Reflections on Mark 5:21-43, Day 55 NT Study

I participate in a few ongoing book studies and book club. One of which is a private online community whereby the challenge is to read the New Testament (NT) in one year. I’m sharing in this post a personal reflective insight specific on Day 55, Mark 5:21-43. I made a few edits to expand the narrative a little bit and to fit the essay into a blog post.

The Bible Project: New Testament In One Year, Day 55, Mark 5:21-43 (NIV)

“When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” ). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this, they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.”

There is so much to digest on this day’s passage study. Mostly, when people want to do a deep study of Jesus’ ministry, they go more towards Matthew and John or even Luke before they read Mark. I find Mark’s narrative style as fascinatingly insightful.

Mark’s accounts of Jesus’ healing and miracles and the casting of demons during his ministry and the emphasis on concealing Jesus’ identity as Messiah and Christ are evidentiary thematics. The Book of Mark is not a long read in comparison to the other gospels, although the author’s narrative is filled with action and his literary voice shows a sense of immediacy. How this book ended is a whole other literary exploration.

I read the Book of Mark a few times, but every time I go back to read it again I would always have this reaction, ”Whoa! Pause. Pause. What just happened?”

Menstrual Disorders

The story of the bleeding woman who was already suffering for 12 years and the young girl who just died and was literarily regarded as probably just 12-years-old is a good study of contrast. But first, the obvious similarity between the two is that they were both females. Their story conveys a similar religious belief that cast them as impure and thereby anyone who got into physical contact with them will be rendered ceremonially unclean. The difference was that the 12-year-old was depicted as unclean when she died. The Jews believed that touching a dead body defiled a living person.

Are we punishing women for having periods?

Did the Mosaic Law on purity help the overall being of women or did its implications push for the continuing neglect of women’s health and overall well being?

A menstruating woman during that time was regarded as still unclean for seven more days even after the flow has stopped. Women during this time were marginalized for being a woman. Let that sink in for a moment. Imagine what it’s like for the bleeding woman who suffered for 12 years.

Then, imagine the number of people she touched while she was making her way into the crowd for Jesus. Would they run away and do a ceremonial bath if they knew? What would they do to the woman? Maybe stone her to death? Imagine how people would have reacted if they had prematurely found out Jesus was touched by her. Understanding these scenarios put a context to the woman’s terror and horror when Jesus asked who touched His garment. But what boldness! She took a life and death risk. To me, it was undeniable that her knowledge of who Jesus was for her and her understanding of His providence was what motivated her to seek healing (or more like a new life). What an inspiring faith!

In contrast, the 12-year-old girl was beloved by her father. The father advocated and pled for her healing.

The bleeding woman was alone, abandoned. Is it not incredible that Jesus would address this woman as daughter? I am blown away!

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark‬ ‭5:34‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

And I wonder, given the society’s religiosity and cultural norms, would the girl’s father have this sense of advocacy and drive for her daughter when she begins her monthly bleeding? What if she develops a menstrual-related condition such as the bleeding woman’s affliction, will he cling to the religious beliefs and join others in the eventual marginalization of her being? What is Jesus telling us in the crossover of these two stories?

What is a menstrual cycle?

What is clear to me is seeing a pattern of the consistent narrative of Jesus’ ministry of shaking the status quo. He uses metaphors and direct examples of how, we as a society, should treat each other. It’s breathtaking, how constantly and consistently Christ has revealed how the narrow understanding of God and his precepts pulls people apart. And how hardened religious beliefs and societal demands and high moral expectations and kept humans, too, from developing a keen insight of God’s intention of unity and overall message of love.

I’m taken at how meticulous, insightful, and purposeful Christ’s revelations of how-tos with regard to love and treatment of each other.

In the different areas of today’s modern day society, how has the treatment of women changed?

How do people from different culture respond to menstruation? The people during the ancient world used women’s monthly period and menstrual-related conditions to subjugate and oppress girls and women, do you think a version of this is still happening today?

