Did Jesus Observe Hanukkah?

1. Introduction 

We are about to celebrate our communion service, so instead of opening with a communion song, we will watch this video.

Dim the lights. Here we go.

Some of you might be asking “What in the world does this have to do with Christmas?”

And the answer is: The Dreidel Song.

Some of you are saying “Jesus I know, and Santa I know, but who are you? What a Hanukkah song doing at my church service”

Well, there’s a side to Jesus that you might not be aware of…he was Jewish.

And he grew up with Hanukkah.

And he celebrated Hanukkah.

To what degree? We don’t really know.

Please turn to John 10

John 10:22-42

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’[d]? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

2. Festivals

How many festivals were instituted by Moses?

There were 7 festivals.

Around 1400 BC, Moses instituted exactly 7 feasts that the Jewish people were to respect each year.

That’s a lot of partying!

There were 3 feasts in the spring time, 1 at the end of May, and 3 at the harvest (in Autumn).

So which of the 7 is the “Festival of Dedication”?

It’s not.

The word “Dedication” in Hebrew is…Hanukkah.

So catch your breath, relax and take it in: Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.

3. Jesus was intentional about attending feasts

See, Jesus didn’t live in Jerusalem.

He came to Jerusalem for special occasions, especially to celebrate 7 Jewish Festivals (I guess 8 now).

You might say, “Yeah, but that doesn’t mean he celebrated Hanukkah”.

You’re right. All I know is that he traveled a long distance, took a week off his normal job (traveling, countryside preacher) and hung out in Jerusalem.

And he used this as an opportunity to preach.

He went into Solomon’s colonnade (a great spot in the temple to teach – later used by the early church as a gathering spot).

And he preached about the Kingdom of God.

4. A brief history of Hanukkah

So what DID Hanukkah conjure in the minds of the people at the time of Christ?

Judah the Hammer

Let me give you a 25 sentence history lesson here on Hanukkah:

  • Around 350 years before Jesus preached, Alexander the Great took over the Middle East and Southern Europe.
  • When he died, his Greek kingdom got divided up between his generals, who also eventually battled one another.
  • And guess which country is smack-dab in the middle of all this? Israel
  • Almost exactly 200 years before Jesus preached, the Greek king (Antiochus Epiphanes) over Syria attacked Jerusalem – and decided to “make a point”.
  • So – he outlawed the Jewish religion.
  • He marched into the temple and erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies.
  • He banned their required, 2000 year old covenant with God that was instituted by Abraham – the covenant of Circumcision.
  • He ordered that pigs would be sacrificed on the altar. “You think pigs are unclean?” Well let me flood your “clean” altars with the blood of pigs.
  • Well – one brave family of brothers, let by the 3rd oldest brother, Judah, arose and said, “Enough”.
  • This was the family of the Maccabeus, and the man was Judas.
  • And his nickname throughout Jewish history was “Judah the Hammer”.
  • He began a revolt that is nothing short of miraculous.
  • Although completely outnumbered, he rallied the people toward guerilla warfare against their tormentors.
  • And they won the war – and restored the temple back to its biblical purpose.
  • And at the end of this battle, they commemorated the victory by re-DEDICATING the temple to God.
  • That’s why it is called the Festival of Dedication.
  • Josephus, the historian, also called it the Festival of Lights.
  • You see, at this 8 day rededication festival, they couldn’t use normal oil to light the menorah (the Jewish candle).
  • They were required to use “holy oil”. And holy oil takes about 8 days to become purified.
  • And they only had 1 day’s supply of oil.
  • So the miracle that Hanukkah represents for most Jews is that this 1 day’s supply of oil actually lasted 8 days – similar to the miracle of Elisha.

5. What Hanukkah “felt like” in 30 AD

So I want you to wrap you mind around what this celebration meant for the people here in John 10.

The easiest analogy to grasp this is our own Revolutionary War.

In a sense, Hanukkah for them – was a bit like our own July 4th.

When you think of July 4th, what comes to mind?

We think of a war for freedom – a bit more than 200 years ago.

George Washington

A war to stand up for ourselves.

