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Page 16: 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 13 14 15 16 17

Back to 209: The Traitor Designated
Down to 211a: Jesus’ Parting Words - Part 1

210: The Lord’s Supper
Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lu. 22:19-20; I Co. 11:23-25

Matthew 26:26 ¶  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  

As the Passover Supper was nearing an end, Jesus took a loaf of bread and blessed it. He then broke it into pieces and announced, "Eat this, for this is my body."  

27  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Jesus announced a new covenant, a new will, which would come into effect for us when He shed His blood on Calvary. The Lamb of God (John 1:29,36) would now replace the Passover lamb of the Old Testament.  

Conclusion and Application:  

Communion, The Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, which ever you chose to call it is a very touchy subject. There is as much or more division in the Christian church on this subject than any other. Some have even forfeited their lives in defense of their views. If my views should differ from yours, be assured that I do not present them in a hostile manner.  

It is said that when families celebrated Passover in that day, the head of household would distribute pieces of the lamb and say, "This is the body of the Paschal lamb." Jesus changed this to, this is my body, and applied it to the communion bread.  

The symbolism of the "breaking of the bread" reminds us of our Lord being pierced in His hands and feet and a spear being thrust through His side, for  all for us (Isaiah 53).  

When Jesus broke and blessed and broke the bread, He was fulfilling that which was foreshadowed by Melchizedek  many years before (Genesis 14:14), when he presented bread and wine to father Abraham.  

We remember that in the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus blessed and broke bread to feed the multitude. There He announced Himself as the Living Bread which had come down from heaven to give us life. He stated that if we ate of that heavenly bread we would live forever and that if we did not eat the bread of His body and drink His blood, we would have no life in us (John 6:48-58).  

While I believe that the literal elements of communion are very important, I believe that it is only possible to eat the Lord’s body and drink His blood in a spiritual sense.  I do not believe that grace is imparted in the elements. I do however believe that grace is imparted when, remembering Calvary,  I examine myself prior to taking communion and confess my faults and sins to God alone. I have confidence that as I do so I am forgiven (I John 1:9).  

We recall that after the resurrection it was at the moment of the “breaking of bread” that the two disciples on the road to Emmaus  recognized Him (Luke 34:30-31).  

In the Old Testament God promised a new covenant.  Jesus said, "This is the new covenant in my blood."  

 Isaiah 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Hebrews 8:10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:  

Hebrews 8:11  And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Peter reminds us of the price that was paid to seal and confirm the new covenant.  

I Peter 1:18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Thank God for the Blood! He promised that when He saw it He would pass over us. When I look at myself I don’t see much, but I am confident that when God looks at me He sees the blood and that He will indeed pass over me. All because of the blood.  

Colossians 1:20  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.

Colossians 1:21  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

Colossians 1:22  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

II Corinthians 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

II Corinthians 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

  The apostle Paul in I Corinthians 1:23-34 expounded upon the Lord’s Supper to the Corinthian church, who had been abusing the practice to the point of drunkenness.

He reminds us that we are to properly discern the Lord’s body before we take of the elements. Many are weak and sickly and some have died  for failure to do so. He further states that if we eat and drink unworthily, or in a flippant manner, we bring damnation upon ourselves, because we do not discern the Lord’s body.  These are strong words which we must heed. We should never take the Lord’s supper without having a period of self examination and repentance first. If we judge ourselves here, we won’t be judged there.  

Some churches minimize communion, simply because they do not want to slow down and have a time in their service that isn't fever pitch. Others state that they don't want to have it too often lest it become a ritual. I would say that all ritual is not bad, especially one that Jesus instituted and commanded us to follow.  

Links relating to this devotional.  

 Song: A Crimson Stream RealAudio MP3

 Bible Study The Blood of Jesus

Scripture List from About His Word

Audio Sermon: The Blood From Genesis to Revelation

 A New Song in the sassy vein: Marie and our daughters joined with me at Christmas time when we recorded this new composition. I hope you enjoy it.

