In our spiritual life, keeping the Light on in our lives helps us keep our orientation. But when we surround ourselves with darkness, it is easy to lose our bearings and say and do things we normally would not do in the Light. We may even fall away. We may have all the right intentions to stay on the right path, but if we allow the darkness of church, independent ministries, the world, pride, ego and self-sufficiency to surround us, as the disciples did, it can be easy to lose our way. This is one reason Paul tells us, “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33. God is not interested in good intentions. Only perfect lives.
Some have questioned whether or not it is possible to live the perfect life “for all of us make many mistakes (stumble)”. James 3:2. First of all, Jesus would never tell us a lie. He would never tell us to do something we could not do. That would be a sin for God. Therefore, when Jesus commands us to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life, we must understand He means it. Therefore, we must understand that “sin”, which is the breaking of the Ten Commandments, is not the same as a “mistake” or “stumble”.
For example, a long-distance runner, perfect in his running abilities, stumbles, gets up and continues his running to the finish line. He is still a perfect runner. He got up and continued and finished his race. His focus was on the race, doing his best to reach the finish line. He ran a perfect race, even though he stumbled. The attitude was perfect. The effort was perfect.
Now, let’s say that while he is running, his heart isn’t into reaching the finish line. Maybe he is thinking about fornicating or stealing when he gets done. Maybe he veers off course to have a chat with a friend. Maybe he is thinking that it is enough just being in the race. That winning isn’t all that important. Is he a perfect long distance runner? Of course not. Perfection has to do with attitude and character development. It isn’t just an act, but the heart. That is why we are not to judge by the act. Only God knows the heart. We are long distance runners in a race to the finish line. We may stumble and make mistakes along the way, but if we get up and keep going, keeping our minds on the goal, we are perfect. The stumblings and mistakes are not “sins”.
A very dark time is soon to envelop us. Very few will be able to see their way clearly during that time. Very few will finish the race. Why? The “few” were not sitting in church but were keeping their lights fueled by the Spirit of God. They were not sitting in church or listening to independent ministries filling their lives with human wisdom and ceremonies but were sitting at the Light of God’s Word filling their lives with God’s Light to dispel the darkness.
Judas sat at the feet of Jesus. He was given power to heal the sick. He was even given the responsibility as treasurer for the ministry. However, he fell away because he never let the Light of God’s Word into His heart. He didn’t just stumble, he didn’t just make mistakes, his heart was not in the race. He knew the information Jesus taught in his head, yet, he did not let it migrate down into his heart. His soul was full of the darkness of self. He was doing it his way. He wanted people to tell him his way and belief were Okay.
Mark 14:12 to Mark 14:52
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God”. The Passover lamb and the “Lamb passed over” were about to meet. The nation had no problem partaking of the Passover lamb, while passing over the “Lamb of God”. Traditions, rituals, ordinances and church services were more important than the “Lamb of God”. The perfect “Lamb of God” was being passed over.
Type was about to meet anti-type. The Substance was about to sit at the table with the shadow. The shadow was about to be abolished. Not even the disciples understood that they were walking with the One who would destroy everything they believed in. The Old Covenant with its laws of sacrifices, feast days, holy days, Passover, Feast of Trumpets, church rituals and “church” itself, were about 24 hours from being abolished. Everything related to the temple and the church was to be cast down. Everything related to the courtyard and the Holy Place would be dissolved. The Most Holy Place, with the Ten Commandments, was all that would be left standing. The Ten Commandments, the Word of God, was sitting among them.
Everything outside of the Most Holy Place had only been given to point people to the Most Holy Place. They were the arrows pointing to the Ten Commandments which were pure, undefiled and perfect, representing a Savior whose character perfectly revealed the Ten Commandments. Everything outside of the Most Holy Place pointed to the need of a Savior in their own lives while under the Old Covenant laws of rituals, services, ordinances, feast days and sacrifices. He, the Perfect One, had now come.
