Partakers Christian Podcasts

WOW Jesus


WOW Jesus 22

Friday Dec 28, 2012

Friday Dec 28, 2012

Apostle Peter’s
Today we are going to look at another person who was one of Jesus’ closest friends – the man we know as the Apostle Peter. Peter, whose name was originally Simon, but given the name Peter, by Jesus (Matthew 16:18). Peter, the great Apostle and some say the greatest Apostle! With John and James, one of the three people closest to Jesus and had seen Jesus transfigured and glowing with glory on the Mount of Transfiguration! Peter, a fisherman, was commanded to go with Jesus with the simple words “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people!” Peter, who several times was rebuked by Jesus. Peter, who was the first disciple to confess Jesus as the Christ – the long waited for Messiah! Peter, who had watched his friend, Jesus, executed. Peter, who with the other disciples, went into hiding after Jesus’ death on the cross. Peter, who publicly denied three times ever knowing Jesus of Nazareth. Peter, who showed his love of Jesus of Nazareth – having given up everything to follow, believe and receive Him.
Acts 2:22-24; 32-36 - ‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.

This Jesus, God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’” Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’
Here in this speech recorded in Acts 2, we see the Jesus of the Apostle Peter! This Jesus of Nazareth who was attested by many witnesses, even His enemies, to have done great signs and works of wonder – things like healing the sick, speaking words of wisdom, raising Lazarus from the dead and forgiving sins! How could Jesus of Nazareth do these wondrous miracles? Because Jesus of Nazareth, was empowered by the Holy Spirit! That’s how he could do those things!

What’s more, despite all these wondrous actions of Jesus, which were attested as being of, and from, God; Jesus of Nazareth was killed like a common criminal, by people willing to break the law to achieve it. But, that was all part of God’s perfect plan – not only for Jesus but also for humanity – because God raised Jesus from the death to show that death was powerless to contain him! Remember what the name “Jesus” means? More about that in a later study!

Unlike the mighty King David who was buried in a tomb, Jesus was free, raised up and ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father! Following His ascension, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father! From there comes the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to indwell and empower all those who proclaim to be followers of Jesus of Nazareth, having believed and received Him as Lord and Master. This Jesus, undefeated by death, now proclaimed to be both Lord and Messiah!! WOW! So not only was Jesus attested to be the long awaited for Messiah, but he was also the supreme director of all peoples – Jew and Gentile – and all created things! Peter has given evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, exaltation and glorification! All things are under the power of Jesus of Nazareth.

It was the resurrection of Jesus and subsequent infilling and empowerment by the Holy Spirit which turned Peter and the other followers of Jesus, from quivering cowards into a dynamic people we know as the early church. Oh how the Church today needs to rely on the Holy Spirit for power, wisdom and guidance rather than it sometimes does on mere human power, wisdom and guidance.

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WOW Jesus 21

Thursday Dec 27, 2012

Thursday Dec 27, 2012

WOW Jesus 19
Apostle John’s Jesus

John1:1-18 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. He was the true light that enlightens everyone coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own home, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born of God, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.”’) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart and bosom, who has made him known.
Here is the aged Apostle John, writing his Gospel after Jesus’ earthly life has finished and he has ascending back to God the Father. John was one of Jesus’ three closest friends – Peter and James being the other two. He had been on the Mount of Transfiguration, and saw the transfigured Jesus shining in glory, conversing with Elijah and Moses and heard God the Father declare that He was pleased with His beloved son, Jesus (Luke 9:28-36).
So here in John 1, John reflects some of that! Look at how Jesus is described by John! Jesus is the Word – whereby John means that just as our words explain our thoughts to others, so Jesus was sent to the earth as a human, to reveal the very mind of God the Father to a world in darkness. John goes on, that though the world is in darkness, Jesus is the Light! Jesus is the Light who is also the Truth and full of grace and truth! Jesus is the creator of all things and is Almighty in power and wisdom!
This Jesus, the God-man, as the creator of all things, is the only one perfectly capable of redeeming and saving the world from darkness. WOW! Jesus, John writes excitably, is God the only Son, close to the heart of, and revealing God the Father to a world in darkness.
John describes Jesus as the Almighty God who became man, in order to give those people who received and believed in Him, the power to become children of God through mercy and unbounded grace. Yet more – so that people could come to know God personally (John 1:18)! WOW! That is the Apostle John’s Jesus!

