The Last Supper: Matthew 26:17-30
Session two of Jesus’ Final Week series. A crisis reveals what kind of people we are. Some people crumble and give up in the face of a crisis. Some people deny that the crisis exists. Some people blame others for the crisis. A few people rise up to meet the crisis, doing more than anyone else in the same position is able to do. Jesus’ Final Week session two helps us look at this in more detail.
How do you typically respond in a crisis, and why?
Think of what you’ve learned about Jesus. Have you seen him encounter crises? How did he respond? How do you think he will respond to the crisis that will end his earthly life?
In Matthew 26 the hostility that began early in Jesus’ ministry approaches a violent end. Yet although he awaits his arrest and crucifixion, he is magnificently in control. He plans the last meal. He knows who will betray him. He offers himself as a sacrifice. When we—like Jesus—are doing the Father’s will, even the inevitabilities of sin, suffering and death lose their power to imprison us. Here the victim is the one who is most free! Read Matthew 26:17-30.
- Classical art and modern communion services have probably influenced your picture of this event. Now that you have the text fresh in your mind, how would you describe the setting of this passage?
- What was the significance of the “Passover” (v. 17; see Exodus 12:1-29)?
- What irony do you see in the disciples’ making preparation for Jesus to eat the Passover (v. 17; see Mark 14:12; 1 Corinthians 5:7)?
- Jesus is often portrayed as a wonderful teacher but an ultimately helpless martyr. What words and acts show him to be very much in control (vv. 18-25; see also Mark 14:13-16)? How did he show extraordinary knowledge and insight?
- Describe what happened when Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray him (v. 22).
- Do you ever wonder if you are going to betray Jesus—or if you will rise up to meet the crisis? Explain.
- What does verse 24 tell us about God’s will and human responsibility?
- What does the Lord’s Supper teach us about the meaning of Jesus’ death (vv. 26-29)?
- What can we infer from the Lord’s Supper about the kind of response we need to make in order to benefit from his death?
- It is a wonderful privilege to be able to re-create this event with other believers. When have you found the Lord’s Supper particularly meaningful? What are the particular elements that make it meaningful?
- How can sharing the Lord’s Supper together make us ready to face the crises of life?
Ask the living Christ to guide you through a crisis you may be facing. Coming face to face with Jesus will show you what kind of person you are. If you can say it and mean it, tell Jesus you appreciate the crisis he faced for you, and ask him to help you to change to be more like him.
Now or Later
- Read Matthew 26:6-13. To some, the woman’s pouring of
costly perfume was a waste (vv. 6-13). To Jesus, it was beautiful. When can extravagance be beautiful?
- What factors justified the woman’s extravagance?
- In what ways should we be extravagant in our worship of Jesus?