Menstrual Taboos Among Major Religions

In your study of Jesus Christ while he was on earth and your understanding of his ministry and messages pertaining to love and unity, what insights have you formed about how women should be regarded in society? In terms of the culture of interpersonal relationships among all genders, what do you think Christ endorses based on how he broke social protocols and cultural and religious norms of his time? What do upside-down leadership and selfless service mean in Christ’s ministry? How does that translate to practical living?

It should be easy for people now because we have the Bible, one would think. We see the characters, read between themes, and etcetera. But, we still get it wrong. And sometimes we get it wrong in a big way. Understandably so, especially in cases where the Bible has already taken the form of a God to us and when it’s utilized like a remote control for our personal understanding.

Thankfully, God’s transforming love and grace endure. Faith is not blind obedience or acceptance. Faith in Christ comes from knowledge, understanding, insights, and trust in Him and in His ministry.

Additional Readings

Menstruation and Sexual Intercourse: A Biblical and Scientific Review

Menstrual Purity: Rabbinic and Christian’s Reconstructions of Biblical Gender

Understanding the Bible: A Personal Perspective

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Understanding the Bible: A Personal Perspective

Any theology or doctrine formed from a limited scope or narrow appreciation for empirical alternative views of the Scripture and which results in the oppression of any kind towards any person or group of people is no Gospel at all. It’s no Gospel and it’s definitely not God-ordained. Apostle Paul defines the Gospel as the person and the works of Christ. The works of Christ is best understood by studying his ministry.

The Ministry of Christ is composed of three essential elements: Teaching, Preaching, and Healing. The practical assumption in the in-depth study of Christ’s ministry is that anyone who has faith in Him also believes and follows his edicts on unity and equality for all. Not all who claim belief has the understanding or insight of God’s upside-down leadership and order of importance and how these two are connected together and unified to the contextual messaging of God’s commandment on Love. In actuality, most of those who quote Bible verses don’t even read the Bible in a real sense.

The Bible is a unified literary collection of stories, poems, narratives, and excerpts meant to bring what is apart together. Any theology or doctrine formed from a narrow understanding of the scripture that in any way promotes or results in the oppression of others is not God-willed.

Here’s what I realized throughout countless times of sitting in Bible studies and Scriptural discussions. Most don’t read and many of those who do, tend to read passages in isolation of the overall narrative and message of the book. In short, most group studies and discussions suffer from a two-prong issue. One, people don’t read. You can’t seriously say you have authentic discussions of the Bible when your participants are not reading the Bible, to begin with. Two, people don’t have proper reading skills. You have group participants who tend to read the passage without taking into account the Bible’s standpoint or its overall message and without regard to literary conformities. And so, as a consequence, they fall into the pit of forming false doctrines and hardline beliefs. You can pretend you are having compassioned and reasonable discussions, but the fruit of the pudding is always in the eating.

There is a danger in target-reading a verse, connecting it to a few other verses and then weaving the texts to an independent narrative that isn’t aligned to the overall theme and message of the Scripture. Romanticizing passages poses risks, too.

History tells us that the Scripture has also been used as a weapon to either advance evil ideologies or control a targeted group of people. Take the issues of slavery and the treatment of women for instance. Slave ownership is a long-standing practice in the history and economics of the ancient biblical times. Christian-professed slaveholders used the Bible to justify their support and practice of slavery.

Women during ancient times were the property of men and were bound to submission by virtue of cultural and religious beliefs. Christ introduced very radical changes to what were common precepts and practice in the cultural and religious setting. The mindset of treating women as unequal eased down a whole lot in time but several versions of women oppression continue to persist. Women are to be quiet. In America, it would take several more centuries after two millennia to give women their right of suffrage.

However, the unobstructed truth is that slavery, oppression of women, and gender and human inequality had never been and will never ever be God’s will and desire for humankind. These compassion-bereft conditions sow division, fear, and hate.

