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Lesson 2: Holy Week

Go to dark Gethsemane, ye that feel the tempter’s power; your Redeemer’s conflict see, watch with him one bitter hour. Turn not from his griefs away; learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

– James Montgomery

Devotion: Read Matthew 26:31-56. God’s call on our lives is not easy—love and serve others, even enemies, submit our desires to God’s desires, etc. Most of the time, God’s specific callings for each of our lives is even more difficult. The call to walk a particular path or to act in a specific way rarely feels natural in the beginning. If a path felt natural, we would already be walking it! Nobody has to call me to the task of eating ice cream. I seek out that task whenever I can. God calls us to actions and ministries to which we naturally have initial resistance. Jesus understands the difficulties of a faithful path. Being human, Jesus desires pain and death no more than anyone else. Jesus’ power rests in his decision to not act on his own desires but according to God’s desires. How does Jesus’ story enhance our understanding of calling? What does Jesus’ anguish in Gethsemane teach us about him? What does it teach us about being human? What do we learn about supportive community from the disciples? What do we learn about the religious authorities from their actions?

Personal Worship Option: Read Luke 22:44. Even Jesus does not find it easy to walk his particular path. Spend time praying for those who struggle with a difficult path.

Dig A Little Deeper:

26:31 Jesus prophecies about the disciples’ desertion (Zech 13:7) but then makes the bold statement they should meet him in Galilee after he is risen.

26:35 Peter is the disciples’ spokesperson. All pledge loyalty, even to the point of death. All, therefore, betray him, not only Peter. Why does the early Church report these stories?

26:36 Gethsemane, meaning “olive press,” is located on the Mount of Olives, west of the city.

26:37 Jesus’ inner circle go with him (17:1-13).

26:39 “This cup” represents the journey ahead Jesus faces. His struggle, while terrible, reassures us that Jesus understands sorrow and emotional distress. However we might define “fully God,” it does not mean he is beyond sorrow and agony.

26:40 Compare this to the parable of the bridesmaids (25:1-13). What do Jesus’ words to them teach us about the meaning of Matthew 6:13?

26:48 The armed men do not know what Jesus looks like. While his name and reputation are spreading throughout the region, his appearance is not well known.

26:49 Many believe Judas’ motivation for betrayal is to push Jesus into more direct confrontation with the religious leaders and Rome. If that is the case, he arranges this sign of betrayal so that he can be beside Jesus when the rebellion begins. 

26:52 Jesus rebukes the use of force by his disciples. Having power to defeat enemies is not the issue. Jesus can easily sweep away resistance (4:8-10). Walking his path faithfully is the issue.

26:56 Jesus rebukes those arresting him, pointing out their cowardice for coming at night rather than when he was in public. The disciples, once ready to fight to the death, only desert him when they see that he allows himself to be arrested. They cannot see how this series of events can lead to anything good. Do we have faith if we must understand the path down which God leads? 

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