Remembering His Life and His Death: Luke 22:14-20


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On the night Jesus was betrayed, He shares a supper with the disciples and while this supper was officially the Passover meal for Jesus and His disciples that year, Jesus takes this special, yearly meal, and He gives it new significance. This special meal, called the Last Supper, is one of the most symbolic and significant traditions Christianity has kept while moving forward through history.

Let’s read what Jesus does and how He turns this Passover celebration, and points it to His mission. While we could read this event from several of the gospels, let’s read it from Luke’s gospel. Our passage is found Luke, chapter 22, and we will be reading from the Good News Translation. Starting in verse 14, Luke tells us that:

14 When the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table with the apostles. 15 He said to them, “I have wanted so much to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer! 16 For I tell you, I will never eat it until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God.”

17 Then Jesus took a cup, gave thanks to God, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you that from now on I will not drink this wine until the Kingdom of God comes.”

19 Then he took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.” 20 In the same way, he gave them the cup after the supper, saying, “This cup is God’s new covenant sealed with my blood, which is poured out for you.”

What Luke has just described is the foundation of the Last Supper that is celebrated at various times depending on the church. I’ve visited churches that celebrate this as a part of their weekly meeting, and I have visited churches that celebrate the Last Supper only once a year.

There are churches who celebrate this meal with little tiny wafer crackers and half-an-ounce glasses of grape juice, while other churches celebrate this with a larger meal and/or different forms of wine. When the Bible speaks of wine, it simply means that it is juice from grapes, and it makes no distinction here whether this juice was fermented or not. In other places in the Bible, new wine likely refers to fresh grape juice, while old wine likely refers to grape juice that has fermented.

However, what is it about the bread and the wine that makes it special?

Well, first, Jesus tells the disciples that He will not drink this wine again until the Kingdom of God comes. This is an interesting thing to say, because it tells us that Jesus is waiting in Heaven for His return before drinking this drink again. This points us forward to the second coming as being something we should look forward to, and it tells us that Jesus is looking forward to sharing this special drink, and probably the very special meal that will go with it, when He returns the second time.

Between today and when that special meal will happen, we have symbols in both the bread and the wine that we can remember.

The first symbol Luke tells us is the bread, which Jesus gave thanks for, broke it, and gave it to the disciples. Jesus’ body was given as a sacrifice for others; Jesus’ body was given as a sacrifice for you and for me. When we eat the special bread that is prepared for this occasion, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice that took our place. We deserved death while Jesus didn’t. He died our death so that we could live His life.

The second symbol is the symbol of the cup with the wine in it. This wine represents Jesus’ blood, which is poured out for us. On the surface, this second symbol sounds very redundant to the first, because both symbols point to the death of Jesus. However, I believe when we look at what Jesus’ blood represents, we see a greater picture of what He did for us.

In the Old Testament, the blood represented the life of a person or an animal. It was partially for this reason that Jews were instructed to not eat or drink an animal’s blood. When we take this symbolic meaning and see that Jesus poured out His blood for us, we could just as easily say that Jesus poured out His life for us. This is significant because the symbol of the wine draws together both Jesus’ life and His death, and it leads us to the clear conclusion that everything Jesus did, said, or gave was for others. Jesus gave Himself both while He was alive as well as through His death for you and for me!

While the bread symbolized Jesus’ body and Jesus paying the price for our sins, the wine symbolizes the life Jesus lived and the life that He offers to each of us when we accept Him into our lives and our hearts! Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, and He offers to give us His perfect life and His perfect record in exchange for ours. Jesus also offers us a new life with Him in a new heaven and a new earth when sin and death have been destroyed!

This is definitely something I am looking forward to, and I imagine you are looking forward with me to the day Jesus returns and we share the first “Last Supper” together with Him for eternity!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As always, be sure to seek God first and always intentionally place Him first in your life. Be sure to remember what Jesus has done for you, through His sacrifice, through the life that He gave, and through the life that He offers to each of us. Remember that our reward will last longer than any trial or challenge we face today and that is one reason we keep moving forward with God!

Also, as I always challenge you to do, be sure to pray and study the Bible for yourself to learn first-hand what God wants to teach you. Pastors, authors, speakers, podcasters, or anyone else for that matter can have ideas worth thinking about. However, with all the conflicting ideas present in the world today, test everything with what you read and study in the Bible. The Bible is the safest foundation to have when times, cultures, and traditions seem to change with each generation.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or drift away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year of the Cross – Episode 24: With bread and wine, Jesus takes and symbolizes what He has done for us, and what He offers us in replace for our sinful lives. Discover how the Last Supper communion ceremony points us to remember what Jesus has done for us, and what He offers us as a reward for accepting His gift.

Join the discussion. Share your thoughts on this passage.

Focus on the Father: John 15:18-16:4

Focus Passage: John 15:18-16:4 (NASB)

Whenever I read this passage, I am struck by the words that Jesus says right at the beginning, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” (v. 18)

Jesus then goes on to share the truth that servants are not greater than their masters, and that the person who hates Jesus also hates the Father as well.

