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The Last Supper

Read Matthew 26:17-30.

The scene described in these scriptures is of the Last Supper (as it is known by the Church) which was a Passover meal (a Seder) which Jesus (a Jew) celebrated with his disciples (all Jews) the night He was arrested. The Seder was very ritualized.

Passover was to begin at sundown which in March or April would be at approximately 6 p.m. The meal had to be eaten within the walls of Jerusalem. For that reason, at the time of Passover, pilgrims from all over Israel would crowd into Jerusalem, and its population would swell. Passover was a very intimate meal to be shared with family and close friends. Here Jesus is with his very closest friends and disciples.

  1. What do you observe? Why are we given this part of the story?
  2. Read Luke 22:7-23
  3. According to Luke 22:15-16, what does Jesus say about this Passover?
  4. In Luke 22:19, how did Jesus describe the bread?
  5. In Luke 22:20, what did Jesus say about the cup?
  6. What does Jesus say about the fruit of the vine in Mark 14:25? What is implied by His statement?
  7. What were the Jews told to teach their children about Passover according to Exodus 12:25-27?
  8. What is the significance of the Passover for the Christian? (Hint: 1 Corinthians 5:7)
  9. What prophecy did John the Baptist speak over Jesus in John 1:29? What did he mean?

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It may not be the most exciting region of Israel to the average Bible scholar, it is no Sea of Galilee or Capernaum or Jerusalem, but the North of Israel, the region of Dan, is a beautiful place to visit in the Spring when the foliage is lush and green and the mustard plant flowers are blooming, blanketing open meadows and hillsides with their bright yellow.

The area  reminds the visitor that Israel is diverse in its landscapes and geography.

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Head waters of the Jordan River, Israel

The head waters of the Jordan rush down into the land from the mountains above.

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Petra: What’s all the fuss?

The part of Jordan that one must transverse to get to Petra is a wasteland – endless rocky and plant-less desert. According to our guide, only 10% of Jordan is green.

Petra is an ancient city, tracing its roots to a time before Christ. It was interesting to me not only because it evidences a civilization thriving in the barrenness of the Jordanian desert, but also because of the possible significance this city could have in the future, specifically the future of Israel and the Jewish people.

Petra is one of the possible locations to which the Jews may flee during the tribulation period after the abomination of desolation spoken of in the book of Daniel.

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The following images will probably not be your typical idea of the Holy Land, but Eilat is in Israel, and it does offer special treasures to the traveler.

In Eilat, one can relax and enjoy the warm sun, the clear sky and the blue water. Eilat is a very short drive or boat ride to either Jordan or Egypt, and it is but a few hours drive to the Dead Sea, the Negev or even back to Jerusalem.

Eilat is a resort town at the most southern tip of Israel complete with snorkeling and other water sports, but for the student of the Bible, Eilat is the jumping off point for a journey to the rock city of Petra in Jordan. The importance of Petra to Bible prophecy will be outlined in an upcoming post.

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Usuites, Eilat
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Usuites, Eilat
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
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Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
Border Crossing to Jordan from Eilat Israel

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On the road from Jerusalem eastward to Jericho is a great expanse of Judean desert or what is often called the Judean wilderness. It is to such a place as this that Jesus may have gone when he fasted for 40 days before being tempted by Satan. See Luke 4:1-13 for a reminder of the story.

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It may also be the place of which David spoke in the Psalms 63:1, O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You;  my soul [my life, my very self] thirsts for You, my flesh longs and sighs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

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It is a place which, at first glance, appears to be devoid of life, with no obvious plant or animal life and no observable source of water. But when one peers over the edge of the cliff and looks below, one sees green in the valley. Small trees, bushes and grasses grow  in the valley, fed by the water that gathers.

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Like our circumstances which can loom like a great desert or wilderness before us – overwhelming us with their apparent impregnability – there are valleys which can only be seen as we near the edge of the cliff and peer over into the crevices below. Life exists in the valleys – verdant, prospering life.

So when faced with a wilderness or desert of impregnable, unnavigable circumstances, go to the edge, look down and see the truth that life is continuing, even prospering in the valley of those circumstances. Know the truth that God would never leave you nor forsake you. God is in the valley.

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We humans always seem to be grappling with our mortality, with the apparent finality of death.

We can glean something of how death is perceived by a people, by a faith group, from the markers that have been left for those who have died.

