You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Judas’ tag.

Judas 9363-pact-of-judas-duccio-di-buoninsegnaWednesday in Holy Week is known by some traditionalist Christians as Spy Wednesday.

Find out why:

Judas offers his services

More on Spy Wednesday

More on Judas

The reading for Wednesday of Holy Week is John 13:21-32.

The painting shown is Judas Betrays Christ (1308-1311) by Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319). Art and the Bible tells us that it refers to Matthew 26:15. Here are the relevant verses from Matthew 26 to put it in better context:

14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

This is what happened on Good Friday (Matthew 27:3-10). Emphases mine:

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus[a] was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himselfBut the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Matthew Henry’s commentary has this analysis:

27:1-10 Wicked men see little of the consequences of their crimes when they commit them, but they must answer for them all. In the fullest manner Judas acknowledged to the chief priests that he had sinned, and betrayed an innocent person. This was full testimony to the character of Christ; but the rulers were hardened. Casting down the money, Judas departed, and went and hanged himself, not being able to bear the terror of Divine wrath, and the anguish of despair. There is little doubt but that the death of Judas was before that of our blessed Lord. But was it nothing to them that they had thirsted after this blood, and hired Judas to betray it, and had condemned it to be shed unjustly? Thus do fools make a mock at sin. Thus many make light of Christ crucified. And it is a common instance of the deceitfulness of our hearts, to make light of our own sin by dwelling upon other people’s sins. But the judgment of God is according to truth. Many apply this passage of the buying the piece of ground, with the money Judas brought back, to signify the favour intended by the blood of Christ to strangers, and sinners of the Gentiles. It fulfilled a prophecy, Zec 11:12. Judas went far toward repentance, yet it was not to salvation. He confessed, but not to God; he did not go to him, and say, I have sinned, Father, against heaven. Let none be satisfied with such partial convictions as a man may have, and yet remain full of pride, enmity, and rebellion.

John MacArthur, who wrote his seminary dissertation on Judas, tells us (emphases in bold in the original, purple highlights mine):

No man could be more evil than Judas Iscariot. Only eleven other men in all of history have had the intimate, personal relationship he had with the incarnate Son of God, No man has ever been more exposed to God’s perfect truth, both in precept and example. No man has been more exposed firsthand to God’s love, compassion, power, kindness, forgiveness, and grace. No man has had more evidence of Jesus’ divinity or more firsthand knowledge of the way of salvation. Yet in all of those three indescribably blessed years with Jesus, Judas did not take so much as the first step of faith.

In a way that defies comprehension, Judas persistently resisted and rejected God’s truth, God’s grace, and even God’s own Son. Also in a way that defies understanding, he managed to completely conceal his wicked rebellion from everyone but Jesus. His hypocrisy was so complete and deceptive that even when Jesus predicted that one of the disciples would betray Him, Judas was not suspected.

Judas was so totally trapped in the darkness and corruption of sin that he became a willing instrument of Satan. Because this false disciple had totally renounced Christ, “Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot” (Luke 22:3), and it was then a simple matter to persuade him to betray Jesus (John 13:2). Judas’s heart was so utterly hardened to the things of God that long before he consciously considered betraying Him, Jesus called him a devil (John 6:70).

Even so, Judas could not escape the divinely designed signal of guilt that reminds men of their sin and warns them of its consequences. Just as pain is an intrinsic and automatic warning of physical danger, guilt is an intrinsic and automatic warning of spiritual danger. It was not that Judas suddenly became afraid of God, else he would have turned in desperation to the One he knew could forgive him. Nor was he afraid of men. Although he was now discarded and despised by the Jewish leaders, they had no reason to harm him. It was rather that Judas suddenly realized the horrible wrongness of what he had done. An innate awareness of right and wrong is divinely built into every human being and cannot be totally erased, no matter how deep a person may fall into depravity or how consciously and rebelliously he may turn against God. This is intensified by the convicting pressure of the Spirit of God.

Judas’s remorse was not repentance of sin, as the King James version suggests. Matthew did not use metanoeo, which means a genuine change of mind and will, but metamelomai, which merely connotes regret or sorrow. He did not experience spiritual penitence but only emotional remorse. Although he would not repent of his sin, he could not escape the reality of his guilt. Genuine sorrow for sin (metamelomai) can be prompted by God in order to produce repentance (metanoeo), as Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 7:10. But Judas’s remorse was not prompted by God to lead to repentance but only to guilt and despair.

Because he was a kind of witness against Jesus, perhaps Judas thought that by admitting the wickedness of what he had done he would be punished as a false witness, as Deuteronomy 19:16–19 prescribed. Under that provision, he would have been crucified himself, suffering the penalty imposed on the one he caused to be falsely convicted. Instead of looking to Jesus’ for forgiveness and trusting in His atoning death, Judas’s perverted mind may have led him to believe that by dying he somehow could atone for his own sin.

Proof that Judas’s sorrow was ungodly and selfish is seen in the fact that he made no effort to defend or rescue Jesus. He had no desire to vindicate or save Jesus but only to salve his own conscience, which he attempted to do by returning the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.

Heretics masquerading as Christians can write as much revisionist baloney as they like and make notionally new and revealing documentaries about Judas. They are wrong. Enough said.

Bible boy_reading_bibleThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Matthew 26:26-29

Institution of the Lord’s Supper

26 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.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

———————————————————————————————

Now we are in Thursday of our Lord’s final Passover Week, which corresponds to the Christian Holy Week.

Before discussing this transition from Passover to the Sacrament, we can be sure this feast took place on a Thursday. John MacArthur says (emphases mine):

at that time in the history of Israel, Passover was celebrated both on Thursday and on Friday because the customs in Galilee differed from the customs in Judea.  And so, the Lord on Thursday evening celebrates a Galilean Passover Day, and yet there is another Passover Day on Friday which means that Jesus can keep the Passover one day and die during the Passover as the Passover lamb the next day.  And God had arranged history and tradition and custom and circumstance to make that a reality.

Matthew’s account of the events of the Last Supper are briefer than Luke’s or John’s. We’ll look at Luke’s Gospel now. Incredibly, after this meal, the disciples got into another argument as to who was the greatest. Jesus once again brought them down to earth, telling them they were not to lord themselves over others. After all, He — the greatest of all — was serving them (Luke 22:24-27):

25 And he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

John’s Gospel gives us the washing of the feet. For whatever reason, the Twelve neglected to wash their feet when they entered the room, a social norm as discussed in last week’s post. Jesus humbled Himself to do it. Remember that Peter objected, and, in His reply, Jesus said that not all were clean (John 13:3-11):

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. 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?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 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!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet,[a] but is completely clean. And you[b] are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

Returning to Matthew, at this point, Judas admitted that he had betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26:21-25):

21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Matthew does not mention details of this moment, but John does. The Apostles asked Jesus who the betrayer was (John 13:26-30):

26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Many will want to know if Judas stayed for the main feast of the Last Supper. MacArthur says that he did not:

Jesus got rid of him before they actually ate the meal because he should have no part, should he, in the Lord’s Table.  So, he was dismissed.  What a scene of preparation as Jesus has the final Passover.  After that, of course, verse 26 says, “And as they were eating.”  They went back to the meal, back to the Passover.

Now on to today’s passage in Matthew. Verse 26 gives us the blessing and words still used today in Catholic and mainline Protestant prayers of consecration and remembrance. Christ’s giving of His own body meant that His ultimate sacrifice would replace the Jewish mandate of Passover. Matthew Henry explains:

Christ is to us the Passover-sacrifice by which atonement is made (1 Corinthians 5:7) Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. This ordinance is to us the passover-supper, by which application is made, and commemoration celebrated, of a much greater deliverance than that of Israel out of Egypt. All the legal sacrifices of propitiation being summed up in the death of Christ, and so abolished, all the legal feasts of rejoicing were summed up in this sacrament, and so abolished.

