The Passover Plot

leonardo_da_vinci_-_last_supper_copy_-_wga12732Welcome to the Thursday of Jesus’ final week. As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, with these words, we are less than twenty-four hours from the crucifixion. Words wherein Jesus could just as well have said to Peter and John,

“Go and prepare my final Passover meal together, so that we can eat it together.”

Jesus will on this Thursday evening celebrate with His disciples THE singular observance on the Jewish calendar, from time of Moses (Exodus 12) even to today. Indeed, as Rabbi Joseph Telushkin so succinctly stated in his classic work, Jewish Literacy,

“Passover is the most widely observed Jewish holiday.”

But here’s the thing: Overshadowing this entire discussion tonight is this raw reality around which I cannot begin to wrap my mind: The centerpiece of Passover, of Jesus’ final Passover — the Passover lamb — has throughout redemptive history pictured one and only one person: Jesus, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That person, Jesus, whose sacrifice in less than twenty-four hours would pay the penalty for the sin of world.

What emotions must have flooded Jesus’ mind, heart, and spirit… 

  • As He led this His final Passover seder?
  • As He Himself partook of the Passover lamb that symbolized everything that would happen to Him that very night into the very next day?
  • The lamb that symbolized Jesus as the lamb of God?
  • The blood that would symbolize His shed blood?
  • The entire Passover story retold and in a sense
  • reenacted in that Upper Room that celebrated the Israelites freedom from slavery to the Egyptians?
  • That now symbolized our freedom from our slavery to sin, and from the punishment we all deserve?
    That punishment paid for by Jesus who is what Paul called “our Passover lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7)?

All of this, and so much more, flooded like a tsunami of emotions Jesus sizable heart on this, the day Jesus told Peter and John,

“Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”

Preparing for this Passover meal, and every annual Passover meal, was and is #NoSmallThing. Given the enormity of the symbolism of every single aspect of a Passover celebration, preparation required effort and deliberation.

For our many Jewish friends, Jesus’ words to Peter and John, “Go and prepare the Passover meal,” involved much that we might easily miss. Consequently, in order to understand what took place in that Upper Room on this Thursday evening, we’ve got to hear Jesus’ words, “Go and prepare,” as Peter and John heard them.

So let me start with this…

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Judas the Betrayer

judas-brought-again-the-thirty-pieces-of-silver-to-the-chief-priests-and-eldersIt’s getting real. Real fast.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, something in the last few days of Jesus’ final week triggered Judas to do the unthinkable.

You talk about someone selling their soul to the devil, literally or figuratively? Well, Judas did both. Judas sold his soul to the devil, literally and figuratively.

“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.”

Why here? Why now? Why this?

In order to answer these and additional questions, let’s meet Judas the Betrayer up close and personal.

A fitting title because the very first time we encounter this tragic individual, we are introduced to him with these telling words: “Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).”

How would you like that as your moniker?

Who was this guy? And what does it all mean for us today?

Allow me to set up this discussion in this way: It’s one of the most precious passages in all of the Bible. That is no exaggeration or overstatement. Yet, it gets relatively scant attention because in most of our English translations it’s rendered rather clumsily. The words of Hebrews 4:15-16 don’t exactly roll effortlessly off our tongues, with its double negatives and cultural references with which we might not be familiar. But since this is such a precious picture of exactly who Jesus is, and how Jesus relates to our lives, I’ll read it to you in the NKJV, and then paraphrase it for you so that you can hear it as original readers heard it.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sheep and the Goats

51-fcimi7fl-_sx303_bo1204203200_Let me tell you! If you want to see in crystal-clarity the character and the heart of God, this is it. Right here, right now, in real time, in this PODCAST.

This in a breathtaking public display for all the world to see, at which the whole world will marvel. The broken heart of our God whom Peter described as “not wanting anyone to be destroyed (a word that means to destroy fully, to bring to nothing) but (who) wants everyone to repent.”

This portrait of our God — Who persistently pursues everyone in every way, making every effort to bring every sinner to repentance — comes at very end of Olivet Discourse in Matthew 25.

Here we will see, in this parable of the end of the age, the eternal separation of committed Christ-followers from those who defiantly and unrepentantly want nothing to do with Jesus. Plus, we will see their ultimate eternal destiny in what Jesus called “the eternal fire prepared for devil and his demons.”

