google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2013 January

Archive for January 2013

POD - Psalm 19

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Psalm 19

19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God.

The expanse shows his handiwork.

19:2 Day after day they pour forth speech,

and night after night they display knowledge.

19:3 There is no speech nor language,

where their voice is not heard.

19:4 Their voice has gone out through all the earth,

their words to the end of the world.

In them he has set a tent for the sun,

19:5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his room,

like a strong man rejoicing to run his course.

19:6 His going forth is from the end of the heavens,

his circuit to its ends;

There is nothing hidden from its heat.

19:7 Yahweh’s law is perfect, restoring the soul.

Yahweh’s testimony is sure, making wise the simple.

19:8 Yahweh’s precepts are right, rejoicing the heart.

Yahweh’s commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes.

19:9 The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever.

Yahweh’s ordinances are true, and righteous altogether.

19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold;

sweeter also than honey and the extract of the honeycomb.

19:11 Moreover by them is your servant warned.

In keeping them there is great reward.

19:12 Who can discern his errors?

Forgive me from hidden errors.

19:13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins.

Let them not have dominion over me.

Then I will be upright.

I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression.

19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable in your sight,

Yahweh, my rock, and my redeemer.

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Think Spot

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Think Spot

28th January 2013

An interesting picture of the power of preaching I believe, is found in Revelation 1 where we see a picture of The Lord Jesus Christ, who is The Word of God in all His glory, powerfully speaking in a vision to John the apostle on the island of Patmos. John describes Jesus Christ in this way, “His voice was like the sound of rushing waters”. He then describes the powerful effect of what he heard. He likened it to a sharp double edged sword in Christ's mouth . He then sees in this same vision seven stars are held in Jesus Christ's hand . ~

Now if the seven stars referred to are those who are leaders of the seven churches addressed by Jesus Christ in the next few chapters and preach the Word, they are in Christ's hands and surely Christ's words are to come from their mouths. Consider what that would mean for today’s churches. What powerful preaching would come from those who preach with Christ controlling their lives and mouths. ~

In Romans 10 we read that preaching is a vital necessity and those called to preach are sent and empowered by God. It is a very special calling. So is it not a fair question to ask why is so much preaching today lame and ineffective? Why do the listeners becomes bored ? Why is preaching spoken of as if it should only have a small part in the service? Some even say out of date. Powerful preaching is so necessary today.

~

So if there is a scarcity of powerful preaching today why isn’t more attention given to this desperate need? Because, we know Its amazing, powerful affect can be shattering to Satan's domain. It is meant to do just that. This positive, powerful preaching builds magnificently the Kingdom of God, and God's people grow strong and are more affective witnesses through its direct work into their lives. ~

How much time does the average preacher spend in the presence of God praying over his message and in preparing that Word from God? John Wesley said “the preacher should spend five hours out of every twenty four in study and in prayer for his preaching.” Why that amount of time? Because of its importance to find the precise meaning of words to be preached and to be applied to the hearers. To seek earnestly the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord blesses immensely the church which gives their minister's time preparing and preaching while others may perform other of his tasks. The church has many parts and gifts to compliment their pastor's ministry. (1 Corinthians 12-14) ~

Are you exercising your gifts to help your minister? I ask you, where is the ardent christian today who is eager to give themselves completely to live for Christ, dying to self whose soul is thirsts for the living God. When you gather to worship, are you looking eagerly to hear the words God wants you to hear in the sermon? Are you looking to be fed, strengthened and equipped to serve Christ where ever you go, and being an effective witness for Jesus Christ to those who don't know Him? ~ Pray for your preachers and be willing to be obedient to God as He speaks through them. And if you are a preacher, then please do take the time to often be in His Word, praying for Him to speak through you so that the church may be built up.

Joy's Prayer

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Luke Looks Back 29

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Study 29-Luke 23:26–24:12

The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus.

All history pivots on the events described in these verses. The story is told with striking simplicity and absence of comment.

We read Luke 23:26 – 43.

Many people play a part in the judicial murder of Jesus. In order from Luke 22:47 on we read about:Judas, the arresting squad, Peter, the men guarding Jesus, the council of the elders, Pilate, Herod, the soldiers, the crowd in front of Pilate’s house, the soldiers leading Jesus to his death, the watchers and rulers at the place called a Skull and the criminals on their crosses. For each of these we might:

  • Consider what their motives, if any, were for what they did.
  • Think of a present day situation where the same motives might be apparent.
  • Wonder which of these motives we might sometimes have ourselves.

