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Page 15: The Life of Christ Following the Harmony of the Gospels

An ongoing series on the life of Christ, following the Harmony of the Gospels found in the Thompson Chain Bible. †We are beginning at Jesus' baptism (paragraph 47) and will continue until His ascension. The gospel harmonies attempt to place each event of the life of Christ in order and give the relevant scripture as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Index    Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 12 14 15 16 17

Back to 198: Discourse on Unbelief
Down to 200a: His suffering Foretold


Par. 199: Prophesies of Coming Calamities ( The Destruction of the Temple)
Mt.24:1-14; Mk. 13:1-13; Lu 21:20-36


Our next few segments which cover Matthew 24  and 25 will deal with the prophetic utterances of Jesus regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, His second coming, the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment. I have divided it up into 3 segments. Also in an effort to save space, I have made external links to the scripture.  

It is important to remember several things when studying these passages:  
These subjects are covered in one continuous discourse by Jesus, beginning with the latter portion of Matthew 23 and continue through Matthew 25. It should be kept in context as such.

  In Matthew 24, the disciples asked a question with three aspects: The destruction of Jerusalem, The Lordís coming and the end of the world.  The answers are not necessarily in sequential order. In this regard, the Jewish mind of the first century did not demand the sequential continuity that we in this time have come to expect. Also Iím told, they considered prophesy to have a past, present and future fulfillment.  

We know that much of this chapter was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem. However, much of it wasnít.  The answers to the three part question of the disciples are intermixed throughout the chapter. Our job is to properly determine what is history and what (I should say who)  is yet to come.  

1 ∂ And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
 

After calling  the attention of Jesus to the beauties of the temple, the disciples were stunned to hear Jesus predict itís destruction. Naturally they asked, "When?" We remember that in Matthew 23:37-39 Jesus had wept over Jerusalem and declared that their house would be left desolate. He then stated that they would see Him no more until they cried, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." This they associated with His second coming and the resulting end of the age. A careful reading of Matthew 23:38-39 shows that Jesus is stating an indeterminate period of time between the destruction of the temple and His second coming. Thus the three fold question, When shall these things be and of your coming and of the end of the age?  
Matthew 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

38  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
  See MT 24:4-24 Jesus talks of events that fit the period between His death and the destruction of Jerusalem and also the time prior to His second coming. There would be false Christs, wars, famine, pestilence and earthquakes in many places. However, these were just the beginning of sorrows. People would be killed and tortured for their faith. Many would be timid and betray their own households to save their own skin. Because of the prevalence of iniquity, the love of many would grow cold.  

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  

In A.D. 70 Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. It is said that one million people of the city were killed in one day. However, the faithful who remembered the warnings of Jesus escaped to safety. I feel that the same will apply to this present age.  

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  

By the time of the destruction of Jerusalem the gospel had been preached to all of the known world. Paul had desired to go to Spain. Tradition tells us that Thomas preached in India and Andrew in Scotland.  However, the world that we know is many times bigger and the gospel will be preached worldwide before the second coming of Jesus.  

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.

Back to 199: Prophesies of Coming Calamities
Down to 200b: 200b: Discourse on Signs and Coming Events


Par. 200a: Discourse on Signs and Coming Events (The Coming of Jesus)
Mt. 24:15-42; Mk. 13:14-37; Luke 21:20-36
 

Matthew 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  

Da 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
The Jews had experienced a preview of the Abomination of Desolation when Antiochus  Epiphanes  sacrificed a pig on the altar in 168 B.C. He also dedicated the temple to a heathen god. There would be a future fulfillment in A.D. 70 when the Romans would stand in the temple and proclaim Titus as emperor which their armies sacrifices to heathen gods.  

However, all was not fulfilled at that time. Daniel described a man who we commonly call the anti-Christ in conjunction with the abomination of desolation. This man would divide the land for gain (Daniel 11:21-45), and make a covenant with the Jews and then break it (Daniel 9:27). This did not happen in 70 A.D. There was no peace agreement with the Jews,  so it must be a future event.  Daniel 12:1-4 places the time for this at "the time of the end," with a time of great tribulation in close proximity to the resurrection of the dead. Revelation 13:11-18 describes a man called "the beast" who issues a mark, without which no man can buy sell or gain. With the integration of the world around computer technology, we certainly can see how it can happen in the future. The apostle Paul gives a vivid description of  this "man of sin" in II Thessalonians 2:3-12, and tells us that he will be revealed just prior to the Lord's coming.  