The arrows were no longer needed. He Himself was the embodiment of the Ten Commandments. He would give His life in place of the sacrificial lamb and therefore, the Altar of Sacrifice was no longer needed. He would cleans us with the Spirit of God and therefore, the Water Basin was no longer needed. He was the Bread of Life; therefore, the Table of Showbread was no longer needed. His Light would radiate to the whole world replacing the Menorah. All that was left was the Ten Commandments, which, if the people lived in obedience to, would never have needed the shadows.
“The apostle urged the Galatians to leave the false guides (church people) by whom they had been misled, and to return to the faith that had been accompanied by unmistakable evidences of divine approval. The men who had attempted to lead them from their belief in the gospel were hypocrites, unholy in heart and corrupt in life. Their religion was made up of a round of ceremonies, through the performance of which they expected to gain the favor of God. They had no desire for a gospel that called for obedience to the word, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. They felt that a religion based on such a doctrine, required too great a sacrifice, and they clung to their errors, deceiving themselves and others.
“To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life is still as pleasing to the unrenewed nature as it was in the days of these Jewish teachers. Today, as then, there are false spiritual guides, to whose doctrines many listen eagerly. It is Satan’s studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God. In every age the archenemy adapts his temptations to the prejudices or inclinations of those whom he is seeking to deceive. In apostolic times he led the Jews to exalt the ceremonial law and reject Christ; at the present time he induces many professing Christians, under pretense of honoring Christ, to cast contempt on the moral law and to teach that its precepts may be transgressed with impunity. It is the duty of every servant of God to withstand firmly and decidedly these perverters of the faith and by the word of truth fearlessly to expose their errors.” AA 386-387. Is your church or independent ministry raising “perverters of the faith”? Are you standing “fearlessly to expose their errors”?
“The apostle showed that religion does not consist in rites and ceremonies, creeds and theories. If it did, the natural man could understand it by investigation, as he understands worldly things. Paul taught that religion is a practical, saving energy, a principle wholly from God, a personal experience of God’s renewing power upon the soul.” AA 451. Have you experienced God’s renewing power upon your soul? Or are you still involved with church?
If you sit in church, you are not experiencing the “renewing power upon the soul”. You are doing only what the Jews of Christ’s day did: making church more important than obedience to Jesus. Unless you are gathering together to be “called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face” (1 Corinthians 14:24, 25), you are not gathering for Jesus. Your church is only a Catholic institution filled with useless forms, services, rituals and traditions. God hates “church” and religious ministries that don’t teach His truth to be perfect. Go home, disclose the secret sins of your heart and fall on your face before God and repent. Then rise up and invite others to join you in finding the healing power of God in their lives to overcome all sin.
And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’
Jesus is carrying water that will bring everlasting life. We need to follow Him. To try to explain the demise of their dearly held beliefs and church systems, Jesus allowed a “one-last-time” gathering to explain why those beliefs were no longer needed. Interesting, He didn’t tell the disciples to get ready for church. He didn’t tell them they were going to the temple. He stayed far away from the religious rituals, traditions, customs, ceremonies and services of church. Go, follow Jesus.
And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.”
I wonder if we are as ready and prepared to furnish our lives for Jesus? Do we “give” to Jesus or are we looking to get something back? Will we let Jesus into our heart’s “room”? What is your “large upper room” filled with? Is it ready to receive Jesus? On the other hand, are you filling your living room with people? Are you inviting people to follow you to Jesus?
And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. And when it was evening, he came with the twelve.
We don’t need a “church” or auditorium. All that is needed is to let Jesus come to you. Let Him into your heart, into your home, without wanting anything in return, and enjoy the sweet communion. Of course, letting Him in means to prepare it for Him. Are you cleaning out the sins and living in obedience to His Commands? Are you preparing your living room to receive the people you will be inviting to study with you?
And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”
Being involved with church, a denomination, a religious organization or independent does not guarantee you a place with Jesus. There are lots of betrayers, filled with the darkness of night, pretending to be ministries. The whole church system has become the betrayer, just as it was in Christ’s day. Just because they dress nice, have degrees from Andrews University or hold church office doesn’t mean they are living in obedience to Jesus. Night has settled down over our religious institutions and organizations.