  In Spite All of This! RealAudio    MP3

Back to 210: The Lord's Supper
Down to 211b: Jesus’ Parting Words - Part 2

211a: Jesus’ Parting Words - Part 1

John 14:1 ¶  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

After celebrating the Passover, washing His disciples feet and instituting the Lord’s supper,  Jesus then tried to prepare the disciples for the dark days that lay ahead.  

He would be going away, but they shouldn’t be troubled. He was going to His Father. However the departure would only be temporary. He was going to prepare an eternal resting place in the Father’s house for all believers.  

4 ¶  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Thomas, true to his nature couldn’t comprehend. Where was Jesus going? If they didn’t know where He was going, how could they know the way?  

6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

Phillip, no doubt desiring to see God in some spectacular fashion, such as the Theophanies of the Old Testament, then asked Jesus to make the Father visible to them. If they could just see with their eyes, that would be enough.  

Let me paraphrase Jesus' reply to Phillip:  "Phillip, you’ve been with me for three and a half years. You’ve seen the dead raised, and the blind healed. You’ve seen me feed multitudes with just a small amount of bread and fish. You’ve seen the devils acknowledge my Deity and you were there when I rebuked the wind and the sea..  What more do you need, Phillip, to know who I am? If you have seen Me you have seen the Father!"  

Conclusion and Application:  

“Let not your heart be troubled.” Fitting words for our generation: We are fighting a war against international terrorists, who represent a religion more than they do individual countries.  We see nations such as Iran striving to build nuclear weapons and calling for holy war and  the destruction of Israel. I believe that Armageddon is on  the very near horizon.  

However, we are not troubled by all of this because we know Whom we have believed (Ephesians 1:13;II Timothy 1:12). He promised that He would return and take us to an eternal home where we would live with Him forever. This promise has always been the hope of the Christian church (Matthew 25:31, Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 1:10, Revelation 1:7) , and may it ever continue to be so.  

Jesus put Himself on a par with God when He said "If you believe in God, believe in me also." If He was asking them to believe in a separate God, this would have been abhorrent to these Jewish disciples (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 6:4). He is simply stating that He was and is the visible manifestation of the One eternal Spirit in the flesh of a man.  

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that He is the expressed image of the invisible  God’s person or substance. He is the One who spoke to John the Revelator and revealed Himself as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last, The Almighty (Revelation 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13). He is the one setting on the throne of God and the Lamb in Revelation (Revelation 4:2;5:6,13;6:16) . We will behold God, when we see Jesus face to face (Revelation 22:16).  

Don’t let your heart be troubled or afraid. Jesus is the I AM,  the way, the truth, and the life: we can only come to God through Him. There is no other way.  

So look up!  Jesus has it all under control! All we need to do is believe Him!  

Next week: More of the parting words of Jesus

Back to 211a: Jesus’ Parting Words - Part 1
Down to212a: Parable of the True Vine

211b: Jesus’ Parting Words - Part 2

Jesus had established to the disciples, just who He was. Simply put: The One Eternal Invisible God, manifest in flesh for the benefit of all. He would be suffering the agonies of Calvary soon , but would ascend to heaven to prepare a place there for all believers. Therefore we should not be troubled or afraid. He promised to come again and take us to be with Him. The discourse continues:  

12 ¶  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Jesus had done many marvelous works.  John 21:25, in perhaps a bit of hyperbole, states that Jesus did so many things that the world itself would not be able to hold all the books that would be written about His works here on earth. And yet, Jesus said that believers would do greater works because He was leaving and going to His Father. There of course He dwells at the throne in His glorified humanity, where He constantly intercedes for us (Romans 8:34), and is ever present to help us carry on the work of the kingdom.  

14  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.  

The key to heaven is asking in the name of Jesus. The name is not some magic incantation, but it carries all the authority of heaven because the name of God is inseparable from the person of God (See The Name of Jesus). God’s name in this dispensation is Jesus and that name denotes all that God has been, all that He is and all that He will be. He name cannot be separated from His suffering and His resurrection. When we call on the name of Jesus for salvation , we are simply saying that we are looking to Calvary and claiming the blood that He spilled there when He was wounded for our transgressions. When we pray in His name for healing we are recognizing that we are healed by the stripes of Calvary.  When we are confronted with evil, we know that the devils will flee, at the mention of His name.  

