Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday, November 29th Mark 15:16-21

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Daniel 7-8, Jude
Today's scripture focus is Mark 15:16-21 

Mark 15:16-21 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Is Mocked

16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion

21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Shameful Scorn of Jesus Christ
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: The Crucifixion

It is interesting to note, as MacArthur points out, that the writers of Scripture do not really focus much detail on the physical suffering of Jesus. It is stated, of course, but they are simple statements of facts, not lengthy descriptive accounts.  He points out that this is for two reasons.  First, the physical suffering is not what Jesus was dreading to such an extreme degree - it was taking on our sin and enduring the wrath of God. As sinful humans, we truly cannot imagine how horrific that would be. Secondly, they focused more on the abuse and ridicule of Jesus.  The Romans treated Jesus like a lunatic and the entire thing was a farce, it was a comedy to them.

Yet in the midst of this comedy we see the sovereignty of God.  The Romans compelled a "random" passerby, Simon of Cyrene, to carry Jesus' cross.  This Simon becomes a follower of Jesus and his sons, Alexander and Rufus, become leaders in the church.  Selecting Simon to bear the cross of Jesus was not random.  It was a God thing.

It can be so hard to see God's sovereignty in the midst of our suffering, but it is there.  It is there.

Monday's scripture focus: Mark 15:22-32
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  Daniel 9-10
Sunday's passage: Daniel 11-12
Monday's passage: Hosea 1-2, Revelation 1

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday, November 27th Mark 15:1-15

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Daniel 5-6, 3 John
Today's scripture focus is Mark 15:1-15

Mark 15:1-15English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Delivered to Pilate

15 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things.And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.”14 And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Pilate Before Jesus
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: Jesus Judged

Filling in for Miriam for the next little while.....

I'm going to let Rayburn do the talking here....
many of the participants in this historical episode did not understand what they were actually doing or what was transpiring before their very eyes. They had no grasp that the salvation of the world was taking place. They did not understand that Jesus Christ was the maker of heaven and earth, that he was their own Lord and their only hope of peace with God. They did not appreciate that they were, for all the wrong reasons, contributing to the redemption of mankind by sending Jesus to the cross....

Only from the vantage point of faith can one see what is really happening here. A murderer, a guilty man, was set free and an innocent man was punished. There was a substitution here that illustrates the meaning of Jesus’ death. ....As we know from the teaching of the entire Bible, the essential thing in Christ’s death was that in dying he was suffering the penalty, the judgment, the condemnation that is due to sin. But in suffering that penalty he was enduring condemnation not for his own sins – for he had none – but for the sins of others. Pilate’s role, in the providence of God, was to ensure that Jesus was condemned in a court room, by a judge, and sentenced to be executed for crimes that he had not committed. Pilate, however unwittingly, played his role to a “T.” He condemned Jesus to death without once suggesting that he thought Jesus had actually done anything deserving punishment of any kind, much less death.

To take away our condemnation, it was not enough that Jesus should die in any manner whatsoever. To make satisfaction for our sin and guilt, to suffer vicarious punishment for sinners, a particular form of death was necessary. If Jesus had died in his bed from disease, or if he had been killed in an accident, or if he had been murdered by thieves or killed in a riot, there would have been no demonstration, no evidence that his death was substitutionary, vicarious, and penal, that is a judgment for sin. But because Jesus was arraigned before a judge, accused and condemned as a criminal, and sentenced to die, we know that he took the role of an evildoer. He was, as the prophets foretold, “numbered with the transgressors.” The death he died was the death of a guilty man, a criminal....

His being condemned to the worst form of punishment then known, the most terrible and disgraceful method of execution, demonstrated, as the rest of the NT will confirm, that Jesus fully satisfied the most rigorous demands of the law and that he had fallen under God’s curse, all so that he could remove that curse from us.

In other words, Pilate serves to ensure that the death Jesus died was a death for sin, but not for his own sin. It was a judgment for crimes, but crimes that he had not himself committed. For this demonstration of this most important of all historical truth we have, in the providence of God, Pontius Pilate’s sniveling cowardice, timeserving, and dereliction of duty to thank. And, on top of that, Pilate, for the worst reasons, lets a guilty man go and punishes the innocent, a perfect demonstration of what the cross of Jesus actually achieved: escape from the very punishment that men deserve....

He died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Those who trust in Jesus may see themselves in Barabbas, being set free because Jesus took his place; the guilty released, the innocent condemned and executed. The great substitution complete.

