Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Journey To The Cross - Wednesday

This day coincides with the start of the Passover week with the Feast of the Lord's Passover.

Wednesday we would wake up to the second of the feast days known as the "Lord's Passover." This feast was first observed by the Jewish people in Egypt the night the plague killed all of the Egyptian firstborn sons, while death "Passed over" the Jewish firstborn because they were saved by the "Covenant blood" placed above the doors of their houses Exodus 12:1-36. This feast is also prescribed by God in Leviticus chapter 23.

We will follow Jesus to Jerusalem to eat the Passover dinner and celebrate it with the disciples in an upper room made ready by some friends. As we come into the upper room in the early afternoon prior to the Lord's Passover feast which will be observed and eaten later "at evening". We will see that Jesus and the disciples have just finished eating a lunch/supper John13:2. Jesus is telling the disciples that God the Father has given all authority in heaven and on earth to Him. We marvel that this Jesus standing before us is not just the King of Judah but is the King of the Universe, the King of heaven and of the earth, of the physical realm that is seen and also of the unseen spiritual realm. Jesus presides over all as King.

Before we can comprehend the enormity of the kingdom of Jesus, we see King Jesus lay aside His garments, pour water into a wash basin and begin to wash the disciples feet. We are in total agreement with Peter when Peter says to Jesus "Thou shall never wash my feet," after all, kings of the earth do not wash their followers feet, so much more the reason that the King of the universe should not wash our feet. Then Jesus explains to Peter that unless He washes our feet that Jesus will have nothing to do with us. We wonder, "why have Jesus wash our feet and only our feet"? Then we realize that Jesus is King and He is also our Abba, Daddy, Father, and likewise He is also the Holy God. Being Holy, Jesus requires that we be cleansed in able to approach Him. Our creator, Abba, Father, Jesus is happy to take all of His authority and use it to clean us and draw us near to Him. We now know that Jesus is really talking about cleansing our "Souls", our thought life and our emotions as the foot is a reference to the soul. We realize that one dirty item cannot make another dirty item clean. We gasp as we realize that ONLY Jesus can make us clean because only Jesus is clean and without Jesus washing us and cleansing us, we will remain dirty and Jesus will "have nothing to do with us." We make a mental note to spend more quality cleansing time with Jesus in prayer and in reading the Bible.

It is now evening and time for the Lord's Passover Supper. All of the disciples are seated around Jesus Matthew 26:20. Jesus begins to explain how one of the disciples will betray Him. We join the other disciples wondering if we will betray Jesus? After the events of the past week, we now know that we are not that familiar with the plans of God and that Sin is deceitful. Knowing that we can easily be deceived and betray Jesus in our thoughts and actions, we make another mental note to walk in the Spirit with Jesus at all times, seeking the wisdom and will of God continually for each and every activity we do during the moments of our lives.

Jesus speaking up tells the disciples that to identify the one who will betray Him, He will dip His bread in the sauce at the same time the betraying disciple dips his bread. As Judas dips his bread Jesus also dips His Matthew 26:23. We now know why, after the foot washing that Jesus said "not everyone is clean" John 13:10 because Judas is not clean, he is a betrayer. Judas asks Jesus if he is the betrayer. Jesus tells him "yes he is." We marvel that sin is so deceptive, that one can betray God and actually think that he is doing God's work. We shudder as we think of all of the killing and all of the wrong that has gone on by the deceived ones throughout the Church ages in the name of Christianity. We are very glad to make the journey back to Holy Week to walk with Jesus and to learn who He is so that we can be true disciples and true followers of Jesus.

Judas, after receiving a bread dipped in sauce by Jesus, then departs the room to proceed to betray Jesus. The disciples wonder were Judas has gone. Some think he is going to make arrangements for the next feast, the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" which begins tomorrow, John 12:29. At first we think it is unlawful for Judas to go out at night on a feast day but then a quick glance in our Bibles back to Leviticus 23 reveals that the Lord's Passover is not a "Sabbath Feast." We wonder at the thought that the Lord's Passover feast is not a "Sabbath - Rest" feast like all of the other feasts and therefore there is no evening curfew for the feast. Unfortunately, as Judas leaves the presence of Jesus, Satan then enters into Judas and demonically possesses Judas John 13:27. Again we realize the importance of staying in the presence of Jesus to keep ourselves safe from the demonic/Satanic realm.

Jesus then takes the unleavened bread of the "Lord's Passover Feast" Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22 and giving Thanks, Jesus breaks the bread explaining that this is His body broken for us, speaking of the cross that is to come tomorrow. He then passes the bread for the disciples to eat.

Much earlier while following Jesus the disciples had dealt with this very issue of Jesus' body. In John 6:47-58, Jesus told a large group of disciples that He, "is the true bread of life that came down from heaven and any man who would eat of it that man would not die but would live forever." Many disciples were disturbed at that saying of Jesus, John 6:66 "and some walked with Jesus no more." But Jesus had also explained to the disciples John 6:63 that it is the Spirit that aids a man not the physical. Jesus said that His words are Spirit.

So here this night of the Passover the disciples readily enjoy the bread knowing that it is the Spirit of Jesus that gives Spiritual life.

Next Jesus takes a cup of wine. It is the third cup of the four prescribed cups of the feast. The third cup is known as the cup of redemption. The first cup is the cup of Sanctification, meaning to be set apart to God for the feast. The second cup is the cup of instruction, instructing that there were many plagues on the land of Egypt, yet the children of God could not go free from slavery until there was a death of the firstborn. Now this night Jesus is proclaiming that He is the Firstborn of God and that His death will set us free from the slavery of sin and the cruelty of Satan just like the death of the firstborn did so many years ago back in Egypt.

