Saturday, 9 April 2011

Day of remembrance coming near

A Ransomer and a free Gift of God to remember

"Every good gift and every perfect present" comes down from God, our heavenly Father. (James 1:17)

The Greatest gift that God has given to fallen mankind is provision for their recovery by means of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus' death as our Ransomer makes possible everlasting life on a paradise earth. At Luke 22:19, we are commanded to memorialize his death.

This day of remembrance is coming near. Shall we be able to meet you?

On the 13th of Nisan lots of people were busy making final arrangements for the Passover, also Jesus and his disciples. Early in the afternoon, Jesus had send Peter and John to prepare the Passover for them in an upper room in Jerusalem. (Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:8) A little before sundown, Jesus and the other ten apostles met them there for their last Passover celebration.

Jesus had greatly desired to eat this passover with his close friends and told them he was going to suffer. (Luke 22:14, 15)
Jesus knew that one of these men—Judas Iscariot—had already arranged to betray him to the religious leaders. Understandably, he became very distressed. "One of you will betray me," he revealed. The apostles were highly grieved at this. (Matthew 26:21, 22) After celebrating the Passover, Jesus told Judas: "What you are doing get done more quickly."(John 13:27).

Once Judas had left, Jesus introduced a meal to commemorate his impending death. He took a loaf of the unleavened bread, expressed thanks in prayer, broke it, and instructed the 11 to partake. "This means my body," he sayd, "which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me." He then took a cup of red wine. After saying a blessing, he passed the cup to them, telling them to drink out of it. Jesus added: "This means my 'blood of the covenant,' which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins." (Luke 22:19, 20; Matthew 26:26-28).

During that momentous evening, Jesus taught his faithful apostles many valuable lessons, and among these the importance of brotherly love. (John 13:34, 35) He assured them that they were going to receive a "helper," the holy spirit. (John 14:26)
Later in the evening Jesus said a fervent prayer in their behalf. (John, chapter 17) After singing songs of praise, they left the upper room and followed Jesus out into the cool late-night air.

Sunday, April 17, we shall remember those moments and all the events of that night, when Judas Iscariot arrived with a crowd carrying swords, clubs, and torches in the the garden of Gethsemane. (John 18:1, 2; Luke 22:44; Matthew 26:47-52)
Jesus was arrested and bound, led away to Annas, the former high priest. Then he was taken to Caiaphas, the high priest, to be tried. In the early hours of the morning, the Sanhedrin falsely charged Jesus with blasphemy.

Caiaphas had him taken to Roman governor Pontius Pilate who got him send to Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee. Herod and his guards mocked Jesus were after they sent him back to Pilate, who confirmed Jesus innocence. But the Jewish religious leaders pressured him to condemn Jesus to death. After considerable verbal and physical abuse, Jesus was taken out to Golgotha where he was mercilessly nailed to a torture stake and suffered an agonizing death. (Mark 14:50-15:39; Luke 23:4-25)