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WOW Jesus 20

Wednesday Dec 26, 2012

Wednesday Dec 26, 2012

WOW Jesus
Mary's Jesus
Luke 1:26-38 - In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin? I do not know a man’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born of you will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

We see here in this passage from the Gospel of Luke, Mary discovering things about the child the angel Gabriel has decreed will be hers, conceived by God in her. Let’s look at them together.

The first thing we learn about Mary’s forthcoming child, is that Jesus will be his name! It is another form of the name Joshua and his name means that he will be a saviour or a rescuer! But more about that in a later study!
Then the angel builds up the metaphors about this Jesus! This Jesus will be great! This Jesus, whom you will bear, will be called the Son of the Most High! WOW! Even more, this Jesus will be given the throne of Israel’s greatest King, that of mighty King David! WOW! This Jesus will be a holy King, reigning over an everlasting kingdom! WOW! This Jesus will also be called the Son of God! This Jesus is God!
Then when Mary goes to see her cousin, Elizabeth declares the child as the blessed fruit of Mary! This child will not only be God, but also human!
Again, two further studies to come in this series – Jesus’ divinity and Jesus’ humanity.
Mary, in great humility and commitment, accepts the assignment to be the bearer and mother of Jesus, the long awaited for Saviour.

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WOW Jesus 19

Tuesday Dec 25, 2012

Tuesday Dec 25, 2012

WOW Jesus
In this new series, Jesus WOW, we are going to look at Jesus Christ - who he was & is, what he is and why he matters... In this first post, we look at the Old Testament. In some parts of the church they use as part of their Christmas worship, these seven O Antiphons. Each one, addresses Jesus Christ using a Messianic title drawn from prophecy in the Old Testament, looking back to the birth of the Saviour-Messiah. If you read the acrostic backwards, the initials of each title in Latin form the words “Ero Cras” or "Tomorrow I shall be (with you)", looking forward to when Jesus comes back again. Let us look together at these seven Old Testament titles of Jesus.

Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High God. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner: you came to teach us the way of truth.
Isaiah 28:29 This also comes forth from the Lord Almighty, Who is wonderful in plan, and excellent in wisdom!
Ruler of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and gave him the Law on Sinai, you came to redeem us with outstretched arms!
Isaiah 11:4-5 He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment.
Radix Jesse
Root of Jesse, who stands as an ensign to the peoples, at whom kings stand silent and whom the gentiles seek: you came to free us!
Malachi 5:1-5 - You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, are too small to be included among Judah's cities. Yet, from you Israel's future ruler will come for me. His origins go back to the distant past, to days long ago. That is why the Lord will abandon Israel until the time a mother has a child. Then the rest of the Lord's people will return to the people of Israel. The child will become the shepherd of his flock. He will lead them with the strength of the Lord, with the majestic name of the Lord his God. They will live in safety because his greatness will reach the ends of the earth. This man will be their peace.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 - "For the time is coming," says the Lord, "when I will raise up a righteous branch from King David's line, a root of Jesse. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: 'The Lord Is Our Righteousness.' In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety.
Clavis David
Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, who opens and no one shuts, who shuts, and no one opens, you came to free from prison, those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 22:21-22 21 I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. I will give him the key to the house of David-the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.
Morning Star, splendour of eternal light and sun of justice, you came and illumined those seated in darkness and the shadow of death.
Malachi 4:2 - "But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.
Zechariah 6:12-13 Then say to him, 'This is what the Lord of Armies says: Here is the man whose name is Branch. He will branch out from where he is, and he will rebuild the Lord's temple. He will rebuild the Lord's temple and receive royal honor. He will sit and rule from his throne. He will be a priest on his throne. There will be a peaceful understanding between them.
Rex Gentium
King of the Nations for whom they long, the corner-stone who makes of both one, you came and delivered humanity whom you made from clay.
Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the earth and blew the breath of life into his nostrils. The man became a living being.
Isaiah 28:16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.
God with us, our King and Law-giver, desired of the nations and their salvation, you came to save us, Lord our God.
Isaiah 7:13-14 - Isaiah said, "Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn't it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us').