Tomorrow's scripture focus:  Mark 15:16-21 
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Daniel 7-8, Jude

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday, November 26th Mark 14:66-72

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Daniel 3-4; 2 John
Today's scripture focus is Mark 14:66-72

Mark 14:66-72English Standard Version (ESV)

Peter Denies Jesus

66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Peter's Denial: A Warning About Self-Confidence

When we become Christians we are made into new creations, but we are not fully redeemed as long as we inhabit these sinful, fallen bodies.  As new creatures, we desire to grow to become like our Saviour, but we always need to be mindful of the fact that we are not infallible and that we cannot trust in our own strength, we cannot be self-confident.

Peter learned this lesson the hard way, and we need to learn from his example so we don't repeat it!


This is colossal.... This is Peter, the great leader, the great preacher. How can this happen? This is a believer. And this is not just a momentary slipup, his denials if you think they happen in a brief time, you miss it. His denials are strung out over two hours and the first one was a shock and a surprise, but the next two were pre-meditated responses, not just knee-jerk. You might think that it took about as long to do this, in Peter’s case, as it did for me to read it, you’d be very wrong. The text is brief but the experience was strung out over those two hours. In fact, the same two hours that Jesus is on trial before Annas and Caiaphas, in the house of Annas and the house of Caiaphas being the same house, the great enclave of the high priestly family, this is a concurrent second-story line, this is a subplot. Jesus on trial for two hours from one to three, Peter denial from one to three, they run concurrently. Christ is seen in glorious triumphant, speaking honestly knowing it will cost Him His life. Peter speaks dishonestly trying to preserve his life.

Now while what Peter did is not necessary, don’t have to do this, it does happen. You say, “You mean a natural true believer could do this?” Oh yes, oh, absolutely. And you know that because although you’ve never stood before a tribunal that threatened to execute you, and you never stood before some court that threatened to put you in prison for the sake of Jesus Christ, you have stood before people and when you knew you should have confessed Christ, you kept your mouth shut, right? So you know what this is like. If not on a colossal level like this, on a smaller level but you know how hard it can be in some circumstances to openly profess Christ because there are negative consequences. You know that you have it in you to do this, even though you love Christ. You’re not forfeiting your faith in Him, you’re not abandoning your trust in Him, you’re not distaining Him where once you loved Him, you’re just unwilling to confess Him and admit that you are His, and we’ve all tasted of that.

So we understand Peter’s situation. When you read the history of the church, there are times when believers go before tribunals and profess Christ to their own punishment and their own execution and you know the litany of all of those stories that have been recorded throughout the history of the church. There are also times when people have become cowards and denied Christ verbally while not denying Him in their heart. They’ve done that to escape imprisonment and death....

How can that happen? That can happen because while we are new on the inside, we are incarcerated in our fallen flesh and it is still corrupt and sinful and self-protective. And that’s what happened to Peter.

Peter was too self-confident, he boasted too much, he listened too little, he prayed too little, acted too fast, and stayed too far away from Jesus.

His confession failed, his courage failed, but his faith did not fail.  He felt great remorse, he recognized the weakness of his flesh, and he was restored.

Let us learn from Peter.  Let us be reliant upon the Holy Spirit instead of ourselves, let us listen closely, pray diligently, and stay close to Jesus.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 15:1-15
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Daniel 5-6, 3 John

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday- November 25 - Tiffany

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Daniel 1-2; 1 John 5
Today's scripture focus is Mark 14:53-65

Jesus Before the Council

53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

Jesus found himself arrested and brought before the high priest- this is an ecclesiastical court. But those who had grabbed him had no crime to charge him with, despite Judas's betrayal. So they brought in people to witness against him. And they could still find no crime.
So they ask Jesus to accuse himself - have you no answer? What is this testimony against you?

Jesus wisely kept his mouth shut. He knew these men wanted to kill him, would do so no matter what he said, and his word had not changed since he began teaching. But when asked with a direct question - are you the Christ? He answers.
And that seals his fate. He states the truth - that He is the Son of God - but it is a truth the priests cannot accept, and they condemn him to death.

It is so tragic to read, these people so unwilling to listen, unwilling to let go of tradition and ceremony, that they were willing to kill the Son of God. I know it was prophesied, I know it is why Jesus came to earth in the first place, but it is a tragedy nonetheless.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 14:66-72
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Daniel 3-4; 2 John

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday, November 24th Mark 14:43-52

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezekiel 47-48, 1 John 4
Today's scripture focus is Mark 14:43-52

Mark 14:43-52English Standard Version (ESV)

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” 45 And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him.47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled.

