Acts 12

Acts 12: Peter Flees from Prison

                King Herod [Nephew of Antipas] persecuted the church, killing the Apostle James with a sword. During the Passover, Peter is arrested. However the Christians throughout the land pray fervently to God for the release of Peter. God sends an angel who breaks into the Prison and causes Peter’s chains to fall from his hands. The Angel helps him get out of the Prison and into the city, and then he departs his own way. From here, Peter goes to the house of Mary, mother of John. A girl named Rhoda tells the apostles Peter has come, but she wasn’t believed until they see Peter for themselves. Finally the Apostles open the door and are astonished to see Peter, but Peter tells them to keep it quiet and to tell James… he then departs.

When Herod finds that Peter has escaped, he orders that the prison guards are put to death. Herod makes an oration to the people of Tyre and Sidon, and is praised by them as a god rather than a man. Because he was being praised as a god and not a man, an angel strikes him dead.

Advertisements

John 13

John 13: Washing of the Feet

                After Supper was over; Jesus, knowing that His hour had come and that He would soon go down to take upon Himself the Sins of the World and knowing that Judas would betray Him. He put aside His garments and girded a towel around Himself and began to wash the feet of His Apostles. As Jesus was washing the feet of the Apostles, Simon Peter asks Jesus; “…Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” (John 13:6) Peter was shocked that Jesus would do such a thing, seeing that He was the Son of God! Jesus tells Peter; “…What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” (John 13:7) Peter is shocked that someone like Jesus would be washing his feet! After all, he felt like he was nothing in the sight of Jesus, he tells Him; “…Thou shalt never wash my feet…” (John 13:8). But Peter forgot the importance of the work of the Lord, just because Jesus was the Son of God, did not mean He couldn’t serve His Apostles. Jesus responds; “…If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” (John 13:8) Upon hearing this statement, Peter asks God to wash also his hands and head. Jesus explains that he did not need further washing, for he was clean. However, Jesus points out that not ALL of the Apostles were clean.

After washing the feet of all the Apostles, including Judas Iscariot (who would soon betray Jesus), Jesus teaches them; “Ye call me Master and Lord and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you… I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” (John 13:13-16) Jesus taught that we should LOVE one another, and treat each other with kindness and respect. We should never take on a role of superiority that puts down others. Leaders, lead best when those they are leading are their equals. We need to follow the example of the Lord, and do as He would do.

Upon addressing the Apostles, He boldly proclaims; “…one of you shall betray me.” (John 13:21) The Apostles immediately started to question one another and themselves, they all asked who it was, Jesus responded; “…He it is, to whom I shall give a sop [morsel or mouthful], when I have dipped it…” (John 13:26), immediately Jesus dipped the morsel and gave it to Judas and said to him; “…That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:27) Upon receiving this, Satan entered into Judas and he immediately left. Some of the Apostle wondered why he left, but thought that maybe Jesus had commanded him to buy things for the feast.

After Judas had left, Jesus turned to the remaining Apostles and said; “…Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:31-35)

Peter asks Jesus why he cannot go with Him, and Jesus explains that he wouldn’t lay his life down for Him. He tells Peter that before the cock crows, he will deny him three times.

Luke 22

Luke 22: The Atonement

                The Passover was approaching, and Judas Iscariot was possessed by Satan, who led him to the chief priests who desired to kill Jesus, Judas agrees to betray Him for money.

In preparation for the Passover, Jesus commands that Peter and John go to a nearby city where they would meet a man with a pitcher of water who would lead them to an upper room that was furnished for them. Peter and John go, and find the man with the pitcher and the furnished upper room, as Jesus had described. Later, Jesus meets up with them and instructs the Apostles on the Sacrament;

“…he took the bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup… This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20) Jesus instructed them saying that the Bread was His body and the wine (or water) was a representation of His blood, which was shed for them (or would be soon shed for them).

In the Book of Mormon we are given specific prayers that should be used today for blessing the bread and water;

Bread:

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may have a remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have the Spirit to be with them. Amen.” (Moroni 4:3; The Book of Mormon)

Water:

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine [water]  to the souls of all those who drink of it; that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.” (Moroni 5:2; The Book of Mormon)

Jesus predicts that evil shall befall his betrayer [Judas Iscariot]. Jesus intervenes in an argument about who is the most important disciple; Jesus explains to them that he who does the most service is the greatest among them. Jesus goes on to explain that the disciples will sit on thrones in God’s kingdom, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus tells Peter that before the night is over he will betray Him three times, by denying Him.