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WOW Jesus 18

Monday May 21, 2012

Monday May 21, 2012

18. Jesus The Ascended King

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Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20

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
Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ authority is a major theme. Where Matthew records Jesus doing miracles, this is to highlight Jesus authority in action and not just merely in words. Matthew records Jesus’ authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6) and he imparted authority to his disciples for a short time when they went on a mission in Matthew 10. Jesus has authority (Matthew 28:18) over all things, all people, all circumstances and happenings. Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings, whether angels or demons. Jesus has authority over all nations, governments and rulers. Jesus has authority over all earthly and spiritual authorities. Jesus has the authority. This means regardless of what ever the Christian Disciple faces, Jesus is in control. 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.
Now people sometimes 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.

You Go
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.
Christianity is a faith whereby all Christian Disciples are to tell others of the goodness of God. Indeed God Himself is a missionary God. Ever since Genesis 3 and the fall of man, God has been on a mission to bring and call people back to himself. That was the purpose of the nation of Israel, to be a light to all nations of the goodness and glory of God! That was purpose when God, who is outside of time and space, entered human history taking on human flesh and restricted himself in a human body as the man we know as Jesus Christ. Jesus’ whole mission was one of calling people back to life in God. As followers of Jesus Christ, all Christian Disciples are to evangelize. Evangelism is showing and telling others of God’s message of reconciliation to all people of all time. It is not forcing people to adopt Church standards (1 Corinthians 5:12) and nor is it simply a message of join the church as a symbol of good works (Ephesians 2:v8-10).

Why evangelize? The prime motivation for evangelism is out of gratitude for what God has done, in that we love because he loved us first. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” As his servants we are to tell and live out God’s reconciling message
As I said before, we are all to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5). In these last words of Matthew’s Gospel, all Christian Disciples are to make disciples throughout the whole earth! Making disciples is not just evangelism but ensuring that guidance and care is given to new Christian disciples. How is this achieved? How can the Christian Disciple exhibit Jesus’ authority and power in evangelism? Who gives the impetus for Christian Disciples? That is part of the role of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would come once He had ascended back to the right hand of God the Father.

The Holy Spirit is coming
This is in fulfilment of Ezekiel 36:27 “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws”, where the Almighty and All-powerful God will indwell those who follow him. Throughout his ministry Jesus had talked about how after he was to depart, and that the Holy Spirit would come (John 15:26).

We know from the other writings in the New Testament who the Holy Spirit is and what his ministry is.
The Holy Spirit is spoken of as God (1 Corinthians 3:16). The attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit - life (Romans 8:2), truth (John 16:13) and love (Romans 15:30).
The Holy Spirit is also a Person and is always referred to as ‘he’ in the New Testament (John 16:14). He relates to us as a person for he is comforter, guide and teacher (John 14). He can be blasphemed against and be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the Father and Son are also present because they are one. (John 14:18-23).

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and what does e have to do with Christian Disciples?

1. Glorify Christ: This is the Spirit’s prime role, that he will glorify Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is to be praised and glorified (John 16:13-14). He will testify for Jesus Christ (John 15:26). He will witness for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).
2. The Paraclete – Comforter: He is one called to stand alongside (John 14:16). Jesus said it would be better for him to go away and send the Holy Spirit to live in us (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit ministers to us all that Jesus would be to us if he were here in person.
3. Declares God’s Word: The Holy Spirit has a prime role in revelation. It was he that spoke through the prophets (Ezekiel 2:2) and it was he who inspired the Bible, God’s Word (2 Peter 1:21). Further to this, the Holy Spirit interprets and illuminates God’s Word (John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16) to people!
4. Conviction: The Holy Spirit is sent to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8)
5. Salvation: Christian Disciples are born of the Holy Spirit and are known as regenerated (John 3:3-8)
6. Indwelling: God lives inside each Christian Disciple through the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot be a Christian Disciple (Romans 8:9; Gal 2:20; Colossians 1:25-27)
7. Sealing / Ownership: The Holy Spirit indwelling the Christian Disciple is assured proof of being God’s possession (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:3)
8. Security: The Holy Spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing our future redemption, salvation and inheritance (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:22).
9. Filling: This speaks of the Holy Spirit’s control or domination of our lives. The imperative here is that we are to be filled (Ephesians 5:18), and go on being filled. He gives power to enable Christian Disciples to evangelise (Acts 1:8; 4:8, 31).
10. Sanctification: The Holy Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 7-18), as we walk, live in, and are led by the Spirit (Galatians. 5:16; Romans 8:13).
11. Baptism: This expression occurs 7 times in the New Testament. It occurs 4 times in the gospels, referring to Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 1 Corinthians 12:13 states that we are all baptized with the Holy Spirit into one body.
12. Service: The Holy Spirit equips us for service. God is working in you to will and to act accordingly to his purpose (Phil. 2:13), to be my witnesses (Acts 1:8).

