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Archive for the 'Investigating Jesus' Category

Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 45

Jesus meets people today

As we have seen in recent studies in this series, Jesus is still living, He is alive and he meets with people today. I have met with Jesus and I am one of many who have encountered the risen and ascended Jesus Christ. I continue to meet with Jesus each day and in all circumstances of life. How does he do this? Jesus walks with us, where ever we go and particularly in the darkest periods of our life. Just as he did with the two people on the road to Emmaus, he walks with those who claim to follow Him (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32).

Jesus speaks whenever the Bible is faithfully preached and read from, just as He opened the eyes of those on the Emmaus road when He explained the Scriptures (Luke 24:27). Jesus meets us in the Communion or Lord’s Supper, with the bread and wine, which symbolise His flesh and blood as an act of remembrance of what He did for humanity.

But that is not the end, because Jesus has promised that He is coming again. Not as a baby next time, but as an all conquering Son of God in judgment to gather those who follow Him. Are you ready?

How can you become a Christian today, right now? If you want to turn to God right now, there is no need for delay. God is ready and willing to take you as his own right now. You only have to ask him to forgive you and to give you help on the journey ahead which he will do by giving you the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a nurturing and personal partnership between God and yourself.
The act of deciding to change course in mid-life, is what is called conversion. You may also know it as being born again or deciding to be a Christian. When you place your faith in Jesus, becoming utterly dependent upon him, you turn to God. That means that you have changed your intentions in the way you are going to live in future.

However, once you have made that decision, you leave behind your spiritual isolation and rebellion against him. As you live each day, becoming more involved with Jesus day by day, you will discover you are changing. You will find yourself doing things that please Jesus and developing your relationship with him. Until you enter a personal relationship with God, accepting his gift of salvation for yourself, sin (all that which alienates you from God), controls your rebellion against him. This sin is seen in your attitudes and your activities. God asks you to accept his management and guidance of your life. When you do that, God’s point of view and his strength become your point of view and your source of strength. You turn your mind, will and heart to him for all you do.
If you want to become a Christian and start a new life of adventure following Jesus Christ, you need to open the gift of grace for yourself in order to receive it.
There are three simple steps to take:

  • Admit that you have done wrong against God and his ways and turn away from those attitudes.
  • Believe and trust in Jesus as your Saviour from the consequences of the anger of God towards you and your tendency to sin. Call on him, receive, trust, obey and worship him, recognizing him for who he is and what he has done.
  • Accept the Holy Spirit of God into your life as the major motivating force for what you do. Once sin has been confessed, Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour then God the Holy Spirit has entered your life, then you are a Christian.

All these things happen together instantly as you turn to God, being ready to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus! That is a WOW moment in your life. Welcome to the family of God. God has chosen you; Jesus has paid for you and has put his mark within you through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:1-13). Once you have made that decision, you leave behind your rebellion against him. As you live each day, becoming more involved with Jesus day by day, you will find yourself changing. You stop doing things which separated you from him and find yourself doing things that develop your relationship with him. How do you develop this relationship? Until you enter that relationship, sin, or that which alienates you from God, controls your rebellion against him in your attitudes and your activities. You develop this relationship by allowing God to take control of your life, as he asks you to accept his management and guidance of your life. God’s point of view and his strength will become your point of view and your source of strength. You turn your mind, will and heart to him for all you do.

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 44

Jesus' Ascension

1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.
4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:1-11 (New Living Translation)

Jesus’ resurrection was the catalyst for the mission of the early church, beginning with the disciples and throughout history. Indeed, the growth and spread of the church, is evidence of the historical fact of Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead. Having been raised from the dead, Jesus’ mission to earth is coming to an end. Shortly he will be returning to the right hand of the Father, just as he had told his disciples a few times before he went to the cross.

