11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”
13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.
15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Sir, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”
16 Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”
17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'”
18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.
-John 20:11-18 The Message
Verse 11: But Mary was standing outside the tomb, weeping; so as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb;
Verse 12: and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.
Verse 13: And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they put Him.”
Verse 14: When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and yet she did not know that it was Jesus.
Verse 15: Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Then, thinking that He was the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you put Him, and I will take Him away.”
Verse 16: Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” Then, in Hebrew, she turned, and *said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).
Verse 17: Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'”
Verse 17 study: Mary didn’t want to lose Jesus again. So she didn’t understand the resurrection yet. She believed this was his second coming as promised (14:3). Jesus didn’t want to be detained at the tomb. If Jesus didn’t descend into heaven, the Holy Spirit couldn’t come. Mary and Jesus had work that needed to be completed.
Verse 18: Mary Magdalene *came and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.
Verse 18 study: Mary didn’t recognize Jesus at first. She had grief that blinded her; she didn’t expect to see him or didn’t believe she would see him. After Jesus spoke her name, Mary recognized him instantly. Can you imagine the joy she had? The love that flooded her heart when she heard her Savior say her name? Jesus is near you; would you recognize him like Mary did?
But she didn’t meet the risen Christ until she discovered the empty tomb. She responded with joy and obedience by telling the disciples. We can’t meet Christ until we find out that he is alive and that the tomb is empty. Are you filled with joy by the good news, and do you share it with others?
Father, to hear your voice like Mary did would be unique to a lot of people. But people don’t understand how to listen to your voice. I pray today that people can understand what it takes to hear your voice in obedience and in joy during future studies. I pray that you give us the wisdom to get to that point. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
20 1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, gasping for breath. “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.
-John 20:1-10 The Message
We are now back in the book of John. To briefly recap, we went into three other versions of the crucifixion of Jesus; the book of Matthew chapter 27, the book of Luke chapter 23, and the book of Mark chapter 15. Studying the crucifixion from another point of view shows the generosity of Jesus. I believe that the crucifixion is the foundation of Christ’s genuine love of us and the opportunity to get to know him without intimidating others about Jesus. To develop a relationship with others:
Be a better listener.
Ask the right questions.
Pay attention to the whole person.
Remember things that are important to others.
Be open to sharing when it is the right time.
Be humble, genuine, trustworthy, and positive.
These are ways to develop a relationship with people. With Jesus, it is a bit different.
Recognize your condition.
Religion and Good Works are not the answer, meaning that our own ideas don’t matter. What matters is the Word. Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a person, but its end is the way of death.” The Word shows us everything from forgiveness from our sins, wrongdoings, and many more. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
The Good News: Jesus provides the way to develop a relationship with him.
Believe, Repent, and Receive Christ.
It’s essential to listen and receive the Word to understand Jesus. A closed mind will not work.
So we studied the Veil as well when Christ died. That was the barrier that opened up people with access to God without going through Priests. These are the foundation of Jesus’ love for us, and I believe that for any first-timers who want to understand the Bible, Jesus is the first person to know before going anywhere else in the Bible. This is my personal belief. Other people have their ways, but this is my way. So let’s continue in the book of John, where we are studying the resurrection.
The Empty Tomb
20 Verse 1: Now, Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb on the first day of the week. At the same time, it was still dark, and *saw the stone already removed from the tomb.
Verse 1 study: Note that other women went with Mary Magdalene to the tomb. The other Gospels give names of those women. According to the book of Mark, those other women are the other Mary (not Magdalene) and Salmone. The stone was not rolled away from the entrance to the tomb so Jesus could get out. It is easy for him to have left without moving the stone. It was rolled away so others could get in and see that Jesus was gone. If you are a first-timer in hearing the story of the resurrection, you may need time to grasp the story and how amazing it is. Mary and the disciples have passed through four stages of belief.
They thought it was not real, impossible to believe (20:2).
Mary and the disciples checked out the facts but still had a hard time piecing what happened (20:6).
When they encounter Jesus personally, they can accept the truth of the resurrection (20:16)
As they commit themselves to serve him, they begin to understand the reality of his presence with them fully (20:28).