We do not ask to fulfill our own lust (James 4:3). There are several qualifications to asking and receiving in the name of Jesus . We must ask believing (Matthew 21:22),while  abiding in Christ (John 15:7) and keeping His commandments (I John 3:22). We must ask according to the Lord’s will and it is best to ask in agreement with others (Matthew 18:19).  

15 ¶  If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 ¶  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

While God’s invisible Spirit is indivisible, He is not limited in His manifestations to us. He came to us in the flesh of a totally human man who promised to return and empower us  for service as a life giving Spirit (II Corinthians 3:17, Ephesians 4:4).  

19  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

After we are empowered by the Spirit we become one with the perfect unity of Father and Son, and we walk together in blessed fellowship. As we keep the Lord’s commandments, Jesus has promised to manifest Himself to us. This being by the indwelling Holy Ghost (Romans 8:10).  

25 ¶  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Thank God for the indwelling Christ who constantly prods us on and who quickens our spiritual memories to recall all that He commanded.

  27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  

Thanks also for the peace of God that passes all understanding. In the midst of the storm we rest in the peace of God, which was purchased for us on Calvary (Isaiah 53:5).  

Conclusion and Application:  

In the book of Acts, the Holy Ghost came upon believers when they received the teaching concerning the  death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:22-36, 8:12). That has not changed. We must bow at the cross before we can enter the upper room.  

Also, in the book of Acts, the Holy Ghost came upon believers after their initial conversion. The Spirit fell at Samaria after the folks had believed on Jesus and had even been baptized in His name. They had great joy, but they did not receive the Holy Ghost(Acts 8:15) until Peter and John prayed for them with the laying on of hands (Acts 8:16). The Holy Ghost came in some visible manifestation which was recognised by Simon the Socerer as the receiving of the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:18-19).  

We see the same thing with  John's disciples in Acts 19:5-6. We note that Paul preached Christ and baptized these men in the name of Jesus. The Holy Ghost did not come upon them until  Paul also laid his hands on them.  

Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father(Luke 24:47-49). After receiving the  Spirit they would be empowered to witness of and for Jesus (Acts 1:8) . When the Spirit fell at Pentecost, the assembled crowd thought that those in the upper room were simply drunk. They were indeed! They were drunk on the Spirit. After Peter preached the death and resurrection of Christ, the crowd was convicted and cried for instructions as to what they must do. Peter responded that they must repent, be baptized in water in the name of Jesus and that they could also have this precious gift of the Holy Ghost. It wasn't just for these folks, because Peter stated that the promise was to them, to their children and to all who were afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:37-41). That's us folks!  

Links applicable to this  devotional:  

Bible Study: The Birth of the Water and the Spirit

Bible Study: Ask, Seek and Knock

Audio Sermon: Have You Received the Holy Ghost Since You Believed?   

Back to 211b: Jesus’ Parting Words - Part 2
Down to 212b: Jesus Final Words to His Disciples

212a: Parable of the True Vine - John 15:1-17

Knowing that Judas the betrayer would soon be coming with the temple rulers to arrest Him, Jesus found it necessary to leave the place where He and the disciples celebrated the Passover and where He had instituted the Lord’s supper. He would be going to the garden of Gethsemane, where He would pour out His soul in anguish unto His Father. On the way, He used the time to give some last minute instruction to the remaining eleven disciples.

Perhaps they passed the temple which had as image of the vine of Israel inscribed on it’s gate. There are many Old Testament descriptions of Israel as a vine or a vineyard, the planting of the Lord. (Ex. 15:17; Ps. 44:2, 80:8; Isa. 5:1-2, 60:21, 61;3) . In spite of God’s tender care they failed to live up to His expectations. Thus Jesus gave the teaching of the True Vine, where He in essence states that He is the Israel of God. Paul follows this train of thought in Romans 11, where he talks of the gentiles being grafted in to olive tree in place of the Jews who had rejected Jesus. (Thankfully, he goes on to say that they, the Jews, will be grafted in again).

1 ¶ I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

The Father planted a vineyard in Christ. Colossians tells us that it pleased the Father for all the fullness of the Deity to dwell in Him bodily (Colossians 1:19, 2:9). Jesus earlier had stated that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no man could come unto the Father except by Him (John 14:6). Upon His ascension he would claim all the power of heaven and earth (Matthew 28:27).

