Matthew 26:35-27:31

Read Matthew 26:35-27:31.

The final stretch in Jesus’ journey to the cross is filled with moment after moment of disappointment. His friends can’t stay awake to pray with Him, Judas betrays Him, Peter denies Him, the people choose a murderer to be freed before Him, and the leaders mock Him. Interwoven through it all is is a devastating sense of shame and fear. Judas is so overcome that he hangs himself, while Peter weeps bitterly at the realization of his own failures. Friends have scattered, and all seems lost.

But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.

Matthew 26:56a

Even as everything seemed to be unraveling and evil appeared to be winning, a greater plan was unfolding. It’s difficult to wrap our minds around Jesus going peacefully into the hands of his tormentors. However, that’s just what He did. Every step toward the cross was prophesied in the Old Testament. Every moment of disappointment and pain was part of the ultimate redemption plan. It was finally coming to be. The Messiah had come and now it was time for the sacrifice He would make to redeem the sinful people He so loved.

As we live our lives, let’s not keep our knowledge of this sacrifice on the periphery of our minds, but rather, make it paramount to our decisions. The love Jesus displayed by willingly walking that agonizing journey to the cross is more than we can grasp most days. In a culture so divided, angry, and fraught with selfishness, can we keep Jesus’ call and example of love at the center of our choices? I believe we can. It may be difficult, it may require some discomfort, it may require putting our own interests aside. I pray we follow Jesus, not flippantly, but intentionally…with great love for our Savior and our neighbors above ourselves.

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