A Young Man Flees

51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Judas's Betrayal
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: Jesus in the Hands of Men

The betrayal of Judas - one of Jesus' disciples, one of His twelve close friends, someone he'd spent the past three years with 24/7 - must have been very hurtful.

Yet everything was according to prophecy, and nothing was outside of God's sovereignty or plan.  Judas is still responsible for His treachery, but Jesus laid down His life out of His own accord.  They didn't arrest Him during His daily temple teaching because that wasn't God's timing.

MacArthur: what He is doing is unmasking the hypocrisy of this clandestine operation in which they’re taking Him at night cause it was a violation of all their laws. His glorious majesty is displayed by the crumbling of the crowd when He says, “I am.” Displayed by the amazing calm, tranquility as He asks reasonable questions. Am I some robber, some highwayman, some plunderer that you need all these soldiers, and all these police? Have I ever tried to run from you? Wasn’t I there every day this week? Where were you? But the reason you’re here right now in the middle of the night on a Friday is because today is the day Scripture is to be fulfilled. And in your witless hostile anger, you are fulfilling the plan of God on schedule…that’s why you’re here. Scripture will be fulfilled. He will die at three o’clock in the afternoon, same time the Passover Lambs are being killed because He is the true Passover Lamb....

Jesus triumphantly knowingly goes to the cross, fulfilling prophecy. There were prophecies about Judas, the betrayer, there were prophecies about the scattering of the disciples. There were prophecies about Him as the Passover Lamb that had to be fulfilled on Friday. There were prophecies about the cross, that He would be lifted up. There were prophecies about Him being pierced by the nails and the sword. It is all what Scripture says. Isaiah 53, “He is led as a sheep to slaughter.” But He goes willingly. He does it out of love for His Father and love for you because it’s your sins that He carried there.
Thanks be to God for this glorious love!

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 14:53-65
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  Daniel 1-2, 1 John 5

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday, November 21st Mark 14:32-42

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezekiel 41-42, 1 John 3
Today's scripture focus is Mark 14:32-42

Mark 14:32-42English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough;the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Agony of the Cup
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: Gethsemane


The Lord had told his disciples many times over the past year that he was going to Jerusalem to be arrested and killed. He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in a way designed to throw down the gauntlet to the religious authorities and to precipitate their plans to seek his death. His public teaching during the days of the Passion Week was such as to offend and provoke the priests and scribes still further. The Lord knew what was coming. Far from acting to prevent it, he hurried it along. He had come into the world precisely for this and his hour had come. No one took his life from him; as he once said, he laid it down of his own accord.

But, and this has often surprised and even troubled readers of the Gospels, before the cross came Gethsemane, a moment in which the entire matter of the Savior’s calling and purpose was reconsidered. As the agony of his death drew very near, the Lord passed through a crisis of his own. At this last hour, would he continue to surrender his will to that of his Heavenly Father? Would he continue on the course that had been set for him and that he had so obediently followed those past three years? As it turned out, our salvation – yours and mine – in a manner of speaking was won not on Golgotha or Calvary, but in an olive grove on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. Once the Lord Jesus finally and conclusively submitted his will to that of the Father in heaven, the triumph of the cross was assured. But that submission was itself an act of supreme and terrible self-surrender.

Rayburn brings up a few mysteries about this passage, including how Jesus is very clearly "man" in this passage, having set aside His deity.

He also makes a great point that it is not suffering and death that Jesus is dreading here.  Obviously, He's not looking forward to it, but that's not the cause of this struggle.  (Sorry this quote is so lengthy, but I had not really thought of it in this way before, and really appreciate this perspective).

What caused him to recoil from the entire purpose of his life at this last hour?
“…of one thing we may be certain: it was not fear of death that made Jesus shrink. Many martyrs have faced the last hour unflinching with a song upon their lips – and Jesus was braver than them all. It was not death that made him cry to God; it was sin. It was the shame of all the world, the burden of all the sons of men, which in that dread hour he was taking upon his own sinless heart. It was the sudden sense of sin’s sheer horror and loathsomeness and Godforsakenness. It was, as Paul with characteristic daring expressed it, one who ‘knew no sin’ being ‘made sin’ for men.” [J.S. Stewart, The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ, 150-151]
In ways we cannot begin to understand Jesus was facing damnation as a sinner in our place. He was facing the prospect of the wrath of God, the eternal divine enmity against sin falling upon him as a sinner because he was to take our sin upon himself in some way no merely human mind can begin to comprehend. A man who was without sin, who had spent his entire life resisting every temptation to its bitter end, a man who had in himself a perfect disgust and abhorrence and fear of sin, a man whose life had been lived in perfect communion with God because he had no sin, was about to become, as Luther put it, the greatest sinner that ever lived and be treated and punished by God as such.
Every effort you ever make to understand that results in your minimizing what the Lord faced and feared and eventually endured. You cannot understand Gethsemane because you do not understand or grasp your own sin and have very little grasp of the wrath of God against sin and the hatred of God for sin.