  See Matthew 24:16-22 In verse 16-22 Jesus once more addresses the immediate concern of being ready to escape the tribulation that was coming on the Jewish nation in less than forty years. I believe that His words have a dual application for us and a coming tribulation. When they saw the abomination of desolation, they were to flee to the mountains  without looking back. The Christians did this and were saved.   

Even though one million Jewish people were slain in one day, there has been worst tribulation since. The death toll of two world wars along with the holocaust and , the Russian and Chinese purges is somewhere around fifty million people. Genocides such as was administered in Armenia by the Turks  against the Christians exacted extremely high death tolls. I feel that these, along with the atomic bombing of Japan  exceed what happened on that terrible day in A.D. 70. However, all of this will pale when compared to the future tribulation of the anti-Christ.  

Luke 21 parallels the account of Matthew regarding the destruction of Jerusalem. I believe that verse 25 looks forward to our time. There would be signs in the sun, moon and stars and on the earth, distress of nations with perplexity. I believe that with the worldwide terror and a feared pandemic of the Asian Flu we are certainly seeing distress of nations with perplexity. All of this precedes His coming. 
Luke 21:20 ∂  And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21  Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22  For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23  But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
25  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26  Menís hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
See Matthew 24:23-27 In verses 23-27 Jesus tells us that some will offer themselves as saviors, we are to pay no heed to them.  

See Matthew 24:29-32 In verses 29-32, Jesus places His coming immediately after "the tribulation of those days." What days is He talking about? He did not have a physical bodily appearance after the tribulation of A.D. 70, so obviously He is talking of a future tribulation to come. Nor were His elect gathered from one end of heaven to the other, so this also must be at a future time. His coming will be swift and instantaneous. He compared it to the lightening flashing from the east to the west. It will be immediately after the tribulation of those days.  

27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.    

See Par. 101: The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree   

32 ∂ Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
 

And just as one could determine that summer is near by looking at a fig tree, we also can discern the signs of the times and know that the coming of the Lord is upon us.

Much is made of the statement that this generation shall not pass until ďall of these things be fulfilled.Ē However, there   are several definitions for the word ďgeneration",  such as a 40 year span, a nation or a race. Israel, in spite of all the devil could do to annihilate it is still standing.   

"All of these things" has to include tribulation, His coming and the gathering of the elect, since all of these have been mentioned in the preceding verses.  

  35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
  

No man knows the day or the hour of His coming. Jesus, speaking as a man, did not know either. Jesus compared  the day of His coming to the days of Noah. They were eating and drinking and having a good time. They didnít know there was a problem, until it began to rain.  

Next week's devotional will conclude with the part of Matthew 24 that deals with the coming of the Lord.   

Back to 200a: His suffering Foretold
Down to 201: Parable of the Ten Virgins Mt. 25:1-13


Par. 200b: Discourse on Signs and Coming Events (The Coming of Jesus)
Mt. 24:15-51; Mk. 13:14-37; Luke 21:20-36
 

  Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  

It is sad that many have lost their expectancy of the coming of the Lord because of the repeated failures of those who persist in setting dates. Of course this is usually in an effort to sell books or solicit donations to their various ministries. However, that does not change God's word. He said that He would come at the hour that we think not. Our job is to be waiting watching and working.  

37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
 

Noah preached for a long time as he built the ark. His simple message was, "Repent, a flood is coming." Men turned a deaf ear and continue on with business as usual and in the pursuit of pleasure. Much like today, wouldn't you say?  

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  

The word "therefore" reflects back to the previous text of verses 37-42, all of which refers to His coming. Two will be at the mill, in the field or in the bed. One will be taken and the other left behind. Jesus tells us that this will be at the time of His coming.   

43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
 

Jesus likened His coming to a thief in the night. If we knew the thief was going to be trying to break in to our house we would be prepared to repel him. We are to be ready, because we do not know when Jesus is coming, but we can rest assured that He is.  

45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
 

A blessing is promised to the one who is going about the Masterís business when He returns. Likewise, to be caught uncaring and unaware will invite severe judgment.  

48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
 

Jesus said that He would come when some felt that He had delayed his coming. They would fall into sin, oppress others, and eat and drink with the drunken. We remember His words from Luke 21:34:  

Lu 21:34  And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.  

  Peter tells us that some will ask, "Where is the promise of His coming." Theyíll claim that all things continue as usual.  

