It is Wednesday evening of Passion week and Jesus has just completed the Passover celebration with His disciples in a large upper room that accommodated guests during the annual Jewish feasts, and which may very well have belonged to the family of John Mark, author of our second gospel; see Mar 14:13-15, Luk 22:7-12, Act 1:13,15, 12:12 and recall that Mark may also have been the man carrying the pitcher of water, typically a woman’s job, that led Peter and John to the location. During His Last Supper with them, what two significant events did Matthew and Mark emphasize that happened? See Mat 26:21-25,26-29, Mar 14:18-21,22-25. While these things were foremost in the minds of these who wrote first, were they the only noteworthy things that happened during that gathering and shortly after? See Mat 26:31-35, Luk 22:24-27,28-30,31-34,35-38, Joh 13:5-20,21-30,31-35,36-38, and all the discourse John records in John 14-17 including His going to the Father to prepare a place for His disciples and promise to come again and take them to be with Him (Joh 14:1-6), His oneness with the Father (Joh 14:7-15), the promise of the Spirit (Joh 14:16-31), Jesus’ relation to His disciples as the vine and the branches (Joh 15:1-11), the disciples relation to one another and to the world (Joh 15:12-26), predictions of persecution, the Spirit, Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the future efficacy of His disciples’ own prayers (Joh 16), as well as Jesus’ high priestly prayer (Joh 17). What does this remind us about how the inspired records we have reflect the circumstances and purposes of those who wrote them and are necessarily not a complete record of everything that happened? See Joh 20:30-31; cf. Deut 29:29.
What is the significance that the five chapters of additional and theologically deep teaching that John reports in Joh 13-17 as happening the night of the Last Supper were not mentioned at all by the other gospels, and were only recorded by John many years later near the end of his life? Considering that it was night and they had just eaten a feast with several cups of wine, were they necessarily at their peak understanding and awareness? Cf. Mat 26:43. Think too: Is it possible that it took that long for even Jesus’ closest disciple to comprehend and articulate those truths to which they were all groggy both physically and spiritually, as the Spirit called them to mind over the course of his life? Cf. Joh 2:22, 12:16, 14:26. Considering the amount of time that Jesus had personally spent with His disciples and yet only a lifetime of walking with the Lord allowed one disciple to understand and articulate the importance of so many of the other things Jesus spoke about that night beyond His betrayal and the Lord’s Supper, should we suppose that we can somehow quickly come to understand and completely grasp the importance of the many gospel truths God has provided us in the Scriptures, especially if we are also spiritually asleep and drunk with the spirit of the world? What does this also remind us about the need to be patient with seekers and new believers as they come to the knowledge of the truth, and to not make deep truths that perhaps by God’s grace we have come to understand a theological litmus test of inclusion or fellowship with others? What should be the test of inclusion and fellowship with others? Cf. Luk 8:15, Joh 3:21, Rom 2:7, 1Ti 1:5, 1Jo 3:18; contrast 2Th 2:10.
Did all of these things happen in the upper room where they ate the last supper? See Joh 14:31, 18:1. Notice that Matthew indicates that Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial took place on their way to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane (Mat 26:30-35), while John seems to indicate that it was while they were still in the upper room (Joh 13:36-38). Is that necessarily a contradiction? Or is it more likely that as in our own interactions with others about matters of substance, the conversation didn’t necessarily happen as succinctly as it is summarized, but developed over a longer period of time that began in the upper room and culminated on the way to the Mount of Olives, so that a writer might according to his own telling summarize it as happening at any time during that interval without being untruthful? Notice too that even in John, he reports that it happened after the supper had ended, for Judas had already left and gone out (Joh 13:30-31). What does this again remind us about such so-called contradictions in the Bible? Are they really examples that the Scriptures cannot be trusted, or proof that the authors were sincere and did not contrive with one another to promote a lie?
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?