How is the Spirit seen? The Spirit’s work is in evidence where people’s lives become more holy and more like Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 13:7).
The Holy Spirit equips Christian Disciples for service through the giving of spiritual gifts. Elsewhere on this website that has been discussed.

Ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Read Matthew 28:16-20. How does the authority of Jesus aid me in evangelism?
Q2. Read John 21. How am I carrying my cross for the sake of Jesus Christ?
Q3. How is the presence of the Holy Spirit transforming me into the image of Jesus Christ?

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WOW Jesus 17

Sunday May 20, 2012

Sunday May 20, 2012

17. Jesus the Risen King

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1 Corinthians 15:1-8: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John, all tell us that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried in a 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 of time 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: Matthew27:61, Mark 15:47, Luke23:54-55,
Roman soldiers guard the tomb: Matthew 27:62-66,
Women prepare spices then rest: Luke 23:56,
An angel rolls the stone away: Matthew 28:2-4
Women arrive at dawn with spices: Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-4, Luke 24:1-3, John 20:1
Angels appear to women: Matthew 28:5-7, Mark 16:5-7, Luke 24:4-8,
Women dart back to tell disciples: 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: John 20:11
Mary sees two angels: John 20:12-13

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: Mark 16:10-11, John 20:18
Guards testify to the priests: Matthew 28:11-15,
Jesus meets two people on the Emmaus Road: Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32,
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 and 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 resurrection:

The changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus. They changed from defeated, cowardly people to victorious, brave people.
Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus, did so. Their silence is as significant as the preaching of the Apostles.
The multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances.
The survival and inordinate growth and impact of the early church. If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus’ would people really have risked persecution and death for a knowing lie?

Dealing with Doubters
Let’s say Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Surely the authorities would have produced his dead body in order to quench the new movement! But they didn’t.
Secondly, 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.
Thirdly, 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?
Fourthly, 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”.
Fifthly, they all went to the wrong tomb. Whilst one person may have gone to a wrong tomb, not everyone would have done.
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.

Significance of the 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?
The resurrection proved and vindicated all Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to his being fully God and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53:10-12; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:13-15; Romans 1:4).
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 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).

Jesus still meets people today
As Jesus is still living, he meets with people at the present time. How does he do this? Jesus walks with us, whereever we go and in particular 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, with the bread and wine, which symbolise his flesh and blood.

For more to think about please do read John 20 & 21. Ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How does my faith journey compare to that of Thomas’?
Q2. What can I learn from Peter and the responses he gave?
Q3. How do I still encounter the risen Lord in my daily walk with him?

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WOW Jesus 16

Saturday May 19, 2012

Saturday May 19, 2012

16. Jesus The Dying King

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Isaiah 52:13-14: See, my servant will act wisely he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—
Isaiah 53:10-11: Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, 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.
Isaiah, centuries before Jesus’ birth, was speaking about Jesus. As we look together briefly at John 19, correlate the two passages and see how they interlink!

1. What of Jesus?
a. Jesus was Condemned
Pilate gave in and permitted the flogging and mockery in the hope of shaming Jesus’ accusers (John 19:s. 1-3). Pilate affirmed Jesus’ innocence after the scourging (John 19:4). Jesus’ refusal to answer stung Pilate into reminding Jesus of his Roman authority (John 19:10). 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). 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. Pilate was more concerned with his own position than he was for justice. Jesus was the true Passover lamb.

b. Jesus was 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). Clothes of condemned men were given to soldiers on duty (John 19:23).
Jesus showed concern for his mother, even when he himself was in agony, committing her to the Apostle John (John 19:s.26-27).
The crucifixion site “was purposely chosen to be outside the city walls because the Law forbade such within the city walls… for sanitary reasons… the crucified body was sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers-by.”
Jesus’ final moments – “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28) and “It is finished.” (John 19:30).
The desire of the Jews (John 19:32) to fulfil their rituals was important because the Sabbath fell within the Passover festival. The breaking of legs (John 19:s.32-33) speeded up the process of death. The piercing of Jesus’ side and the flow of blood and water proved Jesus was really dead (John 19:34).

c. Jesus was 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 came into contact with the decay of a dead body.