II Peter 3:4  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.  

I feel that those days are upon us. I am very concerned over any doctrine that minimizes the expectancy of our Lordís return.  

Conclusion and Application:  

Jesus told His disciples in John 14 that He would be leaving and going to His Father's house to prepare mansions for us. The purpose of the mansions was not just for us to have a big house. It was as He said, "That where I am, there you may be also."  

The thrust of the gospels is that we not lay up our treasures on earth, but rather in heaven. Where our treasure is, there will our heart be also (Matthew 6:21: Luke 6:34).  

When He ascended, the angels proclaimed, that this same Jesus that you see leaving shall so come in like manner as you see Him go (Acts 1:11).  

We know that much was fulfilled in A.D. 70, but there is much more that was not: The anti-Christ, the covenant with Israel and the mark of the beast.  

The epistles remind us that Jesus is coming for a blood washed, sanctified, Spirit filled, spotless bride (Ephesians 5:26-27).  

And yet, some would tell us to not get so excited about it. Others would say that it has already happened.  Some would have me change my emphasis from looking for Jesus to being successful in this present world. Maybe we are not reading the same word? I read of a blessed hope when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, comes and catches us away (Titus 2:13).  I read of a time when we are gathered around the throne. Pain and suffering, sorrow and crying, will have ceased. Death will have been conquered and God Himself will wipe away all tears from our eyes (Revelation 21:4).

Most of all, we won't even need the sun. The glory of God and the Lamb will be the light of that eternal city (Revelation 21:23).  

 Some say that this is an escapist mentality. If so, count me in? I desire to join with the apostle and cry out, "Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).  

Iíve noticed that since the hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many secular people have been asking, Whatís happening? First a tsunami, then hurricane devastation from Guatemala to Florida, extensive flooding in the northeast and a massive earthquake in India and Pakistan. Is God trying to get out attention? I believe that He is indeed!  

Next week we will continue on to Matthew  25 which is a continuation of the dialogue which the disciples initiated in  Matthew  24. There they asked a three part question:  
When will these things be
And of thy coming
And of the end of the age
 In Matthew 25, Jesus gives the parable of the Ten Virgins which stress watchfulness and being prepared for His coming. It then continues on to cover the final judgment and rewards to the faithful.  In my view, to separate the last part of Matthew 24 and 25 from the last part of Matthew 23  does violence to the scripture.  

We have a song that goes along with the text of this lesson, that I hope you enjoy.  

I'm Looking For Jesus
RealAudio http://about-him.com/music/looking5.ram
MP3 http://about-him.com/music/looking.mp3

Back to 200b: Discourse on Signs and Coming Events (The Coming of Jesus)
Down to 202: Parable of the Ten Talents


201: Parable of the Ten Virgins Mt. 25:1-13  

Matthew 25:1 ∂  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
 

Continuing the theme of Matthew 24 of being alert and watching for the second return of Christ, Jesus gave us The Parable of the Ten Virgins.The story is based on the customs surrounding a Jewish wedding of that day.The wedding festivities took place in the evening. A procession of the bridegroom and his friends would arrive at the brideís house for the purpose of escorting her to the bridegrooms fatherís house for the ceremony and resulting banquet. Each member of the procession carried a lamp, which was basically a bowl of oil with a wick, mounted on a pole.  The waiting virgin  bridesmaids also had these lamps which they were expected to carry. Some say that they all had their lamps lit and burning, but that they burned out because of the bridegroomís delay. Other state that they only attempted to light their lamps when they heard the announcement of the approaching bridegroom. The wise had brought oil with them, but the foolish did not, perhaps believing that they all would be given oil from a common supply. The former makes more sense to me, but at any rate the foolish virgins did not have the oil that they needed.  

5  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. {gone out: or, going out}
9  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
 

The bridegroom took longer than expected to arrive and all these young ladies fell asleep. They were suddenly awaken by the cry, "The bridegroom is coming, go on out and meet him." They all hurriedly began to trim their lamps, when the foolish realized that they had no oil. They tried to borrow from the others who fearing that they wouldnít have enough either said, "No, go get your own."  

10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
 

While they were gone to find oil, the bridegroom came, the wise virgins joined the procession to the fatherís house and the door was shut. The foolish virgins arrived late, and pounded on the door. The answer was swift and brutal, ď I donít know you.Ē  

13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.  

