Pastor's Pen
Being in the Garden Alone - Matthew 26:36-46
Jesus and His disciples entered Gethsemane, and He told His disciples: “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder” (Mark 26:36).  Another verse says: “Watch and pray” (verse 41). Their duty was to watch and pray. This is the same duty for the church and believers today. In Acts 1:6-11, we see Jesus’ instructions for His followers before He was taken up into heaven. Until He returns, we are to be watching, praying, and obeying the things He has taught us.  
 
In Mark 26:37-38, Jesus went deeper into the Garden and took Peter, James, and John with Him. As they walked, Jesus’ soul became “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” Peter, James and John were told to “tarry ye here and watch with me.” Jesus continued on, fell on His face, and prayed: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (verse 39). This does not mean that Jesus was unwilling to go to the cross, but He wanted only what was the Father’s will (Luke 22:42). The atonement for our sin was required. Hebrews 9:22 reminds us: “Without shedding of blood is no remission (of sin).” As Jesus agonized over what was to come, He needed to stay focused. He returned to find His disciples sleeping. They had failed to give comfort to the Lord during his travail. “What, could ye not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 26:40-41). A second time Jesus went away and prayed to His Father. When He returned, He found the disciples sound asleep. A third time He went and prayed to His Father the same words. What about us today? Are we watching and praying while we await His return? What should we be doing?
 
•  We are to abide in Christ (John 15:7-12). We are to be fruitful and pleasing to God and follow His commands.
 
•  We are to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).
 
•  We are to put on Christ and put off corrupt and deceitful lusts, and we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Ephesians 4:22-32). While we are watching and waiting, we are to be living in a way pleasing to God.
 
• We are to be passionate about the things of God and not slumber. There may be times when we are in the garden alone on our knees before God. We are remember Jesus and to turn to Him when we are in the garden alone. Consider what He went through and meditate on Isaiah 53, Psalm 23, and Jeremiah 17:5-7. As we go through garden experiences remember: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jeremiah 17:7).
Posted By: Rev. Dr. ERnest Brodie Jr.6/12/2024 7:22:11 AM

Failing the Master - Matthew 26:31-35
Matthew 26:31-35: “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galillee. Peter answered and said unto Him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.” Peter bravely asserted he would never fail Jesus even if it meant his death, and the rest of disciples agreed. Although Peter and the disciples expressed their allegiance to Jesus, they failed. Even with the best of intentions, people today make mistakes thinking they know best. They believe they are too strong to be swayed or to fall. Whenever we allow sin to reign, we, too, will fail the Master. What happens when we sin?
 
Our sin interrupts our fellowship with God. 1 John 1:5-7, Psalm 66:18.
 
Our sin hinders the help and work of the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19. Sin stops the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Ephesians 4:22-24 lists what we are to put out of our lives, leaving no place for the devil. This is done by faithfully immersing ourselves in the Word of God.
 
Our sin stops our spiritual growth. 1 Peter 2:13. Knowledge of Scripture is not equated to spiritual growth. Knowing a lot of Scripture and not applying it stops spiritual growth. Reading, applying, and obeying Scripture gives us victory (2 Peter 3:18).
 
Our sin brings God’s parental, corrective chastisement. God disciplines and corrects us because He loves us and deals with us as His own sons. If you belong to Him, you are His child and He will deal with you gently or with severity, if needed. Hebrews 12:5-7 reminds us that our sin will lead us to His discipline.
 
Our sin brings a loss of rewards. 2 Corinthians 5:10. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 shows our works will be judged and rewarded accordingly (eternal rewards). We will also face temporal loses, such as a loss of peace, joy, or opportunities. Consequences always follow sin, many times for years to come.
 
Our sin manifests spiritual death. Galatians 6:7-8, Romans 6:23.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 5/29/2024 9:35:02 PM

The Significance of the Last Supper - Matthew 26:17-30
The Last Supper was an important and profound event for Jesus, His disciples, and future believers. The disciples knew this was the time for Passover and questioned Jesus on where they should go to prepare (Matthew 26:17-18). Jesus told them to go into the city where they would find a man. Then they were to say: “The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples” (verse 18).
 
The disciples did as they were instructed and that evening Jesus joined them. As they were eating He spoke: “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me” (verse 21). This was grievous to them. “Lord, is it I?” (verse 22). Jesus responded by saying: “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born” (verses 23-24). The punishment of hell is real to all who betray and reject Christ.
 
Judas was seated at Jesus’ right hand, which was a place of fellowship, leadership, and honor. “Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said” (verse 25). Verses 26-28: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for remission of sins.” The unleavened bread that was broken pictures the sinless body of Christ who would soon die for our sins on the cross. The cup, which was diluted wine, pictures His blood that would be shed for the remission of our sins.
 
“But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day, when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom” (verse 29). This meant it was their last supper on earth with Jesus, but they could look forward to a future with Him. Jeremiah 31:31-33 speaks of that future when God will give them a new covenant and a new heart. We too rejoice in the future provided for us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
 
When Christians get together for communion, we do so in remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His broken body on the cross, and His shed blood for the remission of our sin. Thank God for His death, burial, and resurrection on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-3). It is tremendous for us to look back on this event using the common elements of matzos and grape juice. 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 instructs us on how this is to be practiced and gives warnings for its misuse. Partaking of the bread and the cup is to be done in remembrance of Him until He returns. However, this is not to be taken lightly. To do so is to be guilty of the body and blood of Jesus and will be judged (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 5/16/2024 5:11:59 AM

Portraying or Betraying Christ - Matthew 26:14-16
Judas Iscariot is known for his betrayal of Jesus. He bargained with the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver. It is hard to fathom why he betrayed Jesus. After all, he had heard the truth and walked and communicated with Jesus for three and a half years. He had witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles. He ate with Him and was given the seat of honor at the last passover. Scripture never clearly states why Judas betrayed Jesus but here are some clues:
•  Judas understood that Jesus was going to the cross to die. Perhaps, he felt if he continued with Jesus he would be killed also.
•  Jesus was not going to fulfill Judas’ dream. He was looking for fame. As an apostle, he looked forward to being famous when Jesus set up His Kingdom.
 
