Matthew 26-28 Make Disciples

Psalm 119:49-56 God Meets Emotional Needs
119:49 ZAIN “Remember your word to your servant, because you gave me hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, for your word has revived me. 51 The arrogant mock me excessively, but I don’t swerve from your law.
52 I remember your ordinances of old, Yahweh, and have comforted myself. 53 Indignation has taken hold on me, because of the wicked who forsake your law. 54 Your statutes have been my songs, in the house where I live. 55 I have remembered your name, Yahweh, in the night, and I obey your law. 56  This is my way, that I keep your precepts."

Observations: 119:49 The psalmist is discouraged and afflicted, but he holds on to God's word, trusting Him to fulfill His promises. This word gives hope, and comforts and revives him as he reflects on it.
119:52 The psalmist comforts himself in God's word, by remembering how God has acted in the past and promised to act in the future. This is how God meets emotional needs. (See sermon on Can God Meet Emotional Needs in Truthbase.net)
119:53-56 While the wicked forsake God's law (even though they might have it memorized -Ps 50), the psalmist sings it in his house (not just in church). He calls to mind God as revealed in the Scriptures, and obeys Him. His identity or self-perception has become that of a truth-keeper.

Application: Learn how to have God meet your emotional needs through His word, or you'll unfaithfully look to other sources of comfort, stunting your relationship with Him.

Prayer: Lord, I know that You are totally adequate for all my needs; show me how to comfort and revive myself by Your word. Amen.
Proverbs 27:13-17 Drip, Drip, Drip
Pr 27:13 “Take his garment when he puts up collateral for a stranger. Hold it for a wayward woman/outsider! 14 He who blesses his neighbor with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse by him. 15 A continual dropping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike: 16 restraining her is like restraining the wind, or like grasping oil in his right hand. 17 Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance.

Observations: 27:13-17 Verse 13 is the same as 20:16 (See comments there if you're tempted to get your worth and value from pleasing others.).
27:14 Context is crucial for both Bible study and relationships. Even a blessing given while being insensitive to the context can be considered a curse. Other-centeredness is essential for enjoyable relationships. We need to be sensitive to the needs and receptivity of the other person, as well as their likely responses, before we communicate. This takes self-control.
27:15-16 Speaking of the complexity of relationships and folks who lack self-control in their speech, a contentious woman is a grievous annoyance, especially if such a critter is one's roommate. Drip, drip, drip... They are impossible to restrain or silence, will start an argument over anything, and not stop, ever. Instead of a peaceful haven, they create a living hell. But how did they get that way? They are obviously angry with the other person for:
  • offending/hurting them,
  • by not meeting their expectations or
  • undermining their worth/value
  • by doing or not doing v, w, x, y, and/or z.
Vengeful bitterness arises from a lack of:
  • acceptance,
  • forgiveness,
  • contentment,
  • trust in God's sovereignty and sufficiency,
  • and looking to the other person to meet needs that only God can meet.
Every effect has a cause, but when emotions are unleashed, rationality exits, and awareness of the precipitating cause is buried in the ensuing rubble. Many guys fail as leaders at home by not waiting til the heat dies down, and then sifting though the wreckage to find and fix the underlying cause(s). Many women fail in their role by not going to God for their needs, perspective and strategy for creative solutions.
27:17 A good friendship/relationship will have friction (and sparks) as one knife rubs against the imperfection of the other blade, but will result in both being sharper in the end. See TOYL Relationships and Gottman's Relationship Principles on Truthbase.net.

Application: Only an infinite God can meet the needs of His creatures, but He will use finite beings to surface those needs so we can bring them to Him.

Prayer: Lord, thanks that You are totally sufficient for all my needs; when I'm tempted to think otherwise, remind me to seek You, rather than use and abuse other people. Amen.


Matthew 26-28
These final chapters of the first book of the New Testament contain some of the best known and most neglected verses in the NT: the passion of the Christ, and the Great Omission. Matthew's description of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection occupies approximately 1.5% of the book. Why did He bother writing all that other stuff? (See the last verse.) Matthew delivers on His purpose to demonstrate that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, who came to offer the Kingdom from the Heavens promised in the OT, but was rejected by the nation (although some individuals followed Him). Matthew gives instruction to Christ's followers so they can live as His disciples in spite of that rejection. Immanuel promises to be with His brothers and sisters until the end of the age, when He will return to set up His kingdom and rejoice with them.