It has been said that when we come to the word "therefore" we need to back up and see what "therefore" is there for. In other words, Jesus is saying, back up and read Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 again and then be watching for His coming which will come unexpectedly.  

Conclusion and Application:  

It is immediately apparent that all of these young women were pure, they were virgins. They all went to sleep. I believe that is similar to much of the church world today. Some staked their faith on an endtime scenario that didnít pan out, such as 88 Reasons Why Jesus Must Return in 1988. Much of this reasoning was based on the belief that Jesus had to return in 40 years after Israel became a nation in 1948.  

Some based their belief on the interpretation of 10 kingdoms making up the restored Roman empire, who would fight against the Russian bear.  When the Berlin wall and the Soviet Union dissolved, it was apparent that this wouldnít be happening in the near future. I might add that after that time prophesy books began selling at a very reduced rate.  I believe that as a result of these failures, much of the church simply went to sleep, and lost their sense of urgency concerning the Lordís return.  

I believe that the cry is has been going out, "Heís coming, go out to meet Him."  I read in the local newspaper that because of current events i.e. the tsunami, the numerous hurricanes and flooding and the massive earthquake in India and Pakistan; unbelievers were asking, "Could this be the beginning of the apocalypse?" If unbelievers are asking this question, I trust that we believers are at least thinking that it might be possible.  

If Jesus were to come next Sunday, I wonder what some churches would be preaching or what would be showing on religious TV?  I trust it is not the usual hype that basically just tickles the ears (Isaiah 30:10; I Timothy 4;1-3; II Timothy 4:3). Instead of preaching repentance in His name and the infilling of the Spirit, many services seem to be nothing more than a giant motivational seminar. Oil has always been used as a type of the Holy Ghost, and I canít get the oil that I need for my lamp from this type of commercial preaching.    

We all have our endtime scenarios, but some of us are obviously wrong, so we need not put our feet in concrete. The fact remains that Jesus is coming at the hour that we donít expect Him. We are to be watching and waiting with our lamps burning brightly, or we run the risk of hearing Him say, "Sorry I donít know you."  O how sad.  

An old chorus comes to mind:  

Behold the bridegroom cometh
I can hear the midnight cry
Weíll go up with a shout, if we all hold out
To meet Him in the sky
Watch and pray my brother lest someone take your crown
For the lukewarm and backslider
Canít wear the marriage gown


Back to 201: Parable of the Ten Virgins
Down to 203: Discourse on the Judgment Day


202: Parable of the Ten Talents Mt. 25:14-30

Matthew 25:14 ∂  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
 

This parable is very similar to The Parable of the Ten Pounds.  which is only recorded by Luke. Some commentators feel that they are the same incident, or at least a repetition of the same theme.  

A man took a long journey and before leaving, he entrusted some of his money with his servants, which they were to use to increase his fortune. Two servants invested wisely and at the time of accounting showed an increase. They were rewarded for their diligence. One servant feared his master and hid his portion in the ground. The master was angry and took the manís portion and gave it to the others. The man was cast out to outer darkness where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

Conclusion and Application:  

The parable obviously refers to Jesus having gone to heaven and entrusting the gospel to our care in his absence. Whereas the Parable of the Ten Virgins stresses watchfulness for the Lordís return, this parable stresses working and being productive while we are waiting.  

There will be a time of accounting and He does expect an increase.  

19  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.  

There is a reward for faithfulness.  

23  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  

There is punishment for slothfulness.  

29  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
 

We all have been entrusted with talents and gifts. Some are more visible than others but all are important for building up the kingdom (I Corinthians 12:1-11).  

We are all members of the body of Christ and we all have something to contribute to help other members (I Corinthians 12:12-26).  

How do we invest our talents?  

 Something as simple as having a caring attitude and listening ear can never be over estimated.  

Simple acts of kindness to others will not go unnoticed. Jesus said that if we as much as gave a cup of water in His name, we would not lose our reward (Mark 9:41).  

Most of all, we shine as lights in the world and have the words of life entrusted to us. If we are hesitant to share our experience with others it may be akin to burying our talents in the ground (Philippians 2:14:16).  