Speaking of vines, Isaiah describes Jesus as a root of Jesse who will grow up as a tender plant out of dry ground (Isaiah 11:10, 53:2 & Romans 15:12). In Revelation 22:16, Jesus describes Himself as being the root (forebear) and also the offspring of David.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

We are all quite familiar with the necessity to constantly prune the various plantings we have in our yards. We have a number of rose bushes at our home which require regular attention. After pruning them around the first of January, they didn’t look too good. However, they are already showing new leaves, which will grow to large branches by the time it is necessary to prune them again. Between pruning, we will have some beautiful roses. God does some drastic trimming on us at times; not because He wants to hurt us, but because He desires to see the beautiful fruit of our lives.

He will prune anything and everything in our lives that is not pleasing to Him. Any word or deed that we do that does not magnify His name will be brought to our attention (Colossians 3:17). John the Baptist said that He would burn our chaff with unquenchable fire as He gathered our wheat into His garner (Matthew 3:12). Hebrews 12:27 tells us that everything that can be shaken will be shaken, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Our lives and works are a mixture of gold, silver, and precious stones along with hay wood and stubble. We will be put to the test of God's fire. Our hay wood and stubble will be burned up so that our gold, silver and precious stones may remain. It would be to our advantage to yield to the pruning and chastening of the Lord in this life, rather than in the next (I Corinthians 3:11-15).

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

When we respond to the word of God that tells us how that Jesus bled and died for us, we pass from death unto life (John 1:12-13, John 5:14; I John 3:14, 5:1; I Peter 1:23)

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

It all comes down to relationship. When we are born of God, we are a new creation ( II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) , we carry His DNA, so to speak (I John 3:9). We have ceased from our own labors and have entered into the rest of the Holy Ghost (Hebrews 4:10). We sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3, 2:6) and have direct access to the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16). With this kind of relationship, our works are an extension of the works of Jesus, when He was here on earth. Our desires are His desires. Our whole being can say with Jesus, "Not my will, but thy will be done" (Matthew 26:42; Hebrews 10:9). Our continual prayer is, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10)." We say with John the Baptist, "I must decrease, so that He can increase" (John 3:30).

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

If we resist the pruning of the Lord, there can come a time of being cut off (Luke 12:45-46; I Corinthians 9:27)

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

A question that we might ask ourselves is, "Are we living where God answers our prayers?" If not, why not and what are we going to do about it?

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

There is a ready field for us to labor in. Billions of people have not heard the gospel one time.

9 ¶ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Ephesians 3:17-19 tells us that the love of Jesus is beyond understanding. As I abide in the love of Christ I began to get a glimpse of the breath, length, depth and height of His love. In doing so, I am filled with all the fullness of God. That’s rich stuff.

11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Why did Jesus love me enough to die for me? I don’t know. I just know that He did. Why did He love me before creation? Why did He know me while I was yet in my mother’s womb (Psalms 139:13)? Why did He hang on the cross for me? It certainly wasn’t anything that I’ve done or will ever do? He loved me because love is the very essence of His nature (I John 4:8,16). I cannot claim to love God if I don’t love my brother and my neighbor (Luke 10:27; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8; I John 3:14-19).

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

What a privilege to be called a friend by the very Creator of the universe. We didn’t choose Him, He chose us. He ordained us to bring forth much fruit. He promised to give us that which we ask for in the name of Jesus. That’s hard to comprehend, but it depends on our love for one another. John put it rather bluntly:

1John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4;20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Back to 212a: Parable of the True Vine
Down to 213: The Promise of the Holy Spirit

212b: Jesus Final Words to His Disciples - John 15:18-27

18 ¶  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

After giving the Parable of the Vine, Jesus and His group continue walking toward Gethsemane. This would be His last night on earth prior to His crucifixion and Jesus had much more to say. His disciples could see that he was being assaulted by all the forces of hell. They realized that His death was imminent. This  gave Jesus an opportunity to tell them that the same would be in store for them. They were no better than their Lord. They would be persecuted and hated by men everywhere, simply because they confessed His name.   They were not of the world. They had been with Jesus and it would forever show (Acts 4:3).  

