Day 302 (Oct. 29): Church leaders plotting to kill Jesus, Jesus telling disciples He will be crucified soon, Satan enters Judas who accepts money to betray Jesus, Last Supper organized, Jesus shows his humbleness and service to disciples by washing their feet, Jesus tells of betrayal, bread and wine to be new covenant, Jesus tells Judas to ‘do what you’re going to do’

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Mark 14:1-2

Matthew 26:1-5

Luke 22:1-2

Mark 14:10-11

Matthew 26:14-16

Luke 22:3-6

Mark 14:12-16

Matthew 26:17-19

Luke 22:7-13

John 13:1-17

Mark 14:17-26

Matthew 26:20-30

Luke 22:14-30

John 13:18-30

Questions & Observations

Q. (Matthew 14-16): Just wondering if there is any significance to the amount Judas was paid?  And, any idea what the name “Judas Iscariot” means?

A. Yes and yes.  There is a cruel significance to the price they paid Judas: it is the legal price of a slave.  Judas has sold Jesus’ life into the hands of these men.

Judas was a very common Jewish name, the name Judah in the OT (which means “Praised” or “God be Praised” in Hebrew).  If you read the NT, you will see several names similar to Judas (notably Jude) which are actually the same name, but the authors and translators usually make some effort to distinguish between the character of Judas and Jude, another of Jesus’ lesser known disciples (also called Thaddeus), and Jesus’ half brother who wrote the Epistle of Jude.  The meaning of Judas’ last name is less clear: it might indicate his hometown, or also possibly that he was a member of a group of zealots who carried daggers for assassination (read about it here:  The name “Sicarii” literally means “dagger man”.  Some scholars think that the Sicarii did not exist until several decades after this story, so take that information with a grain of salt.

Q. (Luke 22:3-6): I noticed that in Luke’s version of this story that the text says that Satan entered Judas.  I assume Judas allowed him to enter.  I don’t think there is a way to know this answer.  But, this helped the OT prophecies come true.  I would think that Judas would have free will to push Satan away.

A. I think either way is a possibility, but I leave it to you to decide.

Q. (John 13:1-17): There are so many things going on in this passage.  Jesus is washing the disciples feet.  Rob, can you tell us the significance of this?  What does v. 10 mean?  Then, related to that is Jesus empowering the disciples by talking about how he is no better than them.  And then, He says God will bless them.

A. Foot washing was a very menial task, usually reserved for a slave (don’t forget the significance of the price Judas got for Jesus’ life — the significance would surely not have been lost on the original readers).  It was not a task that a rabbi or important leader would EVER have done voluntarily.  So Jesus is giving His followers an incredible lesson in humility and seeing others as more important than yourself.  That is the major significance to the foot washing.  As to verse 10, Jesus is using a washing metaphor: His disciples have been washed of their sins by their faith in who Jesus is (i.e. they are clean- except for Judas).  So when Peter asks for Jesus to wash him, Jesus is telling Peter metaphorically that He has already washed Peter.  He only needs to have his feet washed because he is already clean.

Q. (Mark 14:17-26): Vs. 20-21 talk about what Judas will face for betraying Jesus.  We’ll talk more about that later, right?  This is the scene that started communion in the church, which I have a couple questions about.  First, does it matter how often churches offer communion?  The church I grew up in had it every Sunday, which I loved.  It was a quiet time during the service to talk to God.  The church said that there was a verse, which we should come to quickly that states Jesus saying something like, “whenever you gather, do this (communion) in remembrance of me.”  Maybe I have the verse wrong.  But I find that most Protestant churches only offer it once a month.  And, tagging on to that, don’t the Catholics say the bread and the wine actually turn to the blood and flesh of Christ?

A. Jesus uses strong language to describe Judas’ betrayal in saying, for example, that it would be better if he had never been born.  That, to me, implies damnation for his actions — and actions still to come — but there is nowhere in the Bible that it explicitly says Judas is in hell for betraying Jesus.

We have read most of the versions of the NT Communion/Eucharist liturgy (another one will appear in one of Paul’s letters), so what you see is what you get.  Some Churches, notably most Protestants [Anglicans/Episcopalians excluded], do not necessarily interpret Jesus’ words literally in saying “every single time you gather the Church body, you take Communion,” and there are reasons for this, not the least of which is a concern, frankly, about boredom and losing meaning in mindless ritual.  I leave it to you to decide if that is good reason or not.

Roman Catholics have an official doctrine called Transubstantiation, which describes the transformation of the wine and bread/wafer thing into the literal body and blood of Jesus — though the transformation is invisible.  There’s a long history to this doctrine, which is one of the reasons that Protestants like Martin Luther decided to leave the Church 500 years ago, but there’s not much point in rehashing that.  I will simply point out that the development of the doctrine of Transubstantiation comes from the Middle Ages, not the ancient Church, and that it is exclusively a Roman Catholic doctrine.  Other non-Protestant branches of the Church such as the Orthodox Church accept some form of what they call the “mystery” of Communion, but only the R/C Church goes all the way in proclaiming this doctrine.