I know that we are all eager to meet our Lord and we long for the day that we hear Him say, ďWell done, enter in into the joy of the Lord.Ē  

Matthew 25:23  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Back to 202: Parable of the Ten Talents
Down to 204: The Plot of the Jews and Judas


203: Discourse on the Judgment Day Mt. 25:31-46

Matthew 25:31 ∂  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  

Jesus will come in power and glory, the elect will either be raptured or resurrected for a glorious meeting with the Lord  (Matthew 24:30-31). At that time they will possess the kingdom and reign with Jesus for a thousand years (Daniel 7:22; Revelation 20:6), which will just be a warmup for eternity. Jesus the King (Zechariah 14:9) will be sitting as a judge over the whole earth. Nothing, good or bad,  will escape His notice.  

This will fulfill God's promised to gather the nations in the Valley of Jehosophat and to judge them , based on the treatment of His people Israel. (Joel 3:2,12)  

Joel 3:1 ∂  For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
2  I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
12  Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
 

It appears that this judgment will be for those still living on earth at our Lordís return. The saints will already have been raptured. Judgment seems to be based on the treatment afforded to the Lordís brethren during the tribulation period. The nations will be gathered before the throne of Christ. There He will remember every good or bad deed that people have done to others during the tribulation period. Those who are found righteous will be allowed to enter the millennial kingdom, and the unrighteous will be banished. Simple things like extended food, clothing, shelter and even a drink of water will not go unnoted.  

Some will say when did we do these things and the Lord will answer that in as much as it was done to one of the least of His brethren it was done unto Him. Likewise the wicked will ask the same thing and the answer will be that in as much as these things were denied to the least of the Lordís brethren, they were denied unto Him.  

Conclusion and Application:  

This judgment should not be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment. This judgment takes place on earth and the White Throne judgment takes place in heaven a thousand years later. There is no resurrection associated with this judgment as there is for the White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:5).  

The valley of Jehoshaphat is considered to be between the Mount of Olives and the City of Jerusalem. However, there is no location in Israel bearing that name at the present time.  

The name Jehoshaphat means "Jehovah has judged." Quite fitting I would say for the present text.  

This text is often used out of context to urge goods works upon the poor and imprisoned. It does fit to a point, but that is not the primary application.  

We hope to post some thoughts on the incarnation of God in Christ for the next couple of weeks. Beginning the first of the year, the devotionals will deal with the passion of our Lord and His last days on earth.

Back to 203: Discourse on the Judgment Day
Down to 205: The Preparation for the Passover


Par. 204: The Plot of the Jews and Judas
Mt. 26:1-5,14-16, Mk. 14:1-2,10-11, Luke 22:1-5


Luke 22:1 ∂  Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
2  And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
3  Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
4  And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
5  And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
6  And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

The gospel of Luke gives us a concise account of conspiracy of the Jewish rulers to kill Jesus, which was aided in great measure by the betrayal of Judas Iscariot.  

Matthew and Mark tell us that it was two days before Passover and that the rulers wanted to find a reason to kill Jesus, but that they feared an uprising of the people. With so many attending the feast at Jerusalem, it would be difficult to quietly apprehend Him. At this time Satan entered fully into the heart of Judas, who went to the rulers and offered to deliver Jesus to them. He bargained and settled for thirty pieces of silver.  

Conclusion and Application:  

Note: There is an apparent conflict between the gospel writers concerning the timing of this incident.  Matthew and Mark state that it was two days before Passover and that Jesus was at the home of Simon the Leper where Mary anointed His feet with Alabaster ointment. John 12:2 tells us that the anointing took place six days before Passover. See The Anointing at Bethany  

Matthew 26:14 ∂  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.  

Judas is hard to figure. He had walked with Jesus for three years or more. He had seen multitudes fed, the dead raised, the seas calmed, and probably much much more that isnít even recorded (John 21:25), and yet he was willing to sell the Lord of glory for a few pieces of silver.  

John 12:6 tells us that Judas kept the common purse of the disciples and that he was a thief. He had railed against the three hundred pence that Mary had spent to purchase the ointment which she used to anoint the feet of Jesus. Jesus in His High Priestly prayer of John 17 referred to Judas as the son of perdition and pronounced him lost, that the scripture might be fulfilled (Acts 1:16; Psalms 41:9; 55:12-15). Jesus, in the early part of His ministry,  also referred to Judas as a devil (John 6:70). This was about the time of the Sermon on the Mount. It was also about the same time that Peter declared that Jesus was the Son of the Living God. What a contrast! Both hearing and seeing the same thing. One believed and the other didnít. Things havenít changed much, have they?  