While we have mostly gotten rid of slavery and made significant progress in the area of equality, there is certainly more work needed to attain God’s intention and mandate on unity and gender and human equality (Genesis 1:27-28, Galatians 3:28-29).

KNOWLEDGE —> UNDERSTANDING —> INSIGHT

Even when you think you are certain that your overall understanding of the Bible is aligned to the truth of God’s grace and unrelenting love of mankind and the world through Jesus, it’s a good practice in humility and a great opportunity to hone your critical thinking and relational skills to challenge (even dissect) your long-held personal beliefs and listen to other viewpoints. Consider openhearted discussions over debates.

Given the doctrines and theologies you gathered from your exposure of the Scriptures, how have you applied Christ’s detailed messaging of the New Order of Love in the Upper Room? Have you done an in-depth study and wholehearted check on a certain hardline doctrinal and religious belief you hold and see whether it really promotes Christ’s message of unity and equality or if it is sowing division and oppression of others?

About the Bible

1. The Bible, which is composed of 66 books written by over 40 authors in three continents over a span of maybe two millennia, is a unified literary piece.

2. The Bible has two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament (also known as the Good News). The Old Testament is composed of 39 books while the New Testament has 27 books.

3. In studying the Bible, it is imperative that the reader understands it in the context of the author’s voice and intention, history, economics, geography, and culture. Being able to connect themes and plots to the overall message of the Scripture must be an integral part of the insight-development process. The Bible has three literary essentials: continuing narrative, conflict, continuing or central theme and conflict resolution. The continuing narrative is bringing together what’s been pulled apart. The major conflict in the story is, left to our own devices, we humans are incapable of overcoming sins. The continuing theme and conflict resolution is Messianic Salvation which hinges on the two principal covenants, Abrahamic and Davidic.

4. The conditions during the period when the Bible was written include patriarchal society, monarchical governance, slavery, polydeism, and women were treated as property.

5. There is an inherent and palpable danger in formulating a doctrinal interpretation of any part of the Bible independent from its overall themes of unity and equality and core messages of restoration through God’s grace and unrelenting love. There is always a danger in target-selecting a verse, connecting it to a few other verses and then weaving an independent narrative that isn’t aligned to the overall theme and message of the Scripture. Often, a passage is misquoted for commercial use or unwittingly as an affirmation, or worse – to gain control over another group of individuals and then cause harm in the process whether unintentionally or otherwise. Watch out also for a tendency to romanticize a passage and the over-spiritualizing of messages.

6. Humankind’s salvation and unity with God through the death and resurrection of a Messiah is the ongoing theme of the Bible. The protagonist is God and sin is the recurring antagonist. It’s a compelling love story of what is apart coming together.

7. The Bible chronicles a gripping narrative of God’s grace and love of all human beings. It tells a dynamic and incredible story of change that brings people together in honor of God. It points towards a direction that restores God’s relationship with His creation and the humankind. The message is clear: God wants everything that is apart be brought together.

Lastly, I encourage a reflection on the following questions. Are your religious or doctrinal beliefs preventing you and others from achieving unity in your relationships? Do religious and doctrinal hardliners affect your attitude and your willingness to discuss let alone consider social, political, economic, global and humanitarian standpoint? Is your assumed tenet pushing you to choose between science and religion?

Over a year ago, Scott Treadway led a lesson about understanding the gospel in the context of God’s grace. Click here for the link, Scandal Of Grace.

Here’s my personal definition of faith. Faith to me is an informed and confident response to God’s revelation. It is based on knowledge (of who and what God is), belief (in his being), and trust (safety under his care). Faith is grown by continually seeking understanding and insight into all things about God. When we moved positionally into the family of Christ we are transformed. Faith then is manifested by confirmed work of the Holy Spirit in the person’s life that moved his or her into a life of love and service of everyone everywhere. As James, the brother of Jesus and author of the Book of James puts it, faith without work is dead.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
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How Do We Appropriate God’s Grace and What Jesus? Did for Humankind?