Matthew 26
Watch and Pray and Win
26:1 It happened, when Jesus had finished all these words, that he said to his disciples, 2 "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." 3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas. 4 They took counsel together that they might take Jesus by deceit, and kill him. 5 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest a riot occur among the people."
6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to him having an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8 But when his disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor." 10 However, knowing this, Jesus said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? Because she has done a good work for me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you don’t always have me. 12 For in pouring this ointment on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Most certainly I tell you, wherever this Good News is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of as a memorial of her." 14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, "What are you willing to give me, that I should deliver him to you?" They weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
17 Now on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?" 18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, ’The Teacher says, "My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples."’" 19 The disciples did as Jesus commanded them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 Now when evening had come, he was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 As they were eating, he said, "Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me." 22 They were exceedingly sorrowful, and each began to ask him, "It isn’t me, is it, Lord?" 23 He answered, "He who dipped his hand with me in the dish, the same will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born." 25 Judas, who betrayed him, answered, "It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You said it."
26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it, and broke it. He gave to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 27 He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, "All of you drink it, 28 for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I tell you that I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s Kingdom." 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of me tonight, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee." 33 But Peter answered him, "Even if all will be made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble." 34 Jesus said to him, "Most certainly I tell you that tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." 35 Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you." All of the disciples also said likewise.
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go there and pray." 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and severely troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch with me." 39 He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire." 40 He came to the disciples, and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What, couldn’t you watch with me for one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 42 Again, a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cup can’t pass away from me unless I drink it, your desire be done." 43 He came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 He left them again, went away, and prayed a third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he came to his disciples, and said to them, "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. 46 Arise, let’s be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand."
47 While he was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priest and elders of the people. 48 Now he who betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, "Whoever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him." 49 Immediately he came to Jesus, and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, "Friend, why are you here?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 Behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck the servant of the high priest, and struck off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place, for all those who take the sword will die by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I couldn’t ask my Father, and he would even now send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so?" 55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to seize me? I sat daily in the temple teaching, and you didn’t arrest me. 56 But all this has happened, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him, and fled.
57 Those who had taken Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. 58 But Peter followed him from a distance, to the court of the high priest, and entered in and sat with the officers, to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus, that they might put him to death; 60 and they found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward, 61 and said, "This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.’" 62 The high priest stood up, and said to him, "Have you no answer? What is this that these testify against you?" 63 But Jesus held his peace. The high priest answered him, "I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God." 64 Jesus said to him, "You have said it. Nevertheless, I tell you, after this you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of the sky." 65 Then the high priest tore his clothing, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy. 66 What do you think?" They answered, "He is worthy of death!" 67 Then they spit in his face and beat him with their fists, and some slapped him, 68 saying, "Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who hit you?"
69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the court, and a maid came to him, saying, "You were also with Jesus, the Galilean!" 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I don’t know what you are talking about." 71 When he had gone out onto the porch, someone else saw him, and said to those who were there, "This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth." 72 Again he denied it with an oath, "I don’t know the man." 73 After a little while those who stood by came and said to Peter, "Surely you are also one of them, for your speech makes you known." 74 Then he began to curse and to swear, "I don’t know the man!" Immediately the rooster crowed. 75 Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and wept bitterly.