An unpleasant topic, to be sure. But a #Most.Important.One, because we are talking about the eternal destinies of multiplied millions of people.

Specifically, what did Jesus mean by eternal fire? For whom is it intended? What happens to those goats (in contrast to His sheep) who are sadly, tragically, yet-justly cast into the eternal fire?

And of course, at the heart of this entire discussion sits this all-important and all too-common question: Does the loving God of the Bible — who defines Himself as not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent — really send people to Hell?

Allow me to set up this discussion in this way: I find it most-intriguing, and most-ironic in a most-purposeful sort of way that Jesus’ Hebrew name Yeshua, means “God Saves.” That’s right out of first chapter of the New Testament (Matthew 1:21): “Mary will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Now watch this. Only God could create this wonder of the words. This, as you are about to hear, is not coincidental.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’ve Got Talent. (You Really Do!)

CfR3IQgWIAAlttkSpoiler Alert: This PODCAST will not be paradigm-shifting. This podcast will be paradigm-shattering.

There is so much going on here in Jesus’ conclusion to His landmark End Times Olivet Discourse that I hardly know where to begin.

Last week, we saw that Jesus told a parable about ten bridesmaids, five who were wise and five who were foolish.

This week, we’ll note that He told a follow-up parable about three servants, two who were faithful and one who was unfaithful.

We are fast-winding down our study of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ End Times sermon that He gave to His disciples high atop the Mount of Olives.

We are soon to pivot from the Tuesday of Jesus’ final week, to the Thursday of His final week, with detailed discussions of His final Passover Seder with His disciples, Judas’ betrayal, the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, His subsequent confinement in Caiaphas’ house, plus Peter’s denial.

The countdown clock to Jesus’ crucifixion is ticking; the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry is fast-approaching.

But to get there, we must first consider Jesus’ words here. Specifically, who are the faithful servants, and who is the unfaithful servant? What distinguishes between the two — faithful versus unfaithful? And what does all of this have to do with our lives in the here and now today?

So with all of that, let me now walk you thru Jesus’ conclusion to His Olivet Discourse. A parable that I truly believe you will discover to be #Oh.So.Encouraging to you.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

YOUR Wedding Day Approaches (Sooner Than You May Think!)

WeddingAs you will hear in this PODCAST, we are fast-approaching the end of our mini-series within a series, this one having to do with all-things End-Times related.

We are, as you well-know, well into the Olivet Discourse. Jesus’ primary teaching on End-Times events, as given on the Tuesday of His final week on earth.

In two weeks, we will pivot to the Thursday of Jesus’ final week, including His Upper Room Discourse.

It is curiously intriguing to me in the first letter that the Apostle Paul ever penned, 1 Thessalonians, he devoted so much of that letter to a discussion of the End Times. Which tells me that even from the very beginning, the first generation of committed Christ-followers had questions about Jesus’ return, even as they watched and waited for Jesus to come back.

There was then, as there is today, much confusion about what was going to happen and when it would happen.

One of the most encouraging things that Paul wrote — you could consider it Paul’s commentary on this podcast’s Matthew 25 passage — was this:

“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that THE DAY OF THE LORD will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day… Since we belong to the day, stay alert and be clearheaded… For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ… Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (Just a few of the highlights of 1 Thessalonians 5)

So let’s now heed Paul’s loving encouragement and be clearheaded about what he called “the Day of the Lord.” A vitally important, oft-repeated biblical phrase.

Now listen carefully: Over the past few weeks, we have gone to great lengths to distinguish between such things as the Rapture, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, the Second Coming of Christ, Millennium, Eternal State, and all-things in between.

We who are of a Western Mindset obsess over the order of things (those perennially bestselling prophecy charts, along with all of their precisely-placed arrows).

As westerners, it is woven into every strand of our western DNA to focus on Form (how something fits, with an emphasis on symmetry, balance, order, everything in its proper place, everything perfectly fitted together). But those of a Middle Eastern Mindset were much more concerned over function — not on how things fit together, but rather on what things do. Not on how something fits, but what something does.