Looking at Judas Iscariot from the lens of the teachings of Christ.

My husband and I did a synopsis about Judas Iscariot. We provided an analytical, perceptual presentation based on the limited collected information we gathered on the topic he picked from the lottery two weeks ago for last Friday’s small group study. He and I agreed on the outline and flow of the lesson. We finalized the written material and decided on the use of a Seder plate in the presentation for a sensory effect.

The topic was about Judas Iscariot. It’s not an easy one to navigate given the strong sentiments burrowed into the mindset of the audience about this character. The basic premise of the lesson is to encourage the mind to revisit the story of Judas that’s deeply embedded in most of the people’s consciousness which includes possible theological biases. In our presentation,

1. We intended to challenge the group to question how we are personally appropriating who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for humankind.

2. We clearly indicated that the goal of the discussion is to open a conversation about the expanse of God’s love and grace.

3. We explained that the point of the study is to look at Judas Iscariot from the lens by which Jesus’ new command of love has instructed us to follow. Each person can draw an independent conclusion.

The obvious limitations of the lesson are:

1. We only had about 30 to 40 minutes to present it.

2. We only devoted a week of research and a few days to deliberate and consolidate our thoughts (although, honestly, I didn’t see the few days of deliberation as a limitation because I believe that the basis of how we discuss the materials is tied to how we see God’s grace. If the appropriation of God’s grace is just a matter of morality, ethics, and human justice, the assignment is easy.).

3. We are not trained, biblical scholars.

Who is Judas?

What’s in a name?

The name Judas comes from the Greek name Judah which means “God is praised.” It was a common name among Jews of his time. The name in today’s time is the most dishonored and hated name in all of human history. Would you name your son Judas? In fact, in Germany, it is unlawful to name your child with that name.

Place of origin

Judas Iscariot came from the territory of Judah in the south. He was from a village of Kerioth. His father was Simon Iscariot (John 6: 71). He was the only one of the 12 disciples that weren’t from Galilee.

Biblical Reference

– He was one of Jesus’ 12 chosen disciples and designated apostles (Mark 3:13-19)

“Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.” John‬ ‭6:65, 70-71‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

– He was appointed by Jesus as Keeper of the Purse.

– He was sent out by Christ to preach, heal, and was given the authority to drive out demons. (Mark 3:13-19)

– He’s widely known as the betrayer of Christ. The disciple who would conspire with the chief priests to deliver Jesus to them:

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.” Matthew‬ ‭26:14-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

– The deliverer of the Lamb of God to the altar of sacrifice.

“But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.”

Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭2:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

– Judas the repentant.

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.” Matthew‬ ‭27:3-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Where there moments in your life where you formed a conclusive opinion of a person’s character based on incomplete information?

Was there a situation that prompted you to mostly assess what’s happening based on your emotional reaction if not a personal attachment to it?

Conjectures or Fact-based?

There aren’t enough biblical references and facts in the Bible that give a clear picture of Judas’ character prior to his betrayal of Jesus. Matthew, for instance, was a tax collector. Tax collectors during that period are known for their deceit and for increasing the collection so they can enrich their coffers. There was not enough information about Judas to give a sense that he was a thief or that he stole from the apostolic purse other than the words of John which were written many years after the death and resurrection of Christ.

The 11 disciples were with Judas during the three years that they were taught by Jesus and had done missionary work on foot with Christ. And even when Jesus finally sent Judas off to carry out his betrayal, they didn’t seem to suspect him, although John was tipped off by Jesus Himself as to who it was who would betray Jesus during the Passover meal, he still had no idea up to that point that Judas was conspiring against the Messiah for money.

“After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.” John‬ ‭13:21-30‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

What we have about the character of Judas prior to the betrayal are at best just conjectures.

For instance, John in his gospel refers to Judas as a thief,

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. ” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John‬ ‭12:1-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

However, Matthew wrote a slightly different recollection of the event.

