Leopard crossing a dirt road in Namibia

Sunday, April 20, 2014

THANK GOD , IT'S RESURRECTION SUNDAY !

MARK 16 
The sequence  of this Easter weekend  has been: (i)  Thursday: the night  He was betrayed  (ii) Friday  : the cross  (iii) Saturday : the silent  day – the grave  when Jesus rested  on the Sabbath  day from  His  work  on the cross  (iv) and now  the first day of the week (16: 2)  the day of the resurrection. Everything happened , just as  Jesus  had said  in in  Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31 and Mark 10:33-34.  He had said  that He would  be killed and  after three days He would be raised again.

As we survey the text in Mark  16,  I need to briefly draw you attention  to the fact that  the  oldest and most reliable New Testament manuscripts   do not contain Mark 16:9-20  - the ending to Mark’s gospel. Most scholars   think that it is a later addition, for  if the  gospel had ended at verse 8 , it would have been an unusually  rather abrupt ending . The thought is  that  someone,   who  had later  made a copy  of this  gospel  had  thought   that a proper  ending   was needed.  Whether this is so,  we cannot  ultimately say.
But what can we say about the truths taught in the extra ending? Apart from verses  17 and 18  there is nothing  unusual  or  controversial   here. It is  in harmony with the other gospels. So, we will not major  on those  minor issues. We will focus  on the big theme of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus  Christ , and as we  now consider the entire  chapter,  we  see two repeated   phrases that   dominate this text :

(i)           The first  phrase is  : “They did not believe !” The  first  fact  before us is  that  no-one   of Christ’s  close associates really believed  Him when He said  that He would  be raised from the dead!  We will consider  this in a moment  as we take note  of  the   recurring  “unbelief “  of all concerned .  We must not read ‘unbelief’  here  as  something of a final fact .  These people all loved Jesus  deeply! They missed him sorely . They mourned and wept (16:10).  Mary  Magdalene owed him her life  for Jesus  had cast out 7 demons from her  (16:9). The two  walking in the country (16:12)  were according to Luke  (24: 13-35) talking about these things , one  to one another  on the road to Emmaus , and it is clear that they were disappointed  and depressed  at this thought   that  Jesus had  been crucified and buried in a grave.  The language of the text reveals this!  This has nothing to do with  cynical unbelief . In their hearts and minds  they were simply not able  to  bring themselves  to believe that   people came back from the dead  , after all the facts speak for themselves : no one comes back from the dead!  So, we need to tread softly here  as we exercise restraint  in our judgement of  them.  At all times we need to remember  that  God is at work  here! As God, He has  the sovereign prerogative to suspend the laws of nature.  Jesus  demonstrated  this on many occasions[1] , thereby proving that the kingdom of God had arrived  on earth .

(ii)         The second phrase  is: “He appeared “. Three times this phrase is repeated  in verses 9-20:  (i)   16: 9, “he appeared first to Mary Magdalene”; 16: 12, “he appeared in another  form to two of them,” ; 16:14, “ Afterward He  appeared to the Eleven themselves ….”.

These two phrases then govern Mark  Chapter  16 , and these  we want to consider  now as  work with our text :

1.     Unbelief  with Respect to Divine  Truth  is  a  Typically Human Trait:

“They did not believe!”  We see this typical  human behaviour reflected in our text , and we examine ourselves  in  this mirror .

(i)         The women : Mary Magdalene, and  Mary the mother of James  and Salome  bought spices,  after the Sabbath  was past at about  6pm on Saturday. They did  this   for the purpose of anointing  the dead body of  Jesus. That in itself is a sign of unbelief . If Jesus said that He would rise on the third day, then there was  actually no need to buy these funeral spices . All they needed to do  was to  wait for the resurrection ! But they clearly did not expect the resurrection . So, when they  came to  the tomb the next day (the first day of the week), they saw that the tomb stone  had been rolled  away . John records  that  Mary Magdalene  had run back to tell Peter about this. She reported  (note the language!) … “ They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we  do not know  where they have laid Him.” (Jn. 20: 2,13). No thought of the resurrection ! Even when Jesus appeared to her a little later,   she thought  that He was the gardener (Jn. 20:15) supposing that he might have carried  the body of Jesus away. Only when Jesus  addressed her by name,  “ Mary” (Jn.  20:16 ;  Mk 16:9) , did  she recognise Him.   This is the power of unbelief ! There are none as blind as those who will not see!  The  fact is that we choose to see what we want to see . However , as I reminded you, this is not cynical unbelief- and yet  we shall see that it is sinful  unbelief.