Question 1: Select 3 people or groups of people from that list and consider:motive, present day equivalent and personal reflection for each of them.

The arresting squad, the men guarding Jesus and the soldiers were all obeying orders so motive doesn’t really come into it except for those who mocked Jesus rather more vigorously than they might have done. The problem of when to disobey orders is still with us. No one has ever been able to explain why Judas did what he did completely satisfactorily. Peter acted from a desire for self preservation, something we have probably all been guilty of in some small or large way at some time in our lives. The elders, Pilate, Herod and the rulers watching the crucifixion allowed political aims to dominate their thinking. They thought their ideas more important then the life of the most important man who ever lived. Some people still allow purely political aims to lead them to dreadful acts of wickedness. Only the friends watching beside the Cross, of whom the most important, according to John, were women and just one disciple, come out of the story with any credit at all. They had seen something in this man that transcended the danger of being associated with him. May we have the strength and courage to do the same.

Question 2: Paul talks about sharing Jesus’ sufferings (Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:10). For some of us those statements may be reflected in our own lives. What would we achieve by such suffering? Would any such sufferings be in any way redemptive?

Of course sufferings, by definition, are not pleasant. Such things give us a great sense of solidarity – these would give us a much enhanced sense of solidarity with Christ, of fellowship with him. And apart from our feelings there would be the practical experience of His glory that Paul also mentions.

We read Luke 23:44–56.

The tearing of the temple curtain symbolises the opening of the way to God to everybody – you and me included. Each and every attempt by men to re-erect a barrier to God by saying that only they have full access, or only in their way is it possible to approach God, is sadly mistaken. After the death of Jesus the action moves to the apparent outsiders:Joseph of Arimathea was not one of the leading disciples and the women were second rate citizens in the thinking of those days.

Question 3: Which one sentence of the story of the crucifixion will you take away as the most memorable for you?

Different people would give different answers to this. For me, I think it is that brief comment “the centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God” because that mirrors my thoughts as I read about what happened. And so we come to the resurrection.

We read Luke 24:1 – 12.

This is one of the four accounts of what happened that we have. They do not exactly agree about what happened, differing in the way that eye-witness accounts of any surprising, unexpected, event will do. The women set out to do the obvious, necessary things, for a dead person. They did not agonize in prayer about what they should do (did they leave that to the male apostles?). They were hugely blessed as a result of undertaking the obvious tasks. Is this a lesson for us?

Question 4: Why was it women (in those days considered unreliable witnesses to anything!) who were there first? What are we expected to learn from the fact that they were first to meet the risen Lord (according to Matthew and John)?

The NT challenges the way women were thought of and treated in those days. It does this obliquely, rather than directly in gospel stories like this, in the way Paul refers to women particularly in the last chapter of Romans where Priscilla has a dominant role in what she does with her husband, in what is said of Phoebe, in that Junias, a woman, is called an apostle, and many other women are mentioned and commended, all in this same chapter. The church, like the societies in which it has existed for most of its history has been male dominated. We need to be careful to think about the balance we see in scripture.

The most important event in the history of the world was the death of Jesus on the Cross, for that act alone atoned for the rebellion of all men and women, including you and me, against God. That we know this is the correct understanding of what happened is because of what followed – the resurrection of Jesus to the new life of the ages. Had he not risen he would have been just one more of the many failed would-be Messiahs of those days. There would have been no church, no Christian movement. Many people have tried to argue that it did not happen. None of them have given a satisfactory explanation of what did happen. We know without the slightest doubt that there was a Jewish nation there when Jesus was born and that a remarkable movement of people known as Christians started very soon after his death.

Something happened in between to cause the move from one to the other. What was it? Only the Biblical account recorded in the four gospels makes any sense of the gap. We – you – have to come to terms with what happened and decide how we – you – are going to respond to it. The next, and last, study in this series considers the two episodes describing what happened when disciples met the risen Christ. These are clearly written to challenge any and every reader or hearer to faith. So, if you are not already a follower of Jesus, you are going to be challenged to think deeply about what you have heard. Will you be prepared to follow Him, whatever the cost may be?

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Friday Prayers

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

25th January 2013!

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity!

Today we are specifically praying for churches and church services this weekend! Come join in! Play & download the video!

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WOW Word 08

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Forgiveness!