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In the flurry of activity surrounding Christmas, one can lose sight of the wonder and awe of the one true and living God, the one who calls Himself “I AM”, “EMANUEL”. It is also possible to overlook the exactness, the precise plan, the deliberately placed scarlet thread woven through the fabric of God’s revelation, connecting the books, written by various authors, from various walks of life, over many generations.

This Christmas, look for the scarlet thread, consider the Weaver, the love evidenced in the fabric woven before the foundations of time, God’s plan for salvation . . .

God prepared the perfect place for man to live in perfect fellowship with Him . . . the garden, in the east of Eden . . .

God allowed them to choose; they chose death, spiritual and physical.

BUT GOD had a plan to bring life . . .

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel . . .

The plan is slowly revealed . .

God provided a sacrifice for Adam and Eve, a covering for each of them before they left the garden.

God saved Noah . . .

God called Abraham out of a pagan land filled with idolatry to walk by faith in an unseen God.

God asked Abraham for faith, seen in the willing sacrifice of a son by a father in obedience to the God he loved. God provided Himself a sacrifice, so Isaac was spared.

From Isaac, came Jacob and the 12 tribes. The Messiah was to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

The 12 tribes were held captive in Egypt and suffered under the bondage of Pharaoh.

God sent a deliverer, Moses, a picture of the ultimate deliverer, Jesus, who God would one day send to deliver the world, from sin.

God gave His people the law through Moses, laying out how sinful man might approach a holy God.

The Law was a school master showing the people their inability to measure up, their ultimate need for a Savior, a Redeemer.

In the wilderness, God gave signs of the Coming One, bringing living water from the Rock . . .

Raining down the bread of life from heaven . . .

A pillar of fire by night and a cloud of protection by day.

God drew the plans for a temporary dwelling place for Him in the wilderness, the Tabernacle. It was a picture of Jesus, the Way to fellowship with the Father.

At the entrance of the Tabernacle was the altar, where the blood would be spilled, the sin offering, the atoning sacrifice for sin.

Next was the Laver, a place for cleansing, for reflection like the water of His Word, which washes us clean and shows us who we are.

Then, the Holy Place, to be entered only by the Priests where there were many pictures of Jesus, the lampstand (the light of the world), the show bread (the bread of life), and the altar of incense (the intercessor).

Finally, the Holy of Holies where only the High Priest could enter and then only once a year. It was a clear picture of our separation from God, our need for a mediator. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, would tear the veil and forever remove the barrier separating us from God, allowing us to run boldly to the throne of grace.

God’s plan was to all-inclusive . . . Consider Rehab, a pagan temple prostitute in the messianic line.

Consider Ruth, the Moabitess, also in the line of the Messiah. We see the love of Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer, for the foreigner, Ruth. Boaz is a foreshadowing of our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus.

Boaz lived in Bethlehem, growing barley in fields near where one day our Kinsman Redeemer would lay in a manger.

Consider David, the King God chose, a lowly shepherd boy, watching his sheep in those same fields outside of Bethlehem.
Over time, the people fell away; they left God to seek after idols. They played the harlot, and God forsook them. They were again taken into captivity, this time in Babylon. God, in His great mercy, preserved a remnant.

Consider Esther. A Queen in a place of influence to save her people from total destruction.

Through the remnant, God restores Jerusalem and rebuilds the temple. However, the people again find themselves in captivity. This time, they are under the domination of the Roman Empire, and God has been silent for some 400 years.

But God has not forgotten His promise to Abraham. He has not abandoned His plan for salvation.

In Bethlehem, as foretold by the Prophets of Old, God sent His only begotten son to be the Savior of the world. All the Old Testament signs and foreshadows come into focus in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

It was God’s plan to save man. It was God’s mercy to provide Himself a sacrifice for the sins of man. He sent Jesus to be the mediator between a Holy God and sinful man. It was God’s intention that
the Word would become flesh and dwell among us that we might know God’s love.

No one is righteous; all fall short of God’s law.
The just punishment for violation of God’s law is death.
We’re all dead men walking.
We can’t save ourselves.
We are at the mercy of God.

Jesus, the son of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of Jesse, the Promised One, the Messiah . . . He provides the covering for our sins. On the cross at Calvary, He laid down His life, an atoning sacrifice for the sin of mankind. He died and was placed in tomb. On the 3rd day, as He promised, He rose again, conquering death once and for all. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

He is the Way . . . the only Way.

May your Christmas be spent worshiping the true and living God who died that you might live . . . forever.

Merry Christmas!

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