Observations: 26:1-5 Jesus has finished the messages to the multitudes, and now focuses His disciples on the task at hand, dying like the Passover lamb, to save His people from upcoming judgment. Like most religious establishment denizens, Caiaphas and company are more concerned about preserving their position and pleasing the people, than about fearing God and doing what's right in His sight.
26:6-16 Many people try to add extra requirements to receiving the free gift of God's grace (salvation/justification/forgiveness) beside the one mandated requirement of faith. But few add this story, as Jesus instructed when they proclaim the good news/gospel. Pleasing Jesus takes priority over the poor, spiritual service supersedes social services. Religion is not to be man-centered, but God centered. The needs of the poor would always exist, and as Jesus added in Mark 14:7 you can do them good whenever you wish. But the priority is Jesus, and personally honoring Him (as in a devotional time) comes before ministry to the insatiable needs of the multitudes. Jesus said she did a good work, in preparing His body for burial ahead of time. That is what we're created to do (Eph 2:10). John 12:6 tells us that Judas was a thief who cared more for the money than the poor, or Jesus. Some things never change. Thirty pieces of silver was the value of a slave injured by an ox in Exodus 21:32 and a rejected shepherd in the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 11:12. John 13:31 says Judas left after Jesus exposed his plot.
26:17-30 The Last Supper was a Passover meal, so see the outline
Passover and The Lord's Supper for background and significance. Note that the “thanks, break, give” pattern follows that of the miraculous feedings earlier (14:16; 15:36).
26:31-35 Jesus quotes Zechariah 13:7 as preview of what would happen, but Peter argues with Him. Pete, the pebble, lost.
26:36-46 See Groaning in the Garden for how to pray when things are really bad. Prayer fortifies the spirit against the flesh (desire for the temporal). Those who don't dependently pray as Jesus did, will deny God as the apostles did. Here's the acrostic for those of you who are too sleepy to look it up:
Pour out your feelings honestly to God 1Pt 5:7 Phil 4:6-7
Recognize that God is able to do or change anything Phil 4:13 Jn 15:7
Align your Will (thinking and feeling) with the Father's knowing that He is infinitely good, and does/gives what's best when it's best;1Jn 5:14
Yield yourself to do God's will/desire (not your will/desire) to the point of death. Rm 14:4 2Cor 9:8
Note that Jesus prayed three times, as did Paul in 2Corinthians 12:8; if you know God hears you, why badger Him, instead, ask Him what He wants you to do in the meantime, listen, and then obey.
26:47-56 Judas betrays Jesus with a hypocritical kiss (phileo) and greeting. Since the high priest's servant wasn't using his ear to hear God's will, John tattles that Pebble Pete cut off the ear. Dr. Luke (22:51) records that Jesus touched and healed the ear. Jesus knew that in order for the Scriptures to be fulfilled, He needed to die. A grain of wheat has to die to bring forth abundant life. God was perfectly capable of defending Jesus, if it was His will. Jesus could have asked the Father for a dozen legions (~7000x12=84,000) of angels, one legion for each of them, and one angel can kill 186,000 in a night's work (Isaiah 37:36). The disciples got the Gehenna out of Dodge, fulfilling Jesus' prediction.
26:57-68 The high priest, sitting in a kangaroo court, couldn't even get enough false testimony to indict Jesus. Eventually, two witnesses quoted Jesus' words about an ambitious building project time line (something almost all contractors are guilty of). Jesus kept silent until He got His enemy to make His case, the highest accomplishment of Greek rhetoric. Somehow the high priest made the leap from construction to Christ (logic isn't reigning here). Jesus said: “You said it,” and elaborated that they would see the (resurrected) Son of Man as Judge, coming in glory/power (Ps 110:1; Dan 7:13). They went ballistic over the alleged blasphemy, and abused Him. On judgment day, I suspect Jesus will remind those who hit Him, “it was you.” Omniscience has a memory.
26:69-75 Pebble Pete denies Christ thrice, as predicted. Not a firm foundation. However all the disciples went from fleeing cowards to courageous martyrs, demonstrating to all but the calloused sinner that something must have happened to account for the change (stay tuned for what).
Application: According to Jesus, those who are on their guard, and dependently pray for God's power to overcome temptation will win. Those who don't will surrender without a struggle.
Prayer: God, may I follow my Savior's example and be on guard and pray, so that I do Your will when things are difficult, rather than follow my emotions and run or succumb. Amen.


