"Give Thanks To Jehovah, For He is Good"
Psalm 106:1
2015 year text

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jesus Celebrates His Last Passover

With His 12 Apostles.

Events on Nisan 13 and 14

Please read: Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16;
Luke 22:7-13; John 13:1-5; 14:1-3

It is now Nisan 13, final preparations will need to be made for the Passover. The celebration will begin at sundown. That is when the Passover lamb must be slaughtered and then roasted whole. Where will they celebrate the feast, and who will make the preparations?

Jesus assigns Peter and John to get things ready, saying: "Go and get the passover ready for us to eat." "Where do you want us to get it ready?" they ask.
"When you enter into the city," Jesus explains, "a man carrying an earthenware vessel of water will meet you. Follow him into the house into which he enters. And you must say to the landlord of the house. 'The Teacher says to you: "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the passover with my disciples?" And that man will show you a large upper room furnished. Get it ready there."

So the two of them see to it that the lamb is ready and that all the other arrangements are made to care for the needs of the 13 Passover celebrants, Jesus and his 12 apostles. - Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13.

The sun is sinking on the horizon as Jesus and the ten other apostles start their journey down the Mount of Olives to meet up with Peter and John in Jerusalem. This is Jesus' last daytime view of the city from this mountain until after his resurrection. Soon Jesus and his party arrive in the city and make their way to the home where they will celebrate the Passover. At sundown, according to the Jewish calender, it is now Nisan 14th. They climb the stairs to the large upper room, where they find all preparations made for their private celebration of the Passover. Jesus has looked forward to this occasion, as he says: "I have greatly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." (Luke 22:15) -John 13:1

Sometime during the course of the meal, Jesus gets up, lays aside his outer garments, takes a towel, and fills a basin with water. Ordinarily, a host would see to it that a guest's feet were washed. But since on this occasion no host is present, Jesus cares for this personal service. Any one of the apostles could have seized the opportunity to do it; yet, apparently because some rivalry still exists among them, no one does. Now they are embarrassed as Jesus begins to wash their feet. When Jesus has washed the feet of all 12, including the feet of his betrayer, Judas, he puts his outer garments on and reclines at the table again. Jesus explains: "I set the pattern for you, that, just as I did to you. you should do also. Most truly I say to you, A slave is not greater than his master, nor is one that is sent forth greater than the one that sent him. If you know these things, happy you are if you do them." (John 13:15-17) What a beautiful lesson in humble service! The apostles should not be seeking the first place, thinking that they are so important that others should always serve them. They need to follow the pattern set by Jesus. They need to develop the willingness to serve without partiality, no matter how menial or unpleasant the task may be. -John 13: 2-5

After Judas is dismissed Jesus institutes the new covenant with his faithful 11 apostles. At Mark 14:22-24 it states: And as they continued eating, he took a loaf, said a blessing, broke it and gave it to them, and said: "Take it, this means my body." And taking a cup, he offered thanks and gave it to them, and they all drank out of it. And he said to them: "This means my 'blood' of the covenant, which is to be poured out in behalf of many." (Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:28-30) So this is, in fact, a memorial of Jesus' death. Each year on Nisan 14 it is to be repeated, as Jesus says, in remembrance of him. It will call to memory what Jesus and his heavenly Father have done to provide escape for humankind from the condemnation of death. For the Jews who become Christ's followers the celebration will replace the Passover.

The new covenant, which is made operative by Jesus' shed blood, replaces the old Law covenant. It is mediated by Jesus Christ between two parties -on the one hand, Jehovah God, and on the other, 144,000 spirit-begotten Christians. Besides providing for the forgiveness of sins, the covenant allows for the formation of a heavenly nation of king-priests. (Compare: Rev 5:9, 10; 14:1-3)

Jesus continues to teach them and prepare them for what lies ahead. He explains, "All of you will be stumbled in connection with me on this night."- Matthew 26:31. But gently Jesus encourages them with the words, " Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, it I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be." Yes, Jesus is preparing a place for these faithful spirit-anointed Christians, in heaven, to be kings and priests, along with Jesus in the promised heavenly kingdom. What blessings the earth will receive under this kingdom rule! -John 14:1-3

Yes, Jesus spoke intimately with his faithful friends before going out to the garden of Gethsemane, teaching them and preparing them for the trials about to come. (John 13:34,35; chapters 14,15,16,17)

Jesus truly loved them to the end!-John 13:1

Monday, March 29, 2010

Betrayal Plot!