Satan took complete control of the heart of Judas at the time of the betrayal. I still wonder if Judas was completely evil from the beginning, or did one thing build upon another until he committed the ultimate evil? I believe the latter is a distinct possibility. So how do I apply this to my life?  

Scripture tells us that the heart of man is exceedingly evil and wicked to the point that no one can know it (Jeremiah 17:9).

  Likewise we are told to keep our hearts with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). Songs of Solomon 2:15 reminds us that it is the little foxes that spoil the vine.  

Sin starts small and always has a downward progression. Paul in II Timothy 2:16  used the example of profane and vain babblings as something that would increase unto more ungodliness. He probably could have chosen other examples, just as well.  

Hebrews 3:12 tells us to take heed lest we have an evil heart of unbelief, that will cause us to depart from the living God.  

Hebrews 12:15 states  that many were defiled because they maintained a root of bitterness in their hearts.  

I Corinthians 10:12 tells us to take heed when we think we are standing, lest we fall.  

II Corinthians 13:5 instructs us to examine and prove ourselves to see if we be in the faith or are we reprobates.  

II Peter 1:10 tells us to be diligent to make our calling and election sure.  

II Peter 3:14 tells us to be diligent that we may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.  

The apostle Paul had much to say in Romans 6 -8 concerning the  conflict between our flesh and spirit. It is our job to fight against the things that would destroy us. We are not ignorant of Satanís devices (II Corinthians 2:11), especially after weíve been tripped up a time or two.    

We live in a time when our senses are simply bombarded with evil constantly. We hear ungodly music  blaring continually. It doesnít matter that we choose not to watch the trash that is presented on TV. It is shoved in our face in the commercials. Where I live, drivers are assaulted by lewd outdoor advertising. We canít change these things, so we must then be all the more diligent lest a seed of sin be planted in our hearts.  

No one wants to be legalistic with a list of does and donít, however Paul does give us a list of things to "put off" (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:8-9), and a list of things to "put on" (Ephesians 4:24, 6:11;  Colossians 3,10,12,14).  

The words of Judas were, "What will you give me?"  Unfortunately this has become the mantra of much of the church today. The cross , servanthood and discipleship have been forsaken by many for a gospel of self achievement, riches  and prosperity. Heaven help us!  

A song comes to mind:  

Search me, O God, And know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, Know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be Some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin And set me free.  

Back to 204: The Plot of the Jews and Judas
Down to 206: The Passover Meal


205: The Preparation for the Passover
Mt. 26:17-19; Mk. 14:12-16; Lu. 22:7-13
 

Luke 22:7 ∂  Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
8  And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
9  And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
10  And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.
11  And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
12  And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.
13  And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover.
 

It is Passover time once again. Since Jesus was the head of His extended family, it was up to Him to decide where the group would celebrate the Paschal meal. He sent  Peter and John to see to the preparations. They asked Him where He wanted to eat the meal and Jesus told them to go into the city. They would see a man bearing a pitcher of water. They were to  follow this man to his home and to tell the head of household that the Master planned to eat the feast at his house. Just as Jesus had told them, the man led them to a large furnished room and them prepared for the feast.

For years, since their miraculous deliverance from Egypt, devout Jews kept this feast.  They remembered the Lordís instruction to kill an unblemished  lamb of the first year and to apply  his blood on the lintels and door posts of their homes. Prior to the Passover meal they would do a thorough cleaning of their house and purge it of any leaven. The Lord had promised to pass over Egypt that night and to exercise either judgment or mercy, depending on how well the individual householders had complied with His instructions.  If they stayed in their houses, with the blood applied to the doorpost and completely ate the roasted lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:5-14), they were spared. If not, the wrath of God was upon them (That still applies today). They also were to be dressed, with shoes on their feet and a staff in their had waiting for an instant departure ( I see a sermon here).  

Conclusion and Application:  

Just as extensive preparation was required for this meal, preparation is also required to entertain the presence of the Lord in our lives (I Corinthians 5:7, 11:28; II Timothy 2:21; I John 1:9).  

Jesus saw the future when He told Peter and John that they would find a certain man carrying a pitcher of water. He, being God,  still knows what lies ahead for us. We simply do not know what tragedies we have avoided or how many times He has intervened in our lives in answer to a simple prayer of faith.  

Leaven has a life of itís own (Galatians 5:9). Iíve read that when the early pioneers crossed the United Stated they carried yeast cakes. The bread that they baked on the way was in such a form that a small part of it could be saved for the next baking and still have leavening properties. It is said that there is still bread being baked today which is leavened by this original yeast. We can readily see why that leaven is a type of sin.  