Jesus had done many works and miracles that perfectly demonstrated that He was divine. The people of that day would not accept Him, simply because their eyes were blinded by their own evil nature. They might have been religious, but they were exceedingly evil. They were incapable of recognizing Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us. By hated and despising Jesus they were actually hating the God whom they professed to serve.  

Conclusion and Application:  

The early disciples and apostles all saw these words of Jesus literally fulfilled in their own lives. Tradition tells us that eleven of the apostles were martyred, and only John died a natural death after having been imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos. During the Roman persecution of the second century, the Apian Way which lead into Rome was literally lined for miles with the crosses of crucified Christians.  

Persecution has continued down through the centuries. In 1919 one million Armenian Christians were slaughtered by the Turks. Some have said that there is actually more active persecution of Christians now more than any time in history. It’s not easy being a Christian, in the Moslem countries. If you name the name of Jesus in China, you do so at a cost. I continually hear of beatings and murders committed against Christians by both Muslims and Hindus in India.  Like the apostles, these folks count it an honor to suffer for the name of Jesus. I believe they have taken the words of Paul  to heart, that if we suffer with Him, we’ll  reign with Him (II Timothy 2:12).” Like the apostles they are glad that they are counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.  

So, is the U.S. and the western world exempt from suffering? We are blessed to live in a religiously tolerant societybut we may have our day yet!  If we do, I wonder how a church world that has been fed a watered down, hyped up, gimme gimme self serving, merchandised gospel will bear up? I wonder how I would bear up? Something to think about, my friend! We’ll find the answer in next week’s devotional, "The Promise of the Holy Spirit."  

Back to 212b: Jesus Final Words to His Disciples
Down to 214: The Intercessory Prayer

213: The Promise of the Holy Spirit - John 15:24-16:15

26 ¶  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27  And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Jesus knew that He will be crucified the very next day and was anxious to prepare His disciples for the tumultuous days that lay ahead. He had told them that He was returning to His Father and that they would be hated of all men, because of Him.  

John 16:7 ¶  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  

It was necessary for Him to die, so that His perfect blood could pay the penalty for the sin of all mankind. Having made the perfect sacrifice in His flesh, He now dwells in our hearts as the eternal life giving Spirit (John 14:18 Matthew 28:20; I Corinthians 15:45-47; II Corinthians 3:17).  

The Spirit will judge the world of sin, instruct us in righteous and give us godly judgment.  

The Spirit always points to the life, words, and teaching of Jesus. The Spirit always magnifies the shedding of blood on the cross of Calvary, and His resurrection.  

The Spirit is our teacher Who brings to remembrance all that Jesus taught and commanded.  

It is the Spirit that empowers us to live above sin.  

It is the Spirit that gives us a burden for the lost, and a burning desire to see the kingdom of God advanced above all else.  

Conclusion and Application:  

We have only to look at the book of Acts to see the vivid contrast in the lives of the disciples and apostles, after they were baptized with the Spirit compared to before. They turned their backs on Him at the judgment hall of Pilate but they turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6), after being endued with the power of the Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).  

Jesus said the Spirit would not be an entity all to Himself but would always speak of “Me.”  I weary of people and ministries that use the work of the Spirit as a mask for greed and self advancement. I would simply say that, “If it doesn’t magnify Jesus and the price He paid for us, flee, flee, flee.  

Links relevant to this devotional:  

RealAudio Sermon: Have You Received the Holy Ghost Since You Believed?  

Bible Study: The Waters of Life  

Topical Study: The Baptism and Work of the Spirit

Back to 213: The Promise of the Holy Spirit
Down to 215: The Agony in the Garden

214: The Intercessory Prayer - Jn. 17:1-26

The synoptic gospels are almost identical in recounting the last days and final words of Jesus. The book of John is remarkably different because John always stressed the Deity of Christ. The intercessory prayer is only recorded in John.  