2. What Has Jesus’ Death Done For All Mankind?
Our natural state – Romans 3:23 – (We are all sinners).
Forgiveness – Ephesians 1:7 – (God forgives our sins).
Peace – Romans 5:1 – (We have peace with God).
Reconciled us to God – 2 Corinthians 5:19 – (No longer enemies with God).
Justified us – Romans 3:24-26 – (Makes us just before God).
Cleanses us from sin – 1 John 1:7
Makes us right before God – 2 Corinthians 5:21
Gives us direct access to God – Ephesians 2:18
Freedom from the power of slavery to sin – Galatians 5:1
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.

3. Why did Jesus go to the cross?
3a The problem!
Sin is what separates humans from God and as a consequence leads to both a spiritual and physical death (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Isaiah 59:2). 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

3b. The Solution!
The solution lies not in continual animal sacrifice of the Old Testament because Hebrews 10:4 reminds us that the blood of animals cannot take away sin but was only a veneer or covering. That was why it was necessary to repeat time and time again! It is only through the death of Jesus, that sin is taken away (Hebrews 9:v11-15, 26-28), because Jesus is our permanent sacrificial substitute!

3c. Substitution
Jesus died for our sin, the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). That is how God is both just and the justifier of sinners. That is why Jesus needed to be both fully God and fully human! If he lacked either, it would not be the full substitutionary sacrifice that was necessary to bear the permanent consequences of sin! When Jesus died on the cross, in our place, he bore the consequences of all sin – past, present and future. He therefore became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and it was His precious blood as a lamb without spot or blemish (1Peter 1:18-19) that fulfils God’s requirements permanently.

3d. Propitiation
Towards sin and sinful behaviour, God has great fury, anger and wrath (Jeremiah 21:5). Yet as Micah 7:18 “He is slow to anger and quick to forgive”. Propitiation basically means the turning aside of God's anger by the offering of the sacrifice of Christ. God's anger and judgment of sin falls on Christ, instead of us. We need to approach God to appease his anger, in order to accept it (Romans 3:25; Isaiah 53:5; John 2:2, 5:6).
1 John 2:2: He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 4:10: This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice (or propitiation) to take away our sins.

3e. Redemption (Ransom) Mark 10:45
Not only was it propitiation, but also an act of redemption! In the time of the New Testament, this word was used to refer to the buying back of a slave - the price paid to buy the slave’s freedom. God paid redemption so that humans can be freed from the slavery to sin (John 8:35 Romans 7:14). The price was paid (1 Peter 1:18-19) and so we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). But it is our responsibility to choose that way! God does not coerce forcefully – he leaves it as a choice for humans to make as individuals.
What is our response to this to be? Sacrifice, substitution, propitiation and redemption can be summed up in one word: love. For 1 John 3:16 states: “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.” Jesus told us to take up our cross if we are to follow Him as his Disciple (Luke 9:23). Are you as a Christian Disciple willing to take up your cross and do all you can do to love others?

Price to pay for true followers and disciples:

We must surrender completely to him
We must identify with him in suffering and death
We must follow him obediently, wherever he leads.

For more to think about please do read John 18-19. Ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. In the light of Jesus teaching about suffering under persecution, how far am I prepared to go as his disciple?
Q2. Why was it necessary that Jesus be both fully human and fully God?
Q3. How is Jesus a king and how does that affect my relationship with him?

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WOW Jesus 15

Friday May 18, 2012

Friday May 18, 2012

15. Jesus’ Last Prayer

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John 17:1-5: Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: Father, it's time. Display the bright splendour of your Son So the Son in turn may show your bright splendour. You put him in charge of everything human so he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, the one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendour, the very splendour I had in your presence before there was a world.
After his last teaching on his last night, Jesus now turns to prayer. Firstly praying for himself, then for his twelve disciples and then finally for all disciples that will follow, the church. This prayer is probably the pinnacle of revelation in John’s gospel. Here we see Jesus’ very words, revealing an unparalleled intimacy with His Father.