Events on Nisan 12

Please read Matthew 26:1-5; 14-16; Luke 22:1-6

Jesus apparently spends Nisan 12, quietly with his apostles. He realizes that the hypocritical religious leaders are seeking to kill him. Jesus does not show himself openly. He does not want anything to interfere with his celebrating the Passover with his apostles the following evening.

Jesus prepares his apostles for what is soon to come saying, "You know that two days from now the passover occurs, and the Son of man is to be delivered up to be impaled." -Matthew 26: 1 & 2

In the meantime, the chief priests and the older men of the people have gathered in the courtyard of the high priest, Caiaphas. They are making plans to seize Jesus by crafty device and have him put to death. Yet they keep saying: " Not at the festival, in order that no uproar may arise among the people." They are in fear of the people, whose favor Jesus enjoys.
-Matthew 26: 3-5; Luke 22:1, 2.

While the religious leaders are wickedly conspiring to kill Jesus, they receive a visitor. To their surprise, it is one of Jesus' own apostles, Judas Iscariot, the one into whom Satan has implanted the horrible idea of betraying his Master! How pleased they are when Judas inquires: "What will you give me to betray him to you?" They gladly agree to pay him 30 silver pieces, the price of a slave according to the Mosaic Law covenant. (Exodus 21:32) From then on, Judas seeks a good opportunity to betray Jesus to them without a crowd around. -Matthew 26:14-16; Luke 22:3-6.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jesus' Ministry at The Temple Completed -

Sign of The Last Days Revealed.

Events on Nisan 11

Please read Luke 21:1-36

Jesus is at the temple again teaching the people many things. He has warned them about the hypocrites who oppose him, boldly exposing who they really are. (Compare: Matthew 22:41-23:24) Jesus now moves to where he can watch the treasury chests in the temple and the crowds dropping money into them. The rich drop in many coins. But then a poor widow comes along and drops in two small coins of very little value.

Jesus calls this to the attention of his disciples saying, "I tell you truthfully, This widow, although poor, dropped in more than they all did. For all these dropped in gifts out of their surplus, but this woman out of her want dropped in all the means of living she had." After saying these things, Jesus leaves the temple for the last time. -verses 1-4

As Jesus and his disciples begin their climb up the Mount of Olives, the disciples being very impressed with the size and beauty of the temple, point out how it is built with stones over 35 feet long, more than 15 feet wide, and over 10 feet high! Jesus reply may surprise them, "As for these things that you are beholding, the days will come in which not a stone upon a stone will be left here and not be thrown down." -verses 5 & 6

When they reach their destination Jesus sits on the Mount of Olives overlooking the temple. Since Jesus has just foretold that not a stone will be left upon a stone in it, several of his disciples are concerned and question Jesus further. (Compare Matthew 24:3) Jesus answers them with a lengthy response. He provides a sign that identifies when the Jewish system of things will end. He also gives a sign that will alert his future disciples so they can know that they are living during his presence and near the end of the entire system of things! Yes, the time we live in, referred to by some as "the last days". Verses 7-33 give Jesus' description of this future time, read his own words then compare them to what we see around us today. Jesus stated, "... on earth anguish of nations , not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea* and it's agitation, while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth..." -verses 7-33

After giving the prophetic sign Jesus gives directions to those living during the time of the end of the systems of things. "Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you, as a snare. For it will come in upon all those swelling upon the face of all the earth. Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man. -verses 34-36.

*sea (compare: Isaiah 57:20; Rev 17:15)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

God's Voice Heard From Heaven!