We’re not gonna take it! No we’re not gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it anymore!

A war where a professional army from a long way away – comes to My Turf.

So we wage guerilla warfare.

And regardless of the fact that we are outnumbered, we embrace the underdog position.

And we say, “Give me liberty. Or give me Death!”

You might be thinking, “Lights and Dreidels”, but at the time of Christ, this was their 4th of July!

This was not ancient history.

Instead, we are well aware of the great men involved with this war.

Take out your 1 dollar bill. Whose face is on it? George Washington!

To us, this is real – and it is recent.

We know the stories, we know the names of the Paul Revere and Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

And Judas Maccabeus, to them, – was like our George Washington to us.

A brave general who saved the people from oppression.

6. Jesus the Hammer

So now, hopefully the words of John 10 will make more sense to you.

They hear Jesus speak about the Kingdom of God being greater than ALL other Kingdoms.

And they’ve heard of, or even seen, Jesus’ miracles.

So they say, “Stop teasing us, Jesus”

Are you the messiah or not?”

“Rome is now oppressing us, Jesus.”

“Rome is awfully close to shutting down our religion!”

“Emperor Tiberius calls himself the Son of God (he did), and he refers to his proclamations as The Gospel (he did).”

“And you call yourself The Son of God.”

“And you refer to your teachings as The Gospel.”

So Jesus, when will you lead us?

When can we put your face on our $1 coin?

When can we start calling you, JESUS THE HAMMER!

7. Jesus’ sheep

And Jesus says “You are not my sheep”.

My sheep don’t talk like that.

My sheep don’t think like that.

My sheep are a people of love.

Yes, my sheep fight a subversive battle – and use guerilla warfare.

But the battle is a battle of love, forgiveness, and truth.

My enemy is not the political leader who has s different ideology or set of priorities.

My enemy is sin, selfishness and Satan.

“You…are not my sheep.”

I will never be your JESUS THE HAMMER!

So they tried to stone him.

They tried to kill him.

See, if we come to God with a militant, political mindset, we will eventually get deadly angry at God.

8. Concluding Communion thoughts

So as we approach Christmas time, and as we experience the Hanukkah season, let’s remember how strong Jesus was as a leader of HIS sheep.

And let’s remember how adamant he was to never be called JESUS THE HAMMER.

He referred to himself as JESUS THE SHEPHERD, not THE HAMMER.

He led sheep, not warriors.

So as we take the bread the represents his body and the juice which represents his blood, I hope you are inspired by your Jesus – a STRONG leader who preferred the humble title of “Shepherd” over the forceful title of “Hammer”.

9. Prayer

Father, thank you that Jesus meets all our needs as a leader.

Thank you for his subversive guerilla tactics of love and forgiveness and truth – of peace, righteousness and faith.

We remember him in this season.

Not just Jesus the baby, but Jesus the clear-minded leader.

We pledge to be his sheep father, and put our lives into the hand of the shepherd you provide.

In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Child Sacrifice & Abraham

1. Preparation

Bring some vegetables with you as a visual aid – something to represent a “harvest”. I brought potatoes, onions and an ear of corn.

2. Introduction

Human Sacrifice

What comes to mind when you think of this?

Child Sacrifice

What comes to mind when you think of this?

Horrible!

Horrific!

Unthinkable!

Morbid!

Cruel!

Crazy!

Outlandish!

Yet in your Bible, God commanded it!

 

Abraham & Isaac Genesis 22

 

In Genesis 22:2, God tells Abraham,

“Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac-

and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there…”

This is the kind of scripture that causes many people who are new to the Bible – to question the Bible, and even doubt the Bible.

In essence: What kind of God would ask a person to sacrifice another human being – let alone their child?

To answer that we need to take a quick detour to the history of religion – and then we’ll land on the cross in a few minutes.

People, thousands of years ago, before the time of Abraham, started to realize that their survival was dependent on things like water – and food.

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3. Harvest & Religion

[Hold up a Potato] Q. What is this?

Alright High School kids: This is used to make French Fries.

[Hold up an Onion] Q. What is this?

