Sunday, March 8, 2015, 7:24 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 22:1-38 (NASB). The Cup Poured Out And they left and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover. When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing. (vv. 13-23) The Passover was a Jewish yearly celebration commemorating the deliverance of the Jews out of slavery in Egypt. Their rescue was symbolic of a better deliverance yet to come, which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection for our release out of bondage to sin, and from the curse of sin, and for our liberation to now walk in freedom from the control of sin over our lives and to now walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. The bread and the wine are symbolic of Jesus’ body and blood which were given for us on the cross so we might be saved from our sins. Jesus Christ, God the Son, gave his life up for us so that through faith in him we might have eternal life with God in heaven. So, when Jesus gave the bread and the cup to his followers, not only was he instituting a new celebration of a new deliverance, but he was teaching them that fellowship with him also means dying with him to sin and being resurrected with him to new life in Christ Jesus, our Lord, in which we follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. He was demonstrating for them, as well, that sharing in the bread and in the cup means that we, as his followers, will also share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. We, too, will be hated and persecuted, and many of us will also be put to death. The Greatest And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (vv. 24-30) Not only did Jesus Christ let his followers know that fellowship with him meant dying with him to sin and living with him in victory over sin, and that communion with him meant fellowship, as well, with him in his sufferings, but he let them know that being his followers meant also a life of servitude and not one of public recognition and self-glory. Even though Jesus Christ truly was and is the greatest among us, he became a servant in suffering and in dying on a cross for our sins so that we would no longer be bound to slavery to sin. So, as his followers, we are also not to concern ourselves with such things as recognition, applause, praise and acceptance of humans for what we do, but we should willingly humble ourselves to be servants of our Lord Jesus in doing whatever he requires of us to do. We are to stand with and for Jesus at all times and to willingly suffer disgrace for the sake of his name, and for the sake of his gospel message. We do so because we love him. We do so because we are so thankful and grateful for what he did for us in saving us from our sins. We do so, also, because we love others and we want to see as many as possible come to Christ before the great Day of Judgment. Eating and drinking with him at his table in His kingdom is not just dying to sin and sharing in his sufferings, though, but it is daily communion with him in his Word, and in prayer, and in personal worship of him - sitting at his feet, listening to him speak, and then doing what he says. It is him comforting us in our troubles, rebuking us when we go astray, calming our fears, giving us peace and joy, encouraging us in persecution, filling us with hope when all seems hopeless, and teaching and instructing us in the way we should go. It is us humbling ourselves before him, confessing sin, and praying for strength, healing and wisdom. It is us casting our burdens upon him and crying out to him in our distress. It is us bringing our requests before him, too, believing him to answer and to meet our needs. And, it is us thanking and praising him for all that he is and for all that he has done on our behalf. It is also giving of our lives, in love, to see others be set free from sin. Sifting As Wheat “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” (vv. 31-38) When we walk with Jesus Christ in obedience and in surrender to his will, and we die with him to self and sin, and we choose to walk daily in his righteousness and to be Jesus to the world around us, Satan will come after us because he wants nothing more than to destroy our lives and our testimonies for Jesus Christ and to render us ineffectual for God’s kingdom work. So, it is important that we remain humble before God, and that we stay alert and aware of his devices against us and that we don’t get prideful and think we could never do what “such and such” a person has done. We are all still capable of sin. When we start thinking that we could never fall, that is a dangerous place to be. We must daily realize our absolute dependence on our Lord Jesus to keep us from falling and to give us all we need to remain faithful to him until the end. And, we must believe that he is talking to the Father on our behalf, that he loves us, and that he is pulling for us. He will never leave us or forsake us. There is nothing we will go through that he is not able to see us through. When the going gets tough, and it will, we need never to run away and escape into other things and/or to deny our Lord. He is faithful in all that he does. He has always, and he will always give us all we need to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, and to bring us through every trial victorious over our enemy (See: Eph. 6:10-20). Amen! So, if you have never given your heart to Jesus Christ, I pray you will do so today. If you know him, but you are struggling with sin, I pray you will humble yourself before him, turn from your wicked ways, and follow him today in surrender and in obedience to his will for your life. If you are following him in obedience, and you are facing some of these trials and tribulations we have talked about here, then I pray you will daily put on your armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against you, and that you will trust the Lord Jesus Christ to give you all you need to live victoriously for him until the end. Love him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Forsake all to follow him. Be Jesus to the world around you. It will be worth it all to follow Him. Help me, Lord, to always love you in all that I do, and to always remain faithful to you and to your service throughout my life, for the praise of your name and for the salvation of human lives. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen. My Jesus, I Love Thee William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine; For thee all the follies of sin I resign. My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou; If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now. I love thee because thou hast first loved me, And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree; I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow; If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now. I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow, If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now. In mansions of glory and endless delight; I'll ever adore thee in heaven so bright; I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow; If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.