By Charles D. Earl
Former Director of Missions, Holston Valley Baptist Assoc., Rogersville

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 26:17-30

The subject of the lesson asks the disciples then, as well as those of us living now, “How Do We Remember?” The extended version of that question, of course, is “how do we remember” this man Christ who will soon be crucified, risen, and ascended?

The story begins with Matthew telling us the time frame in which this took place was “the first day of the feast of unleavened bread” (Matthew 26:17). The disciples came to Jesus to ask Him where He wanted them to prepare for this Passover feast. His instructions were for them to go into the city and find a man and tell him that the Master says His time has come, and that He wants to keep the Passover with His disciples. Minimal instructions to be sure, but the disciples did as they were instructed and the Passover was made ready.

We are not told who this man was they were to meet, or where to find him in the city. They were simply told to go find Him and make the request that “the Master” wanted him to furnish the room in which they would observe the Passover. Did Jesus know the man? Or, was this a prophecy that Jesus knew they would meet the man and indeed those arrangements would be okay with him? At any rate, the disciples went and did as they were told and they discovered the request Jesus was asking was honored, evidently without any argument or problem.

The Passover Supper began and they sat down and began to eat. I’m sure those initial words Jesus speaks, “I say to you, one of you will betray Me,” stuns and surprises all the disciples — all, that is, except Judas, the one to whom Jesus was referring. Each of the other 11 began to ponder and wonder, “Is He referring to me and saying I am going to betray Him?” Each of the other 11 wondered if they were capable, but Judas knew he was capable of doing just that. In verse 25 Judas makes a confession by asking a simple question. Judas, speaking very confidently, says, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus tells Judas he has all but confessed that he was the one who would perform the act, the act that still stands in all recorded history as the most dastardly, evil, and despicable feat any man has ever done.

After they had eaten the Passover meal, Jesus shares with the 11 a few of the things He wants them to remember. He breaks off a piece of bread and tells them that the bread symbolizes His own body which would be sacrificed for them and for all who would believe. Taking the cup, He who tells them that the cup of wine is a symbol of His blood that He would shed for all of them and for all who would believe and come to Him for salvation. Can we imagine that picture? We certainly remember with love for Christ who willingly shed His blood and sacrificed His body for us. Take just a moment right now to bow to remember and thank God for His great sacrifice to save us. Every time we observe the Lord’s Supper, REMEMBER His sacrifice for you … and me!

After the Lord’s Supper, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to begin this final time in prayer before the crucifixion would begin. Remember Him with love and gratitude today.