Today we have Bettie, Alphy's sister, giving us the WOW Word, talking to us about forgiveness! She has had to forgive Alphy a lot! True forgiveness is not just saying sorry!! Forgiveness is to include penitence and also a desire never to do that same thing again. Forgiveness of course is a major part of Christianity, both in the way that God forgives when approached in penitence and repentance, but also in the way Christians forgive others and themselves! In both giving and receiving forgiveness, consider Jesus Christ and the enormity of His forgiveness.

Paul writes in Colossians 3:12-14 that forgiveness is part of the being in God’s family of Christians! WOW!

Come see and hear more by playing and/or downloading the video below!

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Think Spot

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Think Spot 21st January 2013

“The God of all comfort”

Last Wednesday, in the city of London, we saw and heard on our T V screens the report of an experienced helicopter pilot who because of fog was diverting to an air pad which took him over the Thames near Waterloo and Vauxhall Station where he collided with the top of a very high crane which resulted in his death and one other passer by on the ground. As the helicopter crashed to the ground, a horrific fireball, stretching for at least a hundred metres which amazingly didn't cause an even worse disaster. Our heartfelt sympathies are with the pilots partner, and his two children who are absolutely shocked. Something no one ever expected to happen. He was experienced, top of his profession but he sadly died. Also the passer by who just happened to be there also died. How the relatives need our prayers.

I will never forget an equally devastating fire that also took place in London, in Peckham Rye some while ago but still most vivid in my memory. It destroyed a prefabricated building one intense winter when an oil burner was accidentally knocked over in the bathroom and a small girl who was visiting her Grandad was burned to death in that fire. I knew her family and as the minister of the Mission where she attended I knew it was necessary for me to visit her parents and family and express my sympathy and any words of comfort I could help them with. The night before I had arranged in my diary to visit I was in prayer before our Lord seeking His guidance. I was crying out to God for help. During that night He brought to my mind some words that Hudson Taylor, missionary to China spoke when he said “You never know the strength of God until you have to. Its not our feeble hold upon him but His mighty grasp upon us.” The apostle Paul wrote “When I am weak then I am strong” Why? Because when we recognise our weakness we are forced to lean upon and trust Him.

The next morning, I arrived on that doorstep trembling but trusting God completely. I felt weak in every way. I hadn’t slept well but when the door opened instead of the little girls mother saying “Where was your God when this happened?” Or “Why didn't He stop it occurring?” She quietly asked me into her little home and she listened as I expressed our Mission family's sympathy and said we would do anything which was needed. I asked if I might pray there and then. She allowed me to pray for her grieving family. This lovely, sweet, beautiful little girl was the close friend of my small son so she was well known to both me and my family. So there was more comforting to give at home also. Many of you have been through similar circumstances with either your own family suffering or close friends and you will relate straight away to this tragic event and agree that you never know until its needed what strength God can give to you.

J C Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool said “God never promised us an easy journey in this life only a safe landing” .

“The Lord is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ever ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20;)

Yes even beyond our comprehension.

Joys Prayer

Gracious God and loving heavenly Father,

We come to you the God of all comfort and remember as we read the Bible of the comfort and compassion that Jesus showed to bereaved people. His deep concern for those whose family members suffered death suddenly. We pray for the family of the pilot of the helicopter who died in London last Wednesday. A partner and two children left behind we know are heartbroken. They were a lovely family and now depleted they need your comfort and strength.

We pray for those who know them who will attempt to bring comfort to them. Especially for the friends from their schools who know them to help in whatever way they can. We all do feel helpless when tragedy strikes and do not know how to deal with our own or others emotions. Help us Lord to realise You have all the answers and we ask that we might be Christ-like in any help we give to needy cases in bereavement.

Thank you that we can look to you as our refuge and strength a very present help in time of trouble. In Jesus Name, Amen

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Luke Looks Back 28

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Study 28-Luke 22: 47 – 23: 25

The arrest and trials of Jesus.

The story now moves steadily towards the death of Jesus. It is told with remarkable economy and simplicity in all four gospels. Not even the failure of the leading apostle and founder of the early church is left out.

Read Luke 22: 47 – 53.

Question 1: Would you be thinking more or less of the eleven now if they had NOT tried to defend Jesus with their two swords (22: 38, 49 ) probably against an overwhelming force? Why?

