April 17, 2014

Holy Week: Thursday

Hi there! Wow, we’ve covered a lot of ground as we’ve walked with Jesus from Palm Sunday to today. Events unfolded on this day in 33 A.D. that would forever change the world. Let’s dive in …

1.) Passover: Jewish people observe Passover as a way to commemorate the time when God passed over their ancestor’s homes in Egypt, saving them from a deadly plague and subsequently freeing them from slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 12).

Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. (emphasis added)

Jesus and His disciples celebrated Passover together with a meal, singing psalms, reading Scripture, and praying. During their meal, Jesus set aside the bread and wine and established what we now observe as Communion. Under the old covenant (think Israelites in the Old Testament) the only way to approach God was through a priest and an animal sacrifice (Exodus 24:6-8). The death of Christ on the cross abolished that practice and we are now under the new covenant. This means we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). He alone is our means of forgiveness … we don’t have to depend on any other man or animal for atonement. That’s beautiful and amazing, folks!

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Here is Jesus’ new command on communion:

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,  for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  (Matthew 26:26-28, emphasis added)

The NIV Life Application Study Bible says, “The celebration of Communion: (1) humbles us before God. We confess our sin and restate our need for Christ to guide us.

(2) reminds us that we are forgiven. We remember that his shed blood paid the price.

(3) expresses our oneness in Christ. We are unified in our faith.

(4) encourages us to recommit. We are reminded to pledge ourselves to serve him who died for us.”

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2.) Jesus Washes His Disciples Feet: Living in such a dusty region, it was not uncommon for servant’s to wash guest’s feet when they entered a home. But this act was reserved for the lowest, most menial servants … not the disciples, and certainly not the Christ. Or so the disciples thought as they argued over who was the greatest among them. In a beautiful act of humility, Jesus washed their feet, symbolizing the cleansing of sin that His death would have. Let’s take a look at Jesus’ words:

He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”  Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”  Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”  Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”  For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:4-17, emphasis added)

I like what John MacArthur says about Simon Peter’s zealous appeal to have more than his feet washed: “The cleansing that Christ does at salvation never needs to be repeated–atonement is complete at that point. But all who have been cleansed by God’s gracious justification need constant washing in the experiential sense as they battle sin in the flesh. Believers are justified and granted imputed righteousness (Phil. 3:8-9), but still need sanctification and personal righteousness (Phil. 3:12-14).” (emphasis added)

Much more happened at what is commonly known as the Last Supper:

~Jesus reveals His knowledge of Judas’ impending betrayal.
~Jesus gives this beautiful command: “A new commandment I give to you,that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:31-35, emphasis added).
~And Jesus predicts Peter will deny Christ three times, much to Peter’s dismay.

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3.) Jesus and His disciple go to the Garden of Gethsemane:  I am not one to pass the buck, so to speak. But I know when I have read a brilliant and thoroughly wonderful exegetical teaching. So …. rather than write about the eternity-changing events that took place in this garden myself, I will take your hand and lead you to Desiring God’s post, “The Greatest Prayer in the World“ by Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger.

This seriously is a not-to-be-missed reading that is stirring, moving, and oh so God glorifying. I sure do hope you’ll hop over to Desiring God to read it!

Thank you again so much for spending this week with me! Tomorrow is a BIG day. See you then.

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