Jesus prays for Himself
Central to this part of his prayer is glorification. That is the glorification of himself in order that God the Father who sent him will be glorified. Glorify is rarely used outside of church circles today. If ever it is, is usually in the context of somebody pretending to be better than they really are. Glorify means, in a biblical context, to have the person’s true nature disclosed. So in effect, Jesus is saying in John 17:1: “May people see me for who I truly am, your Son. And may they also, through me, see your true nature, Father!” Praying as he does, just before he knowingly goes to his death on the cross, shows the importance of the cross. For it is through the cross that God the Father and Jesus will be glorified. Jesus’ death on the cross reveals a God of love, faithfulness and forgiveness. John 17:4 reveals that it was for this purpose that he came, in order to complete the work given. Jesus’ entire earthly life has been one to show divine love. All his works and words were completed without even a hint of hypocrisy. His entire life was driven by the desire to see sinful people turn to God for reconciliation and forgiveness. At the cross and through the cross, this is achieved. Jesus confidently prays that having laid aside his glory by taking on human form, he will return to God’s right hand, having achieved the work of redemption. The theme of eternal life runs throughout John’s Gospel (John 3:15-16; John 10:28). Eternal life is knowing God personally and intimately, and that is only achieved by faith, through Jesus’ death on the cross. It is a free offer and open to all. It is the responsibility of all people to take up the offer. Once the offered is taken up, the responsibility is then to tell others of this offer.

Jesus prays for His Disciples
John 14:6-8: I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came from you. They believed that you sent me.
In this part of the prayer, Jesus prays for his disciples. Note how he describes them: they were chosen by God himself, seen God in Jesus and have received God’s words and obeyed them (John 17:6). John 17:6, 9-10 tells us that the disciples were in the safe possession of both the Father and the Son. John 17:7-8 shows what the disciples know. Despite misunderstanding frequently what Jesus was talking about, the disciples still grasped that Jesus had come from God. Having taught that they will endure persecution and suffering because they are His followers, Jesus prays for their safety. They will be safe, not because of their own cunning, character or conduct. They will be safe because of God’s care and protection (John 17:11-12). As they are God’s possession, he will ensure that they are watched over and protected. This security is also born from glorifying God and being witnesses for him (John 17:10). God is glorified whenever his salvation plan is explained and told.
Who are the disciples’ enemies and why do they need protecting (John 17:11-12, 15)? The first enemy is the world who does not know God and is therefore in rebellion against God. The disciples were told of this prior to this prayer. Satan is also an enemy of the disciple and will do all he can to stop God being glorified in the life of the disciple. How will God keep them safe? Through His mighty name and nature. By remaining loyal to Jesus, obedient to his teachings and telling others about him, God’s name & nature will therefore protect them.
Jesus also prays that they may be filled with joy (John 17:13) and be dedicated wholly and solely to him. The disciples now have a mission and purpose to fulfil – to tell others of Jesus. This mission, though whilst their responsibility, is not theirs alone but is the continuation of Jesus’ mission to bring people to reconciliation with God. Part of that mission is to live a holy life in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is the real and true pioneer evangelist! Living a holy life, means living a life not for themselves but for the glory and obedience of Jesus Christ.

Jesus prays for all Christian Disciples
John 17:24-26: Father, I want those you gave me To be with me, right where I am, So they can see my glory, the splendour you gave me, Having loved me Long before there ever was a world. Righteous Father, the world has never known you, but I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them — Who you are and what you do — And continue to make it known, So that your love for me Might be in them Exactly as I am in them.

Now Jesus prays for all those who, through the work of the disciples, will become his followers. As such, it brings all Christian disciples into intimacy with Jesus and a part of a dynamic relationship with him.

What does Jesus pray for His church of followers? Jesus prays for unity. That is unity is on various levels. Firstly it is unity on the invisible, supernatural level (John 17:21-22). The life of all Christian disciples are inextricably linked to each other, through the love and obedience of God the Son and God the Father. Christian disciples are united because Jesus imparts upon them, the glory given to Him by God the Father (John 17:22). This unity is also physical, in so much as through a visible unity, people will come to know Jesus personally and take up the offer of reconciliation with God (John 17:21, 23). This unity is also physically seen, through the telling of the message of reconciliation (John 17:20).

Remember Jesus’ words earlier in John’s Gospel? John 15:12-14: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” If the world sees Christian Disciples loving others sacrificially, then unity is seen and it is an effective witness to the reality of reconciliation with God.

For more to think about please do read John 17. Ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How am I as a Christian Disciple glorifying God and being His representative?
Q2. What are the hindrances that I face regarding evangelism and telling others about Jesus?
Q3. What can I, as a Christian disciple, do to maintain a witness of unity with other Christian Disciples?

