(Exodus 19, Luke 22; Optional Psalm 46, Proverbs 13:9-13)
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EXODUS 19 – God has brought Israel to Himself, as He promised. But this is not a light thing! This is an awe-full (the word “awesome” has been so overused it can lose its impact) scene, where some of the power and glory of God is glimpsed by Israel as He prepares to reveal His law to them. Remember that God didn’t release them from slavery to do their OWN thing, but to be in relationship with Him.
Ex 19:1 – Three months after the first Passover and the exodus from Egypt.
Ex 19:4-6 – Compare Eph 2:8-10. God does ALL the work of rescuing us from our slavery to sin, but then calls us to be set apart to Himself. As we depend on Him and His strength there will be a new life that’s evident to all around us. This is NOT sinless perfection, but it IS a radically God-centered direction. In my Bible margin I’ve written a cross (showing me this is referred to in the NT) and “1 Pet 2:5, 9; * Rev 1:5-6, * 5:10”. The asterisks around Rev 1:5-6 remind me to especially notice this text. Rev 1:5-6 connects how believers (both Jew and Gentile) have been rescued from slavery to sin by Jesus’ blood and set apart as belonging to Him. All three parts of REDEMPTION: 1) a price paid, 2) a rescue made, 3) a claim laid.
Ex 19:8 – This IS the right response. Even though they’ve repeatedly grumbled and wanted to go back to Egypt, this IS how we should respond to God. This is why I love the prayer the dad prayed to Jesus in Mk 9:24 – “I believe; help my unbelief.”
Ex 19:9-24 – Again we should be both encouraged AND humbled. Encouraged because God delights to bring His people to Himself (Ex 19:4-6). Believers on this side of the cross should meditate on the very similar Heb 10:19-22. Humbled because God is perfectly holy. Just as they trembled in Ex 19, we ought to tremble at the cost for us to draw near to God reflected on in Heb 10:19-22 – the blood of Jesus shed to cover our sin. In Jesus we most fully see the terrifying holiness of God (He was pleased to crush His only begotten Son when He took our sin on Him and took it to the cross) AND the love of God. He did all this to bring us to Himself! May we follow the command of Ps 2:11 and “rejoice with trembling.”
LUKE 22 – Jesus brings new meaning to Passover, is abandoned by His closest followers (just as prophesied), betrayed by Judas and dragged to the beginning of a long night of trumped-up trials to attempt to find a rationalization for killing Jesus. In all of this He’s clearly in control, reminding the disciples that every detail of what will happened will fulfill prophecy.
Lk 22:15 – Contrast the sweet and sad tenderness of this moment with v 24.
Lk 22:22 – A key verse showing BOTH the absolute sovereignty of God AND the responsibility of Judas. This whole chapter is key to seeing BOTH truths.
Lk 22:27 – Jesus was about to serve in a way that ONLY He could, by laying down His life as the perfect sin offering on behalf of all who trust in Him. But He ALSO served by doing the lowest job and washing their feet (see John 13). From Luke’s Gospel we find out WHY no one had done the nasty job of washing feet (remember they wore sandals and walked through dusty streets that were also filled by animal droppings, etc. Washing feet was the LOWEST job, and the disciples were arguing (AGAIN) about who was the GREATEST (after Jesus had just reminded them in v 15 that He is about to suffer like He’s been preparing them for over the last months). But Jesus doesn’t give up on them (see v 28-30)!
Lk 22:31-34 – This is what makes the difference between Judas and Peter! Jesus intercedes for Peter that his faith will not ultimately fail (it certainly faltered for a while). And if you’re a believer, Jesus is praying for you too (see Rom 8:34, and don’t miss Rom 8:26-27 about the Holy Spirit ALSO interceding for us). Notice that “WHEN” (not “if”) Peter repents Jesus gives calls Him to exhort and strengthen the others. Not cringe in crippling shame and shrink away, but that He WILL repent and then still has kingdom work to do. Both humbling AND encouraging.
Lk 22:33 – They were much closer to the right attitude in v 23!
Lk 22:34 – But, even though Peter’s denying Jesus is foretold and WILL happen, don’t miss Jesus calling Peter to FIGHT temptation through the means of prayer in v 40-46! The sovereignty of God should NOT lead us to apathy.
Lk 22:35-38 – On short-term mission trips Jesus had sent them out without ANY extras. There ARE times God will call His people to complete dependence on Him (like Israel in the desert with manna). But Jesus lets us know here that NORMALLY God intends more normal means of preparation. It’s clear from v 49-53 that the “two swords” in v 38 were NOT to be used on this night to stop what was happening to Jesus. So they must be for AFTER, for self-defense. Again, belief in the absolute sovereignty of God should not lead to a resigned “whatever will be will be” attitude.
Lk 22:39-46 – Even though Jesus has foretold that all that happens (including Peter’s denial of Him) will be exactly as prophesied, Jesus ALSO calls them to fight temptation through the means of prayer. In v 42 Jesus shows us how to pray when we’re in tough times. Jesus KNEW He must go to the cross (He had prophesied it multiple times Himself, and pointed out that all this was a fulfillment of OT prophecy), but is giving us an example of how to pray. Notice both the crying out to His heavenly Father AND the resting in His sovereign will.
Lk 22:53 – Another reminder that Jesus is in sovereign control of His own death. In the margin I’ve written “S” (for the sovereignty of God) – “limiting evil to its allotted space/time”.
Lk 22:61-62 – A heart-piercing moment!
Optional Psalm 46 – This is the Scripture that the great hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is built on. Ps 46 is one of my go-to Scriptures in tough times, when life feels like it’s falling apart (v 2-3). Ps 46:7, 11 are the repeating chorus – our hope is in Yahweh who is WITH US. Notice how God AGAIN reminds believers of the END of the story in v 8-10. And how can we KNOW that believers will make it to this good end of the story? Yahweh is our fortress and He is WITH US!
Optional Proverbs 13:9-13 – Pr 13:13 reminds why we keep on a through-the-Bible reading and studying plan 😊