The words of Jesus in verse 27 are equally included in the aforementioned prayers of consecration and remembrance. Jesus went on to say that His was the blood of the covenant — the New Covenant — poured out for many — meaning Gentiles, too — for the forgiveness of sins (verse 28). This was not a one-time exclusive offer to the Apostles, but an everlasting one for those they would minister to and to the countless generations after them, wherever they were — and are — in the world.

Below are excerpts of Henry’s analysis of the Sacrament, the new ordinance.

First, of the bread, the body of Christ:

We have here the institution of the great gospel ordinance of the Lord’s supper, which was received of the Lord. Observe,

I. The time when it was instituted–as they were eating. At the latter end of the passover-supper, before the table was drawn, because, as a feast upon a sacrifice, it was to come in the room of that ordinance …

II. The institution itself. A sacrament must be instituted it is no part of moral worship, nor is it dictated by natural light, but has both its being and significancy from the institution, from a divine institution it is his prerogative who established the covenant, to appoint the seals of it …

1. The body of Christ is signified and represented by bread he had said formerly (John 6:35), I am the bread of life, upon which metaphor this sacrament is built as the life of the body is supported by bread, which is therefore put for all bodily nourishment (Matthew 4:4,6:11), so the life of the soul is supported and maintained by Christ’s mediation.

(1.) He took bread, ton aptonthe loaf some loaf that lay ready to hand, fit for the purpose it was, probably, unleavened bread but, that circumstance not being taken notice of, we are not to bind ourselves to that, as some of the Greek churches do. His taking the bread was a solemn action, and was, probably, done in such a manner as to be observed by them that sat with him, that they might expect something more than ordinary to be done with it. Thus was the Lord Jesus set apart in the counsels of divine love for the working out of our redemption.

(2.) He blessed it set it apart for this use by prayer and thanksgiving. We do not find any set form of words used by him upon this occasion but what he said, no doubt, was accommodated to the business in hand, that new testament which by this ordinance was to be sealed and ratified. This was like God’s blessing the seventh day (Genesis 2:3), by which it was separated to God’s honour, and made to all that duly observe it, a blessed day: Christ could command the blessing, and we, in his name, are emboldened to beg the blessing.

(3.) He brake it which denotes, [1.] The breaking of Christ’s body for us, that it might be fitted for our use He was bruised for our iniquities, as bread-corn is bruised (Isaiah 28:28) though a bone of him was not broken (for all his breaking did not weaken him), yet his flesh was broken with breach upon breach, and his wounds were multiplied (Job 9:17,16:14), and that pained him … [2.] The breaking of Christ’s body to us, as the father of the family breaks the bread to the children. The breaking of Christ to us, is to facilitate the application every thing is made ready for us by the grants of God’s word and the operations of his grace.

(4.) He gave it to his disciples, as the Master of the family, and the Master of this feast it is not said, He gave it to the apostles, though they were so, and had been often called so before this, but to the disciples, because all the disciples of Christ have a right to this ordinance and those shall have the benefit of it who are his disciples indeed yet he gave it to them as he did the multiplied loaves, by them to be handed to all his other followers.

(5.) He said, Take, eat this is my body, Matthew 26:26. He here tells them,

[1.] What they should do with it Take, eat accept of Christ as he is offered to you, receive the atonement, approve of it, consent to it, come up to the terms on which the benefit of it is proposed to you submit to his grace and to his government.” Believing on Christ is expressed by receiving him (John 1:12), and feeding upon him, John 6:57,58. Meat looked upon, or the dish ever so well garnished, will not nourish us it must be fed upon: so must the doctrine of Christ.

[2.] What they should have with it This is my body, not outosthis bread, but toutothis eating and drinking. Believing carries all the efficacy of Christ’s death to our souls. This is my body, spiritually and sacramentally this signifies and represents my body. He employs sacramental language, like that, Exodus 12:11. It is the Lord’s passover … We partake of the sun, not by having the bulk and body of the sun put into our hands, but the beams of it darted down upon us so we partake of Christ by partaking of his grace, and the blessed fruits of the breaking of his body.

Of the cup, the Blood of Christ:

2. The blood of Christ is signified and represented by the wine to make it a complete feast, here is not only bread to strengthen, but wine to make glad the heart (Matthew 26:27,28) He took the cup, the grace-cup, which was set ready to be drank, after thanks returned, according to the custom of the Jews at the passover this Christ took, and made the sacramental-cup, and so altered the property. It was intended for a cup of blessing (so the Jews called it)

This cup he gave to the disciples,

(1.) With a command Drink ye all of it. Thus he welcomes his guests to his table, obliges them all to drink of his cup …

(2.) With an explication For this is my blood of the New Testament. Therefore drink it with appetite, delight, because it is so rich a cordial. Hitherto the blood of Christ had been represented by the blood of beasts, real blood: but, after it was actually shed, it was represented by the blood of grapes, metaphorical blood so wine is called in an Old-Testament prophecy of Christ, Genesis 49:10,11.

Now observe what Christ saith of his blood represented in the sacrament.

[1.] It is my blood of the New Testament … The covenant God is pleased to make with us, and all the benefits and privileges of it, are owing to the merits of Christ’s death.

[2.] It is shed[:] it was not shed till next day, but it was now upon the point of being shed, it is as good as done. “Before you come to repeat this ordinance yourselves, it will be shed.” He was now ready to be offered, and his blood to be poured out, as the blood of the sacrifices which made atonement.

[3.] It is shed for many. Christ came to confirm a covenant with many (Daniel 9:27), and the intent of his death agreed. The blood of the Old Testament was shed for a few: it confirmed a covenant, which (saith Moses) the Lord has made with you, Exodus 24:8. The atonement was made only for the children of Israel (Leviticus 16:34): but Jesus Christ is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, 1 John 2:2.

[4.] It is shed for the remission of sins, that is, to purchase remission of sins for us. The redemption which we have through his blood, is the remission of sins, Ephesians 1:7. The new covenant which is procured and ratified by the blood of Christ, is a charter of pardon, an act of indemnity, in order to a reconciliation between God and man for sin was the only thing that made the quarrel, and without shedding of blood is no remission, Hebrews 9:22

Jesus concluded this institution of the New Covenant by saying that the next time they will share ‘this fruit of the vine’ will be in His Father’s kingdom (verse 29).

Therefore, although He ate with the disciples after the Resurrection (Acts 10:41), this was a significant feast in which He instituted a new ordinance — the Sacrament — for the New Covenant.

MacArthur explains verse 29 this way:

there’s a reaffirmation in verse 29 of His Kingdom promise.  I’ll do it with you in My Kingdom.  And I believe when Jesus comes, and we enter into His Kingdom, we’re going to do this with Him.  We’re going to celebrate this with Him.  We’re going to remember His sacrifice together and I’m not sure that we won’t do that forever and ever and ever and ever throughout all eternity in some marvelous way that He has designed, for it’s an unforgettable and glorious redemption, never, never to be ignored, always to be celebrated.

So, He says, do this, in effect, until I do it with you in My Father’s Kingdom.  But the emphasis is: I’m going to come back and drink it with you again.  All three gospels, by the way, state that the Lord said that.  This is a wonderful, wonderful thing that He assures us all that He’s coming to set up His glorious Kingdom.  And then, in verse 30 it says they sung a hymn.  Literally, the Greek says they hymned, they hymned.  What was that?  Well, they had already sung Psalm 113 and 14.  They probably sung another 15 maybe, 16.  Then, there was a fourth cup and then they might have sung 117, 118 and went to the Mount of Olives.  And so, the final Passover; and so, the institution of the Lord’s Supper. 