Oh, our sins trouble us from time to time, but not very much and not for very long. We are sinners and we are very well used to sin. And though as Christians we know we ought to hate our sins, truth be told our problem with our sins stems in large part from the fact that we love them so much. In our worship in this church from time to time we ask of God that he would forgive our secret sins. We do not mean by “secret sins” the sins that we know about but that others do not. There is a world of such sin in our lives we know. But that is not what we mean by “secret sins.” By secret sins we mean our sins that God knows and we do not. They are a secret even to us. We live our lives day by day utterly unaware of the fact that we are sinning against God and man in thought, word, and deed. And this actually must be the largest part of our sin and sinning. The part of our sin that we know and feel is the smallest part of our sin.

Surely the worst of our sins are our sins of omission. The things we ought to do, the love we ought to give to God and man that we do not do and do not give; why, we don’t even think of giving it. It is not as if we knew we should do this or love in this way but nevertheless do not. That happens often enough. But much more often it never occurs to us what we should have thought, should have said, should have done. Day after day, we breathe iniquity like air and drink it like water and are largely oblivious. That is how sinful we are! It is utterly natural to us. We are utterly thoughtless sinners so much of the time.

And natural as sin is to us, try as we might we can’t begin to fear it or hate it as Jesus did. We never see our sin as God sees it. We are never revolted by it as God is. It never makes us as angry as it does him. The thought of bearing it doesn’t cause us to recoil. And the thought of God’s judgment of it, while it strikes fear in our hearts from time to time, is sufficiently bearable to us that we don’t think of it and don’t fear it almost all of the time. People like us cannot enter into what a person like Jesus was thinking and feeling that night in Gethsemane. It is a mystery to us and it will remain a mystery perhaps even to some extent after we have beheld the divine glory and have found out what it is really like to have a sinless heart.

Jesus, the sinless one, was so identifying himself with sinners that he was about to treated as the worst of sinners by the holy God. He and he alone could feel the terror of that! No, the mystery of all of this – the mystery of the very person of Jesus Christ and the mystery of sin – I say the mystery of Gethsemane leaves us out, with the disciples. We may as well be asleep for all that we would or could understand. It was a sin for them to fall asleep; a despicable act of disloyalty, an utter failure to appreciate the moment. But had they stayed awake, they wouldn’t have grasped what Jesus was facing.

This was a meeting of Father and Son over realities they and they alone understood. Our salvation is so little our achievement and so much God’s gift to us, that we can’t even begin to understand how it was achieved or what it required. Our salvation was secured when Jesus’ love for his Father and for us led him to say, “Abba, not what I will, but what you will.” Eternal life was gained for impossibly small people by those impossibly large words!

Monday's scripture focus: Mark 14:43-52
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezekiel 43-44
Sunday's passage: Ezekiel 45-46
Monday's passage: Ezekiel 47-48, 1 John 4

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday, November 20th Mark 14:27-31

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezekiel 39-40, 1 John 2
Today's scripture focus is Mark 14:27-31

Mark 14:27-31English Standard Version (ESV)

27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Prophecy of Failure

Thankfully this defection by the disciples was not a permanent one.  They denied Jesus, but this was not apostasy. They were restored immediately after the resurrection.  And the disciples did not deny Jesus again after that - the majority of them to the point of forfeiting their lives.

What made the difference?

MacArthur answers:

What made the difference was the coming of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” You remember that Jesus promised them in the upper room in John’s gospel, the Holy Spirit has been with you, that’s an Old Testament concept, but He shall be in you. It is not a matter of whether the Holy Spirit was with the people in the Old Testament. Yes, He was with the people in the Old Testament. But in the New, there is a dimension that is unknown in the past because our Lord says He has been with you, He will be in you. And the power will be accelerated, and they were never ashamed after the Holy Spirit came upon them in Acts chapter 2 on the Day of Pentecost. They never were ashamed again. They went out and boldly preached Christ....

We are protected from an ultimate defection by the will of our Savior who in this intercessory prayer prays according to the Father’s will that nothing…nothing will separate us from Him…nothing.