(ii)        The disciples :  the angel  at the tomb  confirms the fact of the resurrection to the women : “Do not be alarmed, you seek   Jesus of Nazareth , who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here … but go and tell  his disciples  and Peter  that he is going before you into Galilee. There  you will see him, just as he has told you” ( 6,7) . This  induced terror  into  these poor women  and  when they told the grief stricken  disciples  ,they would not believe her ! Observe the power of unbelief, but  do not  judge them too harshly , lest you find yourself  guilty of the same  sin . The thought  of resurrection  of the dead does not yet  feature as a possibility  in their range of thinking . Even though  they have heard the Lord Jesus  saying this  to them,  they did not hear  Him!  We all engage in selective hearing. We all choose  to hear what we want to hear! [2] Jesus repeatedly  challenges us  in the Bible to consider carefully  how we hear [3] !

(iii)       Thirdly , Mark’s account  in vv.  12 &13 relates an incident   found in Luke’s gospel (Lk. 24:13-32)  where two disciples are walking on the road to Emmaus . Lost in grief, and  being depressed about the  things that had happened  to Jesus  in Jerusalem ,‘their eyes  were kept  from recognising him’ (Lk.  24:16)  as He joined them. Later when He opened their eyes  to recognize  Him (Lk  24:31)  they  told the rest , but again we read ”… but they  did not believe them.”

(iv)        In verse  14  we find   the 11 disciples   at table in Galilee, when Jesus  joins them, and we read, “...and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen .”  This  is an important insight. Jesus categorizes this  unbelief as   sinful hardness of heart !

Now,  you may  say : “I believe in the resurrection of Jesus  with all my heart“.  We modern New Testament believers,  having been exposed to the Easter story for  so many years  may  find it easier[4] to believe  in the resurrection ,  than  the women and the disciples  who were Jesus’  friends because we have become used to the idea !  The thought that really challenged me  is this :  If  I believe in the resurrection of Christ , and do not  question this  because the resurrection is now an established, historical fact , then  do I also believe in the second coming of the Lord  Jesus ?  The thought challenges me, because  in reality we seem  to   live with  such little anticipation of the  second coming . Do you get the point ?

2.      He  Appeared !

The appearances of Jesus were the grounds for believing in His resurrection.  In 1  Corinthians 15: 3-8  the apostle Paul speaks of many more  resurrection appearances ,  “…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.”  Paul wrote these words about  20  years  after the resurrection. Many of those who met the risen Jesus Christ were still alive  at that time. From Paul’s perspective  the  evidence for the resurrection is utterly overwhelming!  
And the  resurrection appearances were  not  that of  a ghost. This was   a physical Christ! He spoke to Mary; He spoke to the  men  on the Emmaus road; they also had a meal together on that occasion .  The apostles  ate  fish that Christ had caught and prepared  at the seaside . Ghosts don’t  do  breakfast for their friends!
"He appeared",   says  Mark  three times. He appeared,  says Paul 4 times in the letter to the Corinthians just quoted.  
Peter says the same thing  in Acts  10:39-41 in the home of a Roman soldier: “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem . They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name”

This is what we also affirm today  on this  Resurrection  Sunday. He appeared !  We have to get over the fact that  supernatural is not irrational ! Yes,  we do not understand how  a man can die and live again,  but are we saying  and assuming that we can know everything? Surely our experience  tells us  that we  don’t know everything!   There is the planet Mars , and we have a rover there , but the truth is  that we know very little about Mars. There’s a little girl born in our midst, and the doctors  say that  she  has no  brain  tissues developing while  she is in her mother’s womb . Abortion is the counsel by many ‘ experts ‘ . This little girl is 5 or 6 years old today  and she  is a normal little girl . How do you explain that?  The doctors can’t!  Yes, we can’t explain the resurrection , but the evidence  is overwhelming !

Where does  the knowledge  of the Resurrection leave us?  