Kids: This is used to make everything you eat – taste good!

[Hold up Corn] Q. What is this?

Kids: This is used to make Coca-Coca – and just about everything else you put in your mouth – believe it or not.

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The harvest was everything!

Everything!

The entire culture centered around the ability to harvest.

And they would only be able to harvest food if there was the proper mixture of sun, seeds, soil and water.

Karin grew up on a farm – and she can attest:

Too much water – and the harvest would wash out.

Too little water – and the crops would die.

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This foundational understanding brought people to the conclusion that they were dependent on unseen forces they could not control for their survival.

You see, the belief (I use that word intentionally) arose that these supernatural forces are either on your side or they aren’t.

Q. And how do you keep these forces on your side?

The next time you have a harvest, you take a portion of that harvest and you offer it on an altar as a sign of your gratitude.

Because you need the forces (gods and goddesses) on your side.

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Now imagine what happened when people would offer a sacrifice…

but then it didn’t rain

or the sun didn’t shine?

Obviously, they concluded, they didn’t offer…ENOUGH.

And so they offered more.

And more and more.

4. Sacrifice & Anxiety

Because what religion had built in to it from the very beginning was something called ANXIETY.

You never knew where you stood with the gods.

The gods are angry, the gods are demanding, and if you don’t please them they will punish you by bringing calamity.

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Q. But what if things went well?

What if it rained just the right amount

and the sun shined just the right amount.

What if it appeared that the gods were pleased with you?

Well then, you’d need to offer them thanks.

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Q. How would you know you’d offered ENOUGH?

If things went well, you never knew if you’d been grateful enough and offered enough

And if things didn’t go well – then clearly you hadn’t done…enough.

You see – either way – the result was…Anxiety

Because you never knew where you stood with the gods.

And so you’d offer part of your crop.

And you’d offer a goat.

Maybe a lamb.

Maybe a cow.

Maybe a few cows.

Maybe some birds.

The very nature of early religion is that everything escalated because in your anxiety to please the gods you kept having to offer more.

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Q. And what’s the most valuable thing you could offer the gods to show them how serious you were about earning their favor?

A child.

Q. Can you see how child sacrifice lurks in the Old Testament?

It’s where religion took you.

To the place where you’d offer that which was most valuable to you.

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So when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son,

Abraham isn’t surprised!

Abraham just sees it as normal.

That’s just what gods do

That’s how religion works, isn’t it.

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Interestingly, in all other cases in human history, people just guessed that this is what God wanted.

In this case, God (your God) TOLD HIM to sacrifice his boy.

God initiates!

So Abraham sets out to do it.

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We all know how the story goes…

He travels 3 days

He leaves his servants and donkey.

He and Isaac build an altar.

He is about to slay his son.

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And THE HISTORY of the world changes.

Right then and there!

For the first time in history, the “God” says STOP.

And He says, “Yes there will be a sacrifice today!”

“But YOU WON’T be providing the sacrifice.”

“I — will provide the sacrifice.”

God — provides a Ram.

God still has Abraham PERFORM the sacrifice.

God still makes Abraham PARTICIPATE in the sacrifice.

But GOD HIMSELF provides the sacrifice.

5. God Himself Provides & We Participate

See, the point of this story is NOT just Abraham and his great faith.

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For the people who have read/heard this story over the centuries,

the POINT of the story was —

a GOD, who HIMSELF provides the sacrifice.

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That’s just not what gods do.

But this is what your God does.

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God reaches down to us…

And he meets us at our primitive understanding of spirituality.

And then he blows us away….

by HIMSELF providing the sacrifice.

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Q. Isn’t that exactly the story of the cross and communion?

We come with a soft heart – to the Lord’s Supper.

We are willing to do our best, our VERY best, for God.

Yet the only sacrifice going on here – is JESUS.

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You and I get to participate.

God still wants us to be a part of the sacrifice.

Yet HE — PROVIDES the sacrifice.

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6. Let’s Pray

Dear God, thank you for the cross of Christ.

Thank you that YOU provided a sacrifice to end all of our anxiety.