In contrast to Luke who wrote on the theme of the humanity of Christ, John always followed the theme of the Deity of Christ. He was and is the living Word, which from the beginning was with God and was God. He, the eternal Word or Logos (John 1:1), was manifested in flesh and born of a virgin (Galatians 4:4). He is known to us as the only begotten Son of the Father (John 1:14). The subject can be very deep and difficult to understand. As some creeds correctly state, Jesus is fully God and fully man in one visible being. Thus, when Jesus  uttered this High Priestly prayer, He  was functioning and praying as  a man. When He agonized in the garden and the angels came and ministered to Him, they were ministering to the man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5).  

He died for us as a sinless man (Hebrews 4:15).  He ascended to heaven and placed his sinless blood on the mercy seat, as a glorified man (John 20:17). As stated before, He is both fully God and fully man. As a man in His glorified body, He has entered the presence of God on our behalf (Hebrews (9:24). As a glorified man in whom it pleased the Father for all the fullness of the Deity to dwell bodily, He ever lives and makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). While doing all of this as a earthly and then a glorified man, He never for one instant ceased to be the One eternal God. The Jesus of the New Testament is still the God of the Old Testament (Revelation 22:16).  

After giving the Promise of the Holy Spirit and just prior to entering the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus opened His heart in verbal prayer for the eleven to hear. He prayed a three fold prayer:  

Firstly (Vss.1-8), that He would be able to complete the mission that He had come to do. His opening words were, "Father the hour is come."  

John 17:1 ¶  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

 He was speaking of the cross on which He would be hanging the very next day. This was the day and hour, appointed by God in eternity past. Christ was a Lamb slain before the foundations of the world (Revelation 13:8). Ephesians 1:4-5,10 tells us that God did all things after the council of His own will and  had determined to bring all things together in One, even in Christ. Tomorrow would be that day and hour.  

The Psalmist, seeing Calvary,  saw this day many years before and said, "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalms 118:24). May we join with this writer and proclaim, "Thank God for the blood, Thank God for the stripes. Thank God that because of that day we have access to the very throne of God. Thank God for the abiding Spirit of Christ.  Thank God that because of Calvary, we have a hope beyond the grave." All because of Jesus!    

Jesus was confident that He had done all in His power to glorify His Father.  He had proclaimed the Father’s name (His character and attributes) and had offered eternal life to all who would accept it (John 6:47).  He longed to be glorified once again with the glory that He had in the beginning which He described as “thine own self.” This is the glory that God said He would not share with another (Isaiah 42:8), but which Christ possessed as the eternal Word or Logos of God.  

 After His ascension Jesus demonstrated His  absolute unity with the Father. He was able to claim all the power of heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18) and the apostle Paul stated that it pleased the Father that all the fullness of the Deity dwelled in Christ Jesus bodily (Colossians 1:19,2:9).  

Secondly, Jesus prayed that His immediate disciples would be able to carry on His work.  

John 17:6 ¶  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
7  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

He had kept them through the Father’s name which He had manifested to them (Exodus 3:15, 6:3). They were dedicated men who had left their homes and businesses to follow Jesus. Jesus did not pray that they would escape coming hardships and persecutions. He knew that they would be imprisoned and put to death, all because of their love for Him. His simply prayer was, "Father keep them and sanctify them by your word of truth."  

Thirdly, Jesus  prayed for you and me.  

20 ¶  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  

He has given us the glory that He received from His Father. His prayer was that we would filled with God’s eternal uncomprehensible love and that we would all come into the perfect unity that He shared with His Father. He didn’t promise us a bed of roses either. Jesus like the apostles we will be hated of all men for His name’s sake.  Most of our burdens are very light compared to what many have suffered for confessing Christ. However we can have confidence that the One who prayed for us just prior to shedding His blood, is still at the throne interceding on our behalf.  

With that assurance, we can’t miss!  

Links Applicable to this devotional:

Behold Your God!
The Name of Jesus   

Back to 214: The Intercessory Prayer
Down to 216: 216: The Betrayal

215: The Agony in the Garden
Mt.26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lu. 22:39-46; Jn. 18:1

Mark 14:32 ¶  And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.  

Jesus left eight disciples at the gate and took the three, whom He thought should more closely identify with His struggle, through the gate into the garden of Gethsemane.  Once in the gate, He instructed Peter, James and John to wait and the watch for Him. Jesus then went a stones throw away and began to earnestly pray.  