Matthew 27 This is Jesus, The King of the Jews
27:1 Now when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: 2 and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor. 3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, "I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? You see to it." 5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, "It’s not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood." 7 They took counsel, and bought the potter’s field with them, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field was called "The Field of Blood" to this day. 9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, "They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him upon whom a price had been set, whom some of the children of Israel priced, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me."
11 Now Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said to him, "So you say." 12 When he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then Pilate said to him, "Don’t you hear how many things they testify against you?" 14 He gave him no answer, not even one word, so that the governor marveled greatly. 15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the multitude one prisoner, whom they desired. 16 They had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?" 18 For he knew that because of envy they had delivered him up. 19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him." 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 But the governor answered them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!" 22 Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do to Jesus, who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let him be crucified!" 23 But the governor said, "Why? What evil has he done?" But they cried out exceedingly, saying, "Let him be crucified!" 24 So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it." 25 All the people answered, "May his blood be on us, and on our children!"
26 Then he released to them Barabbas, but Jesus he flogged and delivered to be crucified. 27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole garrison together against him. 28 They stripped him, and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they knelt down before him, and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 When they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him. 32 As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, and they compelled him to go with them, that he might carry his cross.
33 They came to a place called "Golgotha," that is to say, "The place of a skull." 34 They gave him sour wine to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothing among them, casting lots, 36 and they sat and watched him there. 37 They set up over his head the accusation against him written, "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS." 38 Then there were two robbers crucified with him, one on his right hand and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!" 41 Likewise the chief priests also mocking, with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders, said, 42 "He saved others, but he can’t save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’" 44 The robbers also who were crucified with him cast on him the same reproach. 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?" That is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 47 Some of them who stood there, when they heard it, said, "This man is calling Elijah." 48 Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him a drink. 49 The rest said, "Let him be. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him."
50 Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51 Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 Also the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep, were raised 53 and came out of the tombs, after his resurrection; they entered into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God." 55 Many women were there watching from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
57 When evening had come, a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who himself was also Jesus’ disciple came. 58 This man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given up. 59 Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. 62 Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, "Sir, we remember what that deceiver said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 Command therefore that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come at night and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He is risen from the dead’; and the last deception will be worse than the first." 65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can." 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone.

Observations: 27:1-11 Judas gets sellers remorse, and repents, acknowledging his sin, and seeking to return the money. The priests, don't care that he betrayed innocent blood, and thus are violating the principle of justice. Hypocritically, they are concerned that the money supply is pure, and duly receipted. They acknowledge the silver as blood money and buy a field for burying destitute foreigners, near the garbage dump of Gehenna (according to some) where the potters used to get their clay. Matthew combines the setting of Jeremiah 19 which mentions the potter's field (and the doom of Jerusalem) with Zechariah 11:12-13, and attributes both to Jeremiah (the more major prophet). In the OT and NT, God relents when people repent. Judas was not the cause of Jesus' death, you and I are. It was God's will for Jesus to die (Isaiah 53, et al. that's why He came) and the establishment would have found another means if Judas hadn't kissed Him. Nor is suicide the unpardonable sin. People rebel against God's sovereignty all the time. Even though Jesus said it would be better for Judas not to have been born in the last chapter, was he any worse than Ahaz? We'll find out when we get to heaven.
27:12-26 The trial before Pilate only served to highlight the innocence of Jesus and guilt of the establishment and mindless multitude (who a few days earlier had been singing Hosannas to Jesus). Pilate's wife warns him to not condemn the righteous man based upon her dream. He offers to release Jesus, but the people choose a rebel and murderer (Acts 3:14) rather than He who came to give abundant life. The demonic drive to destroy Jesus resulted in their irrational call for His crucifixion. Beware the mindless mob. Pilate washes his hands of the situation, declaring his innocence, and the mob gladly accepts the guilt of innocent blood, a violation of both the Noahic and Mosaic covenants.
27:27-32 The Jews had unjustly abused Jesus, now the Gentiles join in, ironically accusing Jesus of the very things He was. The mockery of what was right was a classic hallmark of fools (Ps 1), and Matthew emphasizes it. Normally crucifixion was reserved for rebels; the prisoner was beaten until he agreed to carry his cross, attesting to the justness of his sentence, signifying that Rome was right and he was wrong and thus worthy of death. Only John (written to a more universal audience, rather than one under direct Roman rule) acknowledges (in three words 19:17) that the weakened Jesus carried His own cross (for part of the time). The irony of Simon the Cyrene being there to help Jesus wouldn't have been lost on Simon Peter.
27:33-49 In one of the best know passages of Scripture, Matthew describes the declarations about and death of Jesus the Messiah. Note that it wasn't that the establishment didn't know Jesus' claims nor miracles. They just didn't know God's will. They taunt Him to save Himself as He saved others, not acknowledging Jesus' teaching on self-denial, but acknowledging that He saved others. They want another miracle, even though Jesus had said no more but the sign of Jonah. The Father's will was not for Jesus to come down off the cross, but to be raised from it. Psalm 22 makes the same point (if you know the context). It is a psalm of apparent unanswered prayer, but God answers in the end. It is not a psalm of defeat, but if you read to the end, it is one of triumph. Jesus quoted it to bring the mind of His followers to the entire psalm. There were many parallels between David's situation and that of Jesus. The main difference is that God delivered/saved David from death, but Jesus through death. From Psalm 22:21 to the end David praises God for deliverance and descendents. See comments on Psalm 22. For God being able to look upon evil see comments on Habakkuk 1

