Day 26

Jesus Is Arrested

from the reading plan

Matthew 26:1-75, Daniel 7:13-14, 1 Corinthians 2:7-8

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:1-75, Daniel 7:13-14, 1 Corinthians 2:7-8

Throughout his Gospel, Matthew presented Jesus as the fulfillment of all the Jewish promises. He is the new Abraham, the new Moses, Immanuel. Finally, in this moment in the garden of Gethsemane, we discover Him also as the willing sacrificial Lamb.

At other times in his ministry, Jesus miraculously evaded death and judgment. Throughout His ministry, the crowd’s reverence for Jesus is what restrains the Pharisees and Sadducees from being able to act on their desire to kill him.

But when the time finally comes to give up His life for the good of the world, it’s not His enemies who are in command. In Matthew we discover Christ as the one who willingly lays down His life for His friends. Even in His death, He holds all power and authority. It’s understandable to think that something is going wrong here, that Jesus had no choice or that what was about to happen was some kind of Plan B when all other attempts to seize Him failed. Yet that’s not what He says is happening.

When Jesus tells those present at His arrest that His suffering must take place to fulfill the Scriptures, He’s not only talking about this specific act of betrayal and the physical anguish to come. We can see God’s faithful love displayed in Jesus’s willingness to stay and be arrested even when His disciples don’t stay with Him. I also see this when Jesus physically heals the ear of one of the soldiers tasked with His arrest—this act of generous kindness as an example of how God deals with the whole of humanity. Throughout the Old Testament, we see God pursuing Israel even after the nation betrays Him, declaring that He will be faithful and will come to His people to heal them. He’s fulfilling His ancient promise to be faithful in our unfaithfulness.

This night is still young, though, and Jesus’s willingness to die is only the beginning of the fulfillment He speaks of. The next twenty-four hours will be relentless proof of that. Jesus is about to fulfill the writings of the ancient prophets in a way nobody expected. But that’s what this willing sacrificial Lamb does. He suffers for our benefit, goes into the darkness of our failures and fears, and heals us even if or when we betray him for something lesser.

Written by Strahan Coleman

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