At Jesus’ last Passover celebration, where bread and wine were shared to commemorate the deliverance of God’s people from their bondage in Egypt, He established the Lord’s Supper, imparting even greater meaning to those elements that typified the even greater salvation from their bondage to sin He was about to accomplish. Matthew records that after singing a hymn—the Hallel Psalms that prophetically spoke of the events that were now transpiring—they went out to the Mount of Olives (Mat 26:30), where the promised salvation foretold by God’s prophets would immediately unfold. There in the garden of Gethsemane, whose name means an olive press, Jesus was pressed for the oil of His Holy Spirit that would be poured out for our washing and regeneration to find deliverance from sin through the same Spirit of submission to the will of the Father (cf. Mat 7:21), even unto death. For it is only through dying to sin that the bonds of iniquity are broken. Emerging victorious through prayer Jesus met those led by Judas, His betrayer, head-on, not with the sword of the world as even Peter, the foremost of His disciples, imagined it must be, but with the sword of truth, the light of which alone is able to dispel the powers of darkness. Although He had taught daily in the temple where they could easily have seized Him if He was really guilty of crimes that warranted the force sent to arrest Him, this was now their hour, in the middle of the night, when they could seize Him apart from the light of day when the darkness has no power. This was the time allotted them to make their stand against the Lord and against His Christ (Psa 2:2). Now, after rebuking the religious mob for their hypocrisy in coming out against Him in the middle of the night as if He was a violent robber, what does Matthew say was the response of His disciples? See Mat 26:56b.
What prophecy did Jesus’ disciples fulfill in forsaking Him, despite their stated purpose to the contrary? See Mat 26:31,35, Zec 13:7. What does this teach us about the way that God, who fully understands the nature of sin and its deceit, knows man better than man knows himself? Cf. Joh 2:24-25, 6:15. How does it also help us understand that the nature of prophecy need not necessarily be a foretelling of the future as if the prophet saw ahead of time exact events that would later happen, but the stating of an inevitable outcome based on a knowledge of the truth and a wise understanding of the nature of fallen man within God’s creation? Cf. 1Pe 1:10.
At the time the mob seized Jesus, what also happened to one of His followers? See Mar 14:51-52. Because the linen described was expensive, what might we surmise about the economic status of this disciple? For what reasons is it possible that the man described was Mark himself? Note that Mark himself was a young man; he alone describes this unflattering episode that others in Christian charity would have omitted, as in fact the other gospel writers did; his family was of some means (cf. Act 12:12-13); the upper room where they had just celebrated the Passover may even have been at their home; cf. Mar 14:15, Act 1:12-13, 1Pe 5:13. In what way is this episode a parable of the shameful way the disciples deserted Jesus, who had poured Himself into them over the past years, was now proceeding to the cross for their salvation, and had even just now bargained for them to go their way (Joh 18:8-9)? Cf. Amo 2:16, Act 19:16, Rev 3:17, 16:15. What does Scripture also record for us that the fine linen the young man was dressed in was used for? See Mat 27:59. Consider then that in death Jesus was clothed in the very sort of linen that one of His disciples had shamefully left to escape naked; what garments of His own did the covenant exchange His death was about to accomplish allow His disciples to put on? See Rev 19:8; cf. Isa 61:10. Note too that the fine linen of Rev 19:8 is not the same as that described in Mar 14:51-52 and Mat 27:59, but the even more precious and very fine linen used for the priestly garments (Exo 28:39, 36:34) and that the angelic messenger described by Daniel (Dan 10:5, 12:6-7) was dressed in.
In addition to the physical sufferings He was about to undergo, as well as the ignominy of being branded a malefactor, and especially the separation from His Father’s love, in what way would the desertion of those closest to Him for whom He was about to die and who had just hours earlier pledged they would never deny Him have added to His sufferings? What does this teach us about how the great love of God is not always immediately understood or received by those for whom it is poured out? Should those who follow in the footsteps of Jesus be surprised not only that fewer and fewer walk with them in the narrow way (cf. Joh 6:60,66), but that they also find themselves alone and forsaken by the same sort of fears and circumstances that caused Jesus’ disciples to forsake Him? Cf. 2Ti 4:16. If we are to walk in that same love of God, can we make that love conditional upon the way others receive it? What if Jesus responded to His disciples’ desertion and forsook the cross because they were not “worthy” of His love? Apart from the disappointment that added to His sufferings, in what way did Jesus’ disciples forsaking Him so there were no witnesses in His favor pave the way for the sham trial that would lead to His crucifixion? What does this teach us not only about the potential implications of forsaking Jesus, but about the potential importance of even just one person remaining faithful to stand up for the truth? Cf. 2Ti 1:16-18.
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?