Psalm 22:26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! 27 All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD's, and He rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive. 30 A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, 31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.
27:50-56 Jesus deliberately yielded His spirit, choosing to die. The veil of the temple that separated man from the holiness of God was torn from the top, showing that God was the one who granted access, not by human efforts. Not only had the sky darkened, at the moment He died, the earth quaked, splitting huge rocks (petra). Tombs opened, and after Christ's resurrection, then the firstfruits (1Cor 15: 20-23), which guaranteed that more would follow, appeared to many in the city. The centurion and soldiers feared greatly and proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God.
27:57-66 A rich disciple Joseph, and Nicodemus (Jn 19:39) entombed the body. The priests and pharisees did pay attention to Jesus' words about resurrection, and sought a guard from Pilate to prevent the disciples from stealing the body and lying about the resurrection. Deceiving liars expect everyone else to be a liar. It kinda makes one wonder about the integrity of certain critics of the integrity of the Scriptures.
Application: The King of Kings denied Himself and gave His life for your benefit; how have you responded?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for dying for me, in my place, so I could live. I believe that the Father accepts Your death as full payment of the death penalty for my sin. I will live for You, for You have purchased my life, and I am Yours, forever. Amen.


Matthew 28 The Great Omission
28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men. 5 The angel answered the women, "Don’t be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you." 8 They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. 9 As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don’t be afraid. Go tell my brothers that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me."
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers, 13 saying, "Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry." 15 So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until this day.
16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them. 17 When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 As you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe/obey all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Observations: 28:1-10 Early the next morning after the Sabbath, two of the Marys came to the tomb (Mark 16:1 says it was to anoint Him). There was another earthquake, and a glorious angel sat on the rolled away stone. The sealed tomb was opened to show that it was empty (not to let Jesus out). The battle hardened guards fainted. The immortal words of verse 6 were followed by instructions to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. As they went, Jesus was suddenly with them, repeating the angel's message, and calling His disciples “my bothers.” The testimony that both the angel and the risen Messiah appeared first to the women who had served and sought Him, and commissioned them to spread the good news, demonstrates the value of women in the sight of God.
28:11-15 While the women were sharing the truth, the priests and soldiers were busy spreading lies. A group of cowardly disciples managed to move the massive rock without making a sound, and then stole and lied! A Roman soldier was trained to defend a square meter against an invading horde. If one fell asleep on their watch, the entire squad was burned to death. No one ever fell asleep. If they were asleep, how did they know what happened? Silver was spent to spread the lie and protect the soldiers from incineration. The truth is much simpler. The Lord of Life did just as He promised. It is unreasonable to believe otherwise. Many skeptics who have honestly investigated and studied what happened, have become believers. Lies only exist in the dark; when the facts are brought out into the light, the truth shines.
28:16-20a Other gospel writers fill in more detail, of what happened after the resurrection, but Matthew gets right to the most important part, the marching orders for all His followers, known in theory as the Great Commission, but in practice as the Great Omission. There are sins of commission and omission, and when it comes to this command, you get two in one. Jesus establishes that in fact He is the Son of Man spoken of in Daniel.
Daniel 7:3 " I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.”
Then Jesus give them one command (imperative), make disciples (not make converts, although that is a preliminary step). Disciples, the followers of Jesus, reproduce more disciples who follow Jesus. It takes one to make one. If you don't do it, it doesn't happen. The central command is surrounded by three participles that modify it, describing when and how to make disciples.
  1. Going/as you go - describes when to make disciples; it is a lifestyle for all followers of Jesus, as they go though life.
  2. Baptizing – is not about getting people wet; but about immersing them into the power/name of the Triune God. Jesus here makes another claim to deity. Knowing God is an essential part of a relationship with Him. Recall the scores of OT passages where “name” was understood as character, power, glory and reputation. A disciple needs to develop an intimate relationship with God as He really is, not just get dunked or damp.
  3. Teaching to obey – it's not just teaching, but teaching that results in obedience. After the words are ended, there must be something to think, believe, feel, value, be, or do, in order to obey it. The Hebrew word for teach is a verb form that means “cause to learn”. Dozens of times God told the Israelites the importance of being “careful to observe to do all” that God said. It's no different after the resurrection (nor the New Covenant). Note that it's not just a few dos or don'ts. It's about being care to observe to do ALL that Jesus commanded (which would include this command). Loving God wholeheartedly, and loving your neighbor as yourself are a tall order and a little nebulous, especially considering the skewed view of love in our culture. Turbocharge your life as a disciple with denying oneself to do what's right in God's sight (which you have to learn about in order to do it), and seeking first reward in His kingdom, and developing the righteousness He desires (Mt 6:33), then pass it on. “Learning the Truth, Living the Truth, and Loving others with the Truth” is a good roadmap.
28:20b The half of the last verse serves as a counterpoint or  bookend to the opening in Matthew 1:23 “Immanuel...God with us,” and is considered by some to be the theme of the book (see introductory comments before chapter 1 for the more theological purpose). God came to be with His people, and was rejected by the nation, but accepted by those who followed as Christ's disciples. Those who continue to follow have the promise of Jesus being with them always, even until the end of the current age. They will be sitting pretty, in glory with Jesus, when He returns to reign over His Millennial Kingdom. This promise is for disciples, or rather disciple-makers, for those God would most empower and grace with His presence, are those doing His work while the King is away.
Application: If you're not following Christ as His disciple and teaching others to do the same, you're not a disciple. What else are you committing? See Daniel The Disciple-maker (upcoming Sunday post), and the Survey of Discipleship on Truthbase.net
Prayer: My Risen Savior, Present Power, and Coming King, I praise You for Your incredible goodness and promises and for all You have done for me; I have no other purpose or pleasure in life than to do Your will; help me stay focused on serving You in all I do. Thanks...bunches. Amen.


Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God delivers on His promises, providing salvation through the Messiah, and resurrecting Him from the dead. He allows righteous to suffer and the wicked to prosper in order to accomplish His purposes, but will pay them both back.

Build-a-Jesus: He's the Crucified Savior, Risen Lord, and Coming King; Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, Master Teacher, and my Brother.

Us in a nutshell: People don't fare well in these chapters. With the exception of Joseph and a couple of Marys, they don't even look worth redeeming. Those in the religious establishment can be taken captive by Satan to do His will, and they will act unjustly and unrighteously, committing murder and deception, but be scrupulous about following their laws that establish their bogus self-righteousness. Mindless mobs can be manipulated to do irrational evil. Yet God entrusts the eleven cowards with a mission, the success of which the salvation of the world depends.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net

Matthew complete text


Matthew 26
26:1 It happened, when Jesus had finished all these words, that he said to his disciples, 2 "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." 3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas. 4 They took counsel together that they might take Jesus by deceit, and kill him. 5 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest a riot occur among the people."
6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to him having an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8 But when his disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor." 10 However, knowing this, Jesus said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? Because she has done a good work for me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you don’t always have me. 12 For in pouring this ointment on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Most certainly I tell you, wherever this Good News is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of as a memorial of her."
14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, "What are you willing to give me, that I should deliver him to you?" They weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
17 Now on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?" 18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, ’The Teacher says, "My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples."’" 19 The disciples did as Jesus commanded them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 Now when evening had come, he was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 As they were eating, he said, "Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me." 22 They were exceedingly sorrowful, and each began to ask him, "It isn’t me, is it, Lord?" 23 He answered, "He who dipped his hand with me in the dish, the same will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born." 25 Judas, who betrayed him, answered, "It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You said it."
26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it, and broke it. He gave to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 27 He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, "All of you drink it, 28 for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I tell you that I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s Kingdom." 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of me tonight, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee." 33 But Peter answered him, "Even if all will be made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble." 34 Jesus said to him, "Most certainly I tell you that tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." 35 Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you." All of the disciples also said likewise.
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go there and pray." 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and severely troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch with me." 39 He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire." 40 He came to the disciples, and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What, couldn’t you watch with me for one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 42 Again, a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cup can’t pass away from me unless I drink it, your desire be done." 43 He came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 He left them again, went away, and prayed a third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he came to his disciples, and said to them, "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. 46 Arise, let’s be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand."
47 While he was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priest and elders of the people. 48 Now he who betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, "Whoever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him." 49 Immediately he came to Jesus, and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, "Friend, why are you here?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 Behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck the servant of the high priest, and struck off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place, for all those who take the sword will die by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I couldn’t ask my Father, and he would even now send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so?" 55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to seize me? I sat daily in the temple teaching, and you didn’t arrest me. 56 But all this has happened, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him, and fled.
57 Those who had taken Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. 58 But Peter followed him from a distance, to the court of the high priest, and entered in and sat with the officers, to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus, that they might put him to death; 60 and they found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward, 61 and said, "This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.’" 62 The high priest stood up, and said to him, "Have you no answer? What is this that these testify against you?" 63 But Jesus held his peace. The high priest answered him, "I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God." 64 Jesus said to him, "You have said it. Nevertheless, I tell you, after this you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of the sky." 65 Then the high priest tore his clothing, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy. 66 What do you think?" They answered, "He is worthy of death!" 67 Then they spit in his face and beat him with their fists, and some slapped him, 68 saying, "Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who hit you?"