In the Gospel of Mark 16:14-19, the Gospel of Luke 24:50-51 and in our reading from the book of Acts 1:1-12, we read about Jesus physically ascending into the heavens. Jesus has returned to the right hand of the Father, as he said he would do before his death on the cross. During their last discussion with Jesus, the disciples were still expecting Him to lead a revolution against the Romans (Acts 1:6). Despite all Jesus had said to them, they still did not understand that Jesus had come to lead a spiritual kingdom and not a political kingdom. Now it would be easy to think that Jesus has abandoned them, but no. Jesus tells them to go back to Jerusalem, wait for the Holy Spirit and then go tell others the Good News about Him.

Jesus had told them previously that he was going away and that it was better for them if he did, because the Holy Spirit would be sent to be with them, to live in them and empower them for the work they had to do. Even after Jesus had vanished into the clouds, the disciples still gathered around looking into the sky for Him to return. What were they thinking? Could they not believe what they had just witnessed first-hand? Did they mis-hear what it was that Jesus had said quite clearly/ It was as if they still hadn’t learnt obedience to Jesus’ commands. What happened next?

Well two angels appeared and came to them, saying:
11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!’” (Acts 1:11)

The disciples then returned to Jerusalem and waited, just as they were told to do. They didn’t have to wait long, 10 days. We, of course, some 2000 years later, are the product of their obedience to Jesus. Praise God! We have one remaining podcast in this series, where we look at Jesus still meeting people to day.

 

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 43

Jesus' Final Words

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 (New Living Translation)

Jesus’ resurrection is the catalyst for the mission of the church, beginning with the disciples and throughout history. Jesus’ mission to earth is coming to an end and shortly he will be returning to the right hand of the Father. Before he does so though, he has some more words to say to his disciples.

Jesus’ authority

Jesus has been raised from the dead. What happened next? In Matthew 28, Jesus has ascended back to the right hand of God the Father and the Holy Spirit has come upon and in the disciples. Before he left, he issued this commandment to his disciples. What will the disciples do now that Jesus has gone? They will do as Jesus commanded – go and tell the world about this Jesus and teach them to be his disciples. One of the major themes of Matthew’s Gospel is the authority of Jesus. Matthew highlights Jesus’ authority in action and not just merely in words.

For example, Matthew records Jesus’ authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6) and Jesus imparted authority to his disciples for a short time when they went on a mission in Matthew 10. Jesus has all the authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Jesus has authority over all things and all people. Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings, whether angels or demons, as well as over all nations, governments, rulers, and over all earthly and spiritual authorities. One of the consequences of Easter is that Jesus’ authority is passed to his disciples. The disciples could be obedient to God without fear of retribution from those who would seek to harm them, regardless of the circumstances they would find themselves in. That is why they were so bold and why the church spread quickly. That was the work of the Holy Spirit who changed them from living in fear to living out their faith boldly. They had great confidence in their God, knowing that through his death and resurrection, Jesus had conquered all enemies.

Therefore, as Christian Disciples, we can obey Him without fear of retribution from those who would seek to harm us. We can obey Him regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. It is a great comfort to know, that he is in control of everything. Through his death on the cross and his rising from the dead, Jesus has conquered all enemies. People often confuse authority with authoritarian. Authoritarian means severe, rigidity and a dictator.

None of these applies to Jesus. We have been given a free will, but as his Disciples, we should choose to exercise our free will to obey Him and live a life worthy of Him. As the Christian depends on Jesus’ authority, the Christian Disciple gains wisdom, guidance, and power. As we receive His love and grace, we are to show His love and grace to others.

If Jesus had not risen from the dead, then the Disciples would not have had a story to tell. But Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, and the early church exploded numerically as the twelve Disciples exercised Jesus’ authority and his power.

We read about the growth of the early church in the Book of Acts in the Bible. Christianity is a faith whereby all Christian Disciples – all followers of Jesus - are to tell others of the goodness of God.

 

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 42

Significance of Jesus' resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1:22; Acts 4:33, Acts 17:18). But what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

We can easily see that the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ proved and vindicated all of Jesus’ teaching, his claims to be the suffering Servant and attested to Him being fully God and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53:10-12; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:13-15). The resurrection of Jesus Christ declared God’s approval of Jesus’ obedient service and the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises, resulting in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ, which was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2:32, Romans 4:24-25).