Their reaction to the approach of the crowd, which Mark describes as ‘armed with swords and clubs’, is an entirely natural one. It shows that they were not cowards. It also shows that they had not taken all of Jesus’ message really into their hearts and minds. Few of us have. Presumably the clash of one or two swords could easily have led to a more general skirmish in which Jesus could have been killed. But in the purposes of God his Son had to be tried, falsely accused, condemned and judicially killed. Without the legal decision of “guilty” Jesus would not have been dying for our sins. The universal responsibility of everybody for his death, symbolised by those directly involved, would not have been incurred. A great many prophecies, such as hanging on a tree (Deut 21: 23), would not have been fulfilled.

Read Luke 22:54–62.

Question 2: Peter lied - and lived to do much good work for his Lord. Was he justified in doing so? Should we do the same under certain circumstances? What circumstances? Is a life more important than the truth? When, and when not? In a way it is impossible to answer this question. We do not know, and neither did Peter, what would have happened if he had not lied. A life is more important in many ways than telling the truth yet the truth or the lie will define the life for ever. In the history of the church many, many people have refused to deny Christ and died. Let’s hope we never have to answer this question for real. Hebrews 6: 4 – 6 could be taken as a comment on what Judas did. Question 3: In the light of those verses what was the essential difference between the actions of Judas and Peter? What warning should we take from this? And what encouragement?

The action of Judas was taken completely deliberately; Peter stumbled unwillingly into his denials. So many of our sins occur when we too stumble unwillingly into error. It is a great relief for us that Peter was not cast away from his position but lived to do so much good and die for his Lord in due course, about 30 years later, in Rome.

Read Luke 22:63–23:25.

There seem to have been many meetings that night in the effort to find grounds to condemn Jesus. Luke only records a ‘trial’ at daybreak (22: 66); Mark records one in the early part of the night; Matthew and John add further details. Luke was writing to Theophilus, a senior Roman citizen, and that probably affected which episodes he was most interested in.

Question 4: In that case what things in the trials is he most likely to have wanted to concentrate on? It was important to him to try and show the Romans in as good a light as possible. Pilate had a very bad reputation in the Roman world anyway so he was not concerned with putting him in a good light. But he did want to show that there was a fair trial and that Jesus was condemned partly as a result of Jewish agitation and partly for Roman political reasons. His main concern was to establish who Jesus really was. So we have 3 titles in these verses: Messiah (or Christ, or Expected and Anointed One) (22: 67; 23: 2), Son of Man (22: 68) and Son of God (22: 70)

Question 5: When Peter looked back at these events he was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 2: 22 – 36). What made him so sure? If the council had accepted that Jesus was the Messiah what would that have meant for them? What actions would it have committed them to take?

Peter remembered the resurrection above all. That was the ultimate proof that Jesus was who he said he was. If the council had recognised Jesus as the sort of Messiah they expected they would have been in immediate revolt against Rome. They thought they would have had to take up arms and tackle the Roman army, which no one could do successfully.

Read Daniel 7:7, 13, 14, 17 – 28 again. How would the council have understood what Jesus said in 22: 69? How would the Roman authorities have understood his claim if they had known the background? A previous Caesar, Augustus, was the (adopted) son of Julius Caesar. After Julius was killed he was venerated as a god, which made Augustus a “son of god”! What would the idea that Jesus was the Son of God have meant to the council? What implications would it have had for the Roman authorities?

The crowd of 23: 13 must, in part at least, have been the same one we read about in 19: 37, 39. How can you account for such a major turn around? What should this caution us against? Who was most responsible for the condemnation of Jesus: the crowd, the Jewish leaders, the Roman authorities, or Jesus (Jn 10: 17, 18!)? Were we also responsible as those needing redemption?

Another obvious question we can ask ourselves, but never really answer until it happens, is: the trial exposed the forces, commitments and loyalties of all those involved: the council members, Pilate, the crowd and Jesus. Faced with similarly difficult choices how will we react? Will we cling to our securities and dreams and avoid moving out of our comfort zones, or will we ‘take up our cross’ and follow him?

It would have mattered a great deal as without the legal decision of “guilty” Jesus would not have been dying for our sins. The universal responsibility of everybody for his death, symbolised by those directly involved, would not have been incurred. A great many prophecies, such as hanging on a tree (Deut 21: 23), would not have been fulfilled. Of course, it could never have happened that way anyway (Jn 7: 30).

5) The action of Judas was taken completely deliberately; Peter stumbled unwillingly into his denials. 7) The Resurrection. 9) Angels, Israel as a people, and the king of Israel (Ps 89: 26, 27) are called sons of God in the OT. The last of these is the meaning implied here. The council would have understood him to be saying that he was the King of Israel (see 23: 2). The Romans would have thought him to be claiming to be one of the many gods of those days and probably would not have been too concerned by that.