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WOW Jesus 14

Thursday May 17, 2012

Thursday May 17, 2012

14. Jesus’ Last Teaching
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“But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going. You are very sad from hearing all of this. But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.” (John 16:5-7)
In these last few chapters before He is crucified, Jesus is saying goodbye to His disciples and giving them some final teaching before He departs. Several times He has told them He is going away (John 13:33; John 14:3-4, 19, 28). Today we are going to go quickly through John 15-16

Disciples must bear fruit for the kingdom! (John 15:1-16)
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)
As usual Jesus uses Old Testament language, for in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is often seen as a vine (Jeremiah 2:21; Psalm 80). However as a vine, Israel had not produced fruit that God had expected as explained in Isaiah 5:1-2 “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.”
With Jesus describing himself as the true Vine, the implication is clear that the nation of Israel was but an imperfect precursor to his perfect self. With Jesus as the vine, all believers are the branches, and all believers draw spiritual nourishment from him. As part of this nourishment, sometimes pruning is required (John 15:2). Cleansing is also required in order that fruit be borne from the Christian Disciple. This cleansing is through regular confession of sin and partaking of Holy Communion as explained in the foot-washing scene of John 13. To prove to others they are his followers and his disciples, Jesus tells them they are to continue loving him and also to sacrificially love others joyfully (John 15:12-14). By doing these things, which is now their mission statement, they will bear much good fruit for God’s greater glory (John 15:8). The same is true of us today, if we are Christian Disciples.

Disciples will suffer for the kingdom (John 15:18-27)
John 15:18: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
Having spoken of love and bearing fruit, Jesus now declares a warning and the context into which he is sending them. We learn from this passage that opposition to Jesus’ message is unavoidable. The first opposition is that of the old nature attacking the new nature. Christian Disciples, Jesus said, were called out from the world (John 15:19). Christian Disciples upon conversion belong to a different place and are heading for a different place . Secondly, opposition is to be expected simply because of who Jesus is (John 15:21). Christian Disciples share in the life of Jesus and the way the world treats Jesus is the way the world treats all His disciples (John 15:20-21). Thirdly, opposition comes through revealing evil. Jesus, as the Light of the World, exposed evil and sin through His words (John 15:22) and works (John 15:24). At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus commanded all those who follow Him, to also be “lights of the world” (Matthew 5:14-16). This is done by consistently ensuring that our works and words match our lifestyle and that no hypocrisy will be found. Opposition brings persecution, and regularly throughout history, Christian believers have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus. In our own time, perhaps the most persecuted century of all, being a Christian is not an easy decision, but it is worth it. It is also endurable because of three things: God still remains Lord God despite all; we share in Jesus’ own sufferings and therefore have fellowship with him (Philippians 3:10) and by being persecuted, it shows we belong to him (John 15:19).
The main reason all opposition can be endured is because the Christian Disciple is not alone. God the Holy Spirit witnesses with the Christian Disciple (John 15:26). Not as a supplementary person filling a perfunctory role, but rather as the pioneer going out to testify about Jesus ahead (John 15:26) of the Christian Disciple (John 15:27).

Disciples will have resources in the Kingdom (John 16)
The first resource that Christian Disciples have is, as we have already seen, the Holy Spirit. After all, he is the real evangelist. In conjunction with him, the Christian Disciple has three resources to use: proclaiming, counselling and discipling.
Proclaiming (John 16:1-7): this is the proclaiming and elucidating work about Jesus that the Spirit performs. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection (John 16:14). If Jesus did not go back to glory, and the Holy Spirit was not sent, then the pioneering work of the Holy Spirit would be missing from evangelism and mission. Not only does the Holy Spirit direct people to Jesus, but he takes them to him.
Counselling (John 16:8-11): As well as proclaiming about Jesus, the Holy Spirit speaks to people’s hearts, personally – one to one. He convinces people hearing God’s Word of three things: their own sin (John 16:8); their separation from a righteous God (John 16:10) and also in regards to the judgement of Satan and all who follow him (John 16:11). In these three things, a person is led to the Cross in order to confess their sin and need of Jesus Christ and the salvation only He can give.

Discipling (John 16:12-16): Once brought to faith, the Holy Spirit performs several tasks for the Twelve Disciples: He will guide them into all truth and develop what is coming in the future (John 16:13). The New Testament is the product of this work, and that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For the Christian Disciple today, the Holy Spirit helps them to apply the Bible to their life in order that Jesus Christ be glorified (John 16:14).