Verse 2: So she *ran, and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they have put Him.”
Verse 3: So Peter and the other disciple left, and they were going to the tomb.
Verse 4: The two were running together, and the other disciple ran ahead, faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first.
Verse 5: And he stopped to look in, and *saw the linen wrappings lying there. However, he did not go in.
Verse 6: So Simon Peter also *came, following him, and he entered the tomb; he *looked at the linen wrappings lying there,
Verse 7: and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings but folded up in a place by itself.
Verse 7 study: The linen wrappings, also the grave clothes, were left as if Jesus passed right through them. The face-cloth still rolled up in the shape of a head and was about the right distance from the wrappings that had enveloped Jesus’s body. Not even a grave robber can take off with Jesus’ body and leave the linens there in the shaped like Jesus’ body.
Verse 8: So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb also entered then, and he saw and believed.
Verse 9: For they did not yet understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.
Verse 10: So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
Verse 9 study: Peter and John were surprised that Jesus was not in the tomb, further proving that the disciples did not fabricate the story. When John saw the wrappings looking like an empty envelope from where Jesus emerged, he believed Jesus had risen. When they saw the tomb, they remembered the Scriptures and what it said, “he would die, but he would rise again.” The resurrection of Jesus is key to the Christian faith. Why is that?
Jesus rose from the dead. We can be confident that he will accomplish what he promises. If you are not convinced, what’s the point?
Jesus’ resurrection shows us the living Christ is not a false prophet or imposter. He is the ruler of God’s eternal kingdom.
We can be sure of our own resurrection because Jesus was resurrected. Therefore, death is not the end but the future.
The divine power that brought Jesus back to life is now available to us to bring our spiritually dead selves back to life.
The resurrection is the basis for the church’s witness to the world.
Father, the Word is what matters and not our works. Yes, our works play a role in serving you, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the faith or do not believe in Jesus’ resurrected body that he died and rose on the third day. The only way to you is to believe. So I pray today for those passionate about sharing the Word but do lovingly share the Word and not in a way that will discourage others from learning about you first. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
23-26 That accounts for the prominence of blood and death in all these secondary practices that point to the realities of heaven. It also accounts for why these animal sacrifices aren’t needed anymore, having served their purpose when the real thing occurs. For Christ didn’t enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he joined the Place Itself and offered himself to God to sacrifice for our sins. He doesn’t do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout history. But instead, he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.
27-28 Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.
-Hebrews 9:23-28 The Message
Verse 23: Therefore, the copies of the things in the heavens needed to be cleansed with these things. Still, the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Verse 23 study: Theologians don’t understand the earthly tabernacle fully as a copy and symbol of heavenly realities. Based on scripture, the cleansing of holy things can be understood as referring to Christ’s spiritual work in heaven for us (8:5).
Verse 24: For Christ did not enter a holy place made by hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
Verse 24 study: Christ is our mediator, appearing in God’s presence on our behalf. This is referencing the priests, tabernacles, sacrifices, and other ideas that are unfamiliar. We relate to the role and are encouraged by it. Christ is on our side as Christ is at God’s side. He is our Lord and Savior. He is not there to convince or remind us that God forgave our sins but to present our needs and service for him as an offering (7:25).
Verse 25: Nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year by year with blood that is not his own.
Verse 26: Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world. Still, now once at the consummation of the ages, He has been revealed to put away sin by sacrificing Himself.
Verse 26 study: The “consummation of the ages” refers to the time of Christ’s coming to earth in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Christ started a new era of grace and forgiveness. We are still living in the period of the “consummation of the ages.” The day of the Lord has begun and will be completed at Christ’s return.
Verse 27: And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this comes judgment,
Verse 28: Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
Verses 24-28 studies: Christ died so we would not have to die spiritually, even though we all die physically. We can have confidence in his saving work for us, doing away with sin; past, present, and future. He had forgiven past sins when he died on the cross. He sacrificed himself once and for all (9:26), he also given us the Holy Spirit to help us deal with present sin; he appears for us now in heaven as our high priest (9:24); promise to return (9:28), and raise us to eternal life in a world where sin will be banished.