Q. (Matthew 26:28): What is Jesus referring to when he says, “for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people.”  And, what is v. 29’s meaning?

A. Remember our covenant ceremonies in Genesis and Exodus with Abraham and Moses/the Israelites and Sinai?  Both of those ceremonies had the covenant sealed in the blood of an animal.  Jesus is saying that this new covenant that He is establishing is sealed not in an animal’s blood, but in His own.

I don’t have a good explanation for verse 29.  It is a mystery.  Sorry.

Q. (Luke 22:30): Jesus has just granted the disciples the power to make judgment on Judgment Day? And, then he says they will judge the 12 tribes of Israel.  This sounds like OT Israel.  I guess Jesus is judging the rest of us?

A. Don’t forget our story of the Sheep and Goats: the King, Jesus, judges all, or at least most.  I am frankly unsure what Jesus is describing here.

Q. (John 13:18-30): It’s almost like Jesus and Satan are working together here.  But, I take it that Satan is not privy to what Jesus is willing to do for our sins?  Satan must just think that he is helping Jesus get arrested.  Satan may think that he has triumphed here by getting Jesus imprisoned so that He won’t be able to win more people over to the Kingdom?

A. Your question pushes up against the spiritual realm, and it is frankly impossible to say what is motivating Satan.  Perhaps he desires to strike at God and this is his best chance, perhaps he believes that by killing Jesus, he will gain victory, or perhaps he is just acting out his role as a murderer (John 8:44).  There is simply no way to tell, but I will mention that the various accounts of what we call the Atonement (basically, what “transaction” takes place in Jesus’ death on the cross) are based largely upon an understanding of Satan’s role as the current ruler of this world.

Day 283 (Oct. 10): Jesus is the bread of life, disciples desert Jesus, Jesus teaches about inner purity

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

John 6:22-71

Mark 7:1-23

Matthew 15:1-20

Questions & Observations

Q. (John 6:37): What does Jesus mean by “those the Father has given me”?

A. It would appear to be saying those God has selected for salvation.  You can take it as a mark of predestination or not (I personally do not, but understand why people do), but the most important thing that both sides agree on is salvation comes from God’s actions, not ours.

Q. (6:41): I can imagine that these people think Jesus is telling wild stories because they know he is Joseph and Mary’s son.  So, we can see that they have to be hit on the head — meaning they have to be shocked by Jesus being crucified and resurrected — to acknowledge that Jesus is special.  You said a day or two back when Mary and her children came hollering for Jesus to come out and join them that they thought He was “losing” it.  I would think that Mary would be fully supporting Jesus because she knows how He came to be.  I would think that she would validate that Jesus was sent from heaven to those who thought He was delusional.

A. No one (even Jesus’ family) had any idea the steps that Jesus/God would take to have Him fulfill His role as Messiah and be “crowned” eternal King in a deadly ceremony (watch for coronation imagery in the crucifixion story).  Even if Mary obviously understood Jesus’ origins that would be no guarantee she would understand what God was doing in the long term.  Don’t worry, the family comes around!

Q. (6:46): I guess this means that no one has seen God in full form; He always appeared as an angel (but we don’t know what He looks like, so it could have been Him.)  Moses was with God on Mount Sinai and He saw Him in the burning bush, Jacob is thought to have wrestled with Him, Abraham saw Him.  But, if Jesus says that no one has seen God but Him, I would take His word for it and think that these other OT occurrences were not God himself.

A. I think Jesus means no one has seen the full deity of God, and it would be impossible for the finite to absorb the infinite.  We have encountered places where we have seen messengers, and glimpses of God, but never the whole Person.

Q. (6:52, 60): This is what you have said about the crucifixion making everything make sense?  Without the crucifixion and resurrection, none of Jesus talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood would make sense.  And, this is the answer to v. 60: Most will not understand nor accept who Jesus is until they see Him nailed to the cross.

A. Even then they won’t understand it.  Only after His resurrection will it become clear.

Q. (Mark 7:7): So, their laws, like hand washing, are not ordered by God.  But, because the priests hands had to be cleansed — washed — before making sacrifices, they made a law that everyone had to wash their hands before they ate.  Then, they put authority to it and made it an offense to eat with dirty hands.  When, it’s not even God’s law, but they get bent out of shape by the offenders.  Thus, they are losing site of God’s purpose.

A. They would not have called it law, they called it tradition as we see in this story.  But you’ve got the idea right: they adapted portions of the Law and expanded them in ways that God never intended.  In doing so, they stripped away the meaning that the sense of compassion central to the Law and just kept to manmade traditions.

