Chapter 23: “As I Have Loved You”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 158–63


Map Chp. 23

The Week of the Atoning Sacrifice

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Third Day, continued

    

Jesus’ Betrayal Foretold

26:1, 2

   

The Plot Against Jesus

26:3–5

14:1, 2

22:1, 2

 

Judas Arranges Betrayal

26:14–16

14:10, 11

22:3–6

 

Fifth Day

    

Arrangements for the Passover Meal

26:17–19

14:12–16

22:7–13

 

Strife over Precedence in the Passover Chamber

Jesus Washes the Apostles’ Feet

26:20

14:17

22:14; 24:30

13:1–20

Passover Meal—Introduction of the Sacrament

26:26–29

14:22–25

22:15–20

 

Jesus Indicates the Betrayer

Judas Leaves the Chamber

Jesus Foretells His Own Death

26:21–25

14:18–21

22:21–23

13:21–26

13:27–30

13:31–35

Apostles Express Loyalty

26:31–35

14:27–31

22:31–38

13:36–38

Interpretive Commentary

(23-1) Matthew 26:5. Why Didn’t the Jewish Leaders Capture Jesus during the Feast of the Passover?

“The rulers feared especially an outbreak by the Galileans, who had a provincial pride in the prominence of Jesus as one of their countrymen, and many of whom were then in Jerusalem. It was further concluded and for the same reasons, that the Jewish custom of making impressive examples of notable offenders by executing public punishment upon them at times of great general assemblages, be set aside in the case of Jesus; therefore the conspirators said: ‘Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.’” (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 591.)

(23-2) Luke 22:3 Did Satan Literally Enter into Judas’ Body?

“Perhaps, for Satan is a spirit man, a being who was born the offspring of God in pre-existence, and who was cast out of heaven for rebellion. He and his spirit followers have power in some cases to enter the bodies of men; they are, also, sometimes cast out of these illegally entered habitations by the power of the priesthood. See Mark 1:21–28.

“But if the body of Judas was not possessed literally by Satan, still this traitorous member of the Twelve was totally submissive to the will of the devil. ‘Before Judas sold Christ to the Jews, he had sold himself to the devil; he had become Satan’s serf, and did his master’s bidding.’ (Talmage, [Jesus the Christ], p. 592.)” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:702.)

(23-3) Matthew 26:15. What Is the Significance of the “Thirty Pieces of Silver”?

“They could have said one piece of silver or a thousand. Judas had not come to haggle but to betray. What amount, then, should they set? With devilish cunning they chose that sum which in their law was the fixed price of a slave. ‘Thirty shekels of silver’ would recompense an owner for the death of ‘a manservant or a maidservant.’ (Ex. 21:28–32.)

“Thirty pieces of silver! Such would they pay for the life of their God—no more and no less. And by so doing all men ever after would know that they esteemed him as the basest of men. And thus, also, even their attempts to debase and insult would fulfill, in literal detail, the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah which had foretold their evil conspiracy. ‘If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear,’ the Lord says of the sum for which he will be sold. ‘So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.’ (Zech. 11:12.)” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:702–3.)

(23-4) Mark 14:22–25. What Did Jesus Really Say at the Institution of the Last Supper?

Compare the King James account with that rendered by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Inspired Version.

“And as they did eat, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them, and said, Take it, and eat.

“Behold, this is for you to do in remembrance of my body; for as oft as ye do this ye will remember this hour that I was with you.

“And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.

“And he said unto them, This is in remembrance of my blood which is shed for many, and the new testament which I give unto you; for of me, ye shall bear record unto all the world.

“And as oft as ye do this ordinance, ye will remember me in this hour that I was with you, and drank with you of this cup, even the last time in my ministry.

“Verily I say unto you, Of this ye shall bear record; for I will no more drink of the fruit of the vine with you, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mark 14:20–25, Inspired Version.)

(23-5) John 13:1–20. When Jesus Washed His Disciples’ Feet, It Was a Sign of His Love for Them.

Washing of feet is a sacred gospel ordinance. It has been commanded of the Lord in the present as well as in previous dispensations.

“… our Lord did two things in the performance of this ordinance: 1. He fulfilled the old law given to Moses; and 2. He instituted a sacred ordinance which should be performed by legal administrators among his true disciples from that day forward.

“As part of the restoration of all things, the ordinance of washing of feet has been restored in the dispensation of the fulness of times. In keeping with the standard pattern of revealing principles and practices line upon line and precept upon precept, the Lord revealed his will concerning the washing of feet little by little until the full knowledge of the endowment and all temple ordinances had been given.” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 829–30.)

President David O. McKay saw in the ordinance a great example of service. Speaking to the Church in the April 1951 general conference on the occasion of his being sustained by the members as president of the Church, he said:

“What an example of service to those great servants, followers of the Christ! He that is greatest among you, let him be least. So we sense the obligation to be of greater service to the membership of the Church, to devote our lives to the advancement of the kingdom of God on earth.” (In CR, Apr. 1951, p. 159.)