Receiving the Sacrament, Communion or the Supper — however we might refer to it in our respective churches — is the most powerful and greatest available means of grace Jesus Christ gave us through His one, sufficient oblation on the Cross.

Having asked forgiveness of our sins and reconciled with our neighbours as necessary, let us not hesitate to receive this divine nourishment for the soul on a regular basis with humility and thanksgiving.

Next time: Matthew 26:30-35

At the start of Holy Week, prior to Jesus’s crucifixion, He drove the money changers from the temple and the high priests plotted against Him.

Wednesday of Holy Week is sometimes referred to as Spy Wednesday as Judas comes into the picture:

Judas offers his services

More on Spy Wednesday

More on Judas

(Image credit: whatshotn)

On March 15, 2016, I was appalled to read of two Anglicans — a bishop and an priest — coming forward to defend Judas. Even worse, on Good Friday morning — Good Friday, at 9 a.m., when children are watching! — BBC One will broadcast a programme about him: In the Footsteps of Judas.

The BBC should be broadcasting about Jesus’s suffering and dying so brutally for our sins — and how Judas fulfilled Old Testament prophecy in this regard.

The BBC, the programme makers and these two Anglicans are out of bounds.

The Telegraph has the full story. The Revd Kate Bottley says:

“This is not to say ‘Oh Judas, he’s all right really’, what we are saying is perhaps there is something else to this character than that kiss and that betrayal,” she said.

“I don’t think any of the other disciples were whiter than white – we just probably didn’t hear about it – because they were all human and we are all a bit messed up.”

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds:

feels “a bit sorry” for Judas.

He said that the lost apostle, viewed by many Christians as a figure beyond redemption, has, he said had a “lousy press” for the last 2,000 years.

Apparently, clergy do not need to know the Bible anymore. Jesus knew early on that Judas would betray Him. He said that Judas was a devil (John 6:70-71, emphases mine):

70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

He said that after He fed the Five Thousand, long before the final week of His ministry.

I suppose the aforementioned clergy would simply say they would discount that as John might have just put that in there and that we have no way of knowing whether Jesus ever said that.

And there are many ‘Christians’ who say that John’s gospel is an allegory.

Here’s what John MacArthur has to say about Judas:

Hatred for Judas was so deep in the years following the closing of the New Testament that several incredible legends about him evolved. They describe bizarre occurrences, characterizing Judas as ugly, evil, and totally repugnant. One, in the apocryphal Coptic Narrative, said that Judas, having betrayed Christ, was infested with maggots. Consequently, his body became so bloated that on one occasion he was trying to ride on a cart through a gate, and being too large to fit through it, he hit the gate, his body exploded, and maggots spewed all over the wall. Obviously, that story is not true, but it shows the high level of contempt for Judas in the early centuries.

When I was in seminary, I wrote my dissertation on Judas Iscariot. During the year that I spent working on it, and since then, I have found it extremely difficult to write or speak on. Sin is never more grotesque than it is in the life of Judas. When we study Judas and his motivations, we are prying very close to the activity of Satan. But there are valuable reasons for examining Judas and his sin. For one thing, to understand Jesus’ love in its fullness, it helps to look at the life of Judas, because despite the awfulness of Judas’ sin, Jesus reached out to him in love.

My links at the top of this post discuss Judas’s life in more detail. He was a bad man. A tragic, sin-filled human being. Look at the image at the top of the post. Jesus said it would have been good for Judas not to have been born.

How anyone — especially a bishop and a priest — can have sympathy for him is astounding. If I were the Archbishop of Canterbury I’d want to meet with each separately to discuss their future in the Church.

The gospel reading for Spy Wednesday in Year C of the three-year Lectionary is John 13:21-32:

13:21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

13:22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.

13:23 One of his disciples–the one whom Jesus loved–was reclining next to him;

13:24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.

13:25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

13:26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.

13:27 After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.”

13:28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.

13:29 Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor.

13:30 So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

13:31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.

13:32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

What Jesus had just said before becoming troubled in spirit (verse 21) was (John 13:18-20):

18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled,[d] ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

When He announced that one of the apostles would betray Him, all (but one) were stunned to the point where Peter asked John to enquire of Jesus who it was (verses 22 – 24). John was the logical apostle to ask, because he was close to Jesus’s heart and was reclining next to Him at the Last Supper. People stretched out on the floor to eat in ancient times.

John duly whispered the question to our Lord, who whispered back that they would know when He gave one apostle a morsel of moistened bread (verses 25, 26). With that, he handed it to Judas.

Matthew Henry’s commentary has this analysis of what could have been going through Judas’s mind at that moment and Jesus’s continuing generosity:

[1.] That Christ sometimes gives sops to traitors worldly riches, honours, and pleasures are sops (if I may so speak), which Providence sometimes gives into the hands of wicked men. Judas perhaps thought himself a favourite because he had the sop, like Benjamin at Joseph’s table, a mess by himself thus the prosperity of fools, like a stupifying sop, helps to destroy them. [2.] That we must not be outrageous against those whom we know to be very malicious against us. Christ carved to Judas as kindly as to any at the table, though he knew he was then plotting his death. If thine enemy hunger, feed him this is to do as Christ does.

Once Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him (verse 27). In light of John 6:70, Henry explains:

now Satan gained a more full possession of him, had a more abundant entrance into him. His purpose to betray his Master was now ripened into a fixed resolution now he returned with seven other spirits more wicked than himself, Luke 11:26. Note, [1.] Though the devil is in every wicked man that does his works (Ephesians 2:2), yet sometimes he enters more manifestly and more powerfully than at other times, when he puts them upon some enormous wickedness, which humanity and natural conscience startle at. [2.] Betrayers of Christ have much of the devil in them. Christ speaks of the sin of Judas as greater than that of any of his persecutors.

Please, never think that Judas was a sympathetic character or that he deserves a hearing. If Jesus considered His betrayal worse than His persecution, Judas’s heart and soul were rotten.

Jesus dismissed Judas from the Last Supper (verse 28), but in a way that the apostles did not understand (verse 29).

Christ hereupon dismissed him, and delivered him up to his own heart’s lusts: Then said Jesus unto him, What thou doest, do quickly. This is not to be understood as either advising him to his wickedness or warranting him in it but either, (1.) As abandoning him to the conduct and power of Satan. Christ knew that Satan had entered into him, and had peaceable possession and now he gives him up as hopeless. The various methods Christ had used for his conviction were ineffectual and therefore, “What thou doest thou wilt do quickly if thou art resolved to ruin thyself, go on, and take what comes.” Note, When the evil spirit is willingly admitted, the good Spirit justly withdraws. Or, (2.) As challenging him to do his worst: “Thou art plotting against me, put thy plot in execution and welcome, the sooner the better, I do not fear thee, I am ready for thee.” Note, our Lord Jesus was very forward to suffer and die for us, and was impatient of delay in the perfecting of his undertaking.

Henry wrote that the apostles were too guileless to see the very worst sin was about to be committed:

Note, It is an excusable dulness in the disciples of Christ not to be quick-sighted in their censures. Most are ready enough to say, when they hear harsh things spoken in general, Now such a one is meant, and now such a one but Christ’s disciples were so well taught to love one another that they could not easily learn to suspect one another charity thinks no evil.

