Matthew 26:17-29 The Passion Translation
On the first day of Passover, the day when any bread made with yeast was removed from every Jewish home, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where should we prepare the Passover meal for You?”
18 He answered them, “My heart longs with great desire to eat this Passover meal with you. Go into Jerusalem and you will encounter a man. Tell him that the teacher says, ‘My appointed time is near. I am coming to your home to eat the Passover meal with My disciples.’”
19 The disciples did as Jesus had instructed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. 20 When evening came He took His place at the table and dined with the Twelve. 21 While they were eating, Jesus spoke up and said, “One of you is about to betray me.”
22 Feeling deeply hurt by these words, one after another asked Him, “You don’t mean me, do You?”
23 He answered, “It is one who has shared meals with Me as an intimate friend. 24 All that was prophesied of Me will take place, but how miserable it will be for the one who betrays the Son of Man. It would be far better for him if he had never been born!”
25 Then finally, Judas the traitor spoke up and asked Him, “Teacher, perhaps it is I?”
Jesus answered, “You said it.”
26 As they ate, Jesus took the bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to His disciples. He said to them, “This is My body. Eat it.” 27 Then taking the cup of wine and giving praises to the Father, He entered into covenant with them, saying, “This is My blood. Each of you must drink it in fulfillment of the covenant. 28 For this is the blood that seals the new covenant. It will be poured out for many for the complete forgiveness of sins. 29 The next time we drink this, I will be with you and we will drink it together with a new understanding in the kingdom realm of my Father.”
None of us understood that night. Perhaps none of us wanted to understand. It wasn’t the first time that Jesus said He was going to die. He tried to explain to us that He was going to suffer many things at hands of our religious leaders and that He must be killed, but on the third day He would be raised to life. I think only Peter really understood. When he told Jesus not to say such things, Jesus sternly rebuked him. But I didn’t understand, or I didn’t want to understand.
While we were eating what would be our last supper together, we were focused on passing the food and drink to one another, enjoying the meal, and enjoying a respite from the crowds of people. Our stomachs were full and we were content.
Jesus then spoke saying that one of us was going to betray Him. All of us sat up straight, each of us crying out, “Surely, not I Lord!” The last one to say this was Judas as he said, “Surely not I Teacher?” And to Judas Jesus replied, “Yes, it is you.” I barely noticed Jesus’ answer to Judas. I was just relieved that it wasn’t me. I was okay. I was not guilty. No one could blame me.
We continued eating—all of us. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks for it as He had a hundred times before, and broke it, and gave some to each of us and beckoned us to eat it, telling us, “This is My body.” He had said that before but I thought He was speaking in riddles, parables, as He often did. I didn’t understand—none of understood.
He took the cup, filled with wine, and told us to drink. He said it was His blood, poured out for forgiveness of sins. As a Jew I understood that blood must be shed for sins. We celebrated Passover each year, remembering how God through Moses instructed our people to sacrifice a pure, spotless lamb. They covered the doorposts of their homes with its blood. The blood protected our people from death. It spoke of forgiveness of sins and salvation and deliverance from our ancient oppressor, Egypt.
Jesus said it was His blood. I didn’t understand. None of us did. None of us wanted to hear and understand what He was trying to tell us. It was just too much for our hearts and minds to understand.
Instead, we retreated to the safety of knowing we weren’t the one who was going to betray Jesus. I mean all of us except Judas, of course. Knowing that I was in the right was more important in that moment than understanding what Jesus was trying to say to us, what He was trying to experience with us. This was His last meal with us. His last time to commune with us.
I didn’t understand. None of us did.
Dear Jesus, how many times have I received Your forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Your body and Your blood poured out for me? How many times did I then continue on my day with my agenda, content in knowing that I’m cleared of any wrong doing. How much do I not understand? How much more do You want to say to me? I don’t want to just be content and satisfied in knowing my sins are forgiven. I want to know You. I want to commune with You. Help me to not miss the moments You want to share with me. Help me to understand.