Saturday, February 5, 2022

Done For Us

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

When we were last together here in Matthew, we saw the indignation of Judas because of the expensive spikenard that Mary of Bethany had used to anoint Jesus, and then Judas’ plot to betray Jesus to the High Priests.

“And from that moment, Judas looked for an opportunity to betray Him.” The Passover meal was prepared according to the Law. Our Passover Lamb would be there at the meal.

The position that Judas held among the Apostles was an important one. John 12:6 also records the anointing by Mary. And it records Judas’ indignation, telling us that Judas really didn’t care about the money for the poor, for he was a thief, and he held the bag. That meant that Jesus allowed a thief to control the money for the ministry. It means that Judas was privy to the plans and expenses for everything that Jesus and His band of 12 would be doing on a day-to-day basis.

Jesus’ knowledge of Judas was more than even Judas knew about himself. His plot to betray the Lord happened when he was drawn away from the Lord by emotion and drawn to an opportunity for 30 pieces of silver.

When we ourselves are drawn away by the things of the world is also a time when we might be drawn away to dark deeds too. Yet, Jesus knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts even before we are faced with a decision. At that point, when we become aware of a looming temptation, it is the role of the Holy Spirit, living in us, dwelling in our hearts that comes to the surface, and He will fight that battle for us. As the scriptures tell us, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Our faith can often be measured by the things that go through our minds when we are alone. Can we focus on the voice of the Holy Spirit within us? Or is the tinkling of 30 pieces of silver too loud to be ignored?

Our adversary is the same one that used Judas, and he is always looking for his next meal, just as he did at The Last Supper.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” ~ 1 Peter 5:8
Embrace the Lion of Judah or be fooled by a poser!

Today's Audio Message:
"Done For Us" - Matthew 26:14-46

As we look at this portion of scripture this morning, there is just so much going on. A careful study of these scriptures brings a greater depth to our understanding of Christ’s mission, the fulfillment of scripture, and the establishment of a New Covenant. Jesus would be that sacrificial Lamb that was slain for the atonement of our sins.

We will see Judas conspiring with the priests, looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.  We see Jesus telling His disciples that He will be betrayed. We see Judas hypocritically asking, “is it me?” We see the fulfillment of prophecy. We see Jesus preparing for His appointed hour. We see the final Passover of the Old Testament taking place, and a New Covenant instituted. We find out that Peter will deny Him. We see his disciples asleep in those final hours. We see Jesus praying to His Father and yielding to His will.  We see Jesus.  We see Jesus. We see His mercy, His grace and His love!  Jesus would fulfill the scriptures!

Passover was the oldest of Jewish festivals, older even than the covenant with Moses at Sinai. It was established before the priesthood, the Tabernacle, or the law. It was ordained by God while Israel was still enslaved in Egypt, and by the time of Christ it had been celebrated by God’s people for some fifteen hundred years.

But the Passover Jesus was concluding with the disciples in Matthew 26 was the last divinely sanctioned Passover ever to be observed. No Passover celebrated after that has been authorized or recognized by God. Though it was significant as it was under the Old Covenant, Jesus was establishing a New Covenant. The celebration of the Passover was a shadow of things to come. Celebrating deliverance from Egypt was nothing compared to celebrating the deliverance from sin.

Christ ended the Passover and instituted a new memorial to Himself. It would not look back to a lamb in Egypt as the symbol of God’s redeeming love and power, but to the very Lamb of God, who, by the sacrificial shedding of His own blood, purchased the salvation of all who believe. In that one meal Jesus both terminated the old and inaugurated the new.

Breaking the unleavened bread was a part of the traditional Passover ceremony. But Jesus now gave it an entirely new meaning, saying, “This is My body” (Matthew 26:26). The original unleavened bread symbolized total detachment from the old life in Egypt, carrying nothing of its pagan and oppressive “leaven” into the Promised Land. It represented a separation from worldliness and sin and the beginning of a new life of holiness and godliness.

By His divine authority, Jesus transformed that symbolism into another. Henceforth the bread would represent Christ’s own body, sacrificed for the salvation of men. Luke reports that Jesus added, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19), indicating He was instituting a memorial of His sacrificial death for His followers to observe.

As the disciples drank of the cup, Jesus said, “This is My blood of the covenant” (Matthew 26:28). Luke’s gospel indicates that the Lord specified “new covenant” (Luke 22:20), clearly distinguishing it from all previous covenants, including the Mosaic.

When God made covenants with Noah and Abraham, they were ratified with blood (Genesis 8:20;15:9-10). When the covenant at Sinai was ratified, “Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words’” (Exodus 24:8). When God brought reconciliation with Himself, the price was always blood, because “without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins” (Hebrews 9:22; cf.1 Peter 1:2). A sacrificial animal not only had to be killed but its blood had to be shed. “The life of all flesh is its blood” (Leviticus 17:14), and for a life truly to be sacrificed, its blood had to be shed.

Jesus therefore did not simply have to die but had to shed His own precious blood (1 Peter 1:19). He shed His blood from the wounds of the crown of thorns, from the lacerations of the scourging, and from the nail holes in His hands and feet. After He was dead, a great volume of His blood poured out from the spear thrust in His side.

The shedding of His blood was required, it symbolized His atoning death, the giving of His unblemished, pure, and wholly righteous life for the corrupt, depraved, and wholly sinful lives of unregenerate men. That blood made atonement for the sins of all who place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

For those who belong to Jesus Christ, that event in the upper room began a new remembrance of redemption that the Lord will honor until He returns in glory.

Take some time today to consider God’s mercy and His faithful deliverance of His people. Salvation is possible only through the sacrifice of Christ on your behalf (Ephesians 2:8-9). And if you have yet to bend your knee in repentance and faith, know that it is only through the shed blood of Christ that you can be set free from the captivity of your sin (Ephesians 2:1-7).

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