Dr. Ed Young - The Entrance to the Kingdom
Mark 14:12, "On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples came to Him, 'Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?'" Verse 22, "While they were eating, He took some bread," this is Jesus, "and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, 'Take it; this is My body.' And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, 'This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.'" In verse 25, "Truly..." Remember, that's the word "amen". That's the word stand at attention, something seeks to be said.
Jesus says, "'Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.' And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, 'You will all fall away, because it is written, I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.' Then Jesus said, 'But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.' But Peter said to Him, 'Even though all may fall away'", Peter said, "'Maybe everybody will deny you and everybody will run you'," but he said, "'I will not fall away.'" And then in the last verse of this section, the other apostles said, "Though all will run away from you, we will always be with you even if it cost our life".
Several passages of Scripture always attract me and one particularly you find in Mark chapter number 10. This is at the, I guess, the pinnacle of Jesus' earthly popularity when he was speaking, and teaching, and healing, primarily successful in Galilee and there was whispered among the crowd, "Messiah, Messiah, Messiah. Is he the Messiah? The Messiah, the Messiah, Messiah, Messiah". And they questioned him about it and he kept all of that at a minor key never clearly answering until that wonderful triumphant procession on Palm Sunday riding on that donkey, he fulfilled prophecy of Zechariah. And they said, "This is indeed Messiah, Messiah, Messiah".
But prior to this and right in this same area of popularity, James and John went to Jesus, the Bible tells us and says, "We see you're coming into your kingdom and we've been with you from the beginning. We paid a price and I wanna sit on your right hand, and I wanna sit on your left hand". So, we have James and John with their pride saying, "When you come to your kingdom, I wanna be at least vice president or secretary of state". Pride, to underscore that, the gospel of Matthew, Matthew tells us that they sent their mother, oh yeah. And so, mom went to Jesus and said, "You know, my boys are super. When you come in your kingdom, can't they have prominent positions? Can we count on that"?
Just like a mom, isn't it, just like a mom? Remember our Jesus' answer to that? He said, "I can't give away positions". He said, "If you wanna be great in my kingdom, you have to become a servant, a servant of all. Greatness comes through service". And they didn't get that evidently because you read in John chapter number 13 that here getting ready for the last Passover that they all seat around the table and Jesus evidently was looking at everybody's feet and said, "Nobody washed their feet". It's like my mother. All of my life when I was a boy, we'd sit down to eat she'd say, "Edwin, did you wash your hands"? It was a requirement in our family. Jesus looked at their feet and said, "Nobody's washed your feet".
So, Jesus, without saying a word, gets a basin and pours water in it. He gets a towel over his arm. He starts to wash the feet of all the apostles. Kind of embarrassing, isn't it? Jesus, divine power, with a towel over his arm. Can you picture that? Can you imagine that? Divine power with a towel over his arm washing feet. How many of you have ever been into a worship service in which feet were washed? Would you lift your hand if you've ever had that experience? A few of us, a few of us. You know the hardest thing about it? It's not washing somebody's feet. You know, there's a sort of humility and pride when I sit down and I wash somebody's feet. You know, I'm such a humble servant doing it. The tough thing is letting your feet be washed.
If you've ever been there, you know what I'm talking about. It is letting your feet be washed, to being served in a such a modest, almost demeaning way. Jesus washed their feet. He came to Peter, always egotist. Peter said, "Oh, you can't wash my feet". And Jesus said, "If I don't wash your feet, you have no part of my kingdom". He said, "Then give me a bath". And Jesus said, "The feet will be sufficient for you, Peter". So, we see ego, pride. We can all identify with that, can't we? Sure, we don't feel too badly about James and John, even their mother trying to get prominent positions for his children and for themselves because all of us have that in us.