Jesus’ resurrection is additionally a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in Him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15:12-58, Romans 8:10, 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Peter 1:3 & 21).

As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow Him (Romans 5:10; Hebrews 6:20, 1 Peter 1:21).
 

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 41

Dealing with Doubt and Doubters

Let’s say Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. What can we say and how can we respond to that?

Firstly, would the disciples have really risked death for telling and maintaining a lie about the risen Jesus? They were beaten, confused and defeated men until they saw Jesus truly did rise from the dead. After seeing Him, they were transformed and victorious people.

Secondly, somebody stole the body. Hardly likely, and if that did occur, for what reason? How would they have got past the Roman Guard and moved the stone a great distance from the tomb? If they had stolen the body, why bother taking off the grave clothes and folding them neatly?

Thirdly, Jesus didn’t die but merely fainted and recovered consciousness in the tomb. Even the sceptics disagree with this theory, one of whom said: “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to his sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that he was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life” Strauss

Fourthly, they all went to the wrong tomb. Whilst one person may have gone to a wrong tomb, not everyone would have done. Certainly, not the owner, Joseph, who would certainly know where the tomb was.

Fifthly, some people say that Jesus resurrection was a spiritual resurrection and he arose in spirit form only, leaving his body somewhere else. This is patent nonsense, as we see that Jesus ate with people, including fish.

Lastly, Jesus didn’t die on the cross but somebody was substituted for Him. This is certainly untenable, given the rigidity and strict record keeping of Roman rule and with the eyes of the Jewish hierarchy watching.

As people have said down through history, there is one disturbing aspect regarding Jesus of Nazareth - "The disturbing aspect of the historicity of Jesus Christ, is that there isn't a body, and nobody who could have produced it, did so."
 

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 40

Jesus the Risen King

 

1 Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter[c] and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers[d] at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John, all tell us that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried in an unused tomb. What do these four Gospels say about the resurrection and Jesus’ rising from the dead? Let us first look at the sequence of events over the period after Jesus death till he ascended. Some of the sequence events have more than one Gospel reporting them, but for brevity, I will only give one reference to Scripture.

The tomb is empty

  • Two Marys watch the burial: (Matthew 27:61, Mark 15:47, Luke23:54-55)
  • Roman soldiers guard the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66)
  • Women prepare spices then rest: (Luke 23:56)
  • Women arrive at dawn with spices: (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-4, Luke 24:1-3, John 20:1)
  • An angel rolls the stone away: (Matthew 28:2-4)
  • Angels appear to women: (Matthew 28:5-7, Mark 16:5-7, Luke 24:4-8)
  • Women run back to tell the disciples that the tomb is empty: (Matthew 28:8, Mark 16:8, Luke 24:9-11, John 20:2)
  • Peter and John investigate the empty tomb: (Luke 24:12, John 20:3-9)
  • Peter and John go home: (Luke 24:12, John 20:10)
  • Mary Magdalene weeps by the tomb and sees two angels: (John 20:11-13)

Jesus’ appearances

  • Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene: (Mark 16:9, John 20:14-17)
  • Jesus appears to the other women: (Matthew 28:9-10)
  • Women report to the disciples that Jesus appeared to them: (Mark 16:10-11, John 20:18)
  • Guards testify to the priests: (Matthew 28:11-15)
  • Jesus appears to Simon Peter: (1 Corinthians 15:5, Luke 24:34)
  • 2 report to disciples in Jerusalem: Luke 24:33-35)
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples less Thomas: (Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-24)
  • Disciples report to Thomas: (John 20:25)
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples, including Thomas: (Mark 16:14, John 20:26-29)
  • Jesus appears to seven people: (John 21:1-14)
  • Jesus questions Peter 3 times: (John 21:15-23)
  • Jesus appears to 500 people: (1 Corinthians 15:6)
  • Jesus appears to James: (1 Corinthians 15:7)

Evidences for the resurrection

These facts remain for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Note the amazingly changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus. They were like new people: changed from a group of defeated, cowardly people to victorious, brave people who rejoiced.
Next, if Jesus’ body was still lying dead in the tomb, then surely the Roman or Jewish authorities would have produced his dead body in order to quench the new movement. But they didn’t. Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus, did so. Their silence is as significant as the preaching of the Apostles. With that in mind, look at the multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances. Finally for today, note the survival, growth and impact of the early church and the church down through history. If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus’ would people have risked persecution and death for a knowing lie?