There was to be no leaven in the houses of the Israelites for seven days of the Passover/ Unleavened Bread Feast period. Anyone who violated this was cut off (Exodus 12:15,19-20). It is said  the Israelites used a lamp to inspect every crack and crevice of their homes for leaven. We do the same thing by self examination and repentance, using the word of God and the  illumination of His Spirit.  

Bitter herbs were eaten with the Passover meal as a reminder of the Israelite's bondage in Egypt. It is good for us to remember where we were when the Lord saved us and what he has brought us from (Psalms 40:2).  

In Exodus 12:2, the Lord changed the Jewish calendar to make Passover the beginning of a new year. When we recognize that Jesus became our Passover Lamb and died in our place, we truly have embarked on a new beginning (John 5:25, 6:37).

Back to 205: The Preparation for the Passover
Down to 207: Strife Among the Disciples


206: The Passover Meal Mt. 26:20; Mk. 14:17-18; Lu. 22:14-18

Luke 22:14  And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
15  And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16  For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18  For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
 

Jesus and His disciples entered the borrowed upper room which had been graciously supplied by an unknown benefactor, to celebrate His last Passover on earth. The room had been prepared and probably lavishly furnished. The fashion of the day would be that the guests reclined on couches as they ate the various elements of the meal.  The Passover meal, which should not be confused with the Lordís Supper,  consisted of the Paschal lamb, wine, the bitter herbs, unleavened bread and a reddish sweet fruit sauce. Each of these had a symbolic meaning relating to Israelís deliverance from bondage in Egypt, and are applicable to our Christian walk today.  Jesus stated to His disciples that He had earnestly looked forward to eating this last Passover with His friendís who had forsaken all that they had to follow Him. Jesus refused to drink the Passover wine, stating that He would not drink it again until the kingdom of God had arrived.  

Conclusion and Application:  

Just as Jesus longed for the fellowship of His friends at this last Passover, He longs for fellowship with us. Just as He loved His friends until the very end, He loves us also.  

John 13:1  Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.  

We should also strive to assemble with (Hebrews 10:25) and maintain fellowship with our fellow believers. Only by doing so can we lift up the weak bear one anotherís burdens (Galatians 6:1-2) and intercede for each others (I Timothy 2:1).  

It gives us hope, knowing that He was fiercely loyal to disciples who often showed themselves to be small and petty.  

He was soon to wash their feet including the feet of the one who was going to betray Him. This is consistent with His teachings to love our enemies and to pray for those who despitefully use us.  

Mt 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  

Jesus came into the world for only one purpose and one purpose only; to die and to purchase our healing and our salvation.  He was wounded, bruised, chastised (Isaiah 53) and crucified so that His blood could pay the price for our sins (Mark 10:45).  

1Timothy 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  

When God gave Israel detailed instructions for preparing the Passover lamb in Exodus 12, He was showing the types of what would be accomplished at Calvary when Jesus the true Lamb of God (John 1:29,36) shed His blood for us. All of this was already history in Godís mind, because Jesus was a Lamb slain from eternity past, the foundations of the world (Revelation 13:8).  

It was permissible to eat the Passover at home and many scholars feel that Jesus ate it a day early in anticipation of Himself being offered as the Lamb of God the next day at Calvary. At any rate, the old order was ended and the kingdom of God arrived after His death.  

The kingdom of God is not static. It is a living organism.  It is within us and consist of righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). It has arrived, but there are future aspects of the kingdom that we will not fully know until we are translated to be with the Lord  It is growing and it will culminate when we see Jesus . (I John 3:2).

Back to 206: The Passover Meal
Down to 208: Washing the Discipleís Feet


207: Strife Among the Disciples Lu. 22:24-30  

Luke 22:24  And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25  And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26  But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
 

With the subject of the moment being a kingdom, the natural thought of the disciples was the matter of rank. Just who would be the greatest?  That attitude is still around to day, sad to say. Jesus explained that His kingdom would operate on different principals than the kingdoms of the world. Rather than exercising Lordship, the kingdom leaders would have to act as servants. Sad to say that this principal has never been grasped by many who would be leaders.  Jesus was preparing to wash their feet to demonstrated that although He was indeed greater than they who were reclining on couches, He was at that moment preparing to take the role of a servant (Philippians 2:7).  