Judas left in the night (verse 30). Henry explains:

[1.] Though it was night, an unseasonable time for business, yet, Satan having entered into him, he made no difficulty of the coldness and darkness of the night. This should shame us out of our slothfulness and cowardice in the service of Christ, that the devil’s servants are so earnest and venturous in his service. [2.] Because it was night, and this gave him advantage of privacy and concealment. He was not willing to be seen treating with the chief priests, and therefore chose the dark night as the fittest time for such works of darkness. Those whose deeds are evil love darkness rather than light. See Job 24:13, &c.

After Judas left, Jesus announced that He was now glorified (verse 31), indicating His crucifixion to come:

The presence of wicked people is often a hindrance to good discourse. When Judas was gone out, Christ said, now is the Son of man glorified now that Judas is discovered and discarded, who was a spot in their love-feast and a scandal to their family, now is the Son of man glorified. Note, Christ is glorified by the purifying of Christian societies: corruptions in his church are a reproach to him the purging out of those corruptions rolls away the reproach. Or, rather, now Judas was gone to set the wheels a-going, in order to his being put to death, and the thing was likely to be effected shortly: Now is the Son of man glorified, meaning, Now he is crucified.

MacArthur explains that Jesus purposely chose Judas:

He chose Judas because Judas was necessary to bring about His death, which was necessary to bring about the redemption of the world.

Prophecy was clear that Christ would be betrayed by a close friend. Why did Jesus choose Judas, then? He chose him to fulfill prophecy–not only the prophecy specifically about Judas, but also the prophecies of His own death. Somebody had to bring it to pass, and Judas was more than willing. God used the wrath of Judas to praise Him, and through the deed that Judas did, He brought salvation. Judas meant it for evil, but God used it for good (cf. Genesis 50:20).

You see, Judas fit right into the divine master plan. Judas’ betrayal was predicted in detail in the Old Testament. Psalm 41:9 says, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

The picture of David and Ahithophel in Psalm 41 is fulfilled in a greater sense in Jesus and Judas. The phrase “lifted up his heel” portrays brutal violence, the lifting of a heel and driving the heel into the neck of the victim. That is the picture of Judas. Having wounded his enemy, who is lying on the ground, he takes the giant heel and crushes his neck.

Psalm 55 contains another clear prophecy of Judas and his betrayal. Imagine Jesus speaking these words:

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me.  Then I could hide myself from him.  But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend.  We who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng.

He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; he has violated his covenant. His speech was smoother than butter, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. (vv. 12-14; 20-21).

And finally:

Zechariah contains a prophecy about the betrayal of Christ by Judas in even more detail. It gives the exact price he was paid for his treachery, just as it is recorded in the New Testament. Zechariah 11:12-13 prophetically gives the words of Judas, talking to the Jewish leaders:

I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!”  So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.  Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.”  So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.

That describes to the letter what Judas did after the death of Jesus Christ. He took the thirty pieces right back to the house of the Lord and threw them down. Matthew 27 says that the thirty pieces were picked up and used to buy a potter’s field, exactly fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 11.

It is important for children and those new to the faith to understand Judas’s story and his betrayal of Christ. Knowing that all was prophesied in the Old Testament will help them to understand why Jesus had to choose him as an apostle.

Now, wouldn’t such an explanation have made a much better television programme? Clearly, to borrow Martin Luther’s words to Zwingli — ‘another spirit’ — moves through Judas’s defenders.

thirty-pieces-of-silver-3cf58ff031d96b76Wednesday of Holy Week is known as Spy Wednesday in traditionalist Catholic circles.

The name is fitting as the chief priests close their deal with Judas, eager to betray our Lord for a few months’ wages.

These posts explain this fateful day and a bit about Judas himself:

Judas offers his services

More on Spy Wednesday

More on Judas

St Mark’s Gospel has these accounts, with commentary from Matthew Henry and John MacArthur:

Mark 14:1-2 – what the Sanhedrin were thinking

Mark 14:10-11 – Judas volunteers to betray our Lord

On another subject relevant to Holy Week, some churches will be holding Tenebrae services. This post explains more about them.

Bible ourhomewithgodcomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary really want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? I wonder.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 22:1-6

The Plot to Kill Jesus

1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.

Judas to Betray Jesus

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

————————————————————-

The end of Luke 21 tells us that Jesus spent the night before Passover — Wednesday night — on Mount Olivet, the Mount of Olives.

Meanwhile, the Jewish hierarchy plotted His death in a way that would not excite the crowds coming to Jerusalem for this feast (verses 1, 2).

They were aware how popular our Lord was. Only days before, a huge crowd lined the road on his triumphal entry into the city. If He were killed, there might be a mass revolt. It is also worth remembering that more and more Jews were in the city by now, possibly 2 million. The more people, the greater the Roman presence.

John MacArthur explains:

… they’re all very, very aware that this is exactly the kind of time that if anything starts that looks anywhere near like a riot, the Romans are going to come down hard with military force and change the relationship we currently have with them, which gives us a certain measure of freedom.  We’ve got to arrest Him, we’ve got to arrest Him now.

John 11:45-57 explains more about the mindset of the Jewish elite, including their fear of losing their power and prestige. Verses 47-53 are particularly pertinent:

47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

Returning to Luke 22 now, verse 3 tells us: ‘Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot’. Matthew Henry says:

Whoever betrays Christ, or his truths or ways, it is Satan that puts them upon it.

Satan was already in Judas. Jesus stated this in John 6:70-71:

70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

Our Lord made the same observation of the Jewish elite in John 8:38-47, specifically verses 43 through 47 (emphases mine):

43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Judas was obsessed by materialism; in fact, he was the one who kept the money bag for Jesus and the Apostles. This should serve as a warning to us not to place money and possessions above the Holy Trinity. This also extends temporally to our family and friends. Are some people too obsessed with earning money to attend to their loved ones? We have read many cautionary tales about parents who hardly ever see their children then wonder why they end up in rehab. They realise, too late, that they should have been better parents. The same holds true when people lose friends because they haven’t kept in touch often enough; they’ve been too busy with work. But I digress.

Verse 4 of today’s reading tells us that Judas went off to discuss with the Jewish leaders how he could betray Jesus. It is for this reason that traditionalist Catholics refer to Wednesday of Holy Week, or Passion Week, as Spy Wednesday.

Henry has this observation about treachery by insiders, more insidious than that from external enemies:

Note, It is hard to say whether more mischief is done to Christ’s kingdom by the power and policy of its open enemies, or by the treachery and self-seeking of its pretended friends: nay, without the latter its enemies could not gain their point as they do.

The Jewish leaders welcomed Judas’s proposition and agreed to pay him (verse 5). The 30 coins amounted to a few months’ wages. Judas went off to contemplate how he could execute his betrayal quietly, without attracting the attention of the crowd (verse 6).

MacArthur explains:

The devil moved them to do what they did and now the devil had another of his own children, Judas, and he moved him to do what he did.  In fact, he not only moved him, he not only made treacherous suggestions to Judas, he moved in.  There’s a progression there. 

And whilst Satan is powerful, God keeps Him in check. In short, it was now ‘the time’ and ‘the hour’ — words used throughout the Gospels — for our Lord’s crucifixion. Hence God allows him to enter into Judas’s soul.

Scripture was soon fulfilled in Christ’s dying for the sins of the world, past, present and future. God meant it to happen. Jesus knew it was coming. A reading the Gospels tells us this. Jesus escaped angry people — His fellow Nazarenes and the hierarchy — who wanted to kill Him. He knew those moments were not the appointed time.

