Friday, March 22, 2013

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday March 24, 2013

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(Receive the Kingdom and be one who serves)
(Luke 22:7-30)

Scripture shows us again and again how efficient JESUS was in planning and arrangement. We see over and over again how HE did not leave things unprepared until the last moment. All of HIS arrangements seemed to be made far in advance.
In Luke’s account of the last week of JESUS’ life, in chapter 22, starting at verse 9, we see HIS Disciples inquiring of HIM, where HE wanted them to prepare the Passover Feast?  JESUS sent them into Jerusalem with instructions to look for a man carrying a pitcher of water (v.10). This was an obviously pre-arranged signal, as in those days, carrying pots of water was strictly a woman’s chore. To see a man performing this duty would be extremely unusual, and it would be a sure-fire way of identifying the right man.
The disciples were also instructed to follow this man and he would lead them to the owner of a specific house. At that house they were to say to the owner, that THE TEACHER wants to know where your quest room is that HE can use to eat the Passover Meal with HIS disciples. The man would take them to a large upper room that was already set up. The disciples then went and found all of the necessary food items that were to be used for the meal, just as JESUS had said (Vs. 10-13).  
Now, let’s examine why this man’s house would be a good place for JESUS and HIS disciple’s Passover Supper. In those days, the larger Jewish houses had “upper rooms”. They were constructed in such a manner, that they resembled a smaller box that was stacked on top of a larger box. The smaller “upper room”, which could be accessed by way of an outside stairway, served multiple purposes. It could be, and was often, used as a storage area. Then, at times it was used as a quest room, or, even sometimes just as a quiet place of meditation. However, customarily, it was used as a place where Jewish Rabbis would come to teach. This particular man, who JESUS sent HIS disciples to meet in Jerusalem, had just such a house.
The words “in remembrance”, that JESUS uses here in Luke 22:19, in HIS instituting of the LORD’s Supper, or “Communion” into the Christian Faith, dates back to the Old Testament concept of “Zikkaron” (Zik-ka-rone), which is a Festival, Practice, or Object, intended as a link for future generations to a distinctive act of GOD. The name derives from the Hebrew word “zikrown” (zik-rone), which means a memento, or a memorable thing, day, or writing.
Through the Zikkaron, GOD’s people could sense their personal participation, along with the original generation, in the very act that GOD had performed for that previous generation. Thus the LORD’s Supper is a unique institution of “sacrament” that is used to link all generations to the memory of CHRIST’s vicarious sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha.
The “New Covenant” is mentioned many times in the Old Testament, and it is spelled out quite clearly by GOD in Jeremiah 31:31-34. JESUS came to usher in that new Covenant from GOD. It is a Covenant that is far superior to any before or since that time. In fact, it is the most superior covenant from GOD that there is likely to ever be.
This new Covenant provides for the “regeneration” of mankind, and allows for us to be “indwelt” by the HOLY SPIRIT when we come to believe in JESUS CHRIST. The bread, which we eat at the sacrament is common bread, however, for those who have the heart to feel and understand this Christian rite, it becomes the very body of CHRIST.
In the Gospel according to Luke, as expressed in 22:22, in his original Greek writings, the word Luke uses in JESUS’ statement, that translates “determined”, is “horizo” (hor-id-zo). Luke is the only author in Scripture who uses this particular translation for “determined”, and he uses it only here, and in Acts 17:26. In both places it means “decreed by GOD”, and is meant to remind us, from a “time-bound” perspective, that JESUS’ death was a miscarriage of justice, and that, from GOD’s point of view, it was the “keystone” of HIS plan to, not only provide salvation to all mankind, but to also, set all things right with HIM, for all time.
In Exodus 24, verses 1-8, the Israelites accepted GOD’s Covenant, as it had been given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The continuance of that Covenant depended on man keeping his pledge, and obeying the laws of GOD. Man would not then and, quite frankly, will not now, abide by such a Covenant, and our sins, to this day, continues to interrupts our relationship with GOD.
It took the life of CHRIST to restore our lost relationship of friendship with GOD. “This do in remembrance of me”, is what JESUS said to HIS Disciples. But it is also a statement that comes to us, from across the spans of time, in hopes that we too, can share in HIS new Covenant.
JESUS knew how easily the human mind would forget. HE knew that we would become so preoccupied with our own worldly desires, affairs, and activities, that, we would eventually fail to recall, even HIS vicarious sacrifice. And so HE invites us to come in sometimes, into the peace and tranquility of HIS FATHER’s House, and to “Do this in remembrance of HIM”.
It all the more tragic, that, at that very table, on that Passover night, in a dimly lit “upper room”, somewhere in the midst, of the festive atmosphere of Jerusalem, that there sat one, who was a traitor, who would sell JESUS out for the price of a common slave, which was thirty pieces of silver, at that time.
Since the birth of this new Covenant, at every “Communion Table”, there have been those who betray JESUS. If, in HIS House, we pledge ourselves to HIM, and then, go out and fail to reflect HIS image to others, through our own behavior, then we too, like Judas, have become traitors to HIS cause.
Unlike JESUS, we don’t know when our “last supper” will be. For, it is the will of GOD that man not know what his, time, place, or method of demise might be. However, like JESUS, we can all become “great Preparers”, and we can begin, right now, to store up our treasures in a place that JESUS says, “has been prepared for us since the foundation of this World”. That place that Luke, Paul, and other New Testament writers call, in the Greek “Paradeisos” (Par-ad-i-sos), but we call, the Kingdom of Heaven.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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