Friday, June 12, 2015

the behavior of true love (part 5)

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:1-17)

"Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." According to other scriptural accounts of this last supper between Christ and his twelve disciples, before getting up to wash their feet, Jesus chose to ceremonially break bread and drink wine with His followers. As we established earlier, this was done during Passover - the most sacred time of the Jewish religious year. But read the account that Mark gives regarding what actually happened...

When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me - one who is eating with me.”

They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely not I?”

“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the a covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:17-25)

So, what does this all mean? Why break bread? Why drink wine? Why speak of a covenant and a new kingdom? The short answer is laid out in 1 Corinthians which says, "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26)

Everything Christ did during this last meal was symbolic of His willing sacrifice and the future of His followers. By breaking bread and drinking wine with the twelve, Jesus provided mankind a monument to remember His upcoming sacrifice. You see, soon He would die on the cross as our Passover Lamb. Remember that earlier we learned why the Passover was originally celebrated? How God had helped the children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt by instituting ten plagues? The worst of these plagues would end up killing every first-born child in Egypt if Pharaoh refused to let God's people go. Remember, that in order to avoid this horror, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a sacrificed spring lamb? Well, symbolically Jesus was teaching us that His new kingdom was coming, and in order for us to be a part of it, He would have to become our sacrificial Lamb so that we might be saved and freed from the bondage of sin and death.

Rather than provide us a monument of granite or stone, Jesus gives us the symbols of bread and wine to acknowledge this wonderful new truth. So, whenever we commune to remember Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, we are deliberately acknowledging His monument by eating His body and drinking His blood. This is symbolic to every Christian because we consider our own body as a temple (a house) for God to reside and live. By "digesting" our Lord, we are ceremonially agreeing to mark our doorposts with the Lamb - receiving His perfect, holy solution to avoid the horror of God's judgement for sin. Yes, Jesus teaches that He came to selflessly intervene and save His beloved people so that He could guard His temple from death and sin re-entering. Hallelujah, there can be no sin in God's house! This is the hope and freedom we look forward to in His new kingdom! WOO HOO!

He said to them. “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.” Yes, God's kingdom is coming. Jesus died and rose from the dead. After which, He ascended into Heaven and is, at this very moment, preparing a place for us! When He returns, we (His church... His bride) will feast again in the presence of our beloved King! This is the wedding supper of the Lamb in which Revelation refers...

Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9)

Ladies, isn't this truth wonderful news? Aren't you psyched for the Lord's return?

Tomorrow, we will conclude this series in John 13. We will review the sacrifice and the new Way in which our Savior intends for His people to live as we allow Him to abide in us. He can transform us (as our Creator) into a new, redeemed creature - washed with His holiness and welcomed to His kingdom. This is such an important lesson because it shares the only Way to be with God. (Whom we need to remain healthy!) His is the only path worth seeking! Let us praise the Lamb for His great love! Because of Him, we can live free again!

Tomorrow, we will be studying one final lesson plan from our wonderful Teacher. We will learn from His perfect example so that we may fully understand how our King calls us to behave as citizens of His coming kingdom. However, for now, I encourage you to think about our Savior's loving covenant and the hope in which His monument promises.

Until tomorrow... This, then, is how you should pray: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread." (Matthew 6:9-11)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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