13 January 2011

Matthew 26-28

Matthew's Passion Narrative is one of the most moving pieces of scripture in all of the New Testament. Each gospel writer captures these last moments of Jesus' life and his subsequent resurrection in different ways, but Matthew's is my favorite - although I will probably say that about each Passion Narrative as we read it.

In these last few moments with his disciples, Jesus institutes the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion) in 26.26-29, predicts Peter's denial, prays for the cup to pass from him, is betrayed by a friend, arrested by a mob, and lead through a laughable excuse for a trial before being flogged, spat upon, laughed at, denied, mocked, nailed to a cross, and ridiculed for supposed inability to save himself.

When Jesus dies (27.50) he cries out in a loud voice, gives up his spirit, and the curtain of the Temple is torn in two - symbolizing the cessation of the need for intermediaries between humans and God. Matthew is the only Gospel to have an earthquake happen the moment Jesus dies, but unlike Mel Gibson's version - there is no tear from heaven falling to earth.

Jesus rises from the dead on Easter morning (again with an earthquake) and angels tell the women that Jesus is no longer among the dead, but is alive again. The guards who fell asleep at the tomb are paid handsomely to tell a story about the disciples stealing Jesus' body, then Jesus gives the Great Commission - go make disciples, baptize them, and teach them.

What verse(s) stuck out the most to you in Matthew 26-28?
Now that you have read the entire Gospel of Matthew, what have you learned about the Jesus Matthew describes?

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