The ending of Mark (16:15-20)  like  Matthew  28 :18-20 leaves  us with the  Great Commission. The resurrection leaves  us  with  an evangelistic duty to perform.
For almost six weeks  before  the  Ascension,   the Lord Jesus Christ was with the disciples and then He gave them a great commission;  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” .

Verse  20 tells  us  “ and they went out  and preached everywhere.” They went out and out and it was not long before their  world knew that there was a resurrected  Saviour  whom God had sent  to save ,from their sins,  those who would believe in Him.  Soon there  were  believers  everywhere – in Rome , in Corinth, Ephesus …in every major city in Asia minor – in the Roman and  Greek world, spreading into  North Africa and Europe and  into the Far East. Many of them experienced persecution and sufferings; numbers lost their lives doing this work. They endured it all. Would they have done this if they weren’t convinced that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead and had commanded them to go?

What else can explain the fact of the growth of the church in  the world today ? Thank God for  Resurrection Sunday! Without  Christ's resurrection  there would have been no hope for the world . Amen! 




[1] i.e. when He  healed the sick instantly ; when He turned water into wine ; when He cast out demons; when  He walked on water and calmed the wind ; when  He raised  people  like Lazarus from the dead.
[2]  The doctrine  of election  is a  classic case . How many  of us  are not initially  refuse to hear  this biblical truth and are angry  with  those that preach it ?
[3]  E.g. Mk  4:9,23,24 ; 8:18
[4] although many  modern sceptics , unbelievers ,  atheists   and religious people like the Muslims  question the resurrection

Friday, April 18, 2014

THANK GOD - IT'S GOOD FRIDAY !

Mark 15

Last night  prepared  us  for today !( SEE PREVIOUS POST :  Thank God - its Maundy Thursday!)  
In Mark 14   we saw  Jesus  revealed  as the Passover Lamb – “the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world “  (John 1 :29,36). 
Jesus  rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday  to   be that lamb!  Previously He had spoken  about this  in  Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31 and Mark 10:33-34. We see it in the institution of  the  Lord’s supper  (14:22-25)  -  “This is my body … this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many…” 

Well, until now it has all been  theory. Today however, on Good Friday  this is no longer  theory. This   is the day  on which  we remember  that there came a time  when Jesus   actually  gave  His life   as  the Passover  lamb  –  so that the wrath of God would pass over  all those who would embrace Him and His work  on the cross.   I trust  that the Holy Spirit   who has  inspired  the Scriptures [1], will  be pleased to   show us  the  awesomeness  of this event  as we  meditate  on  these familiar words  once again.

The key thought is this : Jesus is handed over  to be killed. Consider the following  sequence of events as they unfold in Mark 15 :
1.     The chief priests , the elders  and scribes and the whole council deliver Jesus to Pilate accusing  Him of many things(15:1-5)
2.     Pilate  delivers Jesus over to the crowd who kept on shouting  “ crucify Him!”  (15: 6-15)
3.    Jesus is handed over to the soldiers who  hurt Him , mocked Him , stripped Him  and eventually crucified Him  (15:16-20)
4.     The soldiers  handed  Jesus over to the cross to die   (15: 21- 32)
5.     On the cross  Jesus  is handed over  to forsakenness   and  to death (15: 33- 41)
6.     From the cross  Jesus is handed over  Joseph of Arimathea  (15: 42-45)
7.      Joseph of Arimathea hands Jesus  over  to the grave   (15: 46 )

All,  except the last  two points  are apparently motivated by sinful, ugly emotions – but all these points  emphasise the forsakenness of Christ. He was handed over to  die. He was handed over to the grave . The Passover Lamb  had been slain !

Now what ? At face value  this  all sounds  very  depressing , doesn’t it ? And who should we blame  for his death?  For every  death  humanity  looks for  a  guilty party . The relatives of  Malaysian  flight MH 370  are blaming the  Malaysian government  for the   disappearance of their loved ones. The  families  of this week’s  South   Korean  ferry disaster  in which up to 300 people (mainly children) are missing,  they are  blaming the captain   and the shipping line.  When a  loved one dies on the operating table  people  blame the doctor and nurses .  In a  fatal car crash  people blame the  other driver.

Who should we blame  for Jesus’ death ?  

