lit candles November 3 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Mark 14:22-31; Matthew 26:26-35; Luke 22:15-20, 31-38; John 13:31-14:31

Remember Me

Candles are often lit in remembrance of a person or in prayer for a person. However, candle lights are also meant to be shared. If a head of a family must leave for a very long time, or a CEO must leave his organization for a very long time, or if he were going to die, he wants to be remembered. He does not want just his face to be remembered; he wants his teachings, way of life, discipline and/or policies to be remembered so that they might be followed and hopefully lead his family or organization to succeed. He wants to pass the light of his candle onto others. If a leader is wise, he will do things to try to ensure that flame will continue. That is exactly what Jesus did with his closest disciples, the twelve apostles.

It was the time of the yearly Passover Feast, where all the Jews assembled in Jerusalem in remembrance of their ancestors' deliverance from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12). It was a dangerous place and time for Jesus and his disciples; the religious leaders determined to kill him right after the feast. They were jealous of his popularity with common people, and they perceived him to be a threat to their positions of religious authority and favor with the Roman government. Jesus' crucifixion was only a week away. Tough times would come upon his disciples after he left, so Jesus left them (and us) with something by which to remember him.

Jesus used the Passover as a symbol of his sacrifice. The Passover Feast was the first night of an eight-day feast, called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (bread made without yeast). The Passover Feast was a 1500 year-old tradition. It commemorated a time in Moses’ day when Israelites killed physically perfect and unblemished yearling lambs and applied their blood upon the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses as God had instructed them. “That same night they [were] to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast,” (Exodus12:8, NIV). The bitter herbs reminded them of their bondage in Egypt. The lamb was sacrificed to symbolize a substitutionary sacrifice to free them from the curse (or last plague) of death. The blood of the slain animal was painted on the door frames and lintel of the entrance to their dwellings with a hyssop plant, and then the meat was roasted and eaten by all. Yeastless bread was also eaten to remind them of the haste by which they had departed from Egypt. When the death angel saw the blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses, he passed over them; the death plague on the first-born sons did not affect them.

Jesus, knowing that he would soon be crucified, raised from the dead, and then shortly thereafter return to God his father, gave new meaning to the Passover. Jesus had previously told his disciples, the religious leaders, and his other followers that he was the bread of life that came from heaven, similar to the manna that came from heaven. This bread of life was his flesh, which he would give for the world (John 6:32-63). The yeastless bread became a symbol of his body, which would soon be offered on a cross of rough hewn wood. The wine that was typically drunk with the meal became a symbol of the blood he would spill for all people when the nails pierced his hands and feet, and a sword pierced his side.

When Jewish believers thereafter would gather for the Passover Feast they would remember that it was a Passover night when Jesus was betrayed and crucified. He was the lamb that was slain for their deliverance from the bondage of sin, which leads to death. Jesus left them symbols so that they would remember his sacrifice. These symbols of yeastless bread and wine (or grape juice) are still remembered today in Communion Services in congregations of both Messianic Jews and non-Jewish (Gentile) believers. The bread and the cup are sobering reminders of Jesus’ great sacrifice for our deliverance from sin. We partake of these elements to remind us that we have partaken of Christ spiritually by belief in his sacrifice for us (more...). Because he sacrificed himself for us, we should sacrifice our lives daily for him (Romans 12:1). These symbols helped the disciples get through tough times of persecution for Jesus sake. Remembering Jesus’ sacrifice can help us through tough times as well.

A loved one or a CEO leaving or dying can cause a lot of grief, which it did for Jesus' disciples. Knowing that his departure was at hand, he shared the larger plan of God to help the disciples endure it. Jesus said,

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3, NIV)

The larger scheme of God’s program was that Jesus would return to heaven to prepare a place for his disciples. Later, he will come back for them and for all of us who have trusted in Christ for our salvation. That information brought comfort to them and it brings comfort to us.

Second, to help the disciples, Jesus left someone in charge who had the same love and commitment, and who would empower them to do even greater works than he. Jesus gave the Holy Spirit of God to his disciples. The Holy Spirit and he were of the same origin - God). In John 14:16 Jesus said to the disciples, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another [the word “another” means “another of the same kind”] Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth,” (NIV). It is a great comfort to Christians that the Holy Spirit is with us when we are converted. He will be with us until the Lord comes back for us. He will comfort and encourage us to endure persecution and empower us to do God’s will. He will help us pass the flame of God's love and the gospel to others.

Last, Jesus left his disciples (and us Christians) with hope. John 14:18: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you,” (NIV). This was great news! Jesus is coming back! He will come back to set up his kingdom, a kingdom of peace that will never end. The faithful will rule and reign with him.

Lessons to live by:

  • The yeastless bread and the cup of grape juice or wine are symbols of Jesus' sacrifice for our sins on the cross. When we remember them we proclaim Christ's death until he comes; it is a gospel witness.
  • Remembering Christ' sacrifice helped the disciples get through tough times of persecution and will help us as well. Because he sacrificed himself for us, we can sacrifice ourselves for others so that the gospel might be proclaimed.
  • Jesus death brought grief, but in the grander scheme of God's plans the death of his Son provided a sacrifice for the sins of the entire world (John 3:16, more... ). He is now in heaven preparing a place for us who have trusted in Christ.
  • When Jesus left earth to go back to his Father in heaven, he left the Holy Spirit of God with his disciples and us. He comforts and encourages us in our trials and empowers us to do all of God's holy will. He will help us pass the flame of God's love and the gospel to others.
  • Jesus left us with hope, a confidence that we are not left alone and that he is coming back for us. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (NIV)

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