MacArthur tells us not to blame the Jewish people for the crucifixion. Nor should this make Christians opposed to Israel. In fact, those who rank with the Jews of Jesus’s time are the unbelievers and mockers throughout history, including those in the future:

it was the Jews of that generation, living in that place, at that time, in that nation, in that crowd that wanted Jesus dead, and basically blackmailed Pilate into executing Him. This is no warrant for unscrupulous people to brand all Jews as a race as Christ-killers. The truth of the matter is, Jew or Gentile, anyone who rejects Jesus Christ takes a position against Jesus Christ and eliminates any hope of eternal salvation. That’s true of anybody. But to use what the people did to Jesus, the people of that generation did to Jesus, as some kind of justification for hate crimes, and holocausts against Jewish people is anything but Christian, anything but Christian. It is satanic. That kind of bigotry doesn’t come from God. It doesn’t come from true Christians. It comes from Satan. It is anti-Christian. It is true that Israel’s leaders bore culpability. The people bore culpability. Every person, Jew or Gentile who rejects Jesus Christ bears guilt. It is true. That is no reason to hate Israel. Even God loves Israel. And one day will save that nation. And even now is building His church of Jew and Gentile. Be reminded that way back in the Abrahamic covenant we are told whoever blesses Israel, God will what? Will bless. Whoever curses Israel, God will curse.

Next time: Luke 22:7-13

thirty-pieces-of-silver-3cf58ff031d96b76We are now nearing the middle of Holy Week.

The plot against Jesus thickens.

So far, Jesus has confronted the money-changers at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The High Priests, looking on, yearned to arrest Him. But, after their great outpouring of affection for Him on Palm Sunday, what would the people say?

Judas Iscariot visited the Jewish leaders, offering his services. That day is known in traditionalist Catholic circles as Spy Wednesday.

Please visit the links for more information about the most tragic week in history before and since.

St John Guido Reni 1575 1642No matter how much I enjoy reading the Synoptic Gospels — Matthew, Mark and Luke — John’s is the one to which I return the most.

John contrasts light and darkness. He both comforts and accuses us with regard to salvation and damnation. He recounts Jesus’s trials with the Jewish Sanhedrin from the beginning. He has the fullest exposition of Jesus’s words at the Last Supper.

John 6 — from this most loving and beloved of Jesus’s Apostles, John the Divine, the Evangelist, the author of Revelation — makes us re-examine what we have learned about the Feeding of the Five Thousand, which I covered on Sunday mostly from Luke’s perspective but also from the other Gospels.

It is easy to remember one or two verses or passages from John’s eminently inspired Gospel. We recall so much of the good.

Yet, there are other passages which also require our attention. John 6 is an excellent case in point. Emphases mine below.

In the creative miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, John mentions Jesus’s examination of Philip’s faith (verses 5 and 6). According to John MacArthur, Philip was a bit of a ‘bean counter’, to use the pastor’s words. That was not what Jesus was looking for in this instance:

5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

Then we read of the boy with the basic food which Jesus transforms into a feast. Remember that He fed 5,000 men but also their families — therefore, between 20,000 and 25,000 people. Here are verses 8 and 9:

8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

In Sunday’s post, I explained — citing MacArthur — that enough was left to fill 12 travel baskets which the Jews used in those days. These were so that they could take Kosher food with them and not have to worry about eating Gentile food. Twelve is also one of the Hebraic numbers denoting perfection. Is it any wonder that Jesus chose twelve Apostles? However, I digress. Suffice it to say that Jesus was generous but precise; the Apostles would also be able to eat plentifully once the crowd had dispersed.

Whilst that detail of the twelve baskets is mentioned in the three Synoptic Gospels, the next part is not. This is John 6:14-15:

14When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

 15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

These are the verses that occasionally catch one’s eye and make one think more deeply about what was happening.

These people were happy that their temporal appetites had been satisfied. This is so similar to today when we are preoccupied with our — valid as some of them are — carnal concerns: food and money. By golly, if Jesus were among us today — even after His teaching about salvation — we would probably say, ‘He fed us! That food was good! More please!’

Those thousands of people mostly ignored His greater message. He showed compassion on them, certainly, but He had a larger message to give them: salvation. The food was but a secondary, albeit compassionate, consideration.

Jesus did not come to be an earthly king and vanquisher of the Romans. He came to offer eternal life.

One imagines that that would be insufficient for us now. Our media outlets would be baying for His blood (‘Is Jesus doing enough? Some don’t think so — news at 10’), not unlike those among whom He had lived, healed and preached. Note that on the fateful day of His mock trial, the crowd begged for Barabbas — the radical, community organiser type — to be freed.

The next day, following the tempest on the Sea of Galilee, the crowds crossed that lake to find Him. When they asked Him how long He had been there (verse 26):

26Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

He continued with a short sermon as meaningful now as it was then (verses 27 – 29):

27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

The message still didn’t get through (verses 30 – 31):

30So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”

John’s Gospel gives the best overview of the verbal opposition and ignorance Jesus faced during His ministry. Any human would have become exasperated. Yet, because He was divine as well as human, Jesus was able to control His reactions (except for the righteous anger He displayed towards the moneychangers at the Temple). What a load of ingrates. I think a surprising number of us would have rebelled against the Holy Spirit and asked Jesus many of the same things, expecting a liberation theologian of this world.

Jesus replied, speaking of Himself (verses 32 and 33):

“Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

They still didn’t understand — and He knew it well (verses 35 – 36):

35Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

Now come several crucial verses. We cannot seek Jesus. God must send Him to us. Therefore, if you were once a believer and no longer are, pray to God and the Holy Spirit to get you out of that state. Ask to be directed to the Gospel message. This also goes for those who do not believe yet are somehow drawn to the Son of God, however nebulously at the moment. Jesus said to this crowd whom He had fed the previous day (verses 37 – 40):

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me,that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

The Jews hearing this were unhappy; who was this man, the son of Mary and Joseph claiming to have been sent from Heaven?

Jesus answered (verses 43 – 51), noting the manna as being temporal and temporary during the time the Jews sought the Promised Land:

43Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

You can respond to this by saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, so what?’ or you can imagine yourself there at that time. What would you then think? What about the upcoming choice of Barabbas and Jesus? What about today’s liberation theology? What about the pervasive prosperity gospel?

The audience was shocked to hear Jesus speak of His own flesh — which they deemed to be purely human (another warning here for us), no matter how many creative miracles and precise scriptural preaching He had done. He graciously repeated Himself (verses 53-58):

53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

This reiteration alarmed the audience — and His disciples. John usefully records that some left, never to return. Would we have been among their number?

Verses 60 – 65 speak to human preconceptions of temporal deliverance, basic unbelief (despite their being able to recall and quote Scripture) and Christ’s recognition of this unbelief, including Judas Iscariot:

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

So where does this leave the free will Arminians? Nowhere fast.

Then comes the painful verse, 66:

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

One wonders about them. Were they looking for a Barabbas-type saviour of the Jewish nation? Did they ask that he be released instead of Jesus? Or did they resume their Mosaic ways? It’s a pity that so many ‘Christians’ seem to be following in their footsteps, whether they be those who find Mosaic Law salvific (why?) or those who hang onto the temporal via a skewed Marxist or prosperity theology. It’s hard to pray for such people. It really is. They have the Gospels in front of them and ignore them.

John records that Jesus then turned to the Twelve and asked them if they, too, wished to leave His side. Peter, bold as always, states that Jesus is ‘the Holy One of God’ (verse 69).

The chapter concludes with Jesus’s knowledge of who would betray Him (verses 70 – 71):

70Jesus answered them, Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

It seems as if those verses, too, must be problematic for Anglicans who have trouble believing that Satan exists or ever existed. It’s hard to pray for one’s own churchmen under such circumstances. Where is the difficulty in drawing up a theological and scriptural case? The evidence runs all the way through the New Testament. And what happened to materialistic, carnal Judas? He committed suicide after conspiring and accepting money for Jesus’s arrest.