10) As Messiah he was the representative Israelite and is now the representative Christian (Rom 5: 15 – 17). We are in Christ (the Messiah). As Son of Man he is a human being standing in our place (Heb 2: 17 – 18). As Son of God he is the Saviour who, being God, is able to die for us all (Heb 1: 3; 2: 9). 12) This has been much argued about through the centuries. The best answer is probably all of them, and us.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

18th January 2013!

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity!

Today we pray a prayer from Augustine!Come pray! Play & download the video and share this page!

A Prayer of Augustine

Great are You, O God, and greatly to be praised;

great is Your power, and Your wisdom infinite.

We who are but a particle of Your creation, praise You.

You awaken us to delight in Your praise;

for You made us for Yourself,

and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

~~~~~

What are You then, my God?

Most high, most good, most omnipotent;

most merciful, yet most just;

most hidden, yet most present;

most beautiful, yet most strong;

stable, yet incomprehensible;

unchangeable, yet all-changing;

ever old, ever new;

supporting, filling, and overspreading;

creating, flourishing, and maturing;

seeking, yet having all things.

You, O God, are my life, my joy, my health.

~~~~~

We give you thanks O Great and Eternal Father,

and accept our praise through the name of your Son

and in the power of the Spirit who indwells us!

Amen!

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POD - Psalm 8

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Psalm 8

1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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Think Spot

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Think Spot 14th January 2013

Fervent Prayer

In James chapter five there are several verses related to prayer. James is writing about the kind of praying that produces results and he gives an excellent example of an illustration of fervent prayer in the life of Elijah the Old Testament prophet. In chapter 5:17; James is talking of the fervent prayer of a righteous man who we read about in the Old Testament in the Books of Kings. Elijah the prophet was living an upright righteous life when he prayed for the cessation of rain and then for the necessity of rain in a time of famine. On both occasion the Lord answered positively. This morning I simply want to draw your attention to the words fervent and righteous. You may like to read the accounts in 1 Kings 17 through 18 to pick up the details.

Powerful is the description of prayer here and we learn that much is achieved by it. Three valuable truths we may learn here concerning prayer.

1. Faith - Elijah we are told did not stop praying in the time of intense famine for the requirement of rain even when there was so visible evidence that his prayer would be answered. But It was laid on his heart by God, we believe, and so he persevered through all the doubts that might come into his mind to prevent him praying . He might well have thought “This is unreasonable it hasn’t rained for 3 years and six months what chance is there of it happening now?.” Have you felt like that about unanswered prayer for someone or something that hasn't happened for many years? Praying for a relatives conversion, a job that just hasn't come into sight? An illness that has persisted ? A money problem that just will not go away.? Relationships broken you cannot understand. Faith is VITAL in prayer.

2. Necessary -Elijah was praying for something needful, something God had promised in His Word. What was that promise? If God's people would stop worshipping idols and turn away from them and worship the One true God Jehovah the promise was that the rain would come. I know of someone who prayed for a relatives conversion for over 40 years, daily and consistently they prayed earnestly over those years. The circumstances in which the prayer was answered were painful but it happened!! God had heard the fervent prayer begun 40 years previously and now was answered. The promise in the Bible believed and acted upon was what? “God is not willing that anyone perish but that all come to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.”

3. Consistency - Elijah watched for the answer and at the appointed time 3 years and six months to the day the rain came “The fervent prayer of a righteous man was powerful” But be warned. The Bible clearly teaches us that if we harbour unrighteous sin in our hearts the Lord will not even hear us let alone answer us. Prayer is powerful but we must not take God for granted. So be encouraged and pray on.

Joys Prayer

Gracious God and loving heavenly Father,

We come to You the Almighty God and thank You so much for the relationship we may have with You because of your amazing grace!

Sins forgiven and a home in Heaven to look forward to and for now a constant fellowship we may enjoy working with You in your plans and purposes for our lives. Prayer is the method you have arranged for us to keep in contact with you and to follow you.

Prayer we admit is never easy especially when we do not feel like it especially when circumstances are seemingly against the answers and doubts attack our faith.

We look at the circumstances rather than straight at God. Forgive us for our fears and unnecessary unbelief.

Help us to be diligent in prayer with righteous living and with the constant desire to please You. Help us to search for your promises and pray according to them.

