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‘Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched.’ (Luke 24:41-43 NLT).

April 29, 2018

When Jesus suddenly appeared with the disciples on the evening of His resurrection, they were terrified. They feared they were seeing a ghost! Jesus patiently showed them His pierced hands and feet, but they still “stood there in disbelief.” So, Jesus asked for food to eat, not because He was hungry, for His glorified body had no need of food. He asked for food that the disciples might have faith.

“Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock” (Luke 23:53 NLT).

April 28, 2018

Jesus was born to the virgin, Mary, and He was laid in a newly hewn tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. That Joseph along with his friend, Nicodemus, both members of the Jewish high council, would ask Pilate for the body and prepare it for burial, was extraordinary. The risk and sacrifice they took to bury Jesus was many. They risked Pilate’s wrath just asking for the body, which would normally have been left hanging for days before being thrown on the garbage heap of Gehenna. They risked their standing with the Jewish leaders. They sacrificed time and money purchasing the tomb, the linen and spices, which were very expensive. Finally, they were made ceremonially unclean by their handling of Jesus’ dead body, so that they could not participate in the paschal feast.

It was important that Christ’s body be placed in a new tomb, so that there would be no confusion concerning His resurrection. If His body had gone missing in a garbage dump, there could have been many explanations. But the empty tomb itself bears witness to His resurrection.

The prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning both the Messiah’s virgin birth (Isa. 7:14) and that He would be buried in a “rich man’s grave” (Isa. 53:9). Jesus was born from a virgin womb and buried in a virgin tomb. Every aspect of His life, death, burial and resurrection were in fulfillment of the Scriptures.

“For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:31 NLT).

April 27, 2018

As Christ was being led away by the soldiers to His crucifixion, he turned to the weeping women following Him to offer this proverb. He cautioned them to save their tears for themselves, for if such things could be done unto Him, a green, living and innocent tree, imagine what terrible suffering awaited a dry, dead and guilty tree like Jerusalem. Indeed, within 40 years of Christ’s crucifixion, in the year 70 AD, the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem, tearing down its Temple and its walls.

The Jews had God’s law and the Romans were known for their Roman law and justice, yet they both showed the hypocrisy of human judgment when they conspired together to kill the innocent Jesus. It wasn’t Jesus, but humanity itself that was on trial that day. And humanity was found guilty–– guilty of rebellion against God and guilty of killing the Lord’s Anointed. Humanity is the dry tree. Yet, the green tree suffered and died in our place.

“Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day” (Luke 23:12 NLT).

April 26, 2018

David’s prophecy that the “kings and rulers of the earth would take counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed” (Psa. 2:2) was fulfilled in Herod and Pilate. How sad that they would become friends by coming together against Christ. Yet, the disciples prayed for boldness to preach under the threat of those who had conspired to crucify Christ. For they were convinced that God had ordained these things and would handle their threats according to His purpose and plan (See Acts 4:23-31).

‘But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.’ (Luke 22:51 NLT).

April 25, 2018

The last man that received the healing touch of Jesus was one of the men that came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemene. According to John, the man’s name was “Malchus” (John 18:10), a servant of the high priest, and it was Simon Peter who cut off his ear with a sword. Even so, Jesus healed the man’s ear with a touch. Many had felt the healing touch of Jesus throughout His years of ministry, but Malchus was the last.

I wonder. What became of Malchus? Did John mention him by name because he later became a follower of Jesus? Did Malchus tell the story of how Jesus had healed him even though he had come as an enemy? Did he remember the gentle and healing touch of Jesus every time he scratched his ear? Did he who arrested Jesus become arrested by Christ’s love instead?

“For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16 NLT).

April 24, 2018

It must have surprised the disciples to hear Jesus give new words to their centuries old Passover meal tradition. The words over the bread and the cup had been prescribed since Moses and the Israelites had first eaten it in Egypt. They had always seen the Passover meal as a commemoration of God’s deliverance in the past. But now, Jesus taught them that it was always in anticipation of God’s ultimate salvation in the future. And that future fulfillment had come. He was the true Paschal Lamb that all the Passover meals throughout the years had pointed. He had been “eager to eat” it with them one last time before He “suffered” and died on the cross to bring it to its ultimate fulfillment.

But was this truly the last supper? We call it so because it was the last seder meal Jesus ate before His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Yet, doesn’t this supper point to another supper, namely the marriage supper of the Lamb? The angel told John to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9).

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“Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples. and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money.” (Luke 22:3-5 NLT).

April 23, 2018

The name Judas has become a byword for betrayal. Once a popular Hebrew name prior to the 1st century, who would name a baby “Judas” after the one from Iscariot has so ruined it? Yet, should we be so quick to distance ourselves from the name and the betrayal it portrays? For haven’t we all betrayed Christ in some fashion?

The betrayal of Judas is made all the worse for his favored position, for he was one of the Twelve. He was hand-picked by Jesus and entrusted with the disciples’ money bag. Yet, there lay his great weakness and therefore the strength of Satan’s temptation. Judas loved money. And Satan identified his natural passion and lust, fanning it into the flame of betrayal. This is how Satan works. He identifies our natural desire and worms his way into our thinking, so that we are convinced that we deserve to have our lust gratified. The love of money was the crack in Judas’ heart that allowed Satan’s entrance.

Judas chose money over his Master. This led to the most heinous betrayal in human history. Yet, don’t we all have a little of Judas in us? Aren’t we tempted to put our love of another person, a valued possession or some particular passion, ahead of our love of Christ? Be careful of loving anyone or anything before Christ. For this is where Satan will seek a place to tempt us to betray our beloved Savior.