We saw  very clearly  that  Jesus  had now been  delivered by the hands of men  - for them to do what they will do with him. The whole chapter  is about  men and what they do  to Jesus. In this chapter  Jesus  the Lord , the sovereign King of the Universe , is quiet.   He does not say a word. He lets men do what they want to do to Him  , although , in Matthew’s account  of the arrest of Jesus  He makes mention  of this fact :  “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He at  once send  me  more than   12 legions  of  angels? But  how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so? [2]
It must be so,   and so  Isaiah prophesies  : Like a lamb He is led to the slaughter [3].

There are no nice and helpful people around Him. The disciples have all abandoned Him by this time. The faithful women  who ministered to Jesus  stood at a distance and looked[4].  The  crowd  shouts  at Him. The soldiers mock Him and spit on Him.  They steal His clothes and divide them. They crucify Him on the cross –naked  and exposed . The by-passers  mock  Him and insult Him : “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!”  So also the chief priests and  the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “ He saved others; he cannot save Himself.” Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now  from the cross that we may see and believe.  Those who were crucified with  Him  also    reviled Him .  (15:29-32)  

The only nice man  here  is Joseph  of Arimathea,  “who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God   that took courage  and went to Pilate  and asked for the body of Jesus … and laid him in a tomb that  had been cut out of the rock.”  (15:43-46). We might  have some sympathy for  Simon of Cyrene who was made  to carry  the cross of Jesus cross.  We  are thankful that one of the thieves crucified with Jesus  believed in  Jesus  in his dying moments. [5] We  have some sympathy for the Roman centurion,  who after Jesus  died  said : “ Truly this man was the Son of God !” (15:39)  Other than this,  everything is  very  harsh . And we ask : who is ultimately guilty  for delivering Jesus  up to His death? There is such a long list  of people  to blame . Can we find the real culprit and so perhaps get him to bear the blame for sending the Son of God to the cross?

·     Can we blame PILATE?  Pilate was perhaps one of the most powerful and influential men in Jesus' day in Judea. He was a Roman procurator, the administrator of Judea. He had the political power to stop the killing of Jesus. Moreover, as Scripture makes clear, Pilate was convinced of Jesus' innocence[6]. Three times he declared publicly that he could find no basis of accusation against Jesus. He wanted to avoid sentencing Jesus[7], but before his hands were dry, he handed Jesus over to be crucified. He really wanted to free Jesus, but he also wanted to please the crowd. Pilate's conscience was ultimately drowned out by the loud shouts of the crowd. Should we not accuse him?
·     Should  we  blame the  ROMAN SOLDIERS? They mocked Him[8], and they ultimately crucified Him.  Can we accuse them? Possibly, but we need to realise that this was their job. They did what they were commanded to do.
·      What about the JEWISH PEOPLE  and their  PRIESTS? Here we have quite a strong case.  On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter makes it very clear, that he considered the Jewish people and their rulers guilty of this crime.[9] Should we not blame them?
·      What  about  JUDAS ISCARIOT? After all, he betrayed Jesus directly into the hands of the Jewish people and their priests. Isn't he the guilty one - ultimately?

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

The Bible has two responses  to this  dilemma :

1.     Human Responsibility  : The fact that so many people  could be blamed should  cause us  to think very carefully, and if indeed  we would  consider the  verdict of the  whole Bible, then we shall discover very  quickly  that  the Bible teaches the corporate guilt of humanity.[10] When it comes to putting the blame at someone's feet, the Bible actually points to all of us, even though it is true that those who actually committed the deed are guilty of a greater sin. Pilate, the Jewish people and their priests, who shouted, "crucify him" clearly have a lot more to answer for.[11]

Horatio Bonar [12] wrote an excellent hymn that expresses  the corporate guilt of mankind:

Twas I that shed the sacred blood, I nailed Him to the tree
        I crucified the Son of God, I joined the mockery.

Of all that shouting multitude, I feel that I am one;
And in that din of voices rude, I recognise my own.

Around the cross the throng I see,  mocking the sufferer’s groan
Yet still my voice it seems to be, as if I mocked alone.

It is deeply entrenched in our sinful human nature to deny our personal guilt  and to  point fingers at someone else, but the Bible says that  the whole world is responsible for  Jesus’ death.  He died because we all  put Him there!