In Luke 22: 31-34  Jesus announced to Peter that Satan had desired to have his soul and to sift him as wheat. However, is spite of the fact that Peter was soon to deny the Lord,  it wouldnít happen because Jesus had prayed for him. Jesus also prayed for us in the garden (John 17:20) and He presently lives to make intercession for us at the throne of God (Romans 8:34). Praise God for that!

Back to 207: Strife Among the Disciples
Down to 209: The Traitor Designated


208: Washing the Discipleís Feet - John. 13:1-17

John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciplesí feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

John 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one anotherís feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.


It is difficult to harmonize the sequence of all the events of the Passover and Last Supper of our Lord. Scholars have argued over the accounts of the three synoptic gospels and the gospel of John for centuries, so it would be a bit presumptuous of me to declare any absolutes in this regard. My feeling is that Jesus and His disciples first celebrated the Passover meal after which Jesus instituted the practice of communion as a Christian sacrament to be observed until we eat the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven. I shall proceed on this assumption.

Jesus had announced that His time was at hand. The disciples knew that this meant the kingdom would be established. As we stated last week, they began to quibble and strive for rank in the new kingdom. They were so taken with this kind of thinking that they ignored a basis custom of courtesy practiced by the Jews of that day. It was customary for a host to see that the feet of any invited guests were washed upon their entering the house. This rather humble job was usually assigned to a slave. Perhaps Peter or John thought, "Well, if Iím going to have a high rank in the new kingdom, how can I assume the role of a slave in front of these other eleven with whom Iím competing? Not me, let someone else do that!"

Iíve heard it expressed that the disciples had proud hearts and dirty feet.

Jesus knew their hearts and issued a stinging rebuke; not by words but by example. He arose from supper, girded Himself with a towel and began to wash and dry the feet of all the twelve.

It was repugnant to Peter to see his Master in such a humble position. He refused to have his feet washed. Jesus simply stated that if He didnít wash Peterís feet, Peter would have no further part with Him. At this Peter, was just as adamant in the other direction, ďLord, wash all of me.Ē

After Jesus finished He asked, ďDo you know the significance of what I have done to you?Ē "No you donít know now, but you will. I am your Lord and Master , but I have given you an example. The servant is not greater than his Lord. If I, the greater have washed the feet of you the lesser, than the least you can do is to wash the feet of one another. If you do so, you will be happy.

Conclusion and Application:

What a vivid teaching by example. Jesuswas and is the living word of God, or God incarnate (John 1:1,14). He did not cling to His prerogatives as God but assumed the nature of man and entered this world as a servant of all mankind ( Philippians 2:6-7). He was the Almighty God clothed in the flesh of His earthy mother Mary (Galatians 4:4), seeking the lost (Luke 19:10) and reconciling men to Himself (II Corinthians 5:19). He was destined to die on Calvary to redeem us (Mark 10:45). It would have simply been easier and more convenient to eliminate us, but He didnít (Matthew 26:53). He humbled Himself and became obedient to the death of the cross because He loved us. He did a lot more for us than to wash our dirty feet. He died for us and washed our dirty souls. Do we really understand all that He has done for us?

The practice of foot washing is hardly practiced in our modern churches. That does not take away from itís validity. However, There are other ways to practice foot washing in a spiritual sense i.e. simply being a servant. How about putting the Sermon on the Mount into effect and doing such things as going the second mile, giving to him who would borrow of us, etc?

Back to 208:Washing the Discipleís Feet
Down to 210: xxxxxx


209: The Traitor Designated
Mt. 26:21-25; Mk. 14:18-21; Lu 22:21Ė23; Jn. 13:21-30


Judas had already dealt with the High Priest concerning a betrayal and now Satan entered his heart completely and there was no turning back for Judas. I wonder what he thought as Jesus washed his feet.

Jesus announced that one of the present group was a traitor. They all began to ask, "Lord is it I."

Part of the Passover meal involved the eating of a "sop" which was simply a piece of lamb, wrapped in bread and dipped in a sauce of bitter herbs. A person would assemble this, dip in in the sauce as pass it to a friend to eat. As Judas asked, "Is it I?" Jesus passed the sop to Judas. As John 13:11 stated, "He loved His friends until the end." Even Judas! Surely He loves us just as much.

At the urging of Jesus, Judas left the supper room and went about the business of the betrayal. Index    Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

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