving in our relationship with the Lord, either closer to Him or farther away. My prayer for each of us is that we will continue to draw closer to Jesus as we follow Him and walk with Him.

  • Kristen Hembree

    Reading this passage this morning, I found myself tearing up watching Jesus’ last couple days unfold. Especially coming to the end of our Matthew study, we have walked through Jesus’ life on earth, getting to know Him, His personality, His heart, His miracles… and then to have to watch Him be left & betrayed by His own, suffer in silence & alone…. and to fully grasp that He did this all for me. Us. This is the point of it all. This is Jesus. ❤️

  • thank you, thank you, thank you Lord for your love and willing sacrifice ♡

  • Priska Jordan

    These first few verses made me cry. I had to pray it through and ask God to search my heart, questioning: Do I take the perspective of Jesus and identify sacrifice as a beautiful thing, or do I take the perspective of the disciples, imagining where someone’s sacrifice could be better served in my feeble mind? Or worse, do I take the perspective of Judas and sell out my Lord for so much less? I hope this brings to light areas where I haven’t given my all to Him and areas where I can grow to encourage a fully-surrendered sacrifice from other believers. Thank you so much for this study!! I have learned soooo much!!

  • I love (and wrestle with, and love…) the truth that God uses even our sin, and how clearly he points this out in the events before Jesus’ crucifiction– that the disciples failed him in so many ways, but yet the Spirit used their failure to move God’s purposes forward by allowing Jesus to die on the cross (and raise again). This conundrum keeps us both humble and hopeful, and though I’ll never quite understand it fully, I am beyond thankful for such grace extended in God’s planning (even before Christ’s death).

  • Sofie De Wandel

    Jesus still refers to Judas as “friend” (v.50) even though he knows what Judas has done. He doesn’t hate Judas, he knows it must have been done to fulfill the scriptures and that while “the spirit is indeed willing, the flesh is weak.”

  • Sofie De Wandel

    Jesus still refers to Judas as “friend”

  • As opposed to what it says in the book on page 25, ALL the disciples went with Jesus to the garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36). Then He took 3 disciples to another area of the garden with Him (Mt 26:37) Then He separated from even those to pray. When the mob came all the disciples would have come. I wonder where Jesus was going to go when Judah’s came upon Him? (Mt 26:46-47) When He was arrested all the disciples deserted Him (Mt 26:56). There are many possible reasons they did not stand with Him. One of them is that God did not want them to die at that time. Jesus told them not to fight (Mt 26:52). God continues to speak to me about being aware of what He wants me to do in every situation and looking to Him to see how He is working in my life. Seek Him and He will be there. Praying my eyes are open to His will and working in my life.

  • Jesus thank you for doingGods Will. You led the way to your death so that I could live! Praise to you Jesus for your obedience

  • Pam White

    “Friend, do what you came to do.” Those words are haunting! I’m 100% sure my words to Judas would have been much different. Jesus knew that Judas would betray him just like he knows our sins before commit them. Judas’s betrayal is an important part of the story, leading up to the cross and our redemption. Our sins can also lead to the cross, both for ourselves (through confession) and others (sharing our testimony). Lord, I am no better than Judas. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. I pray you will use the ugly things in my life for good, to draw me closer to you and for me to have enough courage to share my story with others so that you may be glorified.

  • Hey Ladies, I loved today’s message but I would like to be selfish for a moment and ask for a prayer request..I am almost 28 weeks pregnant (so very emotional) and we are house hunting. This process has been really hard for me because we have had a lot of ups and downs and I am starting to get really sad and frustrated by the whole thing. We found this home we love and I can just imagine us there and I feel its right but they just told us they wouldn’t agree to a stipulation so we went back saying that’s our final offer..this is a long process and I am sure it seems little to most of you but I am really struggling trusting God in this process. I feel hopeless and so frustrated..I am praying it all works out but I know I need to be okay if it doesn’t.

    • Rachel Anne

      praying for your situation, Courtney! Even if you can’t feel okay on your own, God will comfort and sustain you and give you peace, no matter what! But I do pray it works out the way you are hoping!

    • Dianna Hillaker

      I will Pray for you. It will all work out because God is in charge. That may be work out for this house or for another that is even better. Being pregnant complicates things with hormones and other side effects. Let cooler more non-emotional people help. Rest in God.

    • Mari

      Praying for you Courtney

    • Kara

      Praying that God will provide a home for your family in this stressful season!