Even though we may be very introverted or extroverted, there's something in everybody. There is that drive that we all wanna with a drum major. I think everybody ought to, once in a while, put on a drum major suit, and get those big ole boots, and get that long rabbit hat, and maybe a baton and just march around, and be a drum major. It's built in us. You know, I wanna be something. I wanna be significant. I wanna have praise. And we love praise unless it's given to our successor or our predecessor in excess. Now, if you love seeing your successor or your predecessor praised, you're an authority on sanctification, oh yeah. We like it. We like it even when we know it's not true. It's built in us, that drum major instinct and you see it all the way through the Bible.
And we see it, tragically, right here in the upper room and it just explodes before us. Jesus, sat down to lead in the Passover meal. Let me remind everybody of the tradition of Passover. The Jews celebrate it every year. They have since they were slaves in Egypt. And they were liberated from Egypt and that's when you know the lamb was killed. In every family, they put blood on the doorpost and anyone who had blood on their doorpost, they were saved from the judging angel which would smite every firstborn, every firstborn male, every firstborn female, every firstborn Jew, every firstborn Egyptian, every firstborn animal, every firstborn. All would be slaughtered unless there was the blood applied, the blood of the lamb.
And so, ever year we read the story about it in Exodus chapter 6 and Exodus chapter 12. The Jews would gather together with their family and they would remember the Passover meal, and they would eat the meal that they had eaten the last night of slavery. And that meal had many components and many parts. It was so the Jews would never forget what happened on that night. And so, the youngest would ask, "What is so special about this night"? And then they would have the meal. And there were a lot of components but three major components in the meal. There was bread, unleavened bread. There was a cup, the cup of wine. And there was the lamb, the lamb that was slain, that was the main part of the meal.
And so, it was symbolical. And we'll read about it in Exodus chapter 12. The symbol of the bread, it was unleavened bread always. The family would sit down, there would be unleavened bread. Why unleavened bread? Because they were in a hurry. When they prepared this final meal in Egypt, they didn't have time for the leaven to take place in the bread so it would rise so it'd be flatbread, unleavened bread. And that was a symbol of the suffering the Jews experienced there in their years of slavery in Egypt and even their years of wandering around those 40 years in Sinai before they won their Promised Land. You see, it just took a few weeks for them to be out of Egypt across the Red Sea with a hand of God following the plagues of judgment administered by Moses on behalf... that just took a few weeks or so but it took 'em 40 years, a little while to get out of slavery, but 40 years to get slavery out of them.
See the difference? They still had a slave mentality, though they were free. That happens to us as Christian but that's another day. And so, they remembered this. And so they would serve the bread around the table for the family and it would be a symbol of the suffering they'd experienced there in that historical days of being in Egypt and in Sinai. And then they would pass around the cup. They would take wine. They'd pour water in it, very weak wine, and they'd pass it around some six times. And as they'd pass it around, they'd remember the promises that God gave them in Exodus chapter number 6 and Exodus chapter 12. God said, "I will get you out. I will deliver you. I will make you my people, and I will always be a blessing to you. I will be your God and you will be me people".
And so they were liberated. So, as they passed the wine around, it would be red remembering the blood that was shed from the lamb, the sacrifice that was offered to God, and they would do that. But I want you to notice something that you probably didn't notice as I read the Scripture. Jesus changed what was said in the Passover. He changed what was said. Now, this had been said for hundreds and hundred of years. He changed what was said. Now, you read in chapter 12 of Exodus God says, don't change anything about the Passover. Every year annually, sit down with your family and remember the days when you were set free. Don't change a word. Jesus changed. He changed a word. He said, "This is my body".
That's not a part of Passover. "This is your blood". Your blood, no, the blood of the lamb. How in the world could Jesus do that? Well, the Bible says don't change that. If a commander in chief gives an order, those orders are followed. Somebody down the line can't say, "Well, you know, I don't believe we're gonna attack tomorrow. We're gonna wait 'til Thursday". Or be like so many times Jo Beth would say, "You know, I need to go on a diet but let's begin Monday". We've had so many Monday diets, I can't even tell you about it. You know, that's the way we are. We're all like that. It's gonna be... but if a commander in chief gives an order, it is followed through right down the line. And Jesus changed the order, changed what was said.