Q. (Mark 7:15, 19): Jesus is addressing the “meat” and “kosher” rules here, right?  I don’t think he’s saying you can stuff your face with Little Debbies and be OK with it.  He is saying that the food laws about what animals you can and can’t eat are no longer an issue.

A. He is altering the course of subsequent Christian understanding about eating various foods.  It has nothing to do with what kind of food you choose (a radical break, frankly, from Jewish tradition), but rather was His way of addressing the more pertinent issue here, as Matthew emphasizes: the Pharisees were convinced that the most important issue was the WASHING.  This, as Jesus reminds them, has NOTHING to do with holiness, only man’s tradition.  I suspect that was what He was getting at, but in doing so, He demonstrated a first step in the move from legalism to freedom (something Paul will take up later).

Q. (Matthew 15:13): Jesus is talking about false prophets here when he says, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted?”

A. Nope, He’s talking about the religious leaders that are opposing Him here.  He correctly notes that their rule will soon be at an end (the city will be destroyed within a generation of Jesus’ death).  So in that regard, Jesus’ followers should follow what He is teaching them, rather than those who will soon lose their seat of power.

Q. (15:19): Rob, would you say that an accurate definition of defile means “being unworthy of God’s love”?  Notice that all the things listed here — evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander — are things that would hurt others physically and emotionally.  Thus, if you hurt others, you hurt God.  Another word for not having these sins is “pure at heart.”  That’s what I’m striving for, but wow, does it take some soul searching to get rid of some learned and innate thought processes, and focusing on God.  How many times have you said something negative about someone?  You don’t know their full story. God made them and He loves them just like He loves you.  So, what right do you have to say anything negative about anyone?  Besides, it’s His place to judge, not ours!  How many times have you took a trip down memory lane thinking about an old love.  That hurts your spouse.  Even if he or she doesn’t realize it, your thought processes are not engaged with him or her and you can start questioning your affections for him or her.  So, see it’s not just the murderers, thieves and liars, we all need to keep watch on our heart!

A. Even on our best day, we are unworthy of God’s love, but this does not prevent Him from choosing to love us.  I think defiling here means something more like, “choosing to go our own way, against the desires of God”.  Watch for the way that Jesus will pull together some of this language when we get to Luke 15.  But regardless of my semantic disagreement with you, I feel that you have soundly grasped the danger and inherent ugliness to many of our sins.  It is hard to change our ways: it is in our nature to keep going back and making bad decisions, but God has offered us a way out, and from there it is not just knowing the way out, but choosing to walk it.

Day 282 (Oct. 9): Herod confused about who Jesus is, John the Baptist is killed, Jesus feeds 5,000, Jesus walks on water, disciples fail to see Jesus is everything they need, Jesus is salvation, Jesus heals sick

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Luke 9:7-9

Matthew 14:1-21

Mark 6:30-44

Luke 9:10-17

John 6:1-15

Mark 6:45-52

Matthew 14:22-33

John 6:16-21

John 6:53-56

Matthew 14:34-36

Questions & Observations

Q. (Luke 9:7): Is Herod Antipas the grandson of the Herod who tried to have Jesus killed? I remember he died and his son took over, but Jesus was in danger of him too.  This Herod is softer so I thought it may be yet another generation.

A. Herod Antipas is the son, not the grandson, of the man called Herod the Great.  He ruled Judea for many years, and will have a role to play in the passion story as well as here.  He may have been softer than his father (which isn’t saying much!), but he was still a powerful man who wielded great influence in the region.

Q. (Mark 6:20): Here it says John the Baptist was “a good and holy man.”  So, it’s hard to believe that God didn’t rescue him.  God came to the aid of Daniel with the Lions.  Why couldn’t he save John the Baptist?  Maybe this is why Jesus called him “great than other prophets” because his fate — his sacrifice.

A. John certainly died a martyr’s death — that is, dying for proclaiming God’s truth — but it is hard to say that God did not save him.  It surely must have greatly grieved Jesus.

Q. (Mark 6:23): A vow was or wasn’t always kept then and same as now.  I guess we have to always be careful of what we promise someone to make sure we can keep our end of the deal.

A. What really caused Herod the headache was that he had made the declaration in front of powerful witnesses.  It would have been very embarrassing for him if he had not acted on his stepdaughter’s wish.  As is frequently the case, alcohol likely played a role in this foolishness.

O. (Mark 6:50-51): What telling verses.  I like “Take courage!  I am here.”  I think we all need to realize that and let Him take over.  I also notice Jesus says “I am.”

Q. (Matthew 14:28, 32): I notice that Peter calls Jesus “Lord.”  And, in v. 32, we see that the disciples are acknowledging Jesus is the Messiah, the one that has been prophesied.  They finally understand the “secret.”

A. They understand that He is Messiah, but believe me, they have NO IDEA what it means…yet.