As believers, you are called to portray Christ but because of sin in your life you may be tempted to betray Him. You may conclude that He is uncaring and be tempted to take things into your own hands. If so, you are thinking like Judas. You are called to present Christ to the world.
 
•  Realize God loves you and has a plan for your life (Ephesians 1). You need to reject your own plans and temporal things. God has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). His plan for you is best.
 
•  Realize God is sovereign. He is in control and knows what is best for you (Ephesians 1:11). When you question why, remember God knows you and He knows your needs.
 
•  Realize elevation comes from promoting God not yourself. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said: “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” (John 1:27). Later on he said: “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
 
•  Realize spiritual growth comes from a heart broken before God. The Church is the only place where broken people are used for His glory.
 
•  Realize the greatness of your salvation and never stop thanking God (Hebrews 2:3).
 
Jesus called you. He died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the grave for your justification. He cannot use you if you are not yielded to Him. As a sinner saved by grace, you are to portray Him to the world. Are you effectively portraying Jesus, or are you on the path of Judas? We are either portraying or betraying Him. Examine yourself.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 5/2/2024 8:54:25 PM

Making Life Memorable - Matthew 26:1-13
In Matthew 26:1-13, Jesus is instructing His disciples and reminding them of the Passover in two days. After which He (the Son of Man) would be betrayed and crucified. At the same time, the religious leaders were conspiring with the high priest, Caiaphas, on how they could take Jesus and kill Him. They did not want to take Jesus on the feast day lest it cause an uproar among the people.
 
Although we all want our life to count, much in life does not last. What we thought would matter will not mean much to most people a hundred years from now. So, how can we make our lives memorable?
 
Making Life Memorable Requires Us to Focus on God (Matthew 26:1-5). Even though Jesus knew what was going to happen, He stayed focused on His mission. We need to find God’s will for our lives and focus on it (Philippians 3:13-14).
 
Making Life Memorable Involves Sacrifice (Matthew 26:6-7). A woman had an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and she poured it on Jesus’ head. John 12 gives more details of this. Judas Iscariot, who was the treasurer for the apostles and who would betray Jesus, asked: “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5) This was equivalent to nearly a year’s wages. Judas was not concerned about the poor. He was a thief. This woman sacrificed her precious ointment. Sacrifice is not always easy.
 
Making Life Memorable Involves Risks (Matthew 26:8-9). Often times it is the religious people who will discourage us and tell us that we are doing things wrong or wasting resources. Consider the risks this woman faced: The risk of looking ridiculous for breaking an alabaster box on Jesus’ head, the risk of her administrations being misunderstood, and the risk of being a failure. After giving up her all, she did not know how Jesus would react.
 
Making Life Memorable Involves Priorities (Matthew 26:10-13). People still speak of this woman! We are to put God first. A relationship with Jesus Christ is of more value than any other relationship. Life is short. Much that controls our lives will not matter in the future. We must determine to live for God and build our relationship with Him. 2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
 
Make your life memorable by putting God first, by willingly sacrificing for Him, and despite the risks, by making Him the priority in your life. Will you hear Him say: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant?”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.4/17/2024 10:46:02 PM

Saved to Serve - Matthew 25:31-46
Matthew 25:31-46 is addressing the second coming of Jesus to earth after the Tribulation and the judgment of the nations prior to setting up the Millennial Kingdom. Daniel 7:25, 9:27, and 12:7 and Revelation 11:2-3, 12:14, and 13:5 speak of Jesus’ physical return to earth to set up the Millennial Kingdom after the Tribulation. There is a 75 day gap between Jesus’ return and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. It is during this time that the judgment of the nations transpires. This judgment is not for the Old Testament saints or for the church-age believers, but for those who survive the Tribulation. Jesus will sit upon His Throne and begin the process of gathering and judging the nations (Matthew 25:31-32). Only the saved survivors of the Tribulation will enter the Millennial Kingdom.
 
Basis of the judgment: God’s standards do not change. Sin will be judged.
Christ’s judgment of the nations is based upon a relationship with Him. 1 Peter 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” How do we get an inheritance? We are in line for an inheritance when we are part of a family. When we are part of God’s family, He has an inheritance reserved for us.
Christ’s judgment of the nations is based on a reflection of His character. If we reflect Christ’s character, there will be fruit and good deeds by virtue of our relationship with Him (Galatians 5:22-23). Matthew 25:32-34 describes the separating of the nations in terms of sheep and goats. Sheep hear and respond to the shepherd, whereas goats tend to go their own way. Jesus knows which are sheep and which are goats. Sheep are placed on His right and invited to enter the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world (verse 33-34), and goats are doomed to everlasting punishment (verse 46).
 
Six areas good works are judged: Feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty a drink, providing housing and clothing, visiting the sick and the imprisoned. Matthew 25:35-36: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” In Matthew 25:37-40, we see that when meeting these common everyday needs, we are doing it for Christ.
 
Matthew 25:41-46 and Revelation 20:11-15 clearly state that those who are unsaved will face eternal punishment. Matthew 25 speaks of a time that Christians will not be part of, but we must ask ourselves: Have I put my faith and trust in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for my justification? Make sure you genuinely know Christ as your Savior.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.4/10/2024 9:25:39 PM