There was a lot that happened this day. From Bethany Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast. That evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover. By performing this humble act of service, Jesus demonstrated by example how believers are to love one another.
During His last meal, Jesus also promised His apostles that they would receive the Holy Ghost when he was gone. Then Jesus shared the feast of the Passover with his disciples. He took the bread, blessed it and said, “Take, eat; this is my body” (Mathew 26:26). Then he took the cup, blessed it and said, “this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mathew 26:28).
With this act, Jesus introduce the Sacrament. This alone is important to the Christian world. Jesus came to fulfill the meaning of the Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death.
This was after all what he was here on this earth to do. However, I can’t help but think about the way Jesus and his disciples would have been feeling.
When Jesus and the 12 Apostles gathered together for the Passover, Jesus said to them,
“He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.”
This was their teacher and friend, someone they looked up to. Hearing words like this had to be difficult for anyone. While I’m sure this was difficult for them, the evening continued on into even more sadness.
“Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.” Most of the apostles fell into a state of introspection; and one after another exclaimed: “Is it I?” “Lord, is it I?”
It’s clear to see that they each dreaded that they could be the one to betray their own teacher. Jesus continues on to say,
“The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.”
At this point Judas Iscariot, who had already had promised to betray Jesus for money was worried that everyone else might catch on that it was him, and so to try to avoid suspension he asked: “Master, is it I?” With cutting promptness the Lord replied: “Thou hast said.”
There was a lot more that had happened after this, which included Judas leaving to do what he was about to do. After Judas had left Jesus also commanded to the other 11 Apostles to love each other as Jesus had loved them. He was preparing them for what was about to happen. Jesus was about to be tried as a criminal and they were going to be seen has his followers; someone they were devoted to. This will ultimately lead to persecution of them as well.
While there are many lessons Jesus gave to his Apostles after this point, I will leave that up to you to do some more study so I can continue on another very important event that will still take place tonight.
The Garden of Gethsemane
After the Passover, Jesus and the 11 Apostles went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He left most of his disciples and accompanied by Peter, James and John went for a more solitude place. At this point, Jesus began to feel great sorrow, and which I think even surprised himself because we read that he “began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy.” He then left the 3 that was with him by saying,
“Saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
We can assume that at least one of the 3 Apostles had heard this prayer, but because of weariness they all eventually stopped watching over him. At this point Jesus returned to them finding them asleep.
“What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”; but in tenderness added, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
With the 3 Apostles awake again, Jesus left them another time, and said a similar prayer to the one before. He then returned to his disciples and found them not watching over him again. Jesus then left them for a third time, and began praying. This time Luke tells us that “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him”; but even with the angel there to comfort him, he still felt agony.
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Jesus then returned to the Apostles and allowed them to rest.
“Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
What caused such great agony? Was it him being afraid of death? His suffering was so much more than any of us could have ever faced. It wasn’t because of the fear of death. He had the power to lay down his life voluntarily and he knew what waited him after his death, which was his resurrection and his return to Heavenly Father.
No, Jesus faced so much pain and suffering that only a God could have been able to deal with, but for what for? While we can’t fully understand how, but Jesus had taken on all the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of the world.
where he suffered greatly for the sins of all mankind, and also our sorrows and griefs. His agony was so great that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Imagine taking all your hurt and pain that you have ever experienced and put it all in one day. No man has suffered so much pain as the He did that night. This was the start of Jesus atoning for our sins. He took upon him the sins of all the World. Modern revelation helps us to partially understand this. In March 1830, the glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, thus spake:
“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent, but if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I, which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit: and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink—nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”
Who else could have taken on this great agony and sorrow? It was brutal and worse than what he was about to face on the cross. It is no wonder he asked Heavenly Father to take the bitter cup from him; if there was no other way for him to fulfill what he was called to do. Regardless of the suffering he was facing at that moment, he still remembered and accepted that Heavenly Father’s will had to be done.
During the time at the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas had conspired against Jesus with the priest. The Temple guardsmen along with Roman soldiers gathered together and with Judas leading them, they went to get Jesus. We can assume that they checked the house first that they were at, but Judas knowing Jesus, would have known that they must have went to Gethsemane when they found the house empty.
They eventually find Jesus, and Judas approaches him and says, “Hail, master” and then gives him a kiss. After suffering through what he just experienced at the Garden of Gethsemane he finds himself being betray by Judas, his own disciple.
As the guards approach, the rest of the disciples are ready to fight and die for Jesus. “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” Peter, then drew sword and because of a poor aim at the head of one people in the crowd he cut off the man’s ear. The man was Malchus, a servant of the high priest.
Jesus, asking liberty of His captors by the simple request, “Suffer ye thus far,” stepped forward and healed Malchus, and then turned to Peter and rebuked his rashness, and commanded him to return the sword to its scabbard, with the reminder that “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Jesus then voluntarily turned himself over.
During the early morning hours, as Jesus’s trial was getting underway. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed just as the Jesus had predicted he would have done earlier that day.