Posts Tagged With: Passover

The Forgotten Half of THE Greatest Story

Today is Easter Sunday.

BUT, as you are about to hear in this PODCAST, today is infinitely, eternally so much more than that.

A day of incomparable significance. 

“Christ IS risen. He is risen INDEED.”

But that is only half the story.

Ready to hear the other half?

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God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Third Day

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 referenced what he called the single most important event of human history.

And it all centers upon that one-telling-three-word-phrase, “the third day.”

Quite a statement that: “I passed on to you what was most important.”

Most: πρῶτος, a superlative in Greek. A word that means the best, the chief, the first and foremost of all. Meaning that Paul went over and above to point out in the most emphatic way possible that nothing that he could ever, or would ever write would eclipse this one statement in its importance:

“I passed on to you the best—the chief, the first and foremost in importance—fact of all time: Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”

A most-important, and most-specific chronology — not to be overlooked.

In this case, the chronology is the story.

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God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Rip Heard ‘Round the World

screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-11-21-04-amThink of it. As you will hear in this PODCAST

Promptly at 3 PM…

Exactly at That.Very.Moment when Jesus breathed His last…

Precisely to the second when Jesus exclaimed, “It is finished. Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit”…

This happened:

“Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

Do you have any idea what that means? It will take the remainder of this discussion for us even to begin to understand What.That.Means.

Why did God tear the veil?

It was obviously God who ripped it. No human hand could possibly tear it. That veil was an elaborately woven fabric that stood 60 feet high, equal in height to a seven-story building. No one could tear that curtain. Only God could tear that curtain.

Which only amplifies the question, Why?

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God bless you richly as you listen.

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Dramatic Words of a Dying Man (Part 3)

darknesscross-e1458908003261Caiaphas, the high priest that year, must have been fit to be tied.

Well, somewhat so.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, it was Passover. The Holy City, Jerusalem, was teaming with pilgrims. The all-important 3 PM Passover sacrifice at the Temple was fast-approaching.

It was arguably single most financially-flourishing day of the year (second only, perhaps, to the Day of Atonement) as far as the corrupt Temple Industrial Complex over which Caiaphas presided was concerned. There was money to be made this day. Lots and lots of money.

But the heavens seemed to conspire against Caiaphas.

Of all the luck (bad luck indeed), a most-rare, hauntingly-eerie atmospheric anomaly threatened to diminish severely Caiaphas’ shady haul of ill-gotten shekels.

At 12 PM, high noon, a mere three hours before the afternoon sacrifice, the sky turned ominously dark. If it stayed that way, there would be no 3 PM Passover Lamb sacrificed that day.

Well, according to Matthew 27 — Read ’em and weep, Caiaphas. 

“At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until 3 o’clock.”

A darkness that drove everyone away from the cross as they scrambled for shelter from the encroaching gloom of that midday backness.

Coincidence? No way!

Now there would be no Passover Lamb sacrificed at 3 PM on this day.

Or would there?

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God bless you richly as you listen.

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Jesus Walks the Way of Sorrows

praetorium4It is called, appropriately enough, the Via Dolorosa, Latin for “The Way of Sorrows.”

For Jesus, it absolutely was a way of sorrows — every single excruciatingly painful step of it, from the Antonia Fortress (where Pilate sentenced Him), to Golgotha (where Jesus’ execution awaited Him).

In this PODCAST, we will walk that path 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 richly as you listen.

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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…

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God bless you richly as you listen.

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Behold the Lamb

web-happy-lambThere is a beautiful and breathtaking symmetry to the life and ministry of Jesus.

Case in point, as you will hear in this PODCAST, here in John 12, the beloved disciple brings us full circle. You may not see that now. But trust me, you will by the time we conclude this discussion.

Let me give you one tantalizing little hint: This beautiful symmetry to which I refer has little to do with palm branches, but everything to do with lambs.

Now watch this: When John introduced us to Jesus for the very first time, this is what he wrote:

“The next day John (the baptizer) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”

That’s in John 1.

Here in John 12, this is what we read:

“The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city.”

Now listen: In both cases, at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry in John 1, and here at the very ending of Jesus’ ministry in John 12, it’s all about a lamb.

I know that as you read any or all of the accounts of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem as recorded in all four of the Gospels, you may not see a lamb. But trust me, it’s there. Front and center, it’s there.

Just as it is in John 1, so it is here in John 12, Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Miss that, and you miss the whole point of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, on this — the Sunday before Passover.

Which raises a most intriguing question: Why did Jesus choose to ride into Jerusalem on that Sunday? Jesus could have ridden into Jerusalem on Saturday (If He did, we would call it Palm Saturday!), or on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday.

Why did Jesus choose to ride in on the Sunday before Passover? Answer that, and you get the whole picture.

Here’s a secondary question: Since Passover did not officially begin until that Thursday night (Remember Jesus sharing with the disciples their final Passover seder in Upper room on Thursday night?), why were so many pilgrims in Jerusalem so early on that Sunday?