Events on Nisan 10

Please read John 12:20-50

Jesus and his disciples visit the Temple in Jerusalem again. Besides natural Jews, Gentiles have also come to the Passover. These are proselytes, meaning that they have converted to the religion of the Jews. Certain Greeks, evidently proselytes, now approach Philip and ask to see Jesus. Philip goes to Andrew, maybe to ask if such a meeting would be appropriate. -verses 20-22

Jesus knows he only has a few days of life left, so he kindly illustrates his situation. One grain of wheat has little value. But when it is put into the soil and "dies" ending its life as a seed, it germinates and in time grows into a stalk that produces many, many grains of wheat. Similarly, Jesus is just one perfect man. But if he dies faithful to God, he becomes the means of imparting everlasting life to faithful ones who have the same spirit of self-sacrifice that he has. That's why Jesus states, "He that is fond of his soul destroys it, but he that hates his soul in this world will safeguard it for everlasting life." -verses 23-25

Jesus thinking of others continues teaching, explaining the wonderful reward for following Jesus and ministering to him! It is the reward of being honored by the Father to associate with Christ in the Kingdom. Next Jesus, knowing that he will soon suffer and die continues explaining this to his disciples. Jesus is in full agreement with the entire arrangement of God, including his own sacrificial death. -verse 26 & 27

Jesus' main concern is how his Father's reputation will be affected, so he prays: "Father glorify your name." At that, a mighty voice comes from the heavens proclaiming: "I both glorified it and will glorify it again." -verse 28

The crowd standing around are bewildered. Some think it was an angel speaking, others say it was thunder. On Nisan 10, four days before Jesus' death, God's voice is heard by men. Jesus explains, "This voice has occurred, not for my sake, but for your sakes." It provides proof that Jesus is God's Son, the promised Messiah. Jesus continues, "now the ruler of this world will be cast out." Jesus' faithful life course, confirms that Satan the Devil, the ruler of the world, deserves to be "cast out", executed. Jesus continues to explain that he will die and by means of his death, he will draw others to himself so that they may enjoy everlasting life. The crowd protests: "...Who is this Son of Man?" Despite all the evidence, including hearing God's own voice, most do not believe that Jesus is the true Son of man, the promised Messiah. Jesus now speaks of himself as the light" and encourages his listeners: "While you have the light, exercise faith in the light, in order to become sons of light." Jesus goes off and hides, evidently because his life is in danger. -verses 29-36

The Jews in fulfillment of what the prophet Isaiah wrote, stubbornly reject the evidence that this One is their promised Deliverer. (Isaiah 6:1, 8-10) While the majority do not believe, still many even of the rulers (evidently members of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin) actually put faith in Jesus. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea are two of these rulers. But at least for now they fail to declare their faith, for fear of being expelled from their positions in the synagogue. They really miss out! -verses 37-43

Jehovah's love for the world of mankind moved him to send Jesus so that those who put faith in him might be saved. Whether people are saved will be determined by whether they obey the things God instructed Jesus to speak. The judgment will take place "in the last day," during Christ's Thousand Year Reign. Jesus concludes saying, "I have not spoken out of my own impulse, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak. Also, I know that his commandment means everlasting life. Therefore the things I speak, just as the Father has told me them, so I speak them." -verses 44-50

Friday, March 26, 2010

Christ's Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

It is wise to prepare our minds and our hearts for the Memorial of Christ's Death by reading the scriptures pertaining to the last days of Jesus life on earth. This next week I will post some scriptures. My hope is that your faith and love for Jehovah and our Lord Jesus will be strengthen in the "critical times" we find ourselves living in. (Keep in mind, Jesus used the Hebrew calendar)

Events of Nisan 9

Please read in your own Bibles John 12:12-19 and Mark 11:1-11.

On Sunday morning, Nisan 9, Jesus leaves Bethany with his disciples and heads over to the Mount of Olives. Jesus then instructs two of his disciples:
"Be on your way into the village that is within sight of you, and you will at once find an ass tied and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. And if someone asks anything to you, you must say, 'The Lord needs them.' At that he will immediately send them forth."