In the New Testament time period, religious people were the ones that seemed the most opposed to Jesus. The world outside Judea largely ignored what was going on in that region. With that said, was Jesus just talking about church people hating His true followers or is there more to this teaching?

As is often the case, I believe there is more to this teaching – a subtle hidden layer beneath the surface. We can find a clue to one of these subtle truths in John 15:21 and it is restated a second time in a different way in John 16:3.  This subtle truth is that the world does not know the Father.

We could expand this truth to say that the world might include everyone – both sacred “Christians” as well as secular atheists – who do not know the Father. Those who do not know the Father will never understand who Jesus was and why He came. These people will minimize Jesus’ role and His significance to being someone who had some good things to say but who probably should have kept better company since one of those in His inner circle of twelve betrayed Him.

This leads me into a big theme/idea that I see in this passage: I should be more focused on growing closer to Jesus and the Father than on caring what others think about me. My focus should not be on getting others to like me, but on modeling the Father’s love for humanity as demonstrated in Jesus’ life and ministry.

I will never be greater than Jesus, but I can be an example of who He is to today’s world – specifically to the little corner of the world that I live in!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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The Intermission: John 6:22-59

Focus Passage: John 6:22-59 (NCV)

22 The next day the people who had stayed on the other side of the lake knew that Jesus had not gone in the boat with his followers but that they had left without him. And they knew that only one boat had been there. 23 But then some boats came from Tiberias and landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 When the people saw that Jesus and his followers were not there now, they got into boats and went to Capernaum to find Jesus.

25 When the people found Jesus on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Teacher, when did you come here?”

26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you aren’t looking for me because you saw me do miracles. You are looking for me because you ate the bread and were satisfied. 27 Don’t work for the food that spoils. Work for the food that stays good always and gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because on him God the Father has put his power.”

28 The people asked Jesus, “What are the things God wants us to do?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: Believe the One he sent.”

30 So the people asked, “What miracle will you do? If we see a miracle, we will believe you. What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the desert. This is written in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven; it is my Father who is giving you the true bread from heaven. 33 God’s bread is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 The people said, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Then Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you before, you have seen me and still don’t believe. 37 The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them. 38 I came down from heaven to do what God wants me to do, not what I want to do. 39 Here is what the One who sent me wants me to do: I must not lose even one whom God gave me, but I must raise them all on the last day. 40 Those who see the Son and believe in him have eternal life, and I will raise them on the last day. This is what my Father wants.”

41 Some people began to complain about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that comes down from heaven.” 42 They said, “This is Jesus, the son of Joseph. We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 But Jesus answered, “Stop complaining to each other. 44 The Father is the One who sent me. No one can come to me unless the Father draws him to me, and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 I tell you the truth, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread that gives life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but still they died. 50 Here is the bread that comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give up so that the world may have life.”

52 Then the evil people began to argue among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, you must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. Otherwise, you won’t have real life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. 55 My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them. 57 The living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father. So whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 I am not like the bread your ancestors ate. They ate that bread and still died. I am the bread that came down from heaven, and whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said all these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Read John 6:22-59 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

During one of the more unique conversations that Jesus has with a group of people in Capernaum, He shares what God commissioned Him to do. In some ways, we could describe this as God the Father’s job description for Jesus – and we could measure the effectiveness of Jesus’ ministry through His words during this conversation.

The big statement Jesus shared is this: “The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them. I came down from heaven to do what God wants me to do, not what I want to do. Here is what the One who sent me wants me to do: I must not lose even one whom God gave me, but I must raise them all on the last day. Those who see the Son and believe in him have eternal life, and I will raise them on the last day. This is what my Father wants.” (v. 37- 40)

A few verses later, Jesus summarizes this idea again by saying, “The Father is the One who sent me. No one can come to me unless the Father draws him to me, and I will raise that person up on the last day.” (v. 44)

Jesus’ job description is simple: (1) Don’t lose any of the people who God has given Him, and (2) raise these people on the last day.

The significance of this statement is amazing and challenging to what many of us have as a preconceived notion regarding how God interacts with His people following Jesus’ resurrection. The first part of this description is easy for us to grasp, because for those of us who believe Jesus is God, there is absolutely nothing that anyone (Satan included) could do to steal from Jesus.

But with that said, Satan has done a masterful job of blurring the significance of this second part of Jesus’ job description. Jesus has been called to resurrect God’s followers on the last day. The only way for this to happen is through the sacrifice He gave on the cross. It is through this sacrifice that we are able to accept the gift of eternal life.

However, most people today among Christianity believe that death is not in their future. This idea runs counter to what Jesus shares here because if they never face death, how could Jesus “raise them up” on the last day?