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew‬ ‭26:6-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Clearly, if you read John’s prose (which he wrote in his old age) you’ll see that he didn’t really like Judas. Would you blame him, though? However, could it also be that John, blinded by His resentment and enraged feelings towards Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, possibly failed to fully grasp Jesus’ New Command of love (humility, kindness, and mercy even towards your offender) that was methodically demonstrated to them in the Last Supper?

Let’s go back to Matthew 26. In the end, it was a shock to the 11 disciples that Judas would conspire with the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:15).

Is the betrayal the beginning and the end of the story of Judas and Jesus?

Under the Covenant of Grace is there such a thing as an unforgivable sin?

PASSOVER

Jewish settlement first came to ancient Egypt when Joseph son of Jacob who founded 12 tribes of Israel moved his family there during the famine in Canaan. Passover commemorates the story of the Israelites departure from ancient Egypt. Jews observe the weeklong festival with a number of important rituals, including a traditional Passover meal which is known as the seder, the removal of leavened products from their home, the substitution of matzo for bread and the retelling of the exodus tale.

In the original Passover in Egypt, it was not considered to be finished until the host declared the sacrificial lamb to have been fully consumed. Exodus 12:8-10. Under the covenant of law, the worshipers were not considered fully absolved of sin by the sacrifice ritual until the officiating priest loudly declare the Hebrew word “kalah” which means finished. And a priest would only say kalah after the last lamb of the day had been ritually slain and consumed.

We Christians refer to the Upper Room Passover meal as the “Last Supper.” Note that the last words written to have been cried out by Jesus from the cross was, “It is finished” — kalah.

Let’s revisit the story of the Last Supper (The Upper Room)

Passover Festivity in the Upper Room

Just like in the ceremonial festivity of Passover, let’s examine what’s in the Passover that was led by Christ. Let’s see what elements of God’s plan for the redemption of humankind are to be found there.

1. The officiating Great High Priest —Jesus Christ.

“So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.” Hebrews‬ ‭9:11-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

2. The Seder plate (unleavened bread, bitter herbs, lamb, charoset- a mixture of fruits, nuts, and wine). The lamb is a remembrance of the feast of God’s salvation. The blood of a spotless lamb is a symbol of salvation in Egypt.

Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

The matzah symbolizes the hardship of slavery and the Jewish people’s hasty transition to freedom.

“Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” John‬ ‭13:26-27‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

3. The bath ritual —- the washing of the feet by Jesus of His 12 disciples. Each of the 12 disciples, In anticipation of the Passover, would’ve already administered a mikveh bath, in order to be ceremoniously clean (John11:55). Of course, the Scripture is clear that none of those rituals could really take away sin (Romans 3:20).

Jesus who was “born under the law” while not neglecting its requirements, never added to its demands. Thus, he could say, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but he is completely clean.” But He also said that not all of them were completely clean. This was a reference to Judas who was about to betray Him. (John 13:10-11)

In washing His disciples’ feet, Jesus was symbolically demonstrating to them the new commandment of love. Jesus was fully aware that Judas had conspired against Him. Through the lowly act of washing somebody’s feet (including an individual who would represent the worst of the humankind), by the Messiah –the only faultless human being — Jesus was pointing ahead to a “new order” of spiritual things.

Again, the Scripture is clear that none of those rituals could really take away sin.

“This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.” Hebrew 9:9-10 NLT

4. The true sacrificial Lamb displayed and devoured.

“And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and everything used for worship. For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews‬ ‭9:21, 24-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Under the Covenant of the Law of Moses, “If you sin and break any of the commands that the Lord said must not be done, you are guilty. Even if you did not know about it, you are still responsible for your sin. You must bring a ram that has nothing wrong with it (or the same amount in silver) to the priest. The priest will offer the ram, and God will forgive you for the sin you did without knowing it. You are guilty, and you must pay the guilt offering to the Lord.” Leviticus‬ ‭5:17-19‬ ‭ERV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

5. The 12 representative descendants of fallen humanity.

Passover is not a solemn occasion but a family festival. Let’s see the display of grace during the Passover celebration with Jesus and His 12 Disciples in the Upper Room (Matthew 26:15). This feast was not just an ordinary Passover. This was to be a demonstration where Christ would give a new command. The following were his words:

“A new command I give to you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Of course, the disciples had been recipients of Christ ’s loving words and acts before. But in the Upper Room and at the Last Supper, He would demonstrate and command a new dimension of love. Judas would serve as an extreme example of what the term “unmerited favor” really means.

