"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, 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."
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
This morning I wanted to look up more history on the Mount of Olives. I did a Google search of it and found out some very interesting facts about this very sacred place.
The Mount of Olives is first mentioned in connection with David's flight from Absalom (David's son) (II Samuel 15:30): "And David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up." The ascent was probably east of the City of David, near the village of Silwan.
The sacred character of the mount is alluded to in the Ezekiel (11:23): "And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city."
Then there are those passages in Scripture that talk about the Mount of Olives an the dishonor that was brought upon this sacred place...
Solomon built altars to the gods of his wives on the southern peak (I Kings 11:7-8). During the reign of King Josiah, the mount was called the Mount of Corruption (II Kings 23:13). I did not know that Solomon built alters to the gods of his wives on the Mount of Olives...did you?
And this last reference of the Mount of Olives is the one taken from this part of Scripture...
The New Testament, tells how Jesus and his friends sang together - "When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" Matthew 26:30. Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mt of Olives as recorded in the book of Acts 1:9-12. It will be the Mt of Olives to which he is to return as stated in the book of Acts 1:11.
The Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1;26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. Jesus is said to have spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew 24-25), including the Olivet discourse, returning after each day to rest (Luke 21:37), and also coming there on the night of his betrayal (Matthew 26:39). At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane.
I find this information beautiful in my learning about the places that Jesus traveled, taught, and then His betrayal. This evening in Matthew 26 is the final meal with His followers. Judas has been revealed as the one that will betray Jesus...the very Scripture is, Matthew 26:25 "Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."
Jesus knows Judas is the one...yet He continues on with the blessing of the Lord's Supper...and Judas is present. How can this be? This kind of grace? Jesus' willingness to obey God during the events leading up to his death is what made salvation possible.
Please consider this just a little more if you will...consider the holiness of Christ. To even do this we must be firmly grounded in our security in Christ. It is important for us to understand the righteousness of Christ. Not only that...but His righteousness is credited to us!
On numerous occasions the Scriptures tell us that Jesus during His time on earth lived a perfectly holy life.
But the holiness of Jesus was more than simply the absence of actual sin. It was His willingness to submit to His Father's will!
It is possible for us to do the right action from the wrong motives. But this does not please God! Holiness has to do with more than mere acts. Our motives our heart must be holy, that is, us rising to the desire to do something simply because it is the will of God!
Now please consider this holiness of Christ. "I always do what pleases Him." Do we dare take that as our personal goal in life? I have to say no I don't! Am I truly willing to scrutinize all my activities, goals, plans, and impulsive actions in the light of this statement? Really, am I doing this to PLEASE GOD? No, I fail more than I would ever succeed.
But this is the example He gave us to follow in all of our thoughts, actions and in every part of our character. This very ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be the desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father. I must choose the high road in my pursuit of holiness.
Back to the visual of the Mount of Olives...Jesus went up and prayed, wept and taught from this very place. It was a high point geographically in Bible times and it is a very sacred place today. Jesus wept over Jerusalem from this point the eve He was to be betrayed. He prayed that God would take the cup from Him..3 times He prayed this! But He also prayed, Your will be done...not mine. I see the deep sadness and grieving of Christ' spirit. He went to the cross alone...because of His pursuit of Holiness. What DEEP LOVE that is to me!
"Jesus answered, "Those are your words. But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, the Powerful One, and coming on clouds in the sky" (Matthew 26:64 NCV).
He knew the pain would not last forever...but the pursuit of Holiness would be our eternity.
Do you really want to follow Christ's example by doing the will of the Father? Are you ready and willing to submit your plans, thoughts, and behavior to Him? If submitting is difficult for you...and it is for me...pray specifically that God will help you in this area.
"Now that you are obedient children of God do not live as you did in the past. You did not understand, so you did the evil things you wanted. But be holy in all you do, just as God, the One who called you, is holy. It is written in the Scriptures: "You must be holy, because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:14-16 NCV).