When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
Matthew 26: 1 – 5
As we read through this chapter of Matthew, we’re looking at the events that we remembered during the weeks approaching Easter. Matthew emphasises that, although the disciples really couldn’t, or wouldn’t, grasp it, Jesus warned them a number of times about what was to happen. There is a terrible, overwhelming inevitability to the approach of Jesus’ death, that is emphasised here by the gospel writer showing how the priests and elders were conspiring even as Jesus was warning his friends.
Sometimes, in our lives as well, we can see events approaching. No matter how little we want them to come, no matter how painful the process is, we can’t stop what’s coming. There are things we just have to go through, paths that we just have to walk, as Jesus had to go through the end of his life. God promises, though, that Jesus walks with us every step of the way, that Jesus has been through these things before, that as we suffer and as we are tempted, he is alongside us, supporting us and carrying us. And, in the end, everything, no matter how dreadful, no matter how painful, works together for the good of those who love the Lord.
Prayer: Father God, life can be unbearable sometimes, please give me your strength to bear it. In grief and joy, in gain and loss, you are walking with me, keeping me, sustaining me. Help me to know your presence, help me to feel your love and grace, and help me to trust in your joy and redemption. When I meet people who are suffering, give me your words and reassurance for them, I pray. Amen
Action: pray for someone you know who has suffered a loss this year. If you happen to bump into them, stop for a chat.