As Christians, we have the assurance that we will be saved and brought to heaven, and we know through Jesus’ sacrifice that death is not the end of our story, but for all but a few of God’s followers who live during the final days of earth’s sinful history, death counts as an intermission to our lives, stories, and relationships with God.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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Flashback Episode — Hiding From Fame: John 7:1-9


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When we imagine Jesus traveling throughout the countryside healing, teaching, and preaching to the crowds, in our minds, we always see the rag-tag group of disciples traveling alongside with Him. We don’t ever get the picture that the disciples were anywhere but with Jesus.

However, in an odd turn of events, the gospel of John gives us a glimpse into a brief moment where Jesus was not with His disciples, but instead, He was with His brothers. While I don’t know what the context for this event was, it is interesting in my mind that John chose to include it in his gospel.

Our event can be found in the gospel of John, chapter 7, and for our time together, we will be reading from the New American Standard Bible translation. Starting in verse 1, John tells us that:

1 After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 3 Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him. 6 So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. 8 Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” 9 Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.

The big thing I find fascinating in this passage is what Jesus’ brothers imply through their words. In verse 4, Jesus’ brothers challenge Jesus by saying, “no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly”.

In essence, while Jesus’ brothers probably realize that Jesus is significant, and they probably grew up with the knowledge of Jesus extraordinary birth, and they also probably grew up hearing from Mary and Joseph that Jesus was the Messiah God had promised, none of these extraordinary things from Jesus’ past or present made sense to them when Jesus was not willing to be open or public about who He was.

In Jesus’ brothers’ minds, Jesus was going about the role of Messiah in the completely wrong way. If He was to be rallying people together in an effort to overthrow the Romans, staying out of Judea was not a practical plan, because while Judea included people who wanted to kill Him, it also contained some of the people who were most likely to join a rebellion. In Galilee, which had a much higher concentration of Gentiles than other parts of the country, Jesus wouldn’t have as much support, nor would He be as visible to the Jews that Jesus’ brothers believed He came to exclusively save.

But the error Jesus’ brothers make is that Jesus wanted to be known publicly. It is this error that catches many Christians and believers off guard, because while Jesus was famous because of the counter-cultural message He was sharing, and because He was able to heal almost anyone from almost anything that was bothering them, Christians today might incorrectly assume that fame was part of Jesus’ goals.

However, Jesus counters this very point by saying in verse 7, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it”. In these words, Jesus separates those present into two groups: Others and Himself. In this statement, Jesus also gives the counter-cultural message that the world hates Him.

Not everyone living in the first century hated Jesus, but there was a significant number of people who did. Probably the biggest source of hate towards Jesus both then and now is that His perfect life and selfless character conflict with the sin inside all of us. To reconcile this, we have to either accept Jesus’ offer of His new life, or try and fail to live up to the standard that He set through His life, or give up and not even try at all.

Jesus is hated because He calls evil by its true name, and His perfect life was modeled after the idea of loving the sinner while rejecting the sin. Jesus saw people as special, regardless of their past choices and sinful lifestyles. This love resonated with some, while it repelled a majority of others.

The majority of people who rejected Jesus did so because He either said things they did not agree with or feel they could live up to, or because they routinely built themselves up by putting others down.

Any fame Jesus received through His counter-cultural message and through the miracles He performed was not because He was trying to build a name for Himself. Instead, everything He did was because God directed Him to do so and because He wanted to give the glory to God. None of Jesus’ miracles was intended to bring glory or praise onto Himself; but every one of Jesus’ miracles was intended to focus the glory onto God who had worked in a mighty and powerful way.

In our own lives, for those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus, Christians, or disciples, we are to reflect Jesus in our daily lives, and the only way we can truly reflect Him is if we are focused on Him, if we regularly spend time with Him, and if we intentionally love others like Him. The only way we can hope to accomplish anything for God is by doing what Jesus did and living like Jesus lived: Jesus depended on God for direction, guidance, power, love, humility, and He gave up self at every opportunity He could. When tempted, Jesus always pointed the focus elsewhere, and He never directed glory towards Himself.

Jesus’ brothers did not understand this because His brothers didn’t understand what God’s Messiah would be like. Similar to most everyone living in the first century, Jesus’ brothers believed He would be the military leader who would overthrow the Romans.

Only after Jesus’ death and the mold for their idea of Messiah was broken do His closest followers, friends, and family realize that God’s Messiah came in a different way than they had imagined.

As we come to the close of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I want to leave you with:

Continue to place God first and seek to do His will. Commit each day to living as selflessly as Jesus lived and loving others like Jesus loved. Know that you cannot succeed without God’s help, so lean on Him for the strength to reflect Jesus each day.

Also, prayerfully study the Bible for yourself to learn and grow more like Jesus. The only way for you to truly be like Jesus is to learn, and discover who Jesus was. While you could take a podcaster’s or pastor’s word for it, it’s much better to study and learn personally, because God wants to know you personally and not as a “friend of a friend”.

And as I always end each set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Flashback Episode: Season 3 – Episode 23: Cam discusses a rare moment when Jesus was with His brothers and His disciples were elsewhere. Learn why even Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe in Him, and why this matters to us living today.

Join the discussion on the original episode's page: Click Here.