2.     Divine Sovereignty : Jesus  died because it was His Father’s  will. Jesus died to fulfil the Scriptures  (14:49) . Jesus  died  because  the  Father’s love took Him there  : For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall  not perish but have eternal life." (Jn. 3:16) – see also  Romans 8:32 . Octavius Winslow  summed it up in a  neat statement: “Who delivered up Jesus to die ?  Not Judas , for money; not Pilate, for fear ; not the Jews for  envy - but the Father – for love! [13]

So,  we need to look at the cross in two ways :
On a  human level  all of us are responsible for  Jesus’ death. Our sin took Him there .
On a divine level  God the Father gave Him up to die for us.
Acts  2 :23   is  a key verse in this respect. Peter preaches on the day of Pentecost :” … this Jesus, delivered up according to  the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men .”  Here you find both , human responsibility and divine   sovereignty

So , why did Jesus die ? 
1.     He did not die . He was killed !
2.     He was not killed. He died, giving Himself  up  for us  to do His Father’s will. 

That is why we speak of the day on which He died as Good Friday! Why good? Because something very good happened there. Christ died to deal with  my and your sin – in two ways : (i) Christ decisively  dealt with  our sin  by    freeing us from  its  power (expiation) - no more condemnation ( Rom 8:1) !  (ii)  Christ  dealt with the righteous anger of God towards us. (propitiation)
Thank God for Good Friday !



[1] 2 Tim 3:16  “ All  Scripture is breathed out by God …” ( Gr. theopneustos)
[2] Matthew 26:53
[3] Isaiah 53:7  “ He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
[4] Matthew 27:55,56
[5] Luke 23: 40-43
[6] Lk 23:4,14,22
[7] Lk 23:4,14,22
[8] Lk 23:11
[9] Acts 3:12 - 15
[10] Rom 3:9 - 23
[11] Mk 14:21
[12] Horatio Bonar, a Scottish  Hymn writer, lived from 1809 - 1889
[13] John Stott: The Cross of Christ , p.  61

Thursday, April 17, 2014

THANK GOD FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY!

 MARK 14 

At Eastside Baptist Church we have been living in the Gospel of Mark, both in reading it in our morning services, and preaching from this Gospel on Sunday evenings.  Our desire is to   get to know or Lord Jesus as He is revealed to us in this gospel. [1] May the Holy Spirit be pleased to add to our knowledge the ability to see Christ for who He is? May our hearts be filled with  renewed gratitude , worship and  resolve to serve Him with a greater  devotion  as a result of this  special  time  on the Christian calendar .

Our Scripture reading  from Mark  chapter 14  on this Communion evening   takes us  to  the events  of the days and the  night  before the cross  of Christ  - the  night on which he  was betrayed by Judas .

The major theme of this  chapter  : Christ is coming to do that for which He was appointed. He comes to be the Passover Lamb.

We find the Old Testament imagery in Exodus 12. The blood of a lamb was to be applied to the door lintels of  the homes of every Hebrew family, presently in slavery in in Egypt. They must leave this land to go to the land of their promise.  Human sin stands in the way  yet again, by way of a stubborn Egyptian pharaoh. God will do whatever it takes to send His people on their  way to that country. With patience God speaks 9 times to Pharaoh by means of plagues.  Pharaoh will not listen, and so the 10th plague is decreed:  the death of every firstborn son in every household in Egypt! 
God however makes exclusion.  He commands the Israelites to institute a new commemorative feast,  which is called the Passover. The ritual is simple. Kill a young lamb, and apply its blood to the door lintels.  This would be the sign for the angel of death who would pass through Egypt that night, to pass over the homes of the Israelites.

It is amazing , is it not , that    God used this  ancient incident to prepare us for a far greater  deliverance-  for the world’s  deliverance  from  our  spiritual  Egypt, -  the world house of sin and slavery . This picture is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and all this rich Old Testament history and imagery now comes to a climax   here in Mark 14.
Jesus had prepared His disciples for this event on at least three occasions:   Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31 and Mark 10:33-34

In Chapter 14:1   we find the   great connection between Christ and   the Passover. Christ is the Passover Lamb. John saw this clearly when he said: “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1: 29, 36).  
The greater Passover Lamb must die!  Death is in the air! We see this already in the very first verse in Mark 14:1   where we are told: “the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest Him by stealth and kill Him.”   Their intent is clearly murderous. In that sense they become the image of Old Testament Pharaoh who designed evil and death for the Jews.   God however shall use this evil intent to bring about the most glorious story ever told!  God will deliver up His Son to evil men. He will  allow them to do what they want to do, but  in doing this   God will  count His  Life as  a  blood atonement  that will  redeem  all those in the world  that  believe  in the person and work of Christ , and God will  use this to judge  all those that stand indifferently or defiantly  against Christ !