Jesus Christ really did physically rise from the dead, conquering satan, sin and death and into a new body! WOW!

But what about dealing with doubts that naturally occur? We will look at that in the next podcast.

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 39

Why did Jesus go to the cross?

  
A question often asked is what has Jesus’ death done for humanity?

  • Our natural state – We are all sinners, separate from God (Romans 3:23).
  • Forgiveness – God forgives our sins – (Ephesians 1:7).
  • Reconciled us to God – We are no longer enemies of God (2 Corinthians 5:19).
  • Peace – We have peace with God – (Romans 5:1).
  • Justified us – Makes us just before God - (Romans 3:24-26).
  • Cleanses from sin – (1 John 1:7).
  • Makes us right before God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • Freedom from the power of slavery to sin (Galatians 5:1).
  • Gives us direct access to God (Ephesians 2:18).
  • Freedom from the power of the devil – (Hebrews 2: 14).
  • Gives us Christ’s intercession (Hebrews 2:17-18).

 
None of the above things apply to those who do not follow Jesus and are therefore not in an active, dynamic, personal and intimate relationship with Him. Are you following this Jesus yet and interacting with Him?

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things.” (Isaiah 59:1-3).

The Problem

Sin is what separates humans from God and consequently leads to both a spiritual and physical death (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23,). In the Old Testament, sins were dealt with by blood sacrifices of atonement as coverings for sin (Leviticus 17:11), for without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). A blood sacrifice is God's way of dealing with sin. These blood sacrifices of the Old Testament signified several things:

  • It provided a covering for sin
  • It showed the great cost of sin
  • It was an exchange or substitution
  • It was only always going to be a temporary measure, as it pointed forward to Jesus' death

The Solution

If that is the problem, what therefore is the solution and who can provide it? We see this solution clearly here:

It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, “Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, my God.”’ (Hebrews 10:4-7)

The solution was not to be through the continual animal sacrifices, because as we see in Hebrews 10:7, the blood of animals simply cannot take away sin. This blood could only ever only be a veneer or mere covering. That was why it was necessary to repeat time and time again. However, there is a permanent solution. That permanent solution was achieved only through the death of Jesus. His death sees that sin can be completely taken away (Hebrews 9:11-15, 26-28.

Our Response

We are to respond to God with love. A love of which we need to willingly go to God to accept. It is a love which is always giving, always sacrificial and always present.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16).

How have you responded to this love of Jesus Christ for you, if indeed you have? If you are a Christian Disciple, when was the last time you told somebody this good news of Jesus Christ and what sacrifices are you prepared to do for the sake of God’s Kingdom here on earth?
 

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 38

Jesus the Dying King

13 See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Isaiah 52:13-15

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:10-12

The prophet Isaiah, centuries before Jesus’ birth, was speaking about the Messiah who was to come. As we have seen together, Jesus is this Messiah. As we look together briefly at John 19, correlate the two passages and see how they interlink.

Jesus condemned

Pilate gave in and permitted the flogging and mockery in the hope of shaming Jesus’ accusers (John 19:1-3) despite affirming Jesus’ innocence after the scourging (John 19:4). Jesus knew that his work of bring people back to God in a loving relationship did not rest on the actions of a mere Roman governor.

Therefore, Jesus’ refusal to answer Pilate, stung Pilate into reminding Jesus of his Roman authority (John 19:10) – an authority that could grant pardon or death. Jesus, however, corrected Pilate’s idea of authority and told him that although Pilate may have power on earth, his power did reach beyond earth (John 19:11). Pilate was more concerned with his own position than he was for justice...