“The tempter often works most successfully through those who are least suspected of being under his control. The possessors of talent and education are admired and honored, as if these qualities could atone for the absence of the fear of God or entitle men to His favor. Talent and culture, considered in themselves, are gifts of God; but when these are made to supply the place of piety, when, instead of bringing the soul nearer to God, they lead away from Him, then they become a curse and a snare. The opinion prevails with many that all which appears like courtesy or refinement must, in some sense, pertain to Christ. Never was there a greater mistake. These qualities should grace the character of every Christian, for they would exert a powerful influence in favor of true religion; but they must be consecrated to God, or they also are a power for evil. Many a man of cultured intellect and pleasant manners, who would not stoop to what is commonly regarded as an immoral act, is but a polished instrument in the hands of Satan. The insidious, deceptive character of his influence and example renders him a more dangerous enemy to the cause of Christ than are those who are ignorant and uncultured.” GC 509.
They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?”
Usually, church members are so involved in the show and their own schemes and plans, they do not hear Jesus pointing them out. They are way too busy honoring themselves and their religious organizations to listen to Jesus.
He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.
Judas spent close to three and a half years with Jesus and was so full of church, himself and his own beliefs, he never heard what Jesus was saying. He was busy scheming for the “religious organization” he had in mind. Many are involved with their churches, denominations and religious organizations and yet are not listening to the teachings of Jesus.
For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
Yes it would have been. Woe be to those in churches, denominations and religious institution that are not listening to Jesus but are betraying the truth with their human wisdom and selfish desires.
“Satan is continually seeking to overcome the people of God by breaking down the barriers which separate them from the world. Ancient Israel were enticed into sin when they ventured into forbidden association with the heathen. In a similar manner are modern Israel led astray. ‘The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.’ 2 Corinthians 4:4. All who are not decided followers of Christ are servants of Satan. In the unregenerate heart there is love of sin and a disposition to cherish and excuse it. In the renewed heart there is hatred of sin and determined resistance against it. When Christians choose the society of the ungodly and unbelieving, they expose themselves to temptation. Satan conceals himself from view and stealthily draws his deceptive covering over their eyes. They cannot see that such company is calculated to do them harm; and while all the time assimilating to the world in character, words, and actions, they are becoming more and more blinded.
“Conformity to worldly customs converts the church to the world; it never converts the world to Christ. Familiarity with sin will inevitably cause it to appear less repulsive. He who chooses to associate with the servants of Satan will soon cease to fear their master.” GC 508-509. Way too many “servants of Satan” are sitting in church and supporting independent ministries.
And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”
The “Showbread” was sitting at the table. He “showed” Himself to the world as the “Bread of Life”. He took the bread off the table and revealed to them what He was about to experience for them. It was His body that would be broken for them. He would hang on the cross for them. He would be lashed, beaten, whipped, scourged and nailed for them. No longer would they need a “lamb” to sacrifice, the “Lamb of God” was giving His broken body for the sins of the world.
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
The blood of the lamb represented the blood of Jesus. As the blood of the lamb was splashed (Leviticus 6:27 ESV), so the blood of Christ would be “splashed” against the sides of the walls and on the garmentsof those standing by during His whippings, scourgings and floggings. The covenant He made with Adam and Eve after they sinned, confirmed with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and again with the children of Israel, was now about to be fulfilled. Jesus would pay the penalty for their past sins (Justification) if they would repent of their sins and live as Jesus did for them (Sanctification): perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord must turn away from evil.” 2 Timothy 2:19.
“The Jews had always prided themselves upon their divinely appointed services, and many of those who had been converted to the faith of Christ still felt that since God had once clearly outlined the Hebrew manner of worship, it was improbable that He would ever authorize a change in any of its specifications. They insisted that the Jewish laws and ceremonies should be incorporated into the rites of the Christian religion. They were slow to discern that all the sacrificial offerings had but prefigured the death of the Son of God, in which type met antitype, and after which the rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic dispensation were no longer binding.” AA 189. The Messianic movement of today, along with all church organizations, are not of God.
Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
“The fruit of the vine”, unfermented, pure grape juice, represented the life-giving blood of Jesus. Now that the blood of the “Lamb of God” had been sacrificed for them they no longer needed the “blood” symbol of the lamb. Now, the pure, unfermented grape juice from the vine would represent the pure, perfect and sinless life of Jesus. He would now drink it in place of the old tabernacle/temple/church ceremonies, rituals, traditions, feast days and rites. Jesus was now instituting a new symbolism. The old was gone, the new was in. Instead of gathering for the Feast Days to celebrate the future covenant of the death of Christ, Christians were to gather as often as they wished to celebrate His blood and body as the accomplishment of that covenant. Christians no longer needed symbols to represent the sacrifice and life of the Christ, they now were able to look to Jesus, and His living example, who sacrificed His perfect, sinless and obedient life for their eternal life.
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
How amazing, knowing what lay ahead of Him, He went out singing. When we look at problems and troubles ahead of us, do we lower our heads griping and complaining, or do we raise them in songs to Jesus? I’m still working on that one.
And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
Knowing the future is not the same as predestinating it. God knows the future, but He is not commanding it. No different than I know the sun will rise in the morning, but I don’t make it rise. We need to listen to the words of God very carefully. Our eternal lives depend on it.
But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Even though He knew the disciples would scatter, stumble and make mistakes, leaving Him all alone, He did not reprimand them, get angry with them or plead with them to stay. He was simply stating a fact. Then, He let them know He still loved them and would be waiting for them when they gathered themselves up and returned to Galilee. What love!
Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
I understand. I’ve done the same. I have made boastful promises, only to realize, of myself, I can’t keep a one. I am learning to be a lot more humble and reliant on Jesus. I do a lot of stumbling and make a lot of mistakes.
And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
Arguing with Jesus is useless. I know. I’ve gone many a rounds with Him. I’ve lost every round. However, through those experiences I have learned much. The experiences can be beneficial if we never blame God, but simply want to know. Many prophets of the Old Testament argued with God. Many could not understand what was happening. But they always submitted to God.
But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
We say the same. We go to church and puff out our chests and claim to be “Christian” and willing to die for Jesus. We sing loud and give much. However, unless you are living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life every day, you are not developing the habit necessary to stay with Jesus through the coming nights of persecutions and trials that lie ahead.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
Notice, Jesus did not take the disciples to “church”. Jesus took them away from the church system. Jesus commands us to leave the church system and to “sit here” in a quiet place while He is in Heaven praying and working hard for our salvation. He has asked us to “sit here” awhile, not in church, but quietly working and praying for our own salvation.
And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.
There are some of us He has taken into a closer relationship with Himself. I don’t know why, I just feel so privileged to be among those He has called to sit closer to Him. To listen to His voice. To be brought into a deeper intimate relationship with Him. I suppose it is for the same reason, I can now relate to you the “intimate” information He is revealing to me.
And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”
He shares with me what others are going through. I am not sure if it is to share with them, or just to watch and see that God knows the future. I see those around me, our donors, our inmates and others, what is needed for their eternal life. God reveals what they are going through, but I’m not sure if I am allowed, at this time, to share with them. It is a heavy burden. For those I have shared with, most were not interested in listening. They gripe and complain when I try to keep them on the straight and narrow. Later, I have heard of the terrible times they were having in their lives. If only they had listened.
And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
It’s okay to be human. Our human nature does not enjoy suffering, pain and difficulties. We do all we can to avoid them. However, if we are living the Christ-like life, we turn it over to our loving Jesus and remember, He went through it for us. He will give us whatever it takes to withstand the trials ahead. All we need to do is live in obedience.