Jesus goes to pray on the Mount of Olives, and asks His Father; “…if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” (Luke 22:42) An Angel was sent from heaven to strengthen Jesus and support Him. Jesus finishes praying and finds His Apostles sleeping, when they were supposed to keep lookout. Jesus tells them that they will need to pray, during this discussion some men come with Judas and Judas kisses Jesus to help the men he was with identify Him. Peter cuts of the right ear of the high priest, trying to protect Jesus. Jesus then heals the ear immediately, but is still arrested, taken and beaten. Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin and is mocked and is asked; “Art thou the Christ?” and He responded “…If I tell you, ye will not believe.” (Luke 22:67)

Jesus is smitten and mocked, all because the people’s hearts had been hardened and could not see the amazing miracles performed by Him.

Mark 14

Mark 14: Jesus is betrayed

                After two days was the feast of the Passover in Bethany, and in the house of Simon the Leper a woman came to Jesus to anoint Him. The woman poured spikenard ointment on His head, which was very valuable at 300 pence. The Apostles murmured amongst themselves wondering why the woman wasted this ointment, instead of selling it and helping the poor.

Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said; “…Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them goo: but me ye have not always.” (Mark 14:6-7)

Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot speaks to the scribes about how to deceive Jesus, and they discuss his payment for doing so. The other Apostles come to Jesus and ask Him where they should prepare for the Passover. Jesus instructs two of them to go on the first day of unleavened bread to meet a man holding a pitcher of water. Jesus instructs them to follow the man, wherever he goes. The man leads the two Apostles to a furnished room that is ready for the Passover.

                The Last Supper:

Jesus meets up with the two Apostles and partakes of the Passover and more specifically as it is more commonly known as the ‘Last Supper’. While eating, Jesus tells the Twelve that one of them who sits with them, will betray Him. All of the Apostles begin to get nervous and ask Jesus if it is ‘I’ who will betray Him. Jesus tells them that whoever it is (Jesus already knew who), it would have been better for them to not have been born.

Jesus instructs the Apostles about the Sacrament and blesses and brakes the bread and has the Apostles partake of the wine. Peter assures Jesus that he will not betray Him, Jesus tells him that before the cock crows, he will have denied Him three times.

The Apostles and Jesus leave to Gethsamane, where Jesus asks Peter, James and John to sit and keep watch, while He went to pray. Jesus walked a little ways a way, and then fell to His knees and said; “…Abba Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: neveretheless not what I will but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36)

Jesus goes back to find that Peter, James and John are all fast asleep. Jesus wakes them and asks them why they couldn’t even stay and keep watch for an hour. He tells them that “…The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38) Jesus left them and returned to praying; when He came back He found them to be sleeping again! Jesus speaks to the Twelve and while speaking, Judas Iscariot and a group of armed men came to arrest Jesus. Judas even had told the men that whoever he kissed, would be the man to take away.

Jesus is carried away and placed before a court, where false witnesses came and told lies about Jesus, every single one of their stories did not match each other’s stories. Immediately outside of the court Peter was found and accused of being with Jesus. But he denied having even known Jesus. After a he heard the cock crow and realizing the words of Jesus, Peter wept.

Matthew 26

Matthew 26:

Suffering in the Garden

Jesus reminds his Apostles that in two days time the feast of the Passover will occur and some will come to betray him. Those who are against Jesus meet at the house of the high priest, Caiaphas, but decide not to act during Passover, for fear of an uproar by the people. Instead they decide to take Jesus “…by subtilty [by treachery], and kill him.” (Matthew 26:4)

While Jesus was in the house of Simon the leper, a woman comes to anoint Jesus with expensive oil. When the Apostles complain about the waste of the oil, and the money that could have gone to the poor, Jesus replies; “…ye have the poor always; but me ye have no always.” (Matthew 26:11) After this occurred, Judas Iscariot goes to the chief priests and agrees to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

During the Passover meal, Jesus says to His Apostles; “…Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me… Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.” (Matthew 26:21-23,25)

Jesus breaks bread and blesses it and gave it to his disciples, representing His body. Then he has them partake of wine (or water) and tells them that it represents His blood that will be shed for the remission of sins. Jesus explains that after he is gone, that the sheep shall be scattered. Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him 3 times that same night. Jesus goes up to Gethsemane and asks His disciples to take watch, while he goes and prays. At Gethsemane, Jesus prays for the cup to pass from him. “…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus tells His Father that he will do what He is commanded, regardless of what He will have to go through.