Jesus crucified

  • Jesus, bearing his own cross, was killed as a common criminal (John 19:17).
  • Pilate was responsible for fixing the sign “The King of the Jews” (John 19:21-22).
  • Jesus showed concern for his mother, even when he Himself was in agony, committing her to the Apostle John (John 19:26-27).
  • The crucifixion site was outside the city walls on purpose. This was because the Law forbade execution within the walls of the city. It was also for sanitary reasons as often the rotting crucified corpse would hang on the cross for day. This also served as a vivid image to warn others of the disgrace and to act as a deterrent
  • Jesus’ uttered some final words moments before his death – “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28) and “It is finished.” (John 19:30).
  • The breaking of legs speeded up the process of death (John 19:32-33).
  • The desire of the Jews (John 19:32) to fulfil their rituals was important because the Sabbath fell within the Passover festival.
  • The piercing of Jesus’ side and the flow of blood and water proved Jesus was truly dead (John 19:34).

Jesus buried

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried Jesus. The significance of “in which no-one had ever been laid” (John 19:41) is to demonstrate that the body of Jesus at no point encountered the decay of a dead body.

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 37

Jesus’ Last Night:
Jesus Speaks (Luke 22)

Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:25-30).
In this teaching, we can clearly see that:

  • The disciples, the new leaders, will judge the tribes of Israel.#
  • His followers are to serve gladly,
  • His followers will be tested
  • His followers will face persecution and are to show love.

 

Plans Compared

Let us now go on to see the contrast between the plan of Jesus and those of his enemies. We see that all the elements in the plot conspiring against Jesus had been allowed for. The death of Jesus was no accident and we see clearly that the plans concerning Jesus involved:

  • Jesus is in total control of the events
  • Jesus plans the Passover meal (Luke 22:7-12).
  • The meal is part of his plan (Luke 22:16).
  • He knows Judas’ plan (Luke 22:21-22).
  • Replaces the old leaders of God with his men (Luke 22:30).

The plans of his enemies involved:

  • Plotting to kill Jesus (Luke 22:2).
  • Arranges for Judas to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3).
  • Satan’s purpose is to destroy Jesus (Luke 22:3, Luke 22:31).

New Covenant

The new covenant is a new meal, to remind his followers in every age about the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Today we call it, amongst other names, the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. In this new covenant (Luke 22:20) Jesus claims that his death was spoken about by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

It was a new covenant in which God’s people will be able to know Him intimately, for their sins will be forgiven.

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God." After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him." They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this. (Luke 22:14-23)

 

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 36

Jesus’ Last Night:
Jesus serves (John 13)

In an extraordinary move, Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17).  Why does He do this? As part of the custom of the day, a servant or slave usually undertook foot washing of guests. Since none of the disciples had done this, Jesus Himself undertakes the task (John 13:4-5). Peter, recalcitrant and resistant as always, objects (John 13:6, 8) . Peter learns that only those cleansed by Jesus and trusting in Him fully, can be a part of the kingdom (John 13:7, 9).

As we look back at this episode, knowing what we do now of the Cross of Jesus Christ, we learn how this simple act of washing the feet of His disciples, is symbolic of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross.

  • Jesus’ getting up to serve symbolizes his coming to serve.
  • Just as Peter opposed Jesus going to the cross (Matthew 16:21-23), so he objected to having his feet washed here
  • As he took off his cloak, this symbolizes his glory being taken off when he became man.
  • Girding Himself with a towel, symbolizes his taking on human flesh at the incarnation.
  • As the water cleansed the feet, so Jesus death and blood cleanse from sin.
  • As he returned to where he was sitting and sat down after finishing this act of service, Jesus returned to the right hand of God after his work on the Cross.
  • Both events display great love and service.

When we became Christian Disciples, our sins were forgiven through Jesus’ death on the Cross. That is when we had our “bath” as it were. That is the point when we were justified before God and we are declared his child. Having been justified already, we don’t need a bath anymore. But we do need the equivalent of a feet-washing daily, and or every time we take Holy Communion, and a cleansing of our sin when we confess it before our God and repent.

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