Daily Bible Readings – Maundy Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 143

Prayer Point. Does God hear the prayers of sinful people? This psalm reminds us that all people are unrighteous in the eyes of God, and yet he answers all those who call on him in faith. How are you empty today? What are you afraid of? Where do you need wisdom in your life?  Take these all today to our gracious God.

Mark 14:12-25

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. Passover was a meal that the Jewish people celebrated to remember what happened when Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egypt. It was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread because the Israelites did not have time to wait for the bread to rise. God was going to liberate them that very night. The Passover lamb was sacrificed to remember the lamb that was killed the night of Israel’s liberation. Each family took blood from the lamb and put it on the posts of their front door. That night the angel of death came through and struck down the firstborn son of every house in Egypt, except for the homes where the blood of the lamb was visible. For those houses, the Angel of Death “passed over” hence the name of the festival, “Passover.”  Jesus means to celebrate the Passover with his disciples, only this time he will invest the holiday with new meaning.

How does Mark demonstrate to us Jesus’ great authority in the preparations for Passover? What devastating revelation does he make during the meal? What new meaning does Jesus give to the unleavened bread of Passover? What new meaning is given to the cup?

This tradition that Jesus instituted is still celebrated by the church today, we call it Communion, the Last Supper or the Eucharist (Greek for “give thanks”).

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. What is God asking me to do?
  • Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.
  • Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

1 Corinthians 10:14-17, 11:27-32

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. Today is Maundy (Holy) Thursday the Christian holiday that commemorates the Last Supper Jesus celebrated with his disciples on the night he was betrayed; the night before his crucifixion.  The Last Supper is celebrated by Christians all other the world. It is called the Lord’s Supper, communion or Eucharistic (which means “thanksgiving”). Today’s readings in 1 Corinthians discuss the significance of the bread and cup of the Last Supper and our present day   observance of communion.

Pay close attention to …

  • The connection between the cup of thanksgiving and the bread to the blood and body of Christ and its implications for us as Christians (10:14-17).
  • Why God judges harshly those who eat the bread and drink the cup of communion in an unworthy manner.

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Lamentations 2:10-18

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the background to help guide you.

Background. Verses 8-9 tell us that is was the LORD who was behind all this destruction (not just the enemy) and that he left no stone unturned, as it were.  Most importantly, he has discontinued his dialog with his people (“and her prophets find no vision from the LORD.” v. 9b ESV)

Why does the LORD “not restrain his hand from destroying”?  (The LORD had warned for centuries that devastation would come as a result of idolatry.  The removal of Israel should have been a wakeup call to Judah but alas, it was not.  “And the LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: ‘Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, “After she has done all this she will return to me,” but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.  She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce.  Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.  Because she [Israel] took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree.  Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:7-10 ESV)

Verses 10-12 There appears to be an attitude of remorse, repentance, and sorrow (mourning) among the elders.  But is it real?  The infants and babies are starving.  The writer weeps sorely for Jerusalem, because of its destruction.  Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem for the final week of his life, gazed upon the City  and lamented for her in exactly the same attitude.  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!  How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!  See, your house is left to you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37-38 ESV)

Why is Jerusalem so special?  (It is the place where God dwells.)  Verse 12 talks of the infants and babies whose life is poured out as they cry to their mothers.  “Where is bread and wine?”  I find that an interesting choice for sustenance.  (Flesh and blood?)

Is it “just” that the babies be included in this disaster?  How can God show mercy to the few who are righteous (or innocent)?

Verse 13 describes the anguish of the author for he cannot find any words of comfort for Jerusalem.  Who do you think is speaking in verse 13, is it the author or God himself?

Why were the prophets useless at this time?  What is the major charge leveled against the prophets in verse 14?  Is this not itself a fulfillment of prophecy? (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

What kind of mocking do we see in verse 15?

The scoffers in verse 16 open their mouths “and gnash their teeth and say ‘We have swallowed her up.”  Why are they so delighted?

What defense does the writer offer for the LORD in verse 17?  What has the LORD done?   Review chapter 29 of Deuteronomy to see how great Moses’ foresight (prophecy) was.

Why would the song Cry Me a River come to mind when one reads verse 18?

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. What is God asking me to do?
  • Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.
  • Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

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