Interested readers can find my separate studies on John and Revelation on my Essential Bible Verses page. John is halfway through (as of this writing) and Revelation is near the end.

Bible and crossAfter Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the days preceding His Crucifixion turned increasingly more uncertain.

Among the events of this week are the following.

On Monday, He drove the money changers out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13) and foretold the destruction of the Temple (Mark 13:1-12).

He also explained the ‘signs of the age’ with regard to persecution, false teachers and natural disasters (Mark 13:3-13).

Meanwhile, the Jewish Sanhedrin were plotting how to do away with our Lord by stealth (Mark 14:1-2). As they plot, Judas offers his services. For this reason, Wednesday of Holy Week is known as Spy Wednesday in traditionalist Catholic churches.

Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper, follows.

Today, the notion of service (exemplified in Jesus’s washing of the Apostles’ feet) continues in Christian charity.  In England, the monarch traditionally distributes Maundy money to those in need. In 2012, during her Diamond Jubilee:

The Queen was on her way to York Minster for the traditional Royal Maundy service. To celebrate her 60 years as Monarch, the Queen will hand out money to people from all of the UK’s 44 Christian dioceses.

Usually, the Maundy money is given to pensioners from one diocese each year. But this year, 86 women and 86 men – one for each of the Queen’s 86 years – will receive the money in recognition of their services to the Church and their communities.

The Royal Maundy ceremony traces its origins to the Last Supper when, as St John recorded, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples …

The Queen’s procession included The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu; The Chancellor of the Diocese of York, Judge Peter Collier QC; the Dean of York, The Very Reverend Keith Jones and other dignitaries and officials.

A short time later the Queen began distributing the Maundy gifts to the first set of recipients on the south side of the Minster as the Yeomen of the Guard followed closely behind.

After the second lesson was read by the Archbishop of York, the Queen distributed the Maundy gifts to the second set of recipients on the north side of the cathedral as music by Handel was played.

Each recipient receives two purses – one red and one white – in the centuries old tradition.

The red purse will contain a £5 coin commemorating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and a newly minted 50p coin.

The white purse will contain uniquely minted Maundy Money of silver one, two, three and four penny pieces, the sum of which equals the Queen’s age.

For more on Maundy Thursday, please see:

What is the Triduum?

‘One of you will betray Me’

Passover, the Last Supper and the New Covenant

Maundy Thursday and the Last Supper: Jesus’s words of comfort (John 14, with a mention of the Holy Trinity)

Bible penngrovechurchofchristorgThis post continues a study of St Mark’s Gospel with an emphasis on the passages which do not appear in the three-year Lectionary for public worship.

As such, they become part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential for understanding Scripture.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Mark 14:12-21

The Passover with the Disciples

12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

————————————————————————–

Last week’s post discussed Judas Iscariot and his materialism which manifested itself in greed. He was a lover of money and made such an idol out of it that he betrayed our Lord. His story illustrates the importance of avoiding giving into the failings which are our Achilles’s heel.  Furthermore, smaller sins in time give way to serious sin.

In today’s reading, we move into Thursday, the day before Jesus’s Crucifixion (verse 12). Scholars have sometimes disagreed on exactly when the first day of Passover was: Thursday or Friday. Matthew Henry’s commentary reflects this:

Christ ate the passover at the usual time when the other Jews did, as Dr. Whitby had fully made out, and not, as Dr. Hammond would have it, the night before. It was on the first day of that feast, which (taking in all the eight days of the feast) was called, The feast of unleavened bread, even that day when they killed the passover, v. 12.

I’ll reproduce from last week’s post what John MacArthur says, which explains the reasons for the confusion (emphases mine):

There actually were two different evenings when the Passover was celebrated. I’ll just leave it at this. The northern people in Galilee celebrated it on Thursday evening while the Judeans, the Sadducees and the people in the south celebrated it on Friday evening. This is perfect, so that Jesus could celebrate the Passover with His friends in Galilee when they celebrated it on Thursday and still die as the Passover lamb on Friday at the time when the southern Judeans were slaughtering their lambs for their Passover. So there are actually two times; on Thursday for those in the north, and on Friday for those in the south. And that’s an important reckoning because there are texts in John’s gospel, in particular, that make it necessary to understand that.

In another sermon, he adds:

It is in the Jewish calendar the fourteenth of Nisan, year 30 A.D. And on that Thursday night is the Passover celebration for all of the Galilean Jews. In the Galilee, they celebrated their Passover on Thursday because they mark the Passover day from sunrise to sunrise. The Judean Jews in the south celebrated their Passover on Friday because they marked the Passover day from sunset to sunset. This difference we know from the writings of the Jewish Mishnah which are the official documents concerning the conduct of the Jews, and also from the history of Josephus. That’s important because that allowed our Lord to celebrate the Passover on Thursday night for a lot of critical reasons and still be the Passover on Friday, because they were two authorized and legitimate celebrations.

Note that Mark mentions that the first day of Unleavened Bread was when the Jews sacrificed the Passover lamb. The time of day when they did this ties in with the hour of Jesus’s death. If you have ever wondered about why He took His last breath at 3 p.m., MacArthur tells us it is because:

Now it is essential that our Lord be the Passover on Friday and die at three o’clock at exactly the time the Judeans were slaughtering the lambs for their Passover, for He is the Passover Lamb and God made the timing perfect because Jesus died exactly at that time on Friday.

At the end of verse 12, we read that His disciples asked where their final supper together would take place. Verse 13 tells us that He sent two of them, whom MacArthur believes to have been Peter and John, to look for a man carrying a jar of water. MacArthur points out that this would be an unusual sight because carrying water was women’s work, not men’s. It still is today in many parts of the developing world.

Jesus told the disciples that the man carrying water would meet them and lead them to the appointed room. They were to keep His identity secret, as per Jesus’s instructions in verse 14, by uttering a specific sentence and referring to Him as ‘Teacher’. There is a room which has since been declared the site of the Last Supper. MacArthur isn’t sure if it is the actual site:

I know there’s a traditional place in the city of Jerusalem where they say the Lord had His last Passover, but that is purely a traditional place. There is nothing in the New Testament that indicates where it was. And that makes sense if you’re trying to keep it a secret at that time, and maybe the disciples didn’t even know whose it was when they were there. We don’t know for sure what they knew, but we know that we don’t have any information about it.

Secrecy was important, he says, because

He must die … Friday, around three o’clock when the Passover lambs are being slaughtered, but He must also celebrate the Passover with His disciples so that He can give them final instruction, His last will and testament, if you will, and so that He can institute His table, playing off the Passover. And it has been suggested that He must also fulfill all righteousness and therefore He must celebrate the Passover commanded by God because it hasn’t been negated and it won’t be negated until this Passover is finished. For that to happen, He must not be arrested that night. He can’t be arrested until afterwards.

Also, if Jesus had announced the location in advance:

Judas will know and Judas is hungry for the money even though he’s trying to avoid the crowds, he’s not going to postpone this any longer than he has to, he just wants the money. He wants it fast. This is perfect, a perfect place away from the crowd and the leaders can capture Jesus who will be alone with His helpless disciples. Jesus cannot let that happen…cannot let it happen. And so that’s why there’s all the intrigue.

As for the man with the pitcher of water:

It tells you that the man was familiar with Jesus, the teacher. They don’t even say the word Jesus in case somebody is listening. They don’t want anybody to know where this is going to be. You just follow the man with a pitcher on his head. This tells us that our Lord had prearranged this, either actually, or supernaturally.