Jesus said that His soul was sorrowful unto death. It has been said that He did not fear death as much as He did the separation from and rejection by God that would be required when He became a curse for us.  

Once again He found Himself in a death struggle with Satan, just as He did when He fasted in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministryhttp://about-him.com/life/life_01.html#48"> The Temptation of Jesus . Luke tells us that in His agony, Jesus sweat great drops of blood and that an angel from heaven came and ministered to Him.  

Matthew relates that Jesus found the disciples sleeping three different times. After the third time He told them that the betrayer was drawing near.  

Conclusion and Application:  

Luke 22:39 ¶  And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.  

Jesus had a time and place for regular prayer. He instructed the disciples to watch and pray lest they enter temptation.  Strong’s Concordance tell us that this temptation could mean a trial and testing as well as temptation to sin or to be in rebellion against God. Prayer will cure that.  

Sad to say, but in reading these passages of scripture, it is apparent to me, that I identify more closely with the sleeping disciples than with the agony of Jesus. My prayer is, “Lord open my eyes, help me to comprehend just what you endured on my behalf (Ephesians 3:18-19).”  

I am reminded of Paul's cry, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection."  

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  

This, he stated could only be accomplished by sharing in His suffering and being made conformable to His death. As the atheletes say, "No pain, no gain." As others have said, "No cross, no crown."  

Jesus prayed for the cup to pass from Him, if possible.  

Matthew 26:36  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.  

The words of Philippians come to mind:  

Philippians 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus endured because He knew that it had been predetermined in the councils of God (Ephesians 1:11; I Peter 1:20)that innocent blood had to be shed as a payment for our sins (Leviticus 17:11; John 1:29; Hebrews 9:22). He submitted His human  will to the will of the Father so that the plan of redemption could be effected on our behalf. What an example for us!  

9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus was exalted after He humbled Himself and submitted His will to the Father. Not before! We will likewise be exalted when we finish the course set before us (II Timothy 4:18).  

Back to 215: The Agony in the Garden
Down to 217: The Healing of Malchus’ Ear

216: The Betrayal
Mt. 26:47-56; Mk. 14:43-52; Lu. 22:47-53; Jn. 18:3-13

John 18:3  Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.  

While Jesus was still admonishing and grieving over His sleeping disciples, Judas approached along with a great number of people who were carrying swords and staves. Judas had previously arranged that he would identify Jesus with a kiss. Jesus thought it was ironic that the crowd would come against Him bearing swords and clubs, when He had been teaching daily in open view of them all.  

John tells us that Jesus asked the crowd who they were looking for. They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I AM he.” At the mention of the name which God had declared to Moses whom be His name forever and His memorial for all generations (Exodus 3:15), the soldiers fell backwards.  They then recovered and bound Jesus and lead Him away to face the High Priest.

Back to 216: The Betrayal
218: Jesus before the High Priest

217: The Healing of Malchus’ Ear - Lu. 22:50-53

While Jesus was being arrested, impetuous Peter had drawn  a sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant (John 18:10-11). Jesus told Peter to put up his sword. He was willing to drink the cup of suffering which His Father had given Him. He then reattached the ear of the servant whose name was Malchus.

Back to 217: The Healing of Malchus’ Ear
Down to 219: Peter’s Denial of Jesus

218: Jesus before the High Priest
Mt. 26:57; Mk. 14:53; Lu. 22:54; Jn. 18:13-14

John 18:13 ¶  And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
14  Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

John tells us that Jesus was first taken to Annas who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas the High Priest.   Whatever the function or position of Annas, he simply bound Jesus over to the High Priest. It is possible that Annas and Caiaphas lived in the same house and this is where the elders had assembled. It is here that an ecclesiactical trial of sorts was held. The synoptic gospels describe the trial of Jesus as being before the Caiaphas, with no mention of Annas. These are the things for theologians to argue about.  The main point is that Jesus was being tried in a religious court which was trying to find some grounds for which to obtain a death warrant from Pilate the governor.