Does God’s mercy require a person’s suitability? Is God’s grace based on the individual’s meeting of specific requirements? Did Jesus cease to love Judas?

“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” John‬ ‭6:37-39‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Remember the words of apostle Paul respecting the non-believing Jews of his day.

Romans 11:28-29 NLT: Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.

Here are the words of Jesus when He addressed the multitude in His sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:44-45: But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

Would Jesus command others to love their enemies and fail to love His – even Judas — who is the epitome of Christ’s human enemies?

Do you believe that Jesus would tell and demonstrate to the 12 disciples in the Upper Room a new order of love and not follow it Himself?

‭‭ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬”So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

If Jesus was to demonstrate the full extent of his love (John 13:1), what better example could He have chosen than Judas? He washed and dried Judas feet. He gave Him the bread, a piece of the sacrificial lamb, and the wine. He did not reject Judas’ kiss and referred to Him as a friend.

“Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:48-50‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Judas was the “Adamic” representative of everything worse in a human planted a kiss on the One and Only faultless human, the antitype of all animal sacrifices ever slain on any Israel altars. With his kiss, Judas touched the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – the only True Sacrifice.

“He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious loving-kindness.”

‭‭2 CORINTHIANS‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.” JOHN‬ ‭15:12-13‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Under the Covenant of Grace, is there such a thing as an unforgivable sin or an unpardonable person?

“While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled” (John 17: 12) “I have not lost one of those you gave me” (John 18: 9) How is it that Jesus can say in one place that Judas, one of his God-given disciples, is lost but in another place be quoted as having said, “I have not lost one of those you gave me” ?

In the three parables found in Luke 15 that Jesus taught there’s an undeniable great spiritual principle: God never loses all those that belong to Him. All three parables are connected by two Divine Truths (Ivan Rogers commentary):

1. The lost ones in the parables were never written off by their owner or father.

2. The lost mentioned in the parable was inevitably recovered by the owner or the father.

In the end, God only gave us two Commandments. Love God with all your heart and love one another as I have loved you. The question is how do you appropriate who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for humankind. If you are to spend a life of your eternity in the presence of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, you’re there by virtue of who Christ is and what he did and not by virtue of what you did, or what race, religion, cultural and financial standing you were born.

The question then remains:

Is there a place for a remorseful Judas Iscariot under the Covenant of Grace?

The motivation of this study isn’t to put Judas Iscariot on trial. It isn’t to debate the discrepancies between the Gospels of John and Matthew nor to argue about the intent of John. The purpose of tonight‘s discussion is to revisit the principle of God’s Divine Grace and re-examine the New Order of love that Christ had methodically shown and told His disciples. As recorded in the Scripture the New Order of Love was inaugurated in the Upper Room and into the completion of the Last Supper. The goal of tonight’s discussion is to open a conversation about the expanse of God’s love and grace. The point of our study is to look at Judas Iscariot from the lens by which Jesus’ new command of love has instructed us to follow.

References:

https://1drv.ms/w/s!AoY5dWd1NI-dpl0rdul0U4tGs1vS

https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/intros/john.cfm

https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/intros/matthew.cfm

https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/intros/luke.cfm

https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/intros/mark.cfm

Judas Iscariot Revisited and Restored Discovering Grace in an Unlikely Place by Ivan Rogers

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/is-there-a-chance-judas-ended-up-in-heaven.html

http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/scrip/a6.html

http://www.jesus-story.net/betrayal.htm

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