Jesus Gives His Life

from the Matthew reading plan

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

BY Rebecca Faires

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.


Post Comments (50)

50 thoughts on "Jesus Gives His Life"

  1. Olivia Bass says:

    “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.

    1. Adriana says:

      Thank you for sharing this. Blessings.

  2. Kristi L says:

    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.

    1. Marytony Torres says:

      Very interesting insight!

    2. Brittany Ringo says:

      Wow this is true! We must continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus to not become distracted and fall away from Him.

    3. Libby Kosciuszko says:

      Great insight! Thank you for sharing!

    4. Sarah T says:

      Oh these words are powerful! Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. Kristen Hembree says:

    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. ❤️

  4. Bailey says:

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

  5. Priska Jordan says:

    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!!

  6. Erin B says:

    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).

  7. Sofie De Wandel says:

    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.”

  8. Sofie De Wandel says:

    Jesus still refers to Judas as “friend”

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