Jesus said that the room would be large, upstairs and prepared for the Last Supper (verse 15).

MacArthur says that Peter and John did not return once they knew the location (verses 15, 16):

… apparently Peter and John never came back. On this Thursday, this is Thursday, they went, followed the man, got to the house, were shown the room and they made the preparation so that the rest of the disciples went out from where they were, came to the city, probably back [from] Bethany where they’ve been every night, and found it just as He had told them and they prepared the Passover.

Matthew Henry’s commentary describes the room saying that rooms would normally be for hire for this feast:

No doubt, the inhabitants of Jerusalem had rooms fitted up to be let out, for this occasion, to those that came out of the country to keep the passover, and one of those Christ made use of …

He ate the passover in an upper room furnished, estroµmenonlaid with carpets (so Dr. Hammond); it would seem to have been a very handsome dining-room. Christ was far from affecting any thing that looked stately in eating his common meals; on the contrary, he chose that which was homely, sat down on the grass: but, when he was to keep a sacred feast, in honour of that he would be at the expense of as good a room as he could get. God looks not at outward pomp, but he looks at the tokens and expressions of inward reverence for a divine institution, which, it is to be feared, those want, who, to save charges, deny themselves decencies in the worship of God.

Verse 17 sets the scene at the Last Supper. Jesus announced that one of the men in the room, one of his trusted Apostles, would soon betray Him (verse 18). The verse also mentions that they reclined at table. I explored this last week when describing Mary of Bethany’s vial of fragrant nard. John MacArthur adds more detail:

Their heads would be at the table, their feet reclining away from the table. They didn’t put their feet under the table, as we do. We sit in a chair, put our feet under the table. They were on some kind of a reclining couch of some nature with feet away from the table and their heads toward the table …

Originally, however, if you go back to the Exodus, do you remember the instruction? The instruction of God was this, “Eat with your loins girded,” that is with your belt on, all the loose ends pulled together. “Your shoes on, your staff in your hand, standing up in a hurry.” And they were to do that and traditionally did that for some years because they were remembering the hurried reality of the Exodus. That custom had changed. That tradition had changed. And Passover became a more languid experience.

The reclining would give the opportunity for our Lord to accomplish everything that He wanted to accomplish.

Reclining there with Him, eleven of the Apostles were cut to the core by Jesus’s statement of imminent betrayal. They must have wondered whether they had a serious spiritual weakness of which they were unaware, something that only Jesus could discern. Henry tells us we can detect this by their reaction in verse 19, which is not a statement of innocence but a question to Him of guilt:

Christ said this, if it might be, to startle the conscience of Judas, and to awaken him to repent of his wickedness, and to draw back (for it was not too late) from the brink of the pit. But for aught that appears, he who was most concerned in the warning, was least concerned at it. All the rest were affected with it. (1.) They began to be sorrowful. As the remembrance of our former falls into sin, so the fear of the like again, doth often much embitter the comfort of our spiritual feasts, and damp our joy. Here were the bitter herbs, with which this passover-feast was taken. (2.) They began to be suspicious of themselves; they said one by one, Is it I? And another said, Is it I? They are to be commended for their charity, that they were more jealous of themselves than of one another. It is the law of charity, to hope the best (1 Co. 13:5-7), because we assuredly know, therefore we may justly suspect, more evil by ourselves than by our brethren. They are also to be commended for their acquiescence in what Christ said; they trusted more to his words than to their own hearts; and therefore do not say, “I am sure it is not I,” but, “Lord, is it I? see if there be such a way of wickedness in us, such a root of bitterness, and discover it to us, that we may pluck up that root, and stop up that way.”

Jesus’s answer must have further disquieted them (verse 20). He simply reiterated that it was one of them ‘dipping bread into the dish with Me’. In fact, Mark’s account does not mention Judas’s departure from the table. He ends with Jesus’s ominous statement that it would have been better had the betrayer — Judas — never been born (verse 21).

Readers of this column will recall the grave shock with which the Apostles discovered Judas’s betrayal as recounted in other Gospels. Remember that they had all travelled, ate and resided together for three years. They didn’t go to their respective homes at night; they were with each other nearly all the time.

Note that Jesus states the fulfilment of Scripture (verse 21). MacArthur says:

This is related back to Psalm 55, you probably remember that Psalm because it is familiarly linked, “For it is not an enemy who reproaches Me, then I could bear it, or is it one who hates Me who has exalted himself against Me, then I could hide Myself from him, but it is you, a man, My equal, My companion, My familiar friend who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng” …

Every detail, the details of His crucifixion in Psalm 22, the meaning of His crucifixion in Isaiah 53, the detail of Him being pierced in Zechariah 12:10, the details of His resurrection in Psalm 16 and other features of Old Testament prophecy all prewritten. That is why when Paul preaches the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 3 he says, “Christ died according to the scriptures,” the next verse, “and rose the third day according to the scriptures.” Everything was laid out in Scripture. Our Lord was not killed at the whim of Judas, or Pilate, or Caiaphas, or Herod, or the Sanhedrin, or the Romans, or even Satan, but by God on God’s timing and in God’s manner.

In closing — to respond to those who are oppose the Bible and Christianity because of the different Gospel accounts, some of which say more than others on this and other events in Christ’s life — MacArthur advises:

… we don’t know all of the chronological sequence with any precision. It really isn’t that important to know what followed what. It only matters that we know what happened. All of these things that are important are laid out for us by the four gospel writers who write about Thursday night and collectively we get the full picture, if not in any kind of order. What happened is critical, the sequence is not.

Next time: Mark 14:22-25

Bible and crossContinuing with a study of passages from Mark’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, we come to another set of verses from Jesus’s last few days before His Crucifixion.

These verses become part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Mark 14:10-11

Judas to Betray Jesus

 10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

——————————————————————————

These two verses about Judas are a cautionary tale for us about the dangers of sin.

Our parents, Sunday School teachers or nuns warned us that small sins lead to greater sins. And so it is with Judas, the worst person in the Bible. Why? Because he betrayed our Lord for money. Judas spent three years — day and night — with Jesus and yet turned Him in to the Jewish leaders in exchange for a few weeks’ worth of income.

Being placed in charge of the money for Jesus and the Apostles’ ministry led to betrayal. Matthew Henry warned in his commentary (emphases mine):

Covetousness was Judas’s master-lust, his own iniquity, and that betrayed him to the sin of betraying his Master; the devil suited his temptation to that, and so conquered him. It is not said, They promised him preferment (he was not ambitious of that), but, they promised him money. See what need we have to double our guard against the sin that most easily besets us. Perhaps it was Judas’s covetousness that brought him at first to follow Christ, having a promise that he should be cash-keeper, or purser, to the society, and he loved in his heart to be fingering money; and now that there was money to be got on the other side, he was as ready to betray him as ever he had been to follow him. Note, Where the principle of men’s profession of religion is carnal and worldly, and the serving of a secular interest, the very same principle, whenever the wind turns, will be the bitter root of a vile and scandalous apostasy.

This sinful yearning is also present among some of our clergy who will do everything to please the world in order to earn money — and fame: warped preaching, books, lecture circuits and worldwide ministries leading the unaware away from the truth of the Cross and Resurrection. Some of these pastors fall away from the Church altogether only to embrace agnosticism or atheism.

Henry encapsulated why it is so important for us, from our childhood onward, to avoid the near occasion of sin:

See how the way of sin is down-hill — when men are in, they must be on; and what wicked contrivances many have in their sinful pursuits, to compass their designs conveniently; but such conveniences will prove mischiefs in the end.