(23-6) John 13:26, 27. What Does It Mean to Give a Sop?

In areas of the world where table utensils are not used at mealtime, it is common practice to place both broth and meat in a dish in the center of the table. Thin pieces of bread, often shaped to make a spoon, are used to extract both meat and broth from their repository. The bread thus dipped becomes a “sop.” It is a mark of great honor for two friends to dip from the same sop-dish and an even greater mark of respect for one to dip for a friend and present the sop to him. Thus it was that Judas attempted to feign his love and loyalty for Jesus at the Passover meal by dipping his hand in the same dish with him. (See Matthew 26:23.) John reports that it was Jesus who dipped the sop for Judas and then handed it to him with the words, “That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:27.) (See Harper’s Bible Dictionary, s.v. “sop.”)

(23-7) Matthew 26:17. What Was the Feast of Unleavened Bread?

Closely associated with the Passover was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As the ancient Israelites made their hasty preparations to leave Egypt and its unwelcome hardships, they did not have sufficient time to permit their bread to rise as was the custom. Instead they baked in haste and vacated their homes as quickly as possible. The festival of Unleavened Bread was held to commemorate this fact. Where Passover lasted one day originally, the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted seven. In process of time, both festivals were combined into one, making the entire Passover period eight days in length.

(23-8) What Is the Relationship between the Sacrament and the Atonement?

The final Passover was, in reality, two events rather than one: a formal celebration of the annual Passover supper and the first observance of the Lord’s Supper in commemoration of the atoning act of Jesus Christ. In speaking of the second of the two suppers, Elder Talmage has written:

“While Jesus with the Twelve still sat at table, He took a loaf or cake of bread, and having reverently given thanks and by blessing sanctified it, He gave a portion to each of the apostles, saying: ‘Take, eat; this is my body’: or, according to the more extended account, ‘This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ Then, taking a cup of wine, He gave thanks and blessed it, and gave it unto them with the command: ‘Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of 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.’ In this simple but impressive manner was instituted the ordinance, since known as the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. The bread and wine, duly consecrated by prayer, become emblems of the Lord’s body and blood, to be eaten and drunk reverently, and in remembrance of Him. (Jesus the Christ, pp. 596–97.)

(23-9) Matthew 26:22. “Lord, Is It I”?

“There is a lesson to be drawn from the twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew. The occasion, the Last Supper.

“‘And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.’

“I remind you that these men were apostles. They were of apostolic stature. It has always been interesting to me that they did not on that occasion, nudge one another and say, ‘I’ll bet that is old Judas. He has surely been acting queer lately.’ It reflects something of their stature. Rather it is recorded that:

“‘They were exceedingly sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?’ (Matthew 26:22.)

“Would you, I plead, overrule the tendency to disregard counsel and assume for just a moment something apostolic in attitude at least, and ask yourself these questions: Do I need to improve myself? Should I take this counsel to heart and act upon it? If there is one weak or failing, unwilling to follow the brethren, Lord, is it I?” (Boyd K. Packer, “Follow the Brethren,” Speeches of the Year, 1965, p. 3.)

(23-10) Matthew 26:1, 2. Jesus Prophesies of His Death and Resurrection

As the time for Jesus’ death drew near, the Savior spoke of it directly and of the methods that would be used to bring it about. But this was not the first time Jesus had prophesied concerning his death and the resurrection to follow.

The following chart shows some of the occasions when Jesus had taught his apostles and others that he must die. They did not comprehend the real significance of his words—not until after the resurrection was an accomplished fact.

Reference

Period of Time in the Lord’s Ministry

John 2:18–22

Beginning of the First Passover

Luke 9:21, 22

Two Years Later During the Galilean Ministry

Mark 9:30–32

Still Later During the Galilean Ministry

Mark 10:32–34

The Following Year, Just Preceding the Last Passover

Points to Ponder

Jesus Is Our Great Example of What It Means to Love One Another

Jesus is the Father’s gift to all men. In offering his Son as he did, our Father in heaven has shown us our truest example of pure love. Out of his divine love came a willingness to endure the sacrifice of his Son—the incomparable suffering in Gethsemane, the abuse by Romans and Jews, the mockery of a trial, the pain and horror of a crucifixion. And why? Because our Father in heaven loves us and knew that we could return to him only through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Note 1 John 4:7–10. Is God Love? What is John talking about here?

But the Savior did not have to die, for he held death in abeyance. His was a willing sacrifice, a supreme act of love. He lived a life of complete obedience to the Father’s will. In giving his life willingly as he did, our Savior placed the seal of divine love on his life and mission and demonstrated the course which all men should emulate.

Note John 1:34, 35. What should be the great distinguishing trait of a true disciple of Christ?

(23-11) John 13:31–35. What Did Jesus Teach about the Principle of Love?

It has been aptly observed that while many of the world’s great religious leaders taught the principle of love, Jesus is the only one who could truly say, “Follow me,” for he alone not only taught the principle but exemplified it. And we are to love one another as he has loved us. “By this,” he says, “shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35.)

