We are entering the greatest season for Christians, besides Christmas. Easter is upon us and will be here before we realize.
I want to take you on a journey ending at the resurrection over the next three weeks. Let’s begin with, “Just Before Calvary.”
Jesus is just a few days from execution. He, however, is concerned with other matters of importance. The story from St. Matthew 25 shows his being anointed by an unknown woman. The disciples become angry and question her wastefulness. They attempt to say the pricey ointment could have been sold to help the poor. They weren’t really that interested in the poor, it would have meant more money for their treasury. Sound familiar when compared to today and many churches?
They missed the whole spiritual application so Jesus explains it to them in grand detail. The poor will be here for them to help always, but Jesus knows he is about to be given into the hands of sinful man and that he will shortly lay down his life for fallen man.
Shortly after this scene Judas can be seen negotiating a deal for a mere 30 pieces of silver, the price of a common slave. Many theories abound on the current amount, but the best figure is approximately $330. Friend, that is sad because Jesus is priceless.
Now we come to a great doctrine of the church. Jesus institutes “The Lord’s Supper.” This will be the final meal he will share with his disciples on this earth. Jesus is aware, but the disciples seem to be clueless.
Twelve are gathered with Jesus in a certain man’s house. His name is mentioned, but Jesus has sent the disciples there because he knew the man would make room for him.
They are observing the feast of unleavened bread. Jesus is sitting there and he drops a bomb shell on them so to speak. He declares that one of them is a traitor who will betray him.
Sorrow suddenly envelops the festive crowd of disciples. Each disciple questions: Lord is it I? At least eleven immediately asked. Judas isn’t so hasty to respond it appears. He is fully aware of what he has just agreed to and knows what is planned and when.
Jesus provides a simple answer to them. It is the one who dips his hand in the dish with me. That is the betrayer. Certainly all eyes were on that dish and the hand of Jesus.
Next Jesus issues a sad judgment on the betrayer. It would have been much better for that man had he never have been born.
Judas now decides he will ask is it him, and Jesus’ answer must have sent a shock wave throughout the room, “Thou hast said.”
The disciples are eating minus Judas. Jesus addresses them and states as he blesses and breaks the unleavened bread and gives it to the disciples, “Take eat this is my body.”
This is not out of context as many will think. Not one bone was broken, but his body was broken from the great burden for lost men and women. I wonder how many times we have broken Jesus’ body all over again?
Next he takes the cup of juice before him and instructs them to drink it all. That cup represented the blood he would shed on Calvary very shortly for the sins of the human race.
The next meal Jesus will share with humans will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb. My friend, you can be a part of that great event. All that is required is that you repent of your sins and ask Jesus to save you.
Finally we see Jesus asking three times for the cup of death to be passed should there be any other solution. Jesus, however, resigned himself to the will of God and not to his own personal agenda.
You and I need to have a Gethsemane experience where we resign ourselves to the Father’s will and not our own. Jesus prayed so hard scripture states his sweat became as great drops of blood. Now, that is sincerity at the maximum level.
I will state as I conclude, it pays to be prayed up before one’s darkest hour approaches and overtakes them. You may inquire how I know when that will be. You don’t and neither do I, nor anyone else for that matter. That is why it is so important to be ready to face the looming darkness before us. Jesus will deliver right on time.
Senior Pastor Neil Pressley pastors the Mountain View Pentecostal Holiness Church and serves as Central Regional Director of Men’s Ministries and DRUSA Director for Cornerstone Conference. He also is a member of the Mount Airy Ministerial Association.