Father, we know you are coming. According to your Word, we are living in the Consummation of the Ages.” Let us be prepared for when you arrive. If we are not ready, give us the wisdom, the tools needed, and your guidance to get there. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
16-17 Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was enacted at Jesus’ death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling the old obligations and accompanying sins and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way.
18-22 Even the first plan required a death to set it in motion. After Moses had read out all the terms of the plan of the Law—God’s “will”—he took the blood of sacrificed animals and, in a solemn ritual, sprinkled the document and the people who were its beneficiaries. And then he attested its validity with the words, “This is the blood of the covenant commanded by God.” He did the same thing with the place of worship and its furniture. Moses said to the people, “This is the blood of the covenant God has established with you.” Practically everything in a will hinges on a death. That’s why blood, the evidence of death, is used so much in our tradition, especially regarding forgiveness of sins.
-Hebrews 9:16-22 The Message
Verse 16: For there is a covenant, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.
Verse 17: A covenant is valid only when people are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
Verse 18: Therefore, even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.
Verse 19: For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
Verse 20: saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.”
Verse 21: And in the same way, he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.
Verse 22: And almost all things are cleansed with blood, according to the Law, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
Verse 22 study: The reason why forgiveness requires the shedding of the blood is that Jesus shed his blood. He gave his life for our sins so we wouldn’t have to experience spiritual death and eternal separation from God like Jesus did when he was being crucified. Jesus is the source of life, not death. His life, the one he gave up to pay for the penalty for us to live. After shedding his blood for us, Christ rose from the dead and proclaimed victory over sin and death.
Father, thank you for the shedding of the blood. Jesus shed because he forgave our sins and gave his life up to ensure we didn’t have to pay for our sins. There is no more extraordinary generosity than what Jesus did. We should be grateful, thankful, and allow every day for a time of meditation and study for his excellent work. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
11-15 But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”—the true Holy Place—once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood instead of using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable so that we can live all out for God.
-Hebrews 9:11-15 The Message
Verse 11: But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things have come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands, that is, not of this creation;
Verse 12: and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption.
Verse 12 study: This is imagery that comes from atonement rituals described in Leviticus 16. Redemption is the process of paying the price or ransom to free a slave. The good news is that he freed us from the slavery of sin forever through Christ’s death.
Verses 12-14 studies: You may know Christ, and you may believe you have to work hard to look good for God. But the rules and rituals never cleansed people’s hearts. Jesus’ blood alone;
Our conscience is cleansed.
We are freed from death’s string and can live to serve God.
We are freed from sin’s power.
If you have guilt carrying in you because you feel you are not good enough for God, you should sit down and take another look at Jesus’ death and the meaning of his death. Christ can heal you and your conscience and deliver you from the frustration of trying to earn God’s favor.
Verse 13: For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
Verse 14: how much more will get the blood of Christ. Through the eternal Spirit, the latter offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Verses 13-14 studies: God considered people’s faith and obedience when people sacrificed animals. According to the Old Testament law, God also considered them cleansed from sin and made them ceremonially acceptable. Christ’s sacrifice transforms our lives and hearts to make us clean on the inside. His sacrifice is more effective than animal sacrifices. No barrier of sin or weakness on our part can stop his forgiveness.
Verse 15: For this reason, He is the mediator of a new covenant so that, since a death has taken place to redeem the violations committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Verse 15 study: In the Old Testament, the people were saved through Christ’s sacrifice, even though the sacrifice didn’t happen yet. In offering unblemished animal sacrifices, they anticipated Christ’s coming and his death for sin. There was no point in returning to the sacrificial system since Christ had come and had become the final, perfect sacrifice.
Father, the pressure of making sure we look good for you is there, and people may think this way. In these verses, thank you for helping us understand clean hearts and rituals. Let us remember that you can clear up our guilt in looking good for you and our sins. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
6-10 After this was set up, the priests went about their duties in the large tent. Only the high priest entered the smaller, inside tent, and then only once a year, offering a blood sacrifice for his own sins and the people’s accumulated sins. This was the Holy Spirit’s way of showing with a visible parable that as long as the large tent stands, people can’t just walk in on God. Under this system, the gifts and sacrifices can’t really get to the heart of the matter, can’t assuage the people’s conscience, but are limited to the issues of ritual and behavior. It’s essentially a temporary arrangement until a complete overhaul could be made.
