He knew, and still pressed on: Matthew 26

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Today’s reading: Matthew 26.

Do you wish you knew your own future? My informal survey of informal surveys shows that most people don’t want to know what’s coming. What struck me as I read through the account of the days before Jesus’ crucifixion is that he knew what he faced and still pressed on. He pressed on despite the pain and betrayal. He pressed on even though he could have taken another path. He pressed on with the utmost courage and compassion.

What proof is there that he knew he faced the cross?

  • He kept telling his disciples what was coming.
  • He turned the Passover feast into a memorial of his own sacrificial death and a sign of the new covenant of grace.
  • Before he was betrayed and arrested, he asked God to change his future, to take this cup from him.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:36-39

  • He pointed out how the Old Testament predicted his suffering and death.

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:53-54

How did he know what he faced?

  • As mentioned above, he knew the prophecies and knew what they predicted.
  • He knew what was in the heart of men.

But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. John 2:24-25

  • God revealed to Jesus what he was doing. I hesitate to say that Jesus was all-knowing. Even the experts debate that point. In some areas he had supernatural knowledge, but he also denied knowing the hour of his second coming, saying only his Father knew when that would happen. He made it clear, however, that he knew what his Father was doing and that he joined him in whatever he was doing.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…” John 5:19-20

Jesus knew what he was facing as he headed to the cross, yet he did not run away. In fact, the Bible says he set his face like flint to the task. Why? “For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2). He looked beyond the short-term pain to his eternal joy, the joy of doing his Father’s will, of glorifying God and himself, and of making a way for sinners to be redeemed. That same eternal joy should be our focus as we live our lives for God.

Image by Kieran Lynam on Flickr, CC by

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3 thoughts on “He knew, and still pressed on: Matthew 26

  1. One of those questions that seemingly has no answer: what is death to an immortal? What would truly be profound to me, is that if through the process of the incarnation Jesus began life with the same level of knowledge and understanding as any infant. Then as he grew, his knowledge increased. Perhaps he received revelation from God, or from angels. But his knowledge was always earthbound. So in essence he lived by faith, and he approached the cross in faith. His divinity made his faith perfect, but it was faith nonetheless. Not the certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow that comes from experience of watching a thousand sunrises, but the belief that the sun will rise tomorrow because your father told you it would. To me, that makes the death of an immortal something life changing.

    • Great point. Jesus growing in faith. He “grew in wisdom and stature.” He “learned obedience.” There is definitely a progression. Then, before the last supper, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,”

  2. Pingback: Bible Daily Devotional – He knew, and still pressed on: Matthew 26 | ChristianBlessings

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