Read John 15:8–13.

Perhaps the best way we can comprehend what Jesus taught about the principle of love is to ponder the love that Jesus offers us. Consider the divine station from which he descended to come to earth to rescue us and to provide for us redemption and forgiveness of sins. Consider also the agony in Gethsemane and on the cross.

“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me;
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
“I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine;
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
“I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
“Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me,
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful,
Wonderful to me!”

(“I Stand All Amazed,” Hymns, 80.)

Very often students desire to know how they can really demonstrate love. Have you ever felt this way? If so, the following scriptures will provide valuable insight and help.

Summarize briefly how we may demonstrate our love as described in the following scriptures:

John 15:9, 10. How do we best show our love for God?

1 John 2:15–17. How do many love the world rather than God?

1 John 3:17, 18. How important is service to the demonstration of love?

(23-12) Love in Deed and Not in Word Only

We love our Father and our Savior because they first loved us! And we demonstrate our love for them in our treatment of each other. Most of us may never be put to the crucial test of laying down our lives for one we love. Our tests of love and devotion may come in other ways, more quiet perhaps, but nonetheless real. And as they do, “let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

The application of these divine standards might be illustrated by the following story:

“Some time ago a friend of mine related an experience that I should like to pass on to you. He said:

“‘My father’s cousin and my father lived in the same community and were competing in the construction business. There grew up over the years a very keen and bitter rivalry between them. This was triggered in the beginning in the bidding of construction contracts, and later in our city political affairs where they opposed each other in very spirited elections.

“‘Our immediate families inherited this situation upon the death of my father, for we boys seemed to take over where Dad left off. It was quite a strain on the members of his family and ours even to be civil to one another, even in our Church callings where he served as bishop of one ward and I in another, and later in the high council where we were both members. When we came together it seemed that Satan took over, and I am sure he did, for haven’t we been told that where contention is, the Spirit of the Lord is not?

“‘This situation continued to fester. Suddenly I found myself with a call to put aside all worldly things and go to preside over a mission. This was a thrilling experience to contemplate, and yet I subconsciously had a most uneasy feeling about it. I kept asking myself: “Are you really worthy to accept such an important call?” I was living the Word of Wisdom, I was a full tithe payer, I was faithful in all my Church activities, I was morally clean, and yet this uneasy feeling persisted.

“‘I set about immediately to get my business and personal affairs in a condition where others could handle them while we were gone. While returning home from my office one afternoon, it really happened. I didn’t hear a voice, but just as clearly as if a voice spoke to me something said: “You must go to your father’s cousin and get things straightened out. You cannot go on this mission and teach the gospel of love when this terrible feeling exists between you.”

“‘I drove to his home, and with great fear and trepidation went up and rang the doorbell. There was no answer. After waiting a few minutes I went back to my car and said silently, “Lord, I made the attempt. I am sure this will be acceptable.” But it wasn’t. This uneasy feeling still persisted. I prayed earnestly about it.

“‘The next day as I sat in a funeral service, my cousin came in and sat across the aisle from me. The Spirit moved me to ask him if I could see him at his home after the service. He agreed. This time I went with calmness and tranquility in my soul because I had asked the Lord to prepare the way for me.

“‘When I rang the doorbell he invited me into the living room and congratulated me on my mission call. We talked a few minutes about things in general, and then it happened. I looked at him with the feeling of love, which replaced all the old bitterness, and said: “I have come to ask forgiveness for anything I have ever said or done that has tended to divide us and our families.”

“‘At this point tears came into our eyes, and for a few minutes neither of us could say a word. This was one time when silence was more powerful than words. In a few minutes he said: “I wish I had come to you first.” I replied: “The important thing is that it is done, not who initiated it.”

“‘At this moment we had a rich spiritual experience, which caused us to purge our lives and our souls of those things which had separated us, which has resulted in our having proper family relationships.

“‘Now I could go on my mission and teach the true meaning of love, because for the first time in my life I had experienced its deepest dimension, and now I could honestly say that there wasn’t a person in the world that I didn’t love and appreciate. Since that day my live has never been the same, for it was then that I learned in a most positive way as I had never understood before the injunction of the Master to his disciples when he said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another.”’ (John 13:34.)” (N. Eldon Tanner in CR, Apr. 1967, pp. 105–6.)

What may I do to demonstrate my love to those close to me? Who really are my neighbors? It is significant that the Lord did not merely command that we must love one another; he showed us the way. All who would be godlike must follow him. What does love have to do with the difference between testimony and conversion? Can one have a testimony and not love? Can one be truly converted and not demonstrate love for both God and his fellowman? The answer is almost certainly not.

Now take a moment and evaluate your own standing. Are you the possessor of a testimony? Has it led you to conversion? If your answer to the last question was yes, what evidence from your life could you cite to support your answer? If your answer was no, what things must you do to bring you to the conversion state?