As you are about to hear, this will have a profound impact on your own personal Bible study.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demystifying Church Discipline

The Lost Sheep A U SoordI was away this week, sharing a precious memorial service for my dearly beloved mom with my family. Consequently, I have selected one of the MOST IMPORTANT podcasts that we have recorded in our Jesus in HD series.

In this Encore PODCAST, as we continue in our chronological study of the life and ministry of Jesus, we come to Matthew 18:15-17 — one of the most seriously significant passages in all of the New Testament, the so-called “Church Discipline” passage.

Church Discipline, a teaching in many local churches that really rose into prominence in the late 1970’s and became quite the trend.

I can remember attending church leadership conferences back then and hearing pastors — I’ll use word “boast.” — of the fact that they recently removed individuals from their congregations, thereby “preserving the purity of their churches.” Others would then oooh and ahhh at the boldness of these pastors in confronting the sin in his church and taking decisive action in order to preserve the purity of his church by the process of Church Discipline as outline by Jesus here in Matthew 18.

Today, one of this nation’s leading Church Discipline proponents insists that church discipline, as outlined in Matthew 18, is one of the marks of a healthy church. He writes this on his website, clearly articulating the prevailing view of Church Discipline, and indeed includes this as one of his main talking points as he addresses pastors’ conferences throughout the country, encouraging them to do the same:

“Church discipline is the act of correcting sin in the life of the body, including the possible final step of excluding a professing Christian from membership in the church and participation in the Lord’s Supper because of serious unrepentant sin.”

Consequently, it has become standard practice to “exclude” or remove or excommunicate (you choose the term) unrepentant sinners from their local churches. This notion of Church Discipline is certainly included in many if not most of our evangelical churches’ bylaws.

Well, in light of the above definition — More importantly, in light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 18 — I must ask, Is that really what Jesus taught to His disciples and to us?

Let’s discover the answer together.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Second Coming of Jesus

meggidoAs you will hear in this PODCAST, with Jesus’ words here in Matthew 24, the climax of human history as we know it will occur.

No one will miss it. No one will mistake it. Everyone will know exactly what it is that is happening and why it is happening!

The “it” to which I refer and which I intentionally repeated in the above sentences is Jesus’ Second Coming.

What did Jesus say? “Then all the tribes of the earth… will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

Quite a contrast to Jesus’ first coming, which you will remember was seen only by a few lowly shepherds out in the remote regions of Bethlehem. When Jesus came the first time, He came not with power and great glory, but as a newborn baby laid in an animal’s manger in the cold of a cave.

That was Jesus’ First Coming. In the run-up to the crucifixion, the disciples were understandably fixated on the future, specifically on Jesus’ Second Coming.

They were waiting; we are waiting. They were longing; we are longing. They were asking; we are asking: “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

In giving His answer, Jesus said this:

“That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 24:39).

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).

“You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44).

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne” (Matthew 25:31).

That’s what Jesus said just in Olivet Discourse. Indeed, the whole point of the Olivet Discourse is Jesus’ Second Coming.

So with all of that background, let’s discover together what Jesus taught us in the Olivet Discourse about His Second Coming.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Tribulation

coming_backAs you are about to hear in this PODCAST, with Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15, words that describe a singularly hair-raising event, the Great Tribulation will begin.

A 3½-year period of unprecedented spiritual defection and oppression, along with its resultant worldwide suffering on a scale never seen before on this planet.

Don’t take my word for that. Take Jesus’ word for that. In Matthew 24:21,

“For then there will be great tribulation, greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.”

The Great Tribulation, that will begin with the singular event to which Jesus alluded in Matthew 24:15, and will end with the climax of human history as we know it — the glorious Second Coming of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Permit me the briefest of reviews. It is absolutely vital that we keep the end-times timeline straight.

The next event on God’s prophetic timetable is that wondrous event we commonly call The Rapture, where Christ-followers throughout the world will “meet the Lord in the air.”

Nothing needs to happen before the Rapture, that awesome event described so vividly in 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15, and alluded to by Jesus in John 14. The Rapture, or as Paul called it, Our “blessed hope.” Titus 2:13,

“While we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Please note that Paul described our “blessed hope” as Jesus’ “appearing,” not His “coming,” a distinction of monumental importance.