We know, without a doubt, that YOU LOVE US.

We can never sacrifice enough.

Thank you for the juice that represents the BLOOD of your sacrifice…

And for the bread that represents the BODY of your sacrifice.

In Jesus name, Amen

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Note: Thoughts inspired by Rob Bell’s blog http://robbellcom.tumblr.com/post/66792774855/what-is-the-bible-part-6

Jesus Drank the 5th Cup

1. Preparation

In preparing for the communion message, it would be advisable (a) to sing “Lead me to Calvary” (aka “King of my Life”) directly before the Communion and (b) that when standing at the podium, there should already be 5 cups of juice at the front. They can be 5 communion-size cups or 5 small, glass cups. Visual Aids are always valuable, regardless of age group.

To view the PowerPoint, click here.

2. Scripture

Exodus 6:6-8
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’ “

3. Introduction

Recently, our family group got together on Good Friday for a special meal.

Together with our children, we always eat a wonderful dinner before our weekly Bible Talk.

But this week was special – we celebrated another Christian Passover Seder meal.

In Exodus 12 God commanded Jewish families to gather together to eat one final meal.

They were to slaughter a lamb and to mark the doorframes of their homes so that the Angel of the Lord would pass over their home en route to slaying the firstborn of every man and animal in Egypt.

Each year, the Jews were to celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

This would be to the Jews what our Communion is to Christians.

In fact, Jesus simply took the Seder Passover Meal and turned it into the Lord’s Supper – and said “When you do this, think of me…remember me

4. The Four Promises

In preparing for this, I was reading a book by Rob Bell [1], and he pointed out that the 4 Glasses of Wine that are consumed during a Seder Meal point back to the 4 Promises of God in Exodus 6.

Listen to these 4 promises from Exodus 6

-I will bring you out [Drink Cup #1]
-I will rescue you
-I will redeem you
-I will take you..to me

There is also another cup that references the prophet Elijah.

This is left untouched.

But close your eyes and bask in the glory of these 4 promises.

-I will bring you out
-I will rescue you [Drink Cup #2]
-I will redeem you-
-I will take you..to me

So at our recent Seder Passover Meal, we tried to envision how Jesus felt – as he drank of each cup.

Each of us though only had one cup. Some of us drank wine, while others drank grape juice.

And throughout the Seder Meal and the various discussions,we would take a sip/swallow every 10 minutes,

And we would read and meditate on one more promise each time

-I will bring you out
-I will rescue you
-I will redeem you [Drink Cup #3]
-I will take you..to me

5. Getting In Touch

At the meal Dave Bruce pointed out how these promises really helped him get in touch with his own salvation:

“God has led me out of his old way of life
God has rescued me from a life of sin
God has allowed Jesus to be crucified…to rescue me
And God has brought me close to himself.
[Drink Cup #4]
In fact, at the end of days, God will take me to be with Him in heaven.”

You see, on the evening of the Last Supper, THESE are the things that Jesus and the twelve were thinking about.

And yet these 4 promises are now reinterpreted by Christ for us.

They no longer reference the Old Testament exodus from Egypt, but rather our New Covenant miraculous exodus from our own sin.

6. The Promises Were Also For Jesus

And then Cece chimed in and noted, “This meal wasn’t just for the twelve. It was FOR Jesus.”

He wasn’t just training the twelve.

He wasn’t just offering them these promises.

Instead, Jesus was feeling each of these promises as he was facing his own torture.

He was preparing his own heart for the long night in Gethsemane – battling through his temptation to follow his own will rather than the will of the father.

On that fateful evening, Jesus too would have to make a decision regarding the 5th cup.

But for him, it was not the cup of Elijah.

Instead, it would be the cup of God’s will.

Take this cup from me…but not my will but your will be done.”

And he chose to “drink” the fifth cup. [Drink Cup #5]

The 4 previous cups were God’s amazing promises to him.

As Jesus drank the 1st cup, he was reminded that the Father would lead him through the next few grueling time leading up to his own death.

As Jesus drank the 2nd cup, he was reminded that God would rescue him from the pain and torment and that God would not let him be tempted beyond what even he could bear.

