April 25, 2018
WHAT BECAME OF THE LAST MAN TOUCHED BY JESUS?
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?
April 24, 2018
WAS THE LAST SUPPER THE LAST SUPPER?
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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April 23, 2018
JUDAS CHOSE MONEY OVER HIS MASTER
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.
April 26, 2016
When the Jewish council questioned Jesus concerning whether he was the Christ, they did so not to determine the truth of his identity, but to gain a confession that would justify their desire to kill him. Yet, Jesus responded by describing their real motivation. Their agnostic questions weren’t motivated by a desire to discover the truth, but were from a heart that had already rejected Christ. He knew that they “would not” believe any of his claims, nor honestly answer any of his questions. Their unbelief was an act of the will, not the result of intellectual inquiry. He told them, “You will not believe.” How have you responded to Christ’s claims? How have you answered the question concerning Him? As Jesus asked Martha, so He asks us, “Do you believe?”
April 25, 2016
On the night He was betrayed, Jesus quoted the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 to prepare the disciples for His crucifixion. He who knew no sin, would be “numbered” or counted among the sinners. And He would allow this accounting to take place willingly, so that those who believed in Him might be numbered among the righteous.
April 24, 2016
The Lord addressed him as, “Simon, Simon,” not as “Peter,” for he would not yet be the “Rock” until after Christ’s resurrection. Simon Peter meant well, but in his flesh he had no power to live up to the new name Jesus had given him. Christ repeated the name “Simon” twice, probably to emphasize both His tender affection for Peter as well as His warning to him (See Luke 10:41 – “Martha, Martha.” Ex. 3:4 -“Moses, Moses;” or Gen. 22:11 – “Abraham, Abraham.”). Jesus was already shifting from His physical role as the Shepherd protecting Peter and the disciples, to His role as Advocate, praying and representing them before the Father (1 John 2:1). Jesus was preparing Peter for the trial and temptation that awaited him and the disciples. For Satan had asked to “sift” Simon Peter, just as he had Job, to test whether he truly had the “wheat” of faith, or was merely voicing the bravado of the “chaff” of the flesh. That Jesus was so mindful of Peter and His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion shows both His great love for them as well as His divine plan to see them carry the gospel to the nations. Have you heard the Lord repeat your name twice?
April 23, 2016
When Jesus told Peter and John to go and prepare the Passover, they asked, “Where?” Jesus didn’t respond with an address, but with a set of circumstances and a person. He told them that they would meet a man carrying a jar of water as they entered Jerusalem and that they should follow him to the place. He even told them what to ask when they got there.
Have you ever experienced this kind of direction and help from the Lord? Peter and John were ready to obey, but needed direction. Sometimes we are ready to obey, but we don’t pause to ask the Lord for help. We come up with our own plans, rather than asking the Lord for where He wants us to go. What joy to hear the Lord’s voice saying, “Follow the man with the water jar!”
April 26, 2015
Peter was overcome with grief when he denied Christ three times just as Christ had predicted. Peter, the “Rock,” had crumbled. And to make matters worse, he had made eye contact with Jesus in the moment the rooster crowed. This was the last time Peter saw Jesus until His resurrection. He did not witness His trial before Pilate, nor His crucifixion. Peter was a castaway, drowning in his own misery, beyond comfort. Yet, Jesus had prayed for Peter. He knew that Peter was about to enter a dark night of the soul. “When you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Jesus had said (32). And Peter did return. “Do you love Me?” Jesus asked three times, restoring him to Himself. “Yes Lord, You know all things. You know that I love You.” Peter responded (John 21:17).
Have you strayed from the Lord? Return to Him. For Jesus has already prayed for you.
April 25, 2015
While Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples fell asleep. He had told them to watch and pray while He pulled away to pray alone. But they were exhausted with “sorrow” (v.45). Jesus was trying to prepare them for a difficult trial, but their human frailty was too much. I wonder how many times the Spirit of Christ urges us to pray, yet our flesh is too weak? Instead, we sleep. Christ followers still hear the Spirit say, “Rise and pray.” Rise up from your sleep and lift your heartfelt prayers to the Father. There is a rest that comes from prayer that is better than that from sleep.