If you ever were to face the kind of thing that these men faced, the kind of persecution and martyrdom that believers through the years have faced and some face today, I can promise you confident in the prayers of our Savior, that in that hour the grace that you need and perhaps even the words that you need to speak would be granted to you. And as a true believer, your faith would not fail.
Martyrdom, staying faithful to the point of death, is possible not because of our will or determination, but by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.  All glory to Him!

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 14:32-42
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezekiel 41-42, 1 John 3

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 19th Mark 14:17-26

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezekiel 37-38, 1 John 1
Today's scripture focus is Mark 14:17-26

Mark 14:17-26English Standard Version (ESV)

17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And 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.” 19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For 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.”

Institution of the Lord's Supper

22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: The Lord's Supper
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The New Passover

I hadn't thought of this until I read Rayburn's comment but this is so true:

at every juncture in the history of redemption in which God’s covenant is renewed with his people there is almost immediately thereafter a betrayal of that covenant on the part of God’s people. In other words, before the ink is dry on God’s gracious promise to be our God and Savior the believer or believers upon whom God lavished this favor are betraying it, breaking their newly cemented bond with the Lord, and counting his grace a little thing.

God made his promise to Noah never again to destroy the world with a flood and we have immediately thereafter Noah’s drunkenness and the sin of filial disrespect committed by Noah’s son Ham. God made his covenant of grace with Abraham and his seed, brought him to Canaan and promised him the entire land as an inheritance for himself and his offspring, and then, at the first sign of difficulty, Abraham deserted the land he was promised for Egypt, lied about Sarah his wife, and threatened the very possibility of offspring as Sarah was taken into Pharaoh’s harem. When God renewed his covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai, having already delivered them from slavery in Egypt, before Moses could return from the summit of the mountain, Israel was cavorting like a pagan nation before a gold idol in the form of a calf. When David was granted an eternal covenant and the promise that there would always be one of his descendants on the throne of the kingdom of God, a promise he appreciated at first to be an utterly remarkable condescension on God’s part toward an unworthy man, what did he do but commit adultery and murder the woman’s husband!

And now, here in the Upper Room, Mark draws attention to the same dismal reality by employing once more his sandwich technique. His account of the first Lord’s Supper, which is a form of the renewal of God’s covenant with his people – as the language of sacrifice, of blood, and pouring out, of eating and drinking indicates – is sandwiched between two accounts of treachery and betrayal by his innermost circle of friends and followers, the very men with whom he renewed his covenant there in the Upper Room. The account of the Lord’s Supper begins with the Lord declaring that he would be betrayed by one of the twelve and it ends with his promise that all the rest of those men, the remaining eleven, would desert him in his hour of need.

If we inquire after the purpose of this pattern that God has woven into the history of salvation, as to why every renewal of his covenant with his people is answered by some egregious act of ingratitude and unfaithfulness on his people’s part, the answer surely is not hard to discover. We are being reminded in this powerful way that we do not deserve to be in fellowship with God, we do not deserve to know him as our God and Savior. It is not the worthy for whom Christ gave his life and to whom God grants the privilege of peace and fellowship with him. It is, in fact, to the undeserving and the unworthy that these extraordinary blessings and privileges come. God gives us himself in defiance of our ill-desert.

What more powerful demonstration of that fact can be imagined that the first Lord’s Supper, the very night of our Lord’s arrest and just hours before his cruel death on the cross, was attended by a traitor and a collection of cowards. Men who would either turn the Lord Jesus in for money or would run from him to save their own skin.

The Lord’s Supper, the holiest and purest moment of the church’s life in the world, began and ended with the announcement of treachery to be committed against the Savior by his own disciples. Jesus did not go to the cross because these men deserved it; he went to the cross because they did not deserve his salvation and, therefore, he had to achieve it for them, in their place.

Mark’s way of presenting the institution of the Lord’s Supper, then, highlights the meaning of this sacred ritual. What is the Lord’s Supper but both the embodiment and the practice of our Christian faith. In this Supper Jesus himself, as our dead and risen Savior, is offered again to us and by taking and eating and drinking, we receive him once again. In the action of the Lord’s Supper we confess our faith in Jesus, we offer our thanksgiving for the gift of himself for our salvation, and we look forward to the end of our salvation when Jesus comes again. Is that not the gospel in a nutshell? And is there a more beautiful or fitting expression of it than in the Lord’s Supper? And is there a more beautiful demonstration and practice of the life of love, of humility, and of unity to which all Christian are called, than that we all together come to this same table and eat this same bread and drink this same wine?

What a beautiful picture!

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 14:27-31
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezekiel 39-40, 1 John 2