As Jesus drank the 3rd cup, he was reminded that the Father would redeem him from this physical world.

And as Jesus drank the 4th cup, he was comforted. He was deeply comforted and given confidence that the Father would take Him to be home again in heaven.

I believe it is these first 4 cups that gave him the strength to confidently drink the 5th cup.

Let me say that again.

It is these first 4 cups (and their accompanying promises) that gave Jesus the courage and strength to drink the final cup.

7. Upward Call

So as you are contemplating recommitting yourself to God, as YOU are trying to find the faith to drink the 5th cup – to do God’s will rather than your own – I urge you to follow the example of Jesus.

Drink the 5th cup AFTER you have consumed the first four – AFTER you have consumed these 4 life-changing promises of God.

And as you are about to consume bread and wine, read the promises of Exodus 6 and put yourself in Jesus’ shoes at the Last Supper.

Ask yourself what he felt as he contemplated each promise.

And then find the strength to walk to your own Gethsemane once again – and drink the 5th cup: “Not my will but thine”.

8. Prayer

Reference

http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/pesach/5757/vol3no02.html#

[1] Rob Bell’s Sex God, P131

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ37Q5xJGnM

Jesus’ Passover Song, Psalm 116

1. Preparation

(a) Hymn to be sung earlier in the service: “Come Fill My Cup” (Let it overflow with love)

(b) Song to be played directly before the Communion presentation: Acapella’s “Not My Will But Thine” (on the album “Set Me Free”). The performance in the video below depicts the pain and the suffering of Christ in the Garden.

2. Statement of Focus

This communion will focus on Jesus as he sings Psalm 116 together with his disciples at the Last (Passover) Supper.

3. Scripture

Luke 22:14-20
14When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

4. Introduction

The Passover meal was (and still is) held as an annual event in each Jewish household.

As a meal, God designed it to commemorate the deliverance and the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt.

The first Passover is described clearly in Exodus chapter 12.

In each household a lamb was slain, and a meal was eaten in haste.

The lamb’s blood was then sprinkled onto the doorposts of each home.

God had warned that he would kill the firstborn of each man and animal in Egypt.

Yet the Lord says, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (Ex 12:13)

5. Today

But how was the Passover celebrated in the time of Christ.

It had crystallized into a clear sequence of activities.

And a big part of this was the singing of the 6 Hallel Psalms.

These are Psalms 113-118.

Now as ironic as this may sound, the Passover was (and still is) the most joyful of all Jewish holidays!

Think of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.

That’s a holiday of heart-checking, repenting, doing penance and apologizing.

In contrast, the Hallel Psalms of the Passover are not only prophetic of the Messiah.

They are downright joyful!

They commemorate the delivering hand of God.

As one author notes, “they are a remarkable celebration of the great acts of the Lord – in delivering his people from Egypt. And they also point forward to the deliverance that would come through the Messiah, the Christ.

Psalms 113-115 were sung at the temple, during the slaying of the animals.

Psalms 116-117 were sung DURING the meal.

And finally, Psalm 118 was sung at the end of the meal.

6. Imagine

So I will now read through Psalm 116.

And I want you to imagine Jesus singing these words.

And I want you to imagine him finding strength from these words – while praying in the Garden, while overnighting in the dungeon of the High Priest, and while suffering on the cross.

7. Discovering Psalm 116

v1 I love the LORD, because he listens to me. He listens to me when I pray to him. v2 I will always pray to him, because he hears what I say.
JESUS WAS CONFIDENT THAT GOD WOULD LISTEN TO HIS PRAYERS – YET ON THIS NIGHT, HE WOULD ASK THE CUP TO TAKEN FROM HIM AND GOD WOULD REFUSE.

v3 The danger of death was all round me.
AND JESUS COULD FEEL THE INTENSITY OF DEATH CLOSING IN ON HIM.

I began to be afraid of Sheol.
I THINK JESUS UNDERSTOOD THIS MORE THAN WE KNOW. HIS STATEMENT THAT THE FLESH WAS WEAK WAS SPOKEN FROM HIS OWN EXPERIENCE. HE TRULY WAS TEMPTED IN EVERY WAY AS WE ARE.

