Our Matthew reading (ch. 26) recounts the agonies of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and his prayers. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.” [v.39]. Jesus made his “will” conform to his Father’s will. And what of our “will”?
Peter was to later write of how Christ, in his commitment to his Father’s will “suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” [1 Pet. 2 v.21]
Before Jesus and his disciples went into the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus directed them to prepare for a Passover meal on “the first day of unleavened bread” (v.17) Then we read, “Now as they were eating Jesus took bread …” – next “he took the cup …” [v.26-27] and spoke of a “covenant … for many for the forgiveness of sins” [v.28] The disciples must have been perplexed at his words, but there is no indication they asked him to explain.
But this takes our minds forward to meditate on the record in Acts 2 and the events on the day of Pentecost and “the breaking of bread” [v.42] that then followed. With what intense meaning would the disciples and all who had just been baptised have taken part! We presume the disciples would earlier have done so after his resurrection and ascension, although there is no record of this – we meditate on the intensity of meaning as they did! How does it compare with ours?
The disciple would also remember that their Master said, after the command to “Drink, all of you” that he then said, “I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”[v.29] This event is beyond our comprehension – just as what was about to happen was beyond theirs.
Could someone like the Apostle Paul grasp the wonder to come? Take note of his words in 1 Corinthians. “ ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God.” [2 v.9,10]
But for us “until that day when …”- and our faith is turned to sight and the Spirit which is “the powers of the age to come.” [Heb. 6 v.5] is poured out on the faithful who will reign with him – may we be like the Thessalonians whose “faith is growing abundantly” [2 Thess. 1 v.3] to create adequate oil in our lamps as this world becomes an ever darker place.