The next thing that  happens  is  that Jesus gets  anointed at Bethany (14: 3-9) by  Mary , the sister of Lazarus and  Martha (John 12:3)  with a very costly  perfume . While some regard this as a “waste “Jesus sees this as anointing of His body for His funeral. Again, the fragrance of Christ’s death is in the air!  

Next we  find Judas,  who being  tempt by  the priests ,  promise to give him  money  in exchange for  betraying the  One who has been so  very good to him  (14: 10- 11)

The day of the unleavened bread which is closely associated with the Passover now follows.  This is the day and the night of Jesus betrayal!  On this day every Jewish house removes all evidences of any yeast (12:15) and eats unleavened bread only.  Yeast symbolically has the characteristics of sin. Once it is in the dough it spreads and it cannot be removed from the dough. The sin that has pervaded the nation of Israel (and the world) cannot be removed … except through the blood of Christ.

With Mark   14: 12 – 72   we find the   day which has sometimes been called "Maundy Thursday"[2] (see note). The remembrance of the historical Passover shall be central event of this day. In fact the Passover today will become much, much bigger in its significance! 

But where shall Jesus and the disciples find a place to celebrate the Passover?  

What unfolds now gives us a fascinating insight into Jesus   foreknowledge of events. We learn that there is nothing haphazard about this event. It is all    very carefully planned.  In 14: 12-31 Jesus gives the disciples as it were a foretaste of   the ‘divine agenda’:
 ·        A man carrying a jar of water will meet them in the city.
 ·        The man will tell them that he has a large upper room, ready for their Passover celebration.
 ·        Here Jesus will reveal that He shall be betrayed by one of the disciples.  He will predict that the disciples will in fact all fall away (14:27)   because it is written:   “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered” (Zech. 13:7). He also reveals (again) that He will be raised from the dead. He reveals that He would meet them again in Galilee (14:28). He foretells that Peter (amidst protestations) will fall away.
The rest of the chapter   reveals   at least three fulfilments of Jesus’ words:  
(i)                Verses  43 – 50  - Judas betrayal
(ii)              Verses 51 – 52  -  the young man    that  flees as  Jesus  is arrested ( probably  Mark  who is  illustrative of the disciples )
(iii)             Verses  66-72  - Peter denies Jesus

·       Following the Lord’s supper   Jesus and the disciples go out to the Mount of Olives Verses   in the garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus come here to pray, as He knows that the hour is now come. Verses   32- 42   show us that He is in deep distress. The depth of His soul agony we will never be able to understand. It  is  probably much worse than the physical  trauma  and pain which He  experiences  on Friday  when He is mocked , tortured and  crucified  (Mark 15) .

This is the day which we now remember …. Maundy Thursday
1.       It  was  all part of God’s plan   to  provide a  Lamb  whose blood  would  be  applied to  the lives of those  who  would believe  in God by  believing in the person and work of His Son . 
2.      In this plan He uses the wicked (like Judas) to do what they would have freely chosen to do.
3.      The sin of His redeemed  people’s  faithlessness  ( illustrated  by  the young disciple that ran away and  by Peter  who denied  Christ ) is  all covered  by  the  shed blood of Christ .  We are taught here that it is not our natural resolve to love God    that causes us to persevere, but the fact that   the Lamb’s   blood has been shed for us.

Praise God then for the active obedience of Christ, by which He secures our justification! Although the cross (Good Friday)  is that event where  His blood is shed and  where our  justification is ultimately secured,  Maundy Thursday is important , because here  the Old Testament  history  is   being    vindicated  , and the whole Bible as we hold it now in our hands  is proven to be the Word of God !

Thank God for Maundy Thursday!




[1] The most detailed  description  of the night  He was betrayed is found in John  Chapters 13-17
[2]  WIKIPEDIA :  Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.