In Jesus name

Amen

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Luke Looks Back 27

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Study 27-Luke 22:1-46

Joys and Sorrows

In this chapter Jesus is a source of great strength and joy to his disciples as they gather to eat the Passover together. At the same time betrayal, misunderstanding and desertion surround him.

Read Luke 22:1–6.

Question 1: If ‘Satan entered Judas’ how responsible was Judas for what he did? When is it permissible for us to say ‘Satan entered somebody?

To answer the second part of the question first:it is very doubtful whether we should ever say this. Judas was fully responsible as he eventually recognised; Matt 27:3, 4 says ‘When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. I have sinned, he said, for I have betrayed innocent blood. What is that to us? They replied. That's your responsibility.

There is an interesting and important parallel in Isaiah 10 where we read:“Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my (the Lord’s) anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation (that is Israel), I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.” But this is not what he (Assyria) intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations. When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, I will punish the king of Assyria for the wilful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. For he says:'By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.’ So we see in that passage it is true both that the Lord in his sovereign power used Assyria to punish Israel and the Assyrians were completely responsible for what they did.

Here Judas was completely responsible for what he did even if in so doing he fulfilled the greater purposes of the Lord. That may not agree with our logic but that kind of both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility at the same time is the common teaching of the word of God.

As with the arrangements for the triumphal entry it seems likely that Jesus had pre-arranged the hire or loan of the room.

We read Luke 22:7–23.

Question 2: Luke is not interested in the detailed arrangements for the meal, which must have included things like the sacrifice of a lamb in the temple. What is he interested in? Can you think of any reason for that?

He is only interested in the human aspects of the story, the depth of fellowship it showed and the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper. He draws attention to the way this celebration was repeated in the very early church in his account in Acts. He expected the church to follow the main points of what Jesus did down through the centuries.

Question 3: What is the intended symbolism of the bread and the cup? What are the intended symbolisms in the way the elements must have been handled? How many of these symbolisms are lost the way your fellowship do it?

Bread was the common essential of life in those days. It was nothing special that Jesus used. The loaf had to be forcibly broken, as was the body of Jesus to be. The cup was poured out but none was spilt as the blood of Jesus was. It represented blood and therefore (life-giving) death. In addition this was a Passover meal so it also carried the symbolisms of Exodus 12, particularly perhaps the redemption under the covering blood and the sense of a meal to be eaten in haste, prepared to go on a great journey of faith.

It is up to you to think through how that relates to what your fellowship do when they celebrate this meal.

Question 4: Sadly the communion service/breaking of bread/eucharist/ mass has become the chief symbol of division in Christendom when it should have been the great symbol of unity. Why do you think this has happened?

Unfortunately men have sort power by claiming they, by reason of some office they hold, and they alone, have the right to dispense the elements and control the procedure. Very sad. There is surely no justification for any church or group of churches preventing Christians who are not of their fellowship from participating at the Lord’s Table.

Jesus called it the feast of the ‘new covenant’. Gen 17:3–8 is the original covenant with Abraham. Deut 5:1–4 records the covenant with Moses and the Israelites at Siana. Jer 31:31–34 promises a new covenant which this is. Many churches never really talk about covenants, new or old. They lose by not doing so.

Read Luke 22:24–38.

The dispute of v24 must have filled Jesus with dismay as it contradicted all that he had tried so hard to teach his disciples.

Question 5: In what ways are we most likely to contradict all that the communion service is meant to achieve in us even before we leave it? What should we learn from the words of Jesus responding to that dispute (v25–30)?

The tendency of men and women to want to feel superior to other people is always present where people gather together. Jesus reiterates his teaching that we are not to seek that superiority for ourselves remembering that such things will be reversed in the Kingdom anyway.

Question 6: The instruction to buy a sword (v 36) is very strange. There is no evidence that the early church ever did this. Should they have? How can we understand these verses?

Read Luke 22:39–46.

Luke’s account of Jesus praying on the Mount of Olives (v 39–46) is considerably shorter than Matthew’s (26:36–46) and Mark’s (14:32–42) accounts. What does Doctor Luke tell us to emphasise the importance of the event? What can we learn about prayer from this account?

And so the scene is set for the final hours of Jesus and the beginning of new possibilities in human life. That will be in our next study.

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WOW Word 06

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Words!

Proverbs 15:1, 4, 23, 26 “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire”; “Kind words heal and help! Cutting words wound and maim”; “Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful! “; “GOD can't stand evil scheming, but he puts words of grace and beauty on display.”

Today's WOW Word is about Words! So come see what Alphy the WOWChurch Cat has to say about them!

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