    • Pam

      I am lifting you up in prayer right now and will continue. Buying a home is always a major stress and a major joy at the same time. Top that with the gift of life and you have the perfect Hormone Storm. We just closed and moved into our 13th home. Yes, that’s right, #13. God has always been Awesome and faithful to provide The Right Home. We have moved so much over many years of marriage, children and grandchildren. We have learned many lessons about buying a house. The most important one is we would rather live in the will of the Lord than in what we thought was our dream home any day. We have learned to pray when we put in offers on a house, “If this is not the home for us Lord, please stop us from getting it and please make it very clear.” I try to continue to seek the face of the Lord knowing He would always have a better home in the end for us. And He always has! Be encouraged! The Best is yet to come!

    • Clare

      Praying Courtney, I recall this stress well, in months of pregnancy also. Keep worshipping, keep your eyes on Him and know that He is in control. He who began a good work…. Will be faithful to complete it ❤️

  • I recently heard a sermon about suffering and the pastor was talking about how we need to ask for help when we are suffering. He used, as an example, Jesus taking Peter, James and John to the Gethsemane with him. He asked his closest friends to be with him. We, too, need to ask for help when we are suffering. It is hard to do for me to do. We also need to be the friends who respond to a call for help.
    I don’t believe that the Disciples really grasped that Jesus was about to die although he kept telling them so. But, like the disciples, I get sleepy. Sometimes not literally, but I get complacent and lazy. I don’t grasp the urgency of the hour. I must stay awake and alert, guarding against the urge to be drowsy and uncaring.

    • Kris

      Bessie, I feel this way too! I find myself complacent and lazy and I know I need prayers to help me with that. I find myself caught up in the worries of today …one daughter in college, another getting ready to go and me what will I do when they are gone, and I forget that God will take care of these things if I look to Him and prepare for the things not of this world. That is so very hard to do I must say…

  • I don’t think I ever thought about the fact that the woman covering him in expensive perfume was preparing his body. You never hear the two stories together. You learn something new everyday!

  • Kelly Chataine

    One more thing, I am also Caiaphas, Judas, the scribes, the elders, the soldiers, the one that spat in Christ’s face and the one the struck His face. We all, including me relate to Peter, which makes sense. However, I see similarities between me and all the other players in Jesus’ story. Like Caiaphas, I have felt my power threatened by others and sinned in a feeble attempt to keep it. Like the scribes and elders I have often attached myself to people and/or movements that were not pleasing to our Lord. Like the soldiers, I have blindly followed orders that I may have known were not right. Like Judas, I have sought position and wealth. When I know what is right and do not follow what I know, I spit in Jesus’ face and strike Him. There is one major difference that we know Judas did not experience and that is, I fall to my knees and seek God’s forgiveness. I get up and seek God’s power not to fall into those traps of sin, again.

    • Susan

      Yes, I too have been all of these at points in my life and I thank God who is merciful and loving and will always forgive and welcome me back.

  • Kelly Chataine

    So what is my response to Christ willingly laying down His life for me, for all? I betray Him, as well. May I always have the heart of Peter and weep bitterly concerning my own sin and seek forgiveness. May I then seek the power of the Holy Spirit to help me turn away and flee from sin and live my life to God’s glory!

  • Katie Morrison

    “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
    ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬b

    Guess what? He did it for the joy awaiting Him…. You. Being with you in His Father’s presence forever. Let it soak in. Choose joy today, in the midst of Jesus’ sorrow, He chose joy. Love to you sisters!

  • Marytony Torres

    I realize that I have been like Peter.. I too have said to Jesus: “I will never leave you”, “I will die with you”, “I will never deny you”… and at the opportunity to stand by my Master I fall asleep, I leave, I deny, I fail…. Forgive Father for my short comings… I pray that you strengthen me, help me to stand and be bold for you… because you know that my spirit is indeed willing but my flesh is weak.

    • Tori McMahon

      This ministered to me this morning Marytony…I too feel like Peter far too often…thank you for sharing your prayer as it gave me words to pray as well this morning!

  • “He suffers one of the deepest human sorrows, betrayal by a friend.” These words jumped off the page at me. Jesus knew from the very beginning that Judas would betray Him, yet Christ treated him no differently than the other disciplines. Judas was allowed to witness first hand Jesus performing miracle after miracle, he saw Jesus moved with compassion for the hurting, the needy, the lost…. yet he betrayed Jesus’ trust. And Jesus let him, for God’s bigger plan to be fulfilled. It is humbling to see Jesus not pick up an offense when easily, he could have. He always had eternity in front of Him. What a lesson for me.

    • Caroline

      Jeanna, this stood out to me as well while I was reading. What a testament and example for friendship and grace!!

