missing at the table

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devotional post # 2062

Luke 22:14-18

Luk 22:14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles joined him.
Luk 22:15 And he said to them, “with all my heart I have wanted to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
Luk 22:16 Because I am telling you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Luk 22:17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
Luk 22:18 Because I am telling you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

missing at the table

Before our Lord explained the meaning of the elements to this new addition to the Passover celebration, he explained to his disciples that the next time they participate in this communion meal, someone would be missing from the table. Judas was there with them, but he would not be there next time. He will have committed suicide, not able to live with his betrayal. But It was Jesus himself. He was the one who would be perpetually missing from the table, even though it was about him. The symbols were designed to remind us of his saving work, but they also remind us of his absence, until he returns in the full glory of his kingdom.

LORD, thank you for the promise of your presence with us again, when you return.

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prearranged signal

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devotional post # 2061

Luke 22:7-13

Luk 22:7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
Luk 22:8 So Jesus dispatched Peter and John, saying, “Go and set up the Passover for us, that we may eat it.”
Luk 22:9 They said to him, “Where do you want us to set it up?”
Luk 22:10 He said to them, “Notice, after you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters
Luk 22:11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’
Luk 22:12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; set it up there.”
Luk 22:13 And they went away and found it just as he had told them, and they set up the Passover.

prearranged signal

Some say that the man carrying a water jar had to be a prearranged signal because it was the women who carried water jars. I’m not sure, because the man with the water jar was not the master of the house; he was a servant. At any rate, Jesus knew about this man and his jar, and the house and the room. It was prearranged in some way, and Jesus wanted his disciples to set it up.

When you serve our king, he is likely to put you in a number of situations where such co-incidents happen, and you are likely to realize many of those situations as being prearranged. Those little hints of his omniscience can be great encouragements, and can get you through the times when you wander if it is all worth it.

LORD, thank you for those times when we recognize how aware you are of what is happening in our lives.

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quiet betrayal

marmsky-devotions-pics-june-2017-27

devotional post # 2060

Luke 22:3-6

Luk 22:3 Then Satan entered into Judas (the one called Iscariot), who was of the number of the twelve.
Luk 22:4 He went away and discussed with the chief priests and captains how he might betray him to them.
Luk 22:5 And they were glad, and decided to give him silver.
Luk 22:6 So he promised and sought a right moment to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

quiet betrayal

Judas’ master plan was not to immediately denounce Christ. Instead, he would slip away and conspire with the enemies, then come back and pretend everything was okay. That is the kind of betrayal that hurts the most. When the hypocritical smile is hiding a dagger, there is something wrong with the soul who is smiling.

LORD, show us how to be faithful and honest.

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two million witnesses

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devotional post # 2059

Luke 22:1-2

Luk 22:1 Now the festival of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.
Luk 22:2 And the chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put him to death, because they feared the people.

two million witnesses

When Cestius was governor of Palestine, he made a count of the number of lambs slaughtered for Passover. The count was 256,500. Since the minimum number to celebrate Passover was ten, that suggests that Jerusalem was filled to capacity with over two million celebrants. No wonder the chief priests and scribes feared the people. The most important event in all history was about to happen. There would be plenty of witnesses.

LORD, when we remember Christ’s death, we feel both shame and gratitude.

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until the end

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devotional post # 2058

Luke 21:37-38

Luk 21:37 And every day he was teaching on the temple campus, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.
Luk 21:38 And all the people came to him early in the morning in the temple campus to hear him.

until the end

A few months ago, I found out that my ministry in the country where I was sent was going to end, and my wife and I were coming “home” and would have to transition to new jobs. I felt angry, and at times I considered just quitting, because I felt unappreciated and betrayed. But, we stayed at it until the end.

Jesus made a choice like that too. He knew the people in Jerusalem would crucify him, but he kept teaching them until the end. His faithfulness was to God.

LORD, give us all power to remain faithful no matter what.

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staying awake and standing tall

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devotional post # 2057

Luke 21:34-36

Luk 21:34 “But pay attention to yourselves or else your hearts might be weighed down with intoxication and drunkenness and worries belonging to this life, and that day spring on you suddenly like a trap.
Luk 21:35 Because it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole land.
Luk 21:36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand tall in the presence of the Son of Man.”

staying awake and standing tall

There are some Christians who have drawn the conclusion that the signs of the second coming do not really matter — that the best thing to do is ignore the question of the nearness of the second coming and get on with their lives. Not so. The signs are our Lord’s way of reminding us how important it is for us to not be distracted by self-indilgence or this world’s anxieties. He encourages us to stay awake to what is happening so that we are not caught in the trap that the world will be caught in. For us, the terrible events of the cataclysmic return of Christ will be a time to stand tall in his presence, ready for the things that are going to take place.