Jesus comes back from praying about an hour later to find Peter sleeping, he scolds Peter; “…What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41) Judas comes with a small group of men to take away Jesus; Judas identifies Jesus with a kiss. Jesus is brought to Caiaphas to be “tried” before the elders, high priests and scribes. A false witness comes forward to say that Jesus claimed to be able to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days (which Jesus did say, but this is being used out of context). Jesus keeps silent, and then tells Caiaphas that he is indeed the Christ, and that Caiaphas will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father, and coming in glory. Caiaphas rents [tears] his clothes. The group of high priests decides that Jesus is guilty of death. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit on. The people around him say: “… Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?” (Matthew 26:68)

The council tries to identify others who were with Jesus, and ask Peter if he was with Jesus. Peter, however, denies Jesus three times, then the cock crows. Peter remembers that Jesus had said unto him, “…Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75)

2 Chronicles 29-30

2 Chronicles 29-30

Chapter 29: Hezekiah Reigns in Righteousness

Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord.

In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, and said to them: “…Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be now negligent: for the Lord have chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.” (2 Chronicles 29:5-10)

Then these Levites arose: Mahath the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah; of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; of the sons of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. They gathered their brethren, sanctified themselves, and went according to the commandment of the king, at the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord.
The priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and brought out all the debris that they found in the temple of the Lord to the court of the house of the Lord. And the Levites took it out and carried it to the Brook Kidron. Now they began to sanctify on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the vestibule of the Lord. Then they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished. Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the showbread table, with all the vessels thereof. Moreover all the vessels, which King Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold they are before the altar of the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 29:18-19)

Then King Hezekiah rose early, gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord, with them they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. Then he commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. So they killed the bulls, and the priests received the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Likewise they killed the rams and lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar. Then they brought out the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. And the priests killed them; and they presented their blood on the altar as a sin offering to make an atonement for all Israel, for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering be made for all Israel. And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, as they were commanded of the Lord. The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel.

So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped. King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Then Hezekiah answered and said, “Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 29:31).  So the assemblies brought in sacrifices and thank offerings. The assembly brought a total of; seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs. The consecrated things were six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep. But the priests were too few, so that they could not skin all the burnt offerings; therefore their brethren the Levites helped them until the work was ended and until the other priests had sanctified themselves, for the Levites were more diligent in sanctifying themselves than the priests. Also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people.

Chapter 30: Hezekiah Invites all to the Passover

Hezekiah sends a letter to all Israel, Judah and to Ephraim and Manasseh that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem. And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly. So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner.

Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: “Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your Godis gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. (2 Chronicles 30:6-9)

So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord.

Now many people gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. They arose and took away the altars that werein Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron. Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites. For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify themto the Lord.

There were many people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “The good Lord pardon everyone that prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be no cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” (2 Chronicles 30:18-19) And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.

So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.

Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.

Deuteronomy 15-16

Deuteronomy 15-16

Chapter 15: Care for the Poor

The first two verses talk about the “Lord’s Release” which is when creditors lend money and you are unable to pay it back, that after 7 years they release the debt and pretend that it doesn’t exist. This is actually very interesting because in at least most of the states in the U.S.A exist laws that protect the debtor, releasing or having statute of limitations on debt that is 5, 6 or 7 years old. Essentially if the creditor doesn’t collect in those years, then the debt becomes invalid. It is interesting how we base our laws off of things as old as the Bible. But if you think about it, the 10 commandments are probably the most basic idea of civility in the world. Ask people what is considered “bad”, I guarantee they will say; murder, stealing etc. The point is that the Bible and all holy texts have a huge benefit for mankind. If used properly.

Verse 6 warns about debt. Something the world is very much in. It states that we should be the lenders, and that if we are we will be blessed. Now this is just my idea, but a lot of righteous people are blessed financially and can be “lenders” to those in need. Always staying away from debt when at all possible.

Chapter 16: Israel Shall Keep the Passover

See Numbers 28 for rituals of the Passover and Exodus 12 for the Origins of the Passover.

Israel is commanded to keep the Passover in the Month Abib. All males appear 3 times annually before the Lord at three feasts.