Saturday, December 7. Matthew 25 – 28

Two things stand out to me in Matthew 26 and only Matthew mentions them.

The first is Judas’ question: “Is it me?”

In all probability, Jesus and his disciples were reclined at a “U” shaped table with space in the middle for serving. The most honored spot (as you faced the open end of the “U”) was on the left at the end of the table. This was the apostle John’s place. John would recline on his left side and Jesus would be behind him so that when John leaned back, he would be leaning on Jesus’ breast and at the Lord’s right hand (see John 13:25). Behind Jesus was Judas (at the Lord’s “left” hand – another honored spot). It would be fairly easy for Judas then to ask Jesus “is it me?” without calling attention to himself, and it’s why Peter, at the other end of the table, directly across from John , would not have heard Jesus’ answer. What must have gone through the traitor’s mind, learning that Jesus knew of his betrayal?

What a man Jesus was! So secure in his knowledge and self and heavenly Father that he could give an honored seat to such a treacherous backstabber as Judas. But you see this confidence again in the garden in the second instance. Peter pulls his sword and cuts off the ear of the High Priest’s servant. Jesus rebukes Peter and warns: “All who live by the sword will perish by the sword.”

Only in Matthew.

Remember that Matthew’s readers have been a persecuted lot. There’s more about persecution in Matthew than any other gospel. No doubt some would be tempted to lash out at their tormentors. But they must not. Their future, and ours, is as secure as that of the Lord’s. We can afford to be magnanimous toward and vulnerable before our enemies, knowing that twelve legions of angels stand at the ready to deliver us if it is the Father’s will.

And if it is not His will?

Either way, we rest securely in God’s hands.