69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the court, and a maid came to him, saying, "You were also with Jesus, the Galilean!" 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I don’t know what you are talking about." 71 When he had gone out onto the porch, someone else saw him, and said to those who were there, "This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth." 72 Again he denied it with an oath, "I don’t know the man." 73 After a little while those who stood by came and said to Peter, "Surely you are also one of them, for your speech makes you known." 74 Then he began to curse and to swear, "I don’t know the man!" Immediately the rooster crowed. 75 Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and wept bitterly.

Matthew 27
27:1 Now when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: 2 and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor. 3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, "I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? You see to it." 5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, "It’s not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood." 7 They took counsel, and bought the potter’s field with them, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field was called "The Field of Blood" to this day. 9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, "They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him upon whom a price had been set, whom some of the children of Israel priced, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me."
11 Now Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said to him, "So you say." 12 When he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then Pilate said to him, "Don’t you hear how many things they testify against you?" 14 He gave him no answer, not even one word, so that the governor marvelled greatly. 15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the multitude one prisoner, whom they desired. 16 They had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?" 18 For he knew that because of envy they had delivered him up. 19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him." 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 But the governor answered them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!" 22 Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do to Jesus, who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let him be crucified!" 23 But the governor said, "Why? What evil has he done?" But they cried out exceedingly, saying, "Let him be crucified!" 24 So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it." 25 All the people answered, "May his blood be on us, and on our children!"
26 Then he released to them Barabbas, but Jesus he flogged and delivered to be crucified. 27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole garrison together against him. 28 They stripped him, and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 When they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him. 32 As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, and they compelled him to go with them, that he might carry his cross.
33 They came to a place called "Golgotha," that is to say, "The place of a skull." 34 They gave him sour wine to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothing among them, casting lots, 36 and they sat and watched him there. 37 They set up over his head the accusation against him written, "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS." 38 Then there were two robbers crucified with him, one on his right hand and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!" 41 Likewise the chief priests also mocking, with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders, said, 42 "He saved others, but he can’t save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’" 44 The robbers also who were crucified with him cast on him the same reproach. 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?" That is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 47 Some of them who stood there, when they heard it, said, "This man is calling Elijah." 48 Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him a drink. 49 The rest said, "Let him be. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him."
50 Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51 Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God." 55 Many women were there watching from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
57 When evening had come, a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who himself was also Jesus’ disciple came. 58 This man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given up. 59 Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. 62 Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, "Sir, we remember what that deceiver said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 Command therefore that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come at night and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He is risen from the dead’; and the last deception will be worse than the first." 65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can." 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone.

Matthew 28
28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men. 5 The angel answered the women, "Don’t be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you." 8 They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. 9 As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" They came and took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don’t be afraid. Go tell my brothers that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me."
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers, 13 saying, "Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry." 15 So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until this day.
16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them. 17 When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.