What does this mean? It means he was saying, "I am the only one who can change the order". Who can change the order of the commander in chief? The commander in chief. It was a claim of Jesus to be divine, divinity. Some years ago, I was sitting by a lady on a plane and tragically, she found out what I did. I try to be a Christian sometimes just independent of all the other trappings that comes with my particular vocation. And in the conversation she said, "Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus claim to be God". I sort of smiled and walked her through some Scripture. But, you know, the truth is everything Jesus did, everything Jesus said properly understood, was a claim to be God, everything. And particularly with the triumph and entry into Jerusalem, it was very open. And in this particular passage, he changed what God said.
Man, stay with the methodology, the words of the Passover. And he changed it because he was saying, "I'm the commander in chief and the commander in chief can change". It was a claim of divinity, tremendous claim. And so, we see this is written into this Scripture. He changed what was said. He also changed what was served. It's widely understood this is a staggering verse of Scripture. Jesus is leading, he said, "This is my body, this is my blood". He fulfilled the old covenant and he established the New Covenant in his blood. He changed what was said and he changed what was served because then it says, "They sang a hymn and went out".
Where's the main course? Man, they would leave hungry. Where's the main course here? What was the main course? It was a lamb. The lamb was served. They sang a hymn, went out. The apostles must have said, "What in the world is going on? He changed what was said". And now he hadn't even... the lamb was not on the table. You know why? The lamb was at the table, that's why. Jesus, the lamb of God. John the Baptist said, "Behold the lamb of God that takes way the sin of the world". The lamb was not on the table to be served, Jesus was the lamb who was at the table. The New Covenant, the new contract by his blood, how radical that is. The power of the blood, life in the blood, we're saved by the blood.
But you know what? I'm sure there's somebody here who's rather modern and would say, "Well, here you are in the 21st century talk about shed blood. You mean, the God that we have here is angry and blood has to be shed to appease him"? Oh no, oh no, that's not the God of the Bible. That's not the true and living God. You see, the difference in all the pagan religion, they said, "Give up something great. Give some great sacrifice to make your peace with God, to get right with God". Here we have in the Bible God said, "Oh yes, there needs to be a sacrifice, but I am providing the sacrifice". See the difference? "I am the sacrifice, my Son is the sacrifice, the lamb is the sacrifice". Totally radically different. You say, "Well, I just want a God who just loves, just love".
Let me tell ya something, you may have some kind of mythological God that just loves but the God of the Bible, the real God, is much greater because he demonstrates his love. While we were yet sinners, he died for us. See, that's the difference, that's the difference. And so, then we come to two interesting things. Jesus says... look at verse 25, "Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God". What's he saying? He's saying, "I will never let you down," he's saying, "I make a commitment that I'm gonna get you all the way home with me and the next time we eat together in a banquet feast, it will be in heaven in eternity with a new heaven and a new earth at the marriage feast of the lamb, the lamb of God".
He's making a vow, a claim. He's saying, "I will do anything to get you home". And we see that "anything" meant the shedding of his own blood on Calvary. Jesus says, "I'll never let you down," and in the same next verse he says, "You're gonna let me down," look at verse 27, "Jesus said to them, 'You will all fall away, because it is written, 'I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.' But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.'" What's he saying? He said, "You're gonna let me down". But he said, "I'm never gonna let you down". And he said, "Even though you will let me down..." And they did in their denial, did they not? They did in their running away. All their boasting, all their pride, it became empty air in the face of Calvary, and the blood, and the pressure that was brought to bear.
But he said, "After I am raised, I'll meet you in Galilee. I'll never let you down, you'll let me down and after I'm raised, I'll meet you in Galilee". A lot of people just bail out on the Christian life because they think, "You know, I've been such a bad goose, a bad dude. God surely can't keep on forgiving me. And I go back, back, back. You know, I just can't be a Christian," others says, "I can't be a Christian because I have prayed to God and he didn't answer my prayers". God answers every sincere prayer made in the name of Jesus Christ if you are a Christian. He answers every single prayer that you and I offer in Jesus Christ as Christians. He says yes, he says no, he says maybe, he says wait. This whole business of, "He didn't answer my prayer".