It would have been the greatest tragedy in history if Jesus' death had brought a permanent end to his life. Happily, that was not the case. On Nisan 16, 33 C.E., his disciples were amazed to find that he had been raised from the dead. In time, more than 500 people were able to  verify that Jesus was again alive. And 40 days after his resurrection, a group of faithful followers saw him ascend to heaven. (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Luke 22:14-71:
14 At length when the hour came, he reclined at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them: “I have greatly desired to eat this passover with YOU before I suffer; 16 for I tell YOU, I will not eat it again until it becomes fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And, accepting a cup, he gave thanks and said: “Take this and pass it from one to the other among yourselves; 18 for I tell YOU, From now on I will not drink again from the product of the vine until the kingdom of God arrives.” 19 Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This means my body which is to be given in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”
20 Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, he saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in YOUR behalf. 21 “But, look! the hand of my betrayer is with me at the table. 22 Because the Son of man is going his way according to what is marked out; all the same, woe to that man through whom he is betrayed!” 23 So they started to discuss among themselves the question of which of them would really be the one that was about to do this. 24 However, there also arose a heated dispute among them over which one of them seemed to be greatest. 2
5 But he said to them: “The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those having authority over them are called Benefactors. 26 YOU, though, are not to be that way. But let him that is the greatest among YOU become as the youngest, and the one acting as chief as the one ministering. 27 For which one is greater, the one reclining at the table or the one ministering? Is it not the one reclining at the table? But I am in YOUR midst as the one ministering.28 “However, YOU are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; 29 and I make a covenant with YOU, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, 30 that YOU may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. 31 “Simon, Simon, look! Satan has demanded to have YOU men to sift YOU as wheat. 32 But I have made supplication for you that your faith may not give out; and you, when once you have returned, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Then he said to him: “Lord, I am ready to go with you both into prison and into death.” 34 But he said: “I tell you, Peter, A cock will not crow today until you have three times denied knowing me.” 35 He also said to them: “When I sent YOU forth without purse and food pouch and sandals, YOU did not want for anything, did YOU?” They said: “No!” 36 Then he said to them: “But now let the one that has a purse take it up, likewise also a food pouch; and let the one having no sword sell his outer garment and buy one. 37 For I tell YOU that this which is written must be accomplished in me, namely, „And he was reckoned with lawless ones.‟ For that which concerns me is having an accomplishment.” 38 Then they said: “Lord, look! here are two swords.” He said to them: “It is enough.” 39 On going out he went as customarily to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed him. 40 Having come to the place he said to them: “Carry on prayer, that YOU do not enter into temptation.”
41 And he himself drew away from them about a stone‟s throw, and bent his knees and began to pray, 42 saying: “Father, if you wish, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
44 But getting into an agony he continued praying more earnestly; and his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 And he rose from prayer, went to the disciples and found them slumbering from grief; 46 and he said to them: “Why are YOU sleeping? Rise and carry on prayer, that YOU do not
enter into temptation.” 47 While he was yet speaking, look! a crowd, and the [man] called Judas, one of the twelve, was going before them; and he approached Jesus to kiss him.
48 But Jesus said to him: “Judas, do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” 49 When those about him saw what was going to happen, they said: “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 A certain one of them even did strike the slave of the high priest and took off his right ear. 51 But in reply Jesus said: “LET it go as far as this.” And he touched the ear and healed him. 52 Jesus then said to the chief priests and captains of the temple and older men that had come there for him: “Did YOU come out with swords and clubs as against a robber?
53 While I was with YOU in the temple day after day YOU did not stretch out YOUR hands against me. But this is YOUR hour and the authority of darkness.” 54 Then they arrested him and led him off and brought him into the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. 55 When they lit a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter was sitting in among them. 56 But a certain servant girl saw him sitting by the bright fire and looked him over and said: “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying: “I do not know him, woman.” 58 And after a short time another person seeing him said: “You also are one of them.” But Peter said: “Man, I am not.” 59 And after about an hour intervened a certain other [man] began insisting strongly: “For a certainty this [man] also was with him; for, in fact, he is a Gal·i·le´an!” 60 But Peter said: “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And instantly, while he was yet speaking, a cock crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter, and Peter recalled the utterance of the Lord when he said to him: “Before a cock crows today you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. 63 Now the men that had him in custody began to make fun of him, hitting him; 64 and after covering him over they would ask and say: “Prophesy. Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they went on saying many other things in blasphemy against him. 66 At length when it became day, the assembly of older men of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they haled him into their San´he·drin hall, saying: 67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them: “Even if I told YOU, YOU would not believe it at all. 68 Moreover, if I questioned YOU, YOU would not answer at all. 69 However, from now on the Son of man will be sitting at the powerful right hand of God.” 70 At this they all said: “Are you, therefore, the Son of God?” He said to them: “YOU yourselves are saying that I am.” 71 They said: “Why do we need further witness? For we ourselves have heard [it] out of his own mouth.” (NWT)