Come, LORD Jesus.

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no matter what goes by

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devotional post # 2056

Luke 21:29-33

Luk 21:29 And he gave them an illustration: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
Luk 21:30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.
Luk 21:31 In the same way, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
Luk 21:32 I am telling you the truth; this generation will not go by until all has begun to take place.
Luk 21:33 The sky and the land will go by, but my words will not go by.

no matter what goes by

Jesus had begun his eschatological discourse responding to a request for signs. Jesus shared a number of signs, some signifying the soon destruction of Jerusalem, others indicating that the end of the age and the second coming is near. In this illustration, he warns his listeners (and readers) not to ignore the signs. All of the signs will have begun to take place before his generation goes by.

But Jesus also warns us (in the same illustration) that the signs of the end will take place over a long period of time, and people will be tempted to think that his words have gone by with no affect. No matter how long it takes, even if it seems the sky and land itself has died of old age, his words are true. His return is going to happen, and the signs he gave are the only indicators that the age is ending.

LORD, we trust your word, no matter what goes by.

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straighten up

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devotional post # 2055

Luke 21:25-28

Luk 21:25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the land anguish of nations in anxiety because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
Luk 21:26 people fainting from fearful expectation of what is coming on the world. Because the powers of the sky will be shaken.
Luk 21:27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Luk 21:28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your release is drawing near.”

straighten up

The people listening to Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the temple were sure that would mean the end of the world. So, Jesus adds these words as if to say, ‘now, here’s what the end of the world is really going to look like. His instructions for us all is when we first start seeing these kinds of signs, to straighten up and raise our heads because our release is coming. The stress, disasters and conflict are not signs that God has abandoned the planet, but signs that he is about to rescue it.

Thank you, LORD, for your coming rescue. We are looking up.

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trouble in the land

 

marmsky-devotions-pics-june-2017-21devotional post # 2054

Luke 21:20-24

Luk 21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then realize that its devastation has come near.
Luk 21:21 Then let those who are in Judea disappear into the mountains, and let those who are inside the city go away, and let not those who are out in the countryside enter it,
Luk 21:22 for these are days of punishment, to fulfill all that is written.
Luk 21:23 It will be terrible for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Because there will be massive trouble in the land and wrath against this people.
Luk 21:24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive amid all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

trouble in the land

Jesus continues to describe the terrible time that Jerusalem will face in the not too distant future from his prediction. God judged the land and people of Israel for their having rejected Christ as the Messiah. But Jesus warned believers that since this time of trouble was coming to the land, they had better hide, because the punishment would affect everyone there.

When God begins to punish a people, even his true believers will feel the effects of it.

LORD, when we are in the midst of trouble in our land, we trust you to limit your judgment so that some of us survive.

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permanent protection

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devotional post # 2053

Luke 21:12-19

Luk 21:12 But before all these things they will brutalise you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.
Luk 21:13 This will turn out to be your opportunity to testify.
Luk 21:14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to prepare beforehand how to defend yourself,
Luk 21:15 because I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your confronters will be able to withstand or contradict.
Luk 21:16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death.
Luk 21:17 You will be hated by everyone because of my name.
Luk 21:18 But not a hair of your head will be lost.
Luk 21:19 By your endurance you will get your souls.

permanent protection

Jesus is warning believers of an intense period of persecution that will take place within the generation before the destruction of the temple. He warns that some will suffer the ultimate persecution and be put to death during this time. Others will be beaten severely, others imprisoned. But Jesus encourages his listeners to look beyond this tough time and remember his promise of permanent protection. In the end, not even a hair on their heads will be lost — even if those heads roll. By their faithful endurance in testifying to who he is, these Christians going through a tough time will get their souls — they will be delivered at his return.

As I right this, I am going through a very tough time. My promise from Jesus is that he will rescue me. It may not be in the way I want. It may not be what I expect. But, ultimately, I have his promise of permanent protection. And while this is happening, I have an opportunity to testify about Christ. I can endure this tough time because of the faithfulness of the One who has promised me permanent protection.

LORD, your faithfulness inspires us to be faithful — no matter what.

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