Matthew 26 recounts the agonies and prayers of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as you will” (verse 39). Jesus made his will conform to his Father’s will. Later Peter was to write of how Christ in his commitment to his Father’s will “suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Before Jesus and his disciples went into the garden, Jesus directed them to prepare for a Passover meal on “the first day of unleavened bread” (verse 17). Then we read, “Now as they were eating Jesus took bread …” – next “he took the cup …” (verses 26,27) and spoke of a “covenant … for many for the forgiveness of sins” (verse 28). The disciples must have been perplexed at his words, but there is no indication they asked him to explain.

This takes our minds forward to Acts 2, the day of Pentecost and “the breaking of bread” (verse 42) that followed. With what intense feeling would the disciples and all who had just been baptised have taken part! We presume the disciples would have done so earlier after his resurrection and ascension, although there is no record of this. Consider what it meant to them as they broke bread! How does it compare with ours?

The disciples would also remember that their Master said, “I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (verse 29). This event is beyond our comprehension – just as what was about to happen was beyond theirs.

Could someone like the Apostle Paul grasp the wonder to come? Take note of his words in 1 Corinthians. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God” (2:9,10).

But for us “until that day when …” – and our faith is turned to sight and the Spirit which is “the powers of the age to come” (Hebrews 6:5) is poured out on the faithful who will reign with him – may we be like the Thessalonians whose “faith is growing abundantly” (2 Thessalonians 1:3) to create adequate oil in our lamps as this world becomes an ever darker place.