Read Matthew 26:1-75
Today (the day of this writing) was a great weather day. It was in the upper 60’s, breezy, sunny… the first day like that in months. I enjoyed God’s creation today, even the little things like music in my car, a nice walking path, delicious food from the grill. It was perfect. God wants us to enjoy these common graces, but momentary pleasures can easily distract us from enjoying Jesus Himself. If you’ve ever missed something of God due to being focused on present circumstances, know that you’re in good company… Jesus’ disciples did it too!
In Matthew 26, Jesus’ disciples; the CHOSEN twelve who heard EVERY WORD Jesus spoke, witnessed EVERY miracle He performed, missed the eternal (in spite of being DIRECTLY told by Jesus what would happen) because they were blinded by temptations, pressures and thoughts of the present moments they were experiencing. Let’s take a closer look.
At a dinner, a woman pours oil on Jesus’ head as an anointing. The disciples judge this as wasteful; the wealth represented by the oil would have been better used to feed hungry people. The twelve would have chosen temporary alleviation of hunger over preparing Jesus’ body for burial, a burial that was necessary for His coming resurrection.
Judas struggled with his faith and betrayed Jesus, in spite of Jesus foretelling Judas’ betrayal at the Last Supper. Not even Jesus predicting this could dissuade Judas from his chosen course of action. Jesus allowed Judas his choice, because Jesus had an eternal perspective. Judas chose thirty pieces of silver.
Peter was proud and full of bravado, willing to stand for Jesus in the face of persecution, not believing he could fail. Peter’s machismo even swayed the other disciples. By admitting he knew Jesus, Peter had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Instead of choosing the Savior of the World, Peter chose pride in one moment by arguing with Jesus, and self-preservation in the next by openly denying Jesus. Jesus chose to forgive Peter in spite of his momentary weakness, because, for the future of Jesus’ eternal church, Peter would play a crucial role.
Simon Peter, in a seemingly righteous display of anger and protective friendship, cut the ear of one of the priests’ servants with his sword as the servant approached Jesus. In that moment, he chose anger, violence and earthly brotherhood instead of an eternal future with Jesus. The New Covenant was at hand, which required the coming crucifixion in order to be obtained.
We should be careful of judging the disciples here, as it’s easier to see it all now, post-resurrection. In these moments, the disciples simply didn’t understand what was happening from an eternal perspective. They reacted the best way they knew how, and from the only perspective they had. Oh Lord, let us learn from this. Ask God to show you HIS perspective on your circumstances. Ask for godly men and women to speak into your life so that you might see how God is working things for your eternal good. God’s always working in your life and answering your prayers…just not always in the way you expect.