The second resource available to the Christian Disciple is Jesus himself! (John 16:16-33)
His presence! The twelve disciples will experience sorrow and loss when Jesus is crucified. But after the resurrection, their sorrow will turn to great joy – similar to the exceeding joy after the pains of childbirth! Christian Disciples today also have Jesus’ presence with them, particularly when engaged in doing the work of an evangelist!
His provision! Through answered prayer, joy abounds (John 16:24)! Prayer is gong to be of prime importance for the twelve disciples as it is a way to ensure unabated joy!
His position! Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and nothing can prevail against him!

For more to think about please do read John 15-16 and ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. As a Christian Disciple, what fruit am I producing?
Q2. Why do I suffer and endure persecution for being a Christian Disciple?
Q3. How does knowing that the Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus before me, help me in my evangelism?
Q4. When was the last time I showed exceeding joy for the reasons Jesus gives in John 16?

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WOW Jesus 13

Wednesday May 16, 2012

Wednesday May 16, 2012

13. Jesus’ Last Night

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Luke 4:16-21 - He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’

A lot of businesses and a lot of churches have mission statements. This is Jesus’ Mission statement and after 3 years of ministry from that point, Jesus has preached the good news of God’s salvation. He has healed the sick. He will release the oppressed by His death on the cross. His mission will be fulfilled at the cross.
Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles were the three most important feasts in the Jewish calendar (Leviticus 21). All Jewish men were expected to visit Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). The Feast of Passover was to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and it was a time for remembering and rejoicing (Exodus 11-12). In Luke 22, we come to Jesus’ last night before He goes to that cross.

Jesus Plans (Luke 22:1-6)
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve, and Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

Jews were expected to remove all yeast from their houses (Ex.12:15) as a reminder that their ancestors left Egypt in a hurry and had to eat bread without yeast.
Jesus had warned his disciples about the “yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). In other words, the religious leaders had cleansed their houses but not their hearts.
The last thing the religious leaders wanted was a messianic uprising during Passover (Luke 19:11)
Judas was motivated and energized by satan (John 13:2, 27)
Judas was never a true believer because his sins had never been cleansed by the Lord (John 13:10-11), therefore Judas had never believed or received eternal life (John 6:64-71)
Judas had been given authority and had been preaching the same message. This proves how close a person can come to the kingdom of God and still be lost (Matthew 7:21-29)

2. Jesus Prepares (Luke 22:7-13) –
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked. He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there." They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
Disciples needed a room within Jerusalem itself, and also required food - a lamb, bread, bitter herbs and wine.
(Luke 22:14-23) – 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.

The Passover meal contains historical and theological symbolism regarding the death of Jesus. This is why this meal is the model for the central act of Christian worship, which is Holy Communion.

Opening Prayer
First cup of wine and a dish of herbs and sauce.
Story of the Passover was recited.
Psalm 113 was sung
Second cup of wine
Prayer of Grace
Main course of roast lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs
A further prayer
Third cup of wine.
Psalm 114 to 118 were then sung.
Fourth cup of wine.

3. Jesus Serves
Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17)
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, we learn how this simple act of washing feet is symbolic of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross.

Both events display great love and service.
Just as Peter opposed Jesus going to the cross (Matthew 16:21-23), so he objected to having his feet washed here
Jesus’ getting up to serve symbolizes His coming to serve.
As he took off his cloak, this symbolizes the taking off of His glory 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.

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.

4. Jesus Speaks (Luke 22:24-38)
Reading Luke 22: 25-30: 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.
In this teaching we 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 be persecuted and are to show love.

Compare the Plans!
Plans – The contrast between the plan of Jesus and those of his enemies.

Plans of Jesus

Jesus is in control
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)
Plans of His enemies

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)

All the elements in the plot conspiring against Jesus had been allowed for. The death of Jesus was no accident (1 Peter 1:18-21) “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

New Covenant
The new covenant is a new meal, in order to remind his followers in every age about the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. In the 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.

For more to think about please ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How often are my feet washed or my sins confessed?
Q2. Read Philippians 2. How does this passage relate to John 13 and how should I react to it?
Q3. How often am I prepared to serve and do the little jobs that need doing, instead of waiting for somebody else to do them?

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