I was sad because (I had) so much trouble.
JESUS HAD JUST UTTERED IN JOHN 12:27 HOW DEEPLY HE DESPAIRED OF THIS HOUR.

v4 Then I prayed to the name of the LORD.
THEN I PRAYED. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW JESUS TOO WOULD DEAL WITH HIS OWN GRIEF

(I said) “LORD, please save me!”
AND THAT IS WHAT HE DID.

v5 The LORD is kind and good (to people). Our God (shows us that he) loves (us).
ISN’T THIS THE REASON FOR HIS WHOLE LIFE.

v6 The LORD gives help to those (people) that need it. When I was in danger, he saved me!
HOW IRONIC. WHEN JESUS WAS IN DANGER, GOD SAVED HIS ENEMIES.

v7 (So I could say) to myself, “Now you are safe, because the LORD has been kind to you”. v8 Yes, (LORD), you saved me from death!
JESUS KNEW HE WOULD NOT BE SAVED FROM DYING BUT SAVED FROM THE GRIPS OF DEATH.

(You saved) my eyes from crying and my feet from falling. v9 Now I can *serve the LORD in this world where people live (and not in Sheol). v10 I believed (that God would give me help). (I believed this) even when I said, “I have much pain”.
[PAUSE]

v11 When I was very sad, I said, “Everybody says what is not true”.
[PAUSE]

EVEN HIS FRIEND PETER. [PAUSE]

v12 What can I give to the LORD because he has been so kind to me? v13 I will offer a cup of *wine to the LORD. And I will thank him because he saved me! v14 I will do everything that I have promised to the LORD. (I will do it) in front of all his people.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PASSOVER MEAL, JESUS WOULD DRINK OF THE CUP. HE WOULD LIFT HIS CUP WITH THE TWELVE AND DRINK WHAT IS REFERRED TO AS THE CUP OF SALVATION (REFERENCING THE SALVATION IN THE EXODUS). AND AS HE SANG THIS SONG, PSALM 116, HE WOULD RESOLVE “I WILL DO EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE PROMISED TO THE LORD”.

v15 It hurts God very much when one of his servants dies.
DO YOU TAKE COMFORT IN THIS TRUTH? I AM SURE THAT JESUS DID. A FEW VERSES EARLIER HE ACKNOWLEDGES HIS OWN PAIN. YET GOD DID NOT ABANDON HIM IN HIS PAIN. GOD TOO WAS HURT. HURT DEEPLY.

v16 LORD, I really am your servant.
[PAUSE]

I am your servant just as my mother was. You have saved me from death! v17 I will offer you my special “thanks” when I pray to the name of the LORD.
[PAUSE]

v18 I will make special promises to the LORD.
[PAUSE]

(I will do this) in front of all his people.
[PAUSE]

v19 (I will do this) in the *courts of the house of the LORD.
[PAUSE]

(I will do this) in the center of Jerusalem.
[PAUSE]

Hallelujah!

8. Upward Call

As we take bread and wine right now, I urge you to read Psalm 116.

As you drink the cup, read verse 12-13 and ask yourself what you can give back to God because he has been so kind to you.

Truly you can give him nothing that will make up for him sending his Son to this tormenting death.

The greatest thing you can do is to offer him this symbolic cup of juice – and to wholeheartedly thank him because he saved you.

And let Him know that you too will keep your promises to Him.

9. Prayer

Lord, we cannot ever remove the pain you felt when you were grieved by man before the flood.

And we cannot remove the hurt you felt as sent your Servant and Son to his brutal death.

So we won’t even try.

But Lord, we do lift our cup to you and we wholeheartedly say Thank You for saving us.

And as Jesus promised to fulfill his promise, we think on our own baptism, and we tell you now, “Just like the words that came out of Jesus’ mouth that evening, we too will do everything that we have promised to You.”

In the name of our deliverer, Amen

Reference

http://www.domini.org/tabern/passover.htm
http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/psalm-construction.html

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