And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Jesus wasn’t hung-up over what “name” to call His Father. He just called Him by the common expression, “Abba”, Father. No matter what names the Father or Jesus have been called throughout history, They just wants us to call on Them in any way that is dear to us. The different names Jesus used in the Old Testament had meanings for the people of those times. Today, all He wants is for us to call on Him, “Not what I will, but what You will”. He doesn’t want you going to church, getting hung-up over what name or Bible to use, He just wants you to live the perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping life. That is His will for us.
And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?
Many are sound asleep in church, unable to watch. They are so busy with church activities, religious organization and denominational nonsense, they are fast asleep to what is really going on. They do not realize the lateness of the hour. They are not preparing themselves for the coming trials.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Sitting in church and doing the many religious activities can make us feel like we are strong Christians. But all of that is not the “strength” we need for the coming trials. The “strength” we need is to avoid the temptations ahead of us, now. We must stop sinning, now! We must live perfectly, now! We must put the Ten Commandments into our hearts and live by them, now! To do that, we must get out of our churches and pray for the strength to live that perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping life Jesus commands, now!
And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.
I also am “saying the same words” for each of my prayers. My words are not a ritual, they are from the heart. I want to make sure I don’t miss any important segment of my life and the lives of those I am praying for. I do add to it, as the circumstances arise, but repeating our needs before Jesus is not a “sin”. I also thank Him over and over again for what He has done for me.
And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him.
Jesus comes to our churches and what does He find? People sound asleep in their Laodicean state of church sitting. They have no idea of the lateness of the hour. Like the Jews of Christ’s day, they talk about the coming Messiah, but they have completely rejected Him in their hearts. They do not know of His coming or how to prepare for it. To learn how to prepare for His coming, please visit our website, watch our videos and do our Bible studies.
And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
There will come a time when He will say, “Depart from Me, you church-sitting sinners. I do not know you.” For the disciples, at this time, they still had opportunity to prepare themselves. Except for Judas, their probation had not yet closed.
Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
We need to “rise” up and get out of our churches and “be going” because the “betrayer is at hand” in the form of the churches, independents and other religious organizations.
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
It is nighttime in the world. The churches are betraying Jesus. They come against Jesus with their Ph.Ds., their fancy church titles, their church leadership and “elders”. They refuse to listen to Jesus “while He was still speaking”. No, they don’t want to hear that we must stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. They want to hear about church, denomination and traditions, services and organization.
Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.”
Oh yes, they come claiming to “love Jesus”, kissing Him with lovely songs, great entertainment and lots of accolades. But their hearts are attempting to lead you away from Jesus under guard of the religious mob so you don’t hear His teachings.
And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him.
The denominations and independent ministries sing of Jesus, preach of Jesus, kiss Him with their wonderful words, but are they living in obedience to Him? I’m still waiting for someone to show me the command from Jesus that tells us to “go to church” for our eternal life.
And they laid hands on him and seized him.
The churches have laid their hands on Him and seized Him and refuse to let Him speak. They want to take control of God and make Him agree with their church doctrine, services, traditions, rituals and beliefs.
But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
Yes, there are those who follow Jesus who get a bit rowdy. They take “personal” offence when people don’t agree with “their truth”. They slash here and there with their tongues. But that is not what Jesus wants. We are never to take possession of the truth. It is not ours. I have had to let go of my own personal “feelings” when people come against the truth. It is Jesus they are against, His truth, not me. I just happen to be in the way. I just love them.
And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me?
All churches, religions, independent ministries and denominations have come out against Jesus. They hate Him. Oh, it is disguised under religious “swords and clubs”, but their intent is to “capture Me” and destroy Him. They do not want His words taught. They want “church” taught.
Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”
Every day I am putting out the truth. Every day I try to do what I can with the little I have. But soon, there will come a time when the truth will not be allowed to be taught. It is being bottled up now as we speak.
And they all left him and fled. And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
Are you ready to leave everything and flee naked for Jesus? I wonder. I think we are way to attached to our homes, clothes, comforts, cars, Social Security and too many other things of this world to leave them for Jesus. What are you sacrificing for Jesus?