Answer that, and you get the whole picture.

Which underscores this point: The Bible is God’s picture book, and Jesus’ Triumphal Entry is yet another three-dimensional, High Definition portrait of breathtaking significance. A panoramic masterpiece that, though we studied one portion of the Triumphal Entry last week (Daniel’s prophecy), this picture is far too important to ignore this week.

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.

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“From That Time On…”

Plan-to-Kill-JesusJohn 11:53 (NLT) is a most remarkable statement. It reads,

“So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.”

As you’ll hear in this PODCAST, I’ll tell you exactly to what John referred with the phrase, “From that time on…” Again, this is most remarkable.

But before we get to that, consider this: It is, in my humble estimation, the Single.Most.Misunderstood parable in the entire New Testament. No exaggeration.

The parable to which I refer is most commonly entitled, “The Rich Man and Lazarus,” and it is found in Luke 16.

Now, you might be wondering, What does this parable in Luke 16 have to do with John 11 wherein the religious leaders “from that time on… began to plot Jesus’ death?”

Honestly, it has everything to do with John 11.

So much so, that if you don’t understand this parable — the meaning of it, and just as importantly, the timing of it — you won’t understand John 11. You won’t understand the motivations of those who began to plot Jesus’ death.

In terms of how hard a person’s heart can become, this is nothing short of breathtaking. Breathtaking.

Now, I’ve got to tell you here at the outset, I am so excited about this discussion for a number of reasons.

  • First, we are going to learn together how properly to interpret a parable, along with what never to do when trying to understand a parable.
  • Second, we are going to see in real time the lengths to which Jesus went to reach out to these murderous religious leaders, all an expression of His love undying love for them.
  • Third, we are going to lay the foundation for all that is to follow, both the why and the how of the coming events that inexorably lead to the crucifixion of Jesus.

To once-more-quote that telling phrase from John 11, “From that time on…” Jesus days are numbered. And that now of days will now rapidly grow smaller.

The curtain is now coming down fast and furious on Jesus’ life.

This here in John 11 truly is a watershed moment.

What I need you to understand is this: In the chronology of Jesus’ life and ministry, the plot to kill Jesus in John 11 is linked directly to the parable Luke 16.

Let me read to you the parable, and then we will talk about.

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.

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God, Why Won’t You Answer My Prayer? (An Encore Podcast)

prayerKey word for this PODCAST? Expectations.

There is nothing more toxic to our faith than when we base our faith on misinformed expectations. More precisely, holding God to expectations that He never intended for us to form; expectations God never committed Himself to fulfill.

They say that “confession is good for the soul.” OK, here’s my confession to you: Every week, when I open the Bible and begin to teach, I keenly, keenly feel my inadequacy. That’s not a me-trying-to-sound-humble statement; that’s a me-being-brutally-honest statement. A true statement, an honest admission, because I know that each and every person who listens to my voice and hears my words is experiencing their own challenges, asking their own questions, working through their own difficulties.

Consequently, there is so much that I would like to tell you, but literally so little time. How much can we accomplish in less than an hour together each week?

I am certainly not alone in my frustration. I take great comfort that Jesus felt it too, keenly so. Which is precisely what He told His disciples in one of the landmark chapters in all of the Bible. Yet, ironically, it’s a chapter that is so often overlooked as to its significance and importance.

If I were to ask you to tell me your favorite chapter in the Bible, or the one that brings you the greatest level of comfort, I doubt you’d say John 16. But for me, without a doubt, I’d say John 16. And it’s in this chapter that Jesus expressed my same exact frustration.

There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.

The scene was the Upper Room. The night was His last night before the crucifixion. Jesus knew what the next 24 hours would be like. Consequently, Jesus had to recalibrate His disciples’ expectations. And so on this night, Jesus huddled with His disciples at what should have been the singular celebration of the year: a Passover Seder.

A beautiful night that would soon turn ugly.

These men had left everything to follow Jesus. They had literally put their lives on the line to become committed Christ-followers.

Jesus had warned them repeatedly that this night was coming — the night of His betrayal and arrest.

But you know, it’s amazing to me what we hear, and what we don’t allow ourselves to hear.

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The Wrath of God

the-wrath-of-godIt is without a doubt THE single most unpleasant topic in all of the Bible. The subject of this week’s PODCAST: God’s wrath.

We discuss it here because here in Matthew 10, Jesus made reference to the iconic display of God’s wrath: the twin-cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

And for good measure, Jesus also referred to “the day of judgment.”

Since Jesus brought it up, we will bring it up — unpleasant or otherwise — providing some Much-Needed-Clarification to an Often-Misunderstood topic.

Upon reflection, I suppose the overarching questions raised by this sobering subject are these:

Is Jesus a gentle Jesus?

Is Jesus a wrathful Jesus?

Or both?

And if both, how does the one (gentle) square with the other (wrathful)? Especially in light of what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah.

My friends, as always, we have a ton to talk about.

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God bless you as you listen.

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