Table of Opportunity

Matthew 26:14-30

Introduction: Communion Sunday. I’ve been spending some time in the last chapters of Matthew since my return from Egypt.

As we prepare for communion I want to look at and make some observations / applications from Matthews take on the Last Supper.

Transition: I actually want to begin with Judas and what he decides to do with his invitation and opportunity.

Despite Judas being included in the dinner message, he had already made a few decisions in his heart.

I. Judas – The ‘Lost Cause’

  • Judas initiates his own betrayal plot – 26:14
  • Chooses personal gain over the miracle (Jesus himself) and the works/miracles that he has witnessed for about the last 3 years.

Judas was invited to the table but chooses treachery instead!
He was willing to trade his soul and therefore received a sentence.

Huge application for me comes from verse 16! ‘From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.’

Application: Once you sell-out….(pass on the invitation of the table) opportunities to betray begin!

  • Looking for ways to distance oneself from God, godly/good things!

Romans 1:28-32, 28 ‘Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too’.

Transition: Let me move on from Judas to Jesus, the disciples, and the Passover.

II. Invitation to Initiation of Passover Moment – 26:17-18

Passover, Hebrew Pesa or Pesach, in Judaism, holiday commemorating the Hebrews’

  • liberation from slavery in Egypt and
  • the “passing over” of the forces of destruction, or the sparing of the firstborn of the Israelites, when the Lord “smote the land of Egypt” on the eve of the Exodus.

  • Passover is often celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, especially on the first night, when a special family meal called the seder is held. At the seder, foods of symbolic significance commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation are eaten, and prayers and traditional recitations are performed. Though the festival of Passover is meant to be one of great rejoicing, strict dietary laws must be observed, and special prohibitions restrict work at the beginning and end of the celebration

Question: What was Jesus inviting the disciples to witness and participate in?

It was an invitation to have Jesus become the ultimate ‘passover’ for them. Escape from slavery and ultimate death.

Let’s jump to verse 27 and then I’ll move back into the in-between verses.

v. 27, ‘And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many’.

III. Jesus’ knowledge of denied / declined of His Invitation – 26:20-23

Jesus knew some would say no to the inivtaion.

Matthew 26:21, ‘While they were eating he said, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.’

Matthew 22:1-14 – Parable of Wedding Feast

26:22, ‘Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”

: Right there, right then, Jesus told them that not all of them were going to have a true ‘passover.’ How is it possible that anyone would refuse such an amazing opportunity?

IV. Contents of the Table – 26:27-28

Cup of wine – ‘each of you, drink from it, this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.’

Other Gospels include bread – ‘body broken on behalf of others.’

  • Grace for the Multitudes, Tragedy for One – Matthew 27

In my bible I have another little note. When Judas asked, ‘Rabbi, am I the one?’ and Jesus answers ‘You have said it.’

  • What happened at that point?
  • What did Judas do?
  • What did he think?
  • Did he even care?

One thing for sure, Judah passed on the one and only thing that makes a difference….Jesus!

  • Jesus invites them all to a table (I like to think of it as a table of Fellowship).
  • Jesus offers them what all the Law and Prophets had longed for and prophesied about throught the history of the Jewish people.

The culmination of Judas’ rejection / refusal to accept God’s gracious offer of salvation is found in chapter 27.

Matthew 25:1-5 – Tragic Ending

Conclusion: There is an offer on the table today. An invitation to have sins forgiven and healing and heath restored. Do we approach the table with confidence and thanksgiving or we can approach it with cynicism, denial and rejection.

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