Now again, nothing has to happen before the Rapture, where Jesus will appear in the clouds and we meet Him in the air, all of this near the beginning of Tribulation. Yes, you can indeed wake up every morning of every day with the hope-filled words flooding your troubled soul, Perhaps Today! Nothing has to happen before the Rapture.

That said, much, much has to happen before the Second Coming, where Jesus will literally come down to the earth, setting foot on the Mount of Olives, this at the very end of the Tribulation.

Most notably, what has to happen before the Second Coming? The event described by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, and by Daniel in Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.

Hear it from Jesus’ lips to our ears:

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15).

“Let the reader understand.” Why that particular exhortation? Precisely because there is so much confusion about this prophecy, and so many who therefore do not understand.

Confusion which we will bring to a conclusion in this podcast.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Signs of the Times (Part 2)

maxresdefaultBirth pains. It’s all about the birth pains.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, as we enumerate the final three of the six “signs of the times,” both Paul and Jesus made it crystal-clear that we are to think of these signs in terms of birth pains.

Paul, who borrowed this most-meaningful metaphor from Jesus, used it most-appropriately when he in Romans 8 declared, “For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

It would not surprise me one bit to hear that some of you — Or should I say some of us? — have been groaning a little more than usual this past week.

It is all about the birth pains, that increase dramatically in frequency and in intensity as the moment of birth approaches. This troubled planet of ours is undeniably in the later stages of its own labor pains, as it waits in breathless anticipation as the moment of Jesus’ return approaches.

So said Paul.

So said Jesus.

Here in Matthew 24:8, spoken in the Olivet Discourse, on the Tuesday afternoon of His final week, in reference to these “signs of the times.” Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

That is precisely where we are today. Groaning, watching, and waiting for the climax of human history as we know it finally and mercifully to dawn upon us.

In Luke’s abbreviated account of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus said in reference to these same “signs of the times,” “When these things (these birth pains) begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Stand up; and lift up. Those are phrases that speak of victory, not defeat!

We don’t sit down in defeat; we stand up in victory!

We don’t hang our heads in dismal distress; we lift up our heads in victorious anticipation.

We are not defeated. Not by a long shot. We are encouraged.

These “signs of the times,” these birth pains, have indeed begun to take place. Our redemption is indeed drawing nearer, every single day!

Yes, these six “signs of the times” have always characterized our world. Yet, these is no denying the acceleration of their frequency and intensity.

Let me briefly remind you of the first three, and then we’ll discuss in some detail the final three. All with a view to standing up and lifting up our heads, not in defeat but in glorious victory.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Signs of the Times (Part 1)

its_timeWelcome to the Olivet Discourse. The End Times prophetic address that Jesus gave to His disciples high atop the Mount of Olives, immediately to the East of the Holy City, Jerusalem.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, that lovely little land that we affectionately call Israel is the center of the world.

Literally and metaphorically.

Literally, because Israel is the place where the three major continents — Europe, Asia, and Africa — tenderly touch and affectionately kiss each other. Which goes a long way to explaining why God chose this modest piece of real estate — a mere 150 miles long (North-South), 50 miles wide (West-East) — as stage for the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Metaphorically the center of the world because throughout all of human history, the eyes of world have ever been focused squarely on the Middle East — so called because it sits in the middle or center of the world. And in center of the Middle East sits Israel.

So Israel is indeed the center of the world.

That said, Jerusalem is the center of Israel, and the Temple is the center of Jerusalem.

So it is no wonder that Jesus and His disciples took a timeout from all of the hubbub of activities on this Tuesday of Jesus’ final week, exactly three days before Jesus would go to the cross.

As they sat upon the Mount of Olives taking in that breathtaking view of the Holy City and its glorious Temple — God’s House, what Jesus called “My Father’s House,” what many of our Jewish friends call “The House” — the disciples were moved by that spectacular panoramic portrait to ask Jesus these two most important questions in Matthew 24:

“What will be the sign of your coming?”

and

“What will be the sign of the end of the age?”

Jesus’ answer to those questions comprise what we now call the Olivet Discourse, spanning two full chapters, Matthew 24 – 25.

As you are about to hear, there are Two All-Important Interpretive Keys to understanding these all-important prophetic chapters.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.