Back to 218: Jesus before the High Priest
Down to 220: Jesus before the Council

219-220: Peter’s Denys Jesus while He is before the council
Mt. 26:59-68; Mk. 14:55-65; Lu. 22:66-71; Jn. 18:19-24

John 18:19  The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
20  Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
21  Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

As Jesus is brought before the High Priest, Peter who had been willing to fight with the sword was now mingling with the crowd and warming his hands at the enemies fire. So much for consistency.  

The High Priest enquired of Jesus concerning His doctrine. Surely He would say something that would give them an opening to make accusation against Him.  In His reply, Jesus effectively asked for a public trial. He asked that witnesses be called who had heard Him teach.  At this reply, one of the officers slapped and rebuked Jesus for being impertinent to the High Priest.  

As witnesses were produced who contradicted each other, a servant girl recognized Peter.   "This man was with Jesus." "No, no, I don’t know Him, Peter said with an oath." Other witnesses came forward who falsely said that they had heard Jesus say that He would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days.  

Twice more Peter was confronted concerning his relationship with Jesus. Peter moved from an oath to cursing and swearing as he denied knowing Jesus. Immediately after the third time, a rooster crowed, just as Jesus had said it would.  

Luke 22:61  And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
62  And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Jesus was prodded with many questions, but He refused to answer in defense. This further incensed the High Priest and the assembled crowd.  

The High Priest then asked Jesus, "Are you the Son of God."  Jesus then answered, "I AM." At the mention of the unutterable name of God, the High Priest had His case for death: Blasphemy .  At this they began to mock and beat Him. They would take Him to Pilate in the morning, hoping that Pilate would confirm their sentence of death.  

Conclusion and Application:  

Peter offers such a contrast: It is hard to believe that the same man who said, "I don’t know Him,"  would in just a couple of months address a mocking crowd on the day of Pentecost. He would  later resist the same religious leaders who condemned Jesus,  when he and the others were threatened for preaching in the name of Jesus.  Pentecost and the infilling of the Spirit made all the difference (Luke 22:32, 24:49; Acts 1:8, 2:4, 5:29 ).  

Peter denied the Lord, but none of the other disciples were at His side either. He bore it all alone.  

Something to think about: If the day comes that I am asked to confirm or deny my Lord at gunpoint,what will my answer be? Yours? The fact is that without the indwelling empowering Spirit of Christ, we’ll deny Him also. With the Spirit, we’ll do exploits (Daniel 11:32)  

Jesus told Peter that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. History has certainly proven this as some, such as the Crusaders,  tried to impose Christianity by the force of arms. The Moslems whom they slaughtered are now doing the same. It's not by power or might that we conquer, it is by the Spirit of the living God (Zechariah 4:6; Ephesians 6:10-18).

Back to 220: Jesus before the Council
Down to 222: Jesus before Herod

221: Jesus Before Pilate
Mt 27:1-2,11-14; Mk. 15:1-5; Lu. 23:1-5; Jn. 18:28-38

Matthew 27:1 ¶  When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
2  And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.  

John 18:28 ¶  Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.

After enduring an agonizing evening by being harangued by the High priest and the council, Jesus must have spend a very lonely and agonizing night which waiting to be taken before Pilate in the morning. He was all alone, his disciples having fled because of fear and timidity. I find it ironic that the religious leaders would not enter the judgment hall, lest they be defiled for Passover, but had no qualms putting the Lord of Glory to death on trumped up evidence. That states the case for  legalism quite well in my estimation!  

Because they would not enter the hall, Pilate went out to them. In another show of ambiguity they declared to Pilate that it wasn’t lawful for them to condemn any man to death. They simply desired Pilate to do the job for them. This simply fulfilled the predictions of Jesus as to the manner of His death.  

Pilate questioned Jesus closely as to whether He was a king. Jesus simply stated, “Thou saith.” Jesus went on the state that His kingdom was not of this world. If so, His disciples would fight. It would be good if some of the warring Christian factions (political and church government feuds included) would read these words of the Master.  

Pilate went out once again to the council gathered outside his door and declared, “I find no fault in Him.”

Back to 221: Jesus Before Pilate
Down to 223: Pilate’s attempt to Release Jesus

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