Then Jesus taking the cup Mark 14:23 of redemption and like the bread, giving thanks, Jesus passed the cup to the disciples and said "take drink all of it," Matthew 26:27 this cup is the New Testament in His blood: this do, that as often as we drink of it, to do it in remembrance of Jesus. The disciples are fully aware that Jesus is speaking of a better blood than man has, of His Spiritual life blood. They gladly take the cup of wine and gladly drink all of it. We marvel that Jesus wants us to "Drink all" that He has for us, all of His Life, Love, Compassion and Mercy.

Jesus then mentions that He will not drink again of the wine until He drinks it anew with us in His Father's Kingdom. The fourth cup of wine that Jesus is postponing to drink is called the "cup of Rejoicing." After the feast, the cup of rejoicing is to be drunk as we rejoice in all that God has done in our lives in setting us free and reuniting us with Him in the promise land of Heaven. Jesus says that He will drink that next cup with all of us for real in the real heaven. Jesus and the disciples then sing a Psalm in the closing of the "Lord's Passover Feast."

Jesus now reminds us again that He is about to be betrayed. He tells us in advance so that we will know that He does indeed know all things. Jesus then reveals to us that this dark moment is Satan's time. Judas has already left to betray Jesus. Jesus instructs us saying that "Satan has nothing in Him", but that Jesus will show His love for the Father by giving His life as a sacrifice to reunite us back to God, as this is the will of the Father and it is also the will of the Son Jesus.

Arising they depart the room Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26, John 14:31. We marvel that this feast is not a Sabbath feast so they are able to walk in the night and not break the law of the feast. Now during a short walk, Jesus talks to the disciples about Himself being the vine, the source of life and that the disciples are the branches and that the disciples are to abide in Jesus for life. He also teaches about the persecution that will come to all of His followers. Then Jesus instructs them some more about the Holy Spirit who the Father will send.

Jesus then prays His "Priestly High Prayer" to the Father John 17:1-26, asking the Father to receive all of His followers including us, His future followers and to unite us all with Himself in Heaven with the Father. As Jesus prays to God the Father we conclude that we know that Jesus' prayers are heard by the Father and answered! After His priestly prayer of intercession for us to the Father, Jesus commits to His crucifixion and then crosses over the brook of Cedron John 18:1 as He proceeds on to the garden of Gethsemane, the Garden of destiny. Matthew 26:36, Mark14:32. We now know why God has not made the Lord's Passover to be a "Rest - Sabbath Feast" because Jesus and the disciples would have to remain at home or inside after the feast and could not have legally walked to the Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden of destiny. Had this been a "Sabbath - Rest Feast", it is also very unlikely that the Temple guards would have broken the Sabbath themselves to journey to the Garden to arrest Jesus who, after all was only peaceably praying to the Father. This is another powerful demonstration that these events are events orchestrated and allowed by God Himself and not man just as these events are foreseen in the prophetic writings by the prophets of the Old Testament.

The Garden is the ideal place to reveal that God is in control. It was so many years ago that Adam and Eve lost mankind's relationship with God through their own disobedience in the original garden, the Garden of Eden. Jesus is now stepping into another garden, the Garden of Gethsemane. Through His desire and obedience Jesus will continue to restore back the lost relationship between God and mankind, this time for forever. Had Jesus been arrested anywhere but in a Garden, say for instance in the streets or in the upper-room, it would be difficult to correlate the events of the Last Supper to the events of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Since God made certain to go to the Garden we have to correlate these two garden events and also the coming event of the resurrection of Jesus from yet another garden, the Garden Tomb. This again reveals the detailed plan of God as He has set it out for us in His Prophetic Word, the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

We follow and see that Jesus is separated from His disciples and engaged in prayer to the Father. Jesus asks for the third time for the Father to remove "this cup" Matthew 26:42 but there is no other "cup" of redemption available to mankind. Either Jesus gives His life for us or mankind will never be reunited to God.

Angels come and minister to Jesus. He arises. Judas can now be seen leading a group of Temple soldiers intent on arresting Jesus. Judas then betrays Jesus with a kiss Matthew 26:49. Jesus in turn calls Judas "friend" Matthew 26:50. Jesus is arrested, bound with ropes and led off as all of the disciples abandon Him and flee.

The New Covenant - God has agreed to take on the appearance of a Human, to come for us and to die in our place for our sins so that we can Live anew in a new Spiritual relationship with God. God in His Love for us has taken our penalty of death so that we can live in His life of love. With the New Covenant and our New Spiritual Life "All things have become New".

2nd Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold All things are become New.

Are we allowing ourselves to live in our newfound Relationship with God and are we allowing ourselves the New Freedom that this relationship has to offer? When Jesus took His Communion cup and offered it to His followers Jesus gave with it the instruction and the invitation to "Drink all of it". Amen - and drink all of it we will.


Sharon said...

This is wonderfully written, alot of your heart was all in this, I could feel. I will ponder this all for the day, great writing!!

Have a beautiful and Blessed Easter my Friend.
I saw this on a blog site and thought of you, incase you were interested.

Resurrection Cookies

This is a fun way to teach children the Easter story. Enjoy.

You will need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggy
1 wooden spoon
scotch tape

These are to be made the evening before Easter. Preheat oven to 300F.
*** (this is very important --- don't wait until you are half done with the recipe).

Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read: John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink.
Read: John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read: John 10:10&11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read: Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read: Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read: Matthew 27:65-66


Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read: John 16:20&22

On Resurrection Sunday (Easter) morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow!

On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read: Matthew 28:1-9

Praising God for the empty tomb today. Amen

Dr. Wifey said...

i am Loving your posts this week!

Allison said...

Thanks for helping me stay focused on the "Reason for the season".