Although at first the disciples fail to discern that these instructions have anything to do with the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, later they realize that they do. The prophet Zechariah foretold that God's promised King would ride into Jerusalem on a colt of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)

With your minds eye, can you put yourself in the picture above? Hear the crowd and feel the excitement in the air! As Jesus rides toward Jerusalem, the crowd increases. Most of the people spread their outer garments on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them out. The people cry out: "Blessed is the One coming as the King in Jehovah's name! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest places!" Just a few weeks earlier, many in the crowd had seen Jesus resurrect Lazarus. Now these keep telling others about that miracle. By the time Jesus enters Jerusalem, the whole city is set in commotion. "Who is this?" people want to know. And the crowds keep telling: "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee!" As is his custom on visits to Jerusalem Jesus goes to the temple to teach.

Not everyone is happy though.

Some Pharisees in the crowd are upset by the people's joyful proclamations! Seeing how the crowds react to Jesus they lament that they are getting absolutely nowhere, for, as they say: "The world has gone after him." (Compare: John 11:47, 48, 53; 12:10,11)

Soon it is late and Jesus leaves Jerusalem with the 12, and travels back the two miles or so to Bethany. There he spends the Sunday night, probably in the home of his friend Lazarus.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Importance of a Formal Agreement -

Genesis Chapter 23

The first two verses of chapter 23 we are told Sarah has died. Abraham, a faithful servant of God showed his deep feelings over the loss of his beloved and loyal wife. They had served Jehovah together all their married life. Although he was a brave man, he was not ashamed to express his grief in tears. Yes, Abraham had a strong faith that God could resurrect the dead, still he grieved openly.

Abraham knew this land well. He and Sarah had traveled up and down the land. However, as alien residents, settlers among the sons of Heth, they had no place to bury their dead loved ones. Abraham wanted to bury Sarah in a cave of Machpelah at the far end of the field belonging to Ephron the son of Zohar. Abraham offers to buy the cave for a set amount of silver.- verses 3-9

Ephron and Abraham conducted their business publicly at the gate of the city. There Ephron made a counter offer, not just the cave but also the field. Abraham agreed to this arrangement and weighed out four hundred silver shekels. - verse 10-20. (Compare Genesis 14:23)

To help prevent misunderstandings in business dealings, notice how Abraham bought this piece of land. He "weighed out to Ephron the amount of silver that he had spoke in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred silver shekels current with the merchants. Thus the field of Ephron that was Machpelah ... became confirmed to Abraham as his purchased property before the eyes of the sons of Heth among those entering the gate of his city." -Gen 23: 16,17,20.

This was no private gentleman's agreement. It was a formal agreement confirmed in front of witnesses. There was no misunderstanding about what had been purchased and the exact price. How does this information benefit us? It is wise for Christians to formalize important transactions. How?
By putting the transaction in writing. The persons involved should write, what is sold, the price, the method of payment, when and how the payment is made, as well as any other condition agreed upon. If it is a service, you should write down the work to be done, when it should be completed, the price and any other factors. This document should be dated and signed and a copy kept by both parties.
This is the wise way to conduct business with any one. Not because of mistrust, but to avoid misunderstandings.

(In case you were wondering: Heth was the second listed son of Canaan and the great-grandson of Noah through Ham. (Ge 10:1, 6, 15) Heth was the ancestral father of the Hittites, who did not worship Abraham's God, Jehovah. Their religion was pagan, undoubtedly being phallic, as were other Canaanite religions.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Seven Children in a Boat.

By Kate Greenaway

I love this sketch because it reminds me of times when children could romp and play with relatively little danger. They knew how to take care of each other and have fun in the outdoors together. If you like this picture please share with me your reasons why.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Should Have Been an Architect -

Tempe, Arizona

Tempe Town Hall has always been a very interesting concept.
I like it's lines.

What's New in Tempe?
River Front Regatta Point Condos

This building was first a Bank, it became a Visitors Information Center.
This interesting place was built in 1962, demolished in 2007.
I remember this as a bank, very cool building, so sad it is gone.