  • Just reminded how Jesus has been tempted in every way and has felt the terrible things we feel. He was despised, falsely accused, misunderstood, betrayed, shamed, tortured physically and mentally. He was spit upon, made fun of, outlasted. He teuly is our high priest that advocates for us, because He knows our pains and can relate. He was fully human and fully God. I just read a great reading from Got Questions that explains why Jesus asked God to take the cup but not His will. That shows He knew all that would happen and the human part of Him didn’t want to. Just like we feel when we don’t want to do something (our flesh). He knew it was God”s will to crush Him, because it was the only way! What Love! He truly is an Amazing Savior. Alonso reminds me of Jeremy Camp’s song called He Knows and Casting Crowns song Jesus Friend of Sinners. Please listen and be blessed by His presence and love!

  • Churchmouse

    I dread these portions of Scripture. This is the hard truth – He was abandoned at his hour of need… by me. He was betrayed…by me. He was arrested, accused, charged, spat upon , beat and slapped…by me. I was there in the upper room, at Gethsemane and with the Sanhedrin. I was every bit as complicit. This is the hard truth. It was me He saw and it was for me that He stayed His course. He continued to love me though He knew what it would cost. I stood by and watched. Lord, forgive me when I read these Scriptures as merely familiar ones. Let them hit me hard that I might fully realize the choice You made and the cost of Your choice. Let me read every painful word. Let me feel the weight and the impact . This is the greatest act of love ever recorded and it is imperative that I take note of every single word. Let me never minimize it. You love even me. You suffered for me. You died for me. Unworthy me. Complicit me. And yet…You chose to love me anyway. Even to death. I am so so sorry. And so so grateful.

    • Pam

      Amen

    • Debbie Lanier

      “I dread these portions of Scripture.” Churchmouse, I feel the same way about these sections of Scripture. It is a hard truth. And yet He chose to love me, and you, and every one of us. Amazing Grace Who saved a wretch like me…

  • Tricia Cavanaugh

    It makes me so sad to think that all of the disciples deserted Him. (V. 56)
    Jesus was all alone in His suffering and He did it all for me. Thank you Lord! I will not ever understand it, but I am so grateful for it!

  • John 15:13 came to mind as I read this, with a sad and aching heart…’ ..Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.’
    If someone this day and age did something as wonderful, amazing and without a thought for themselves, as to give their life to save someone, a dog, anything…. they get recognition… they get a plaque.. or a building named in honour of what they have done and them… what am I trying to say?
    This act of amazing self sacrifice is recognised…. why is it so hard to recognise this act of Jesus’.? Not to make light of all the amazing heros out there, Jesus knew He was going to face this terrible terrible thing and still He walks forward into it… He knew when, He knew who, He knew how. I bet He knew who would be shouting the crucify him the loudest, and He still walked on into it..
    This is LOVE in the highest.

    This is LOVE in action.

    This is LOVE without question, without walls or excuses. No prenuptials. Just pure pure love.

    This is LOVE.

    ‘No greater love…’ that we might live knowing that we have a ‘happy ever after’ purchased for us by Jesus through His knowing, preparation, betrayal, offering of ‘His body and blood’, denial of friends, grief and anguish, suffering… He still walked on …
    Absolutely, ‘ ..no greater love..’

    Praying that today, as I go through my day, I will ponder on the gift that has been afforded me… through Jesus’ giving of his life. He took his last breathe for me… to give me a Hope and a future, Let me not today, Lord God, or any other day for that matter abuse this gift, EVER.
    Thank you Lord God, Thank you for everything…. Amen.

    Overwhelmed by His love this morning, through the devotional…. I’ve waffled. Sorry.

    Happy Thursday sisters. Praying blessings for each and everyone… hugs..xxx

  • Rebecca Leek

    The betrayal of the disciples is heartbreaking. It fills me with shame, because this is humanity. They were fearful of their lives, of course they needed to do what they needed to do. But it still fills me with shame and heartbreak. I can’t help but wonder what if Jesus lived longer, until old age? Why did He have to die then? And as I let myself consider what could have been had He not been killed, I realize that God’s plan is perfect and His will be done. His will was done. Jesus kept His eyes fixed on the fact that He was soon to be with His father again. He was fulfilling His purpose. I should like to end my life knowing that I fulfilled my purpose! Anyway, this terrible, heartbreaking chapter in Matthew is our “happy ending” because this was the start of our salvation. It’s hard to wrap my mind around this. I know I should feel happy that Jesus enabled salvation for us, but I am so sad it had to happen this way. Jesus’ suffering simply breaks my heart. Sorrow at His suffering, joy with the salvation it brought us. How do we reconcile this? Maybe we can’t and we just need to accept it. Surrender to it. God’s will be done. We will never be able to make sense of everything.

    • Lovetahoe inOregon

      Thank you Rebecca ❤️ I know we can’t make sense of everything and everyday I ask how can this be reconciled? It is such a glorious mystery and no matter what, I’m so grateful and I pray that I can fulfill my purpose as well.

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