To show you how materialistic Judas was, let’s look at the story immediately preceding the two verses above.

Before we look at those verses, however, John MacArthur explains that Mark 14:3-11 is a flashback to the preceding Saturday when Jesus raised His good friend Lazarus — Mary and Martha’s brother — from the dead. It is interesting that Matthew also uses this same ordering of events whereas John takes a chronological approach.

The passage of Mark 14:3-9 relates the story of Lazarus’s sister Mary anointing Jesus’s head and feet with nard, or spikenard (as the King James Version calls it) — the purest and most fragrant natural perfume ingredient:

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

 3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Here is Matthew’s account (Matthew 26:6-13):

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

 6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

What follows is John 12:1-8. John’s Gospel tells us that the woman is Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus:

Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany

 1Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

Luke, however, related another anointing story in similar circumstances but involving a sinful woman and at an earlier time in Jesus’s ministry. Luke 7:36-50 describes a different woman. She is not Mary of Martha and Lazarus’s family.

Now to the accounts from Mark, Matthew and John. All describe the disgust, if not anger, of Judas — and, in Mark and Matthew, the disciples.

My left-leaning readers might object, but this is what I wrote about Judas when looking at John 12:

Judas takes offence, saying the costly balm could have been cashed in and the money given to the poor.  Judas would have made an excellent Socialist.  Always a materialist, note that his job is to mind the money bag, which seems to have instilled in him a love of money, which as we know from Scripture is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10, Proverbs 15:27, Matthew 6:19). It is unlikely that he would have given the money to the poor, but most probably hoarded some for himself. Judas, the great materialist of the New Testament.

However, there is a larger issue — that Judas takes offence at Mary’s anointing of our Redeemer’s feet. Why should he begrudge Jesus such a humble yet beautiful act?

John 12:6 tells us Judas criticised Mary:

not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

You can read more about Judas in my post on John 6. Also see here, here and here.

Back to Mark 14:10-11, however. John MacArthur says that it was then amidst the joyful commotion after Lazarus’s resurrection — with the increased belief in Bethany that Jesus was indeed the Messiah — that heartless Judas decided to act. MacArthur says that it would have taken him time from that Saturday night to what we consider Maundy Thursday to effect the betrayal.

MacArthur sheds light on other aspects of this initial part of Mark 14:

The identity of Simon and more about the dinner:

This occurs, we are told, in verse 3 at the home of Simon the leper. He would be a former leper or he wouldn’t be having a dinner party. You do understand that. Lepers were outcasts, right? They were outcasts. They didn’t interact with people at all. They were societal rejects, they were put out of society in every way and people kept as far from them as possible, fearing the contagion of such a disease. Likely then, this is a man who has been healed by Jesus and that was something Jesus did all over the land of Israel during His ministry. It is not a stretch to assume that this man named Simon who had been healed by Jesus, planned this meal knowing that Jesus was coming to Bethany to be with His friends and to be there for the Passover to say thanks. It would have been him, Mrs. Simon, if there was such a woman, and all the little Simons. There would have been the Twelve and it would have been Mary, Martha and Lazarus, so anywhere from 15 up, not including his family of 15 and other friends and his family would swell the number.

It is a typical meal in that it is an evening meal, reclining is the posture. You lounge, in a sense, in a reclining position. That means you’re going to be there a while, that’s how meals were taken in those days. They were really prolonged conversations…prolonged conversations. This is a normal posture for the prolonged conversational meal. This would be the antithesis of drive-through fast food.

A possible reason why Mark and Matthew do not say the woman was Mary:

Matthew and Mark were written very early in the life of the church. Mark may be very early. Matthew may be the earliest. But they’re written very early in the 50’s and 60’s. John’s gospel isn’t written until the 90’s. And maybe Matthew and Mark were just being sensitive not to mention the names to protect the family. John would have no need of protecting the family. They, very likely, were not an issue, maybe even gone 30, 40 years later. But John does give us the name and that’s very, very helpful.

The hygienic and aesthetic importance of cleanliness at meals:

It was a common custom at a meal to wash feet. If you were in a reclining position, that would be of great benefit because as you recline your feet necessarily appear in some way. And so, anointing feet, washing feet, we see that, didn’t we, in John 13 where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. So this was a normal thing, even putting perfume on feet was somewhat of a tradition or custom. It was a courtesy.

More about nard and its scent:

Matthew says, “A very precious perfume.” This marble bottle typically would have a long neck…a long neck and perhaps some kind of small plug from which small drops of this perfume could be poured out, sprinkled. This kind of bottle would contain this perfume and the perfume might last a long time. It is said here that the value of it was three hundred denarii. That’s a year’s wages. Can you imagine spending a year’s salary on a bottle of perfume? First of all, you say, “Who would do that?” People would do that who needed to do that because even though it cost that much, it could be stretched out and used a very long period of time because a small drop would satisfy the social need. But she has an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard. Nard is a plant from India. Pure nard means its undiluted … But the perfume is the undiluted, pure form.

By the way … nard from India is still used for perfume. She does something that never would be done. She doesn’t drop a drop out, she breaks the neck of this vial and it says poured it over His head. And John adds, “Then anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair.” She has dumped a year’s value of perfume on His head and on His feet. And John adds, this would be obvious, “The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” You can understand that. You spray a little on you and you can smell it through the house. This dousing of a year’s worth of perfume all over Jesus would have dominated the environment. This is lavish love. This is profound, sacrificial affection.

Although we cannot say for certain, it seems as if Mary was so moved by Jesus — the time He spent with her and her siblings, His raising of Lazarus from the dead — that her affection for Him culminated in what could well have been a spontaneous act of love. Mary treasured Jesus.

However, the hand of Providence could also have directed her. Whilst Jesus’s friends did not grasp that her anointing of Jesus was a precursor to His burial a few days later, He, and possibly Mary, understood it as such. Jesus made it known to those in Simon’s household.

Now for another brief note from MacArthur about Passover in Jesus’s day:

There actually were two different evenings when the Passover was celebrated. I’ll just leave it at this. The northern people in Galilee celebrated it on Thursday evening while the Judeans, the Sadducees and the people in the south celebrated it on Friday evening. This is perfect, so that Jesus could celebrate the Passover with His friends in Galilee when they celebrated it on Thursday and still die as the Passover lamb on Friday at the time when the southern Judeans were slaughtering their lambs for their Passover. So there are actually two times; on Thursday for those in the north, and on Friday for those in the south. And that’s an important reckoning because there are texts in John’s gospel, in particular, that make it necessary to understand that.

In closing, MacArthur puts Jesus’s words in opposition to our present-day love of the social gospel. This is important to read and digest, because the social gospel is a false one and Jesus’s words are often misused:

Adoring worship of Christ is the ultimate priority. Did you get that? Giving to the poor has a place. Deuteronomy 15:11 says, “Give to the poor.” You always have the poor of the land and make sure you care for the poor and give to the poor. That’s a priority. But the ultimate priority is to worship Christ, isn’t it? The ultimate priority is to worship Christ. Care for the poor is important, worship of the Lord is more important. And Jesus wasn’t going to be there very long.

We should give for needs. We should minister to the poor. But far more, we should worship our Lord sacrificially. You give to the poor doesn’t really have a lasting value. But when you worship the Lord, that has an eternal impact. She had her priorities right. Poor people will always be around, Jesus said, but I will not always be around.

Charity is good. Charity is necessary. Worship is always better. And true worship will lead to charity.

Next time: Mark 14:12-21

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post -- not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 -- resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 945 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

April 2017
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,088,749 hits