And of course the UGLIEST Building in the world.
The Grady Gammage, by Frank Lloyd Wright
We actually lived right across the street
from this building when we first moved to Arizona

So, all you Arizonians!
What buildings would you recommend visitors interested
in Architecture, not miss seeing?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What is This Sound I Hear....

In the Middle of the Night?

This is a mockingbird and it really sings beautifully! We have one that perches in our lime tree and sings all night long! I should be upset about loosing sleep, but it sings so clear and a melody so cheerful, that I just HAVE to ENJOY it! (Yes, it should be a sin to "Kill a Mockingbird")

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What about a Sock Monkey?

I think this little guy is cute. What do you think?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Genesis Chapter 22

Abraham's Tested Quality of Faith.

Did you get a chance to read this chapter? Understanding Abraham's faith will help us to develop that same kind of faith in our own lives. And what can we learn about Isaac's submissive and obedient attitude?

Jehovah says to Abraham: "Take please, your son. Your only son whom you so love, Isaac, and make a trip to the land of Moriah and there offer him up as a burnt offering." Gen 22:1 2) Abraham did not linger but in the morning began the 3-day journey to the place Jehovah selected. (Gen 22:3-4)
Abraham had strong faith, but what did he base his faith on? Remember the unusual circumstances in which Isaac was born, both his father and his mother were old, his mother already past child bearing years. (Gen 18:11) Abraham knew that Jehovah could rejuvenate a woman's ability to produce a child, and it was through Isaac that his descendants would develop into a great nation. (Gen 21:12) This must have seemed to be quite a contradiction when Jehovah told Abraham, as a test of his faith, to sacrifice his son Isaac. "Because of the promise of God (Abraham) did not waver in a lack of faith, ...being fully convinced that what (God) had promised he was also able to do." -Romans 4:20 Abraham trusted Jehovah to keep his promises.

When Abraham reaches the place selected by God, notice his words to his servants. "You stay here with the ass, but I and the boy want to go on over there and worship and return to you." -Gen 22:5. Abraham then places the wood needed for the burnt offering upon Isaac and they continue to the designated site. "But where is the sheep for the burnt offering?" Isaac asks. "God will provide himself the sheep" was the answer. -Gen 22:3-8, 14

Reaching the place, they built an altar and laid the wood in place. Then Isaac was bound hand and foot and put atop the wood. As Abraham raised the knife, Jehovah's angel stopped him. Abraham's faith had not been misplaced; Jehovah provided a ram, there caught in the thicket, that could be offered up for a burnt offering in the place of Isaac.- Gen 22:9-14 Yes, Abraham reasoned "that God was able to raise him up even from the dead," and "in an illustrative way" he did receive Isaac back from the dead. (Please compare: Hebrews 11:17-19)

This dramatic episode proved the faith and obedience not only of Abraham but also of his son Isaac. According to Jewish tradition, recorded by Josephus, Issac was 25 years old at this time. He was definitely old enough and strong enough to carry a considerable amount of wood up a mountain. He could have resisted his 125-year old father when the time came to bind him if he had chosen to be rebellious against Jehovah's commandments. Instead, Isaac submissively let his father offer him as a sacrifice in harmony with God's will.

A great prophetic picture was enacted, portraying how Christ Jesus, the Greater Isaac, would in due time willingly lay down his human life as the Lamb of God for mankind's salvation. This also pictures how Jehovah gave his "only-begotten son" for the benefit of all obedient mankind.

Abraham was rewarded for his faith! God told Abraham: "By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice." -Gen 22:18. How? The King of God's heavenly Kingdom would come through Abraham's line of descent. Abraham possessed only limited knowledge of the Kingdom, yet he trusted God and looked forward to its establishment. -Hebrews 11:10.

May we too develop faith as strong as Abraham's. Not a blind faith, but a strong faith based on God's promises and His past actions or demonstrations. (Compare Hebrews 11:1)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010