If you prayed sincerely in Christ because that's the reason we pray in his will. His have always superior to anything we think. No matter how low or high or how humanistic we might be. So, we see that he says, "I'll never let you down. You'll let me down even though when I'm raised, I'll meet ya in Galilee. I'll meet ya in heaven". And then we see all the pride set in by Peter, I referred to it. All the other apostles, "Man, we're not gonna let you down. We'll even die for you". Pride, pride, and pride. The power of my hand. Got all my fingers here. Pride is a sinner of all sin. Take every one of the Ten Commandments, we break those commandments primarily because of one thing, pride. Take every one by one look at them, pride, pride, pride, pride, count to ten. Pride is a root of all sin. I want you to see how it operates.
We read in Genesis chapter number 2, man, the creation, the perfection, the marriage of Adam and Eve in the garden, what a fabulous scene. Then the last verse of Genesis chapter 2, talk about Adam and Eve. He said, "They were naked and they were unashamed". That's beauty. They were naked, in fellowship with God, unashamed, the love of God flowing through their lives, the grace of God flowing through their lives, the Shekinah of God flowing through their lives and they were naked and unashamed. Then we read in Genesis chapter number 3, the devil comes. Where did the devil come from? The devil was an angel because of pride said, "I wanna be like God. I wanna run this thing like God runs it," and became full of his pride and therefore he was kicked out of heaven with all of his emissaries because of pride, right? "I wanna be God. I wanna run the show".
Now, here's Adam and Eve, and what did he whisper in the ear of Eve? What did the devil whisper? "You'll be like God". He appealed to her pride. "You'll be like God if you eat this fruit". And she did and gave it to Adam, the snake, to Eve, to Adam. Then they spent all their time saying, "You did it, you did it. No, it's your fault. No, it's mine. It's you, the snake. No, it was the woman. No, it was the man". See, pride, they... it was prideful thing. Now, I wanna ask you a question, be honest, gonna be tough. Do you know the first thing that happened to Adam and Eve after they sinned? First thing, I bet you've never heard it. They realized they were naked, first thing. Why would you, "I'm naked"? Where was that? "I'm naked". God showed up and he said, "Adam, Eve, where are you"? They said, "We're hiding". "Well, why are you hiding"? "We're naked".
They sinned, they're naked. They'd been humble, transparent without clothes, now they put on those pitiful little fig leaves that you'd scratch a lot, I can tell you for sure. And said, "We're naked". And God said, "Who told you you were naked"? Nobody had to tell them they were naked. They knew they were naked because they'd gone from humility and transparency to pride. And now they were ashamed and they couldn't face the living God. Nobody had to tell them, they knew it. And so, you have nakedness. It's mentioned five times in the last verse. There in chapter 2 of Genesis, 4 times. It's mentioned in the third chapter, naked. And what was that... it was pride. "I wanna be like God". And their answer was fig leaves.
God's answer was found there in one of the last verses of chapter number 3, I think it's, what, 25, 26. And it says, "God killed an animal," it was a lamb, I believe. And from the skin, the blood of the lamb, it covered them. In other words, their nakedness was covered by righteousness by humility. When we fall into sin of whatever category, it is pride and that pride has to be covered with humility and that is covered, not covered up by the blood. That was Old Testament stuff. But the blood now eliminates that sin and washes that sin away. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus, the blood of a humble lamb. Interesting, isn't it?
For sin to be handled, pride has to be reassembled and has to be put on righteousness and that is a humility. You see, Jesus in that Passover, he changed what was said, he changed what was served. The lamb was not there but he was the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world prehistory and in history so that his blood will take away our fallen-ness and our pride and humility can be restored to us in Jesus Christ. Anyone who saves their life, you're gonna lose it. Not gonna amount to anything. You lose your life. You give your life, let your life melt with God in Christ, you'll find life, that's humility. Crucified with Christ, die to self and live for him, man, that is a life that's absolutely worth living.