-Hebrews 9:6-10 The Message
Verse 6: Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship, Verse 7: but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
Verse 8: The Holy Spirit signifies that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing,
Verse 9: which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly, both gifts and sacrifices are offered, which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,
Verse 10: since they relate only to food and drink. Various washings, regulations for the body were imposed until a time of reformation.
Verses 6-8 studies: The holy of holies was a small room that contained the ark of the covenant, which is a gold-covered chest where the original stone tablets that the Ten Commandments were written on, a jar of manna, and Aaron’s staff. The top of the chest serves as the “atonement cover.” The blood would be sprinkled by the high priest on the day of atonement. The holy of holies is the most sacred spot on earth for the Jews. The high priests were the only ones permitted in the room. No common people. At that time, the only access to God was through the high priest. The priest would offer a sacrifice and use animal’s blood to atone first for his sins and then the people’s sins.
Verse 10 study: Until God’s new better way of the Old Testament dietary laws and ceremonial cleansing laws, the people had to wait for Christ to allow a new better way.
Father, if anybody didn’t grasp the importance of the holy of holies, now we know why it is so essential and why Jesus’ death meant so much to have access to you without having to go through priests. Thank you for being the best mastermind behind our success to and through you. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
9 1-5 That first plan contained directions for worship and a specially designed place of worship. First, a large outer tent was set up. The lampstand, the table, and “the bread of presence” were placed in it. This was called “the Holy Place.” Then a curtain was stretched, and behind it, a smaller, inside tent set up. This was called “the Holy of Holies.” Finally, the gold incense altar and the gold-covered ark of the covenant containing the gold urn of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, the covenant tablets, and the angel-wing-shadowed mercy seat were placed in it. But we don’t have time to comment on these now.
-Hebrews 9:1-5 The Message
When Jesus died, the veil was torn apart so the church wouldn’t be divided. It was a symbol of Christ’s work on the cross. The veil at one point was hidden from the public view, but now that the veil was torn, it allowed everybody to approach God directly through Christ. We will go into the veil more in the book of Hebrews chapter 9. Let’s pray before we start into the study of the veil.
Father, I admit, I do not know much about the veil except what is talked about during Jesus’ crucifixion. But, as we get into a new subject, I pray that anyone (including myself) who doesn’t understand it will understand it by the end of the chapter and what it represents and give us more knowledge and a deeper understanding of Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
The Old and the New
9 Verse 1: Now, even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.
Verse 2: For a tabernacle was equipped, the outer sanctuary, the lampstand, the table, and the sacred bread; this is called the Holy Place.
Verse 3: Behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Most Holy Place,
Verse 4: having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron’s staff which budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
Verse 5: Above it was the cherubim of glory overshadowing the atoning cover, but we cannot now speak in detail about these things.
Verse 5 study: Cherubim are mighty angels. One of the tasks of the Cherubim was to serve as guardians. The angels guarded the entrances to both the tree of life (Genesis 3:24) and the Most Holy Place (Exodus 26:31-33). These two gold statues were believed to support God’s invisible Presence (Ezekiel 9:3, 10:4, 18). It is called “the cherubim of the Glory,” which refers to God’s glory, which covered the ark of the covenant (Exodus 40:34-36: Leviticus 16:2).
Genesis 3:24 study: 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden, He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
The tree of life reference appears after God created Adam and Eve. God placed the tree of life in the middle of the garden of Eden, where the tree symbolizes God’s life-giving Presence, the eternal life that God makes available to us. God placed the tree of knowledge there as well. The garden of Eden is supposed to be enjoyed by the man and the woman as a paradise. After eating from the tree, Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God in three different ways:
They became convinced their way was better than God’s.
They became self-conscious and hid.
They tried to excuse and defend themselves.
Who has done what Adam and Eve have done? I know I have. That is how Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God. The good news is you can build your relationship with God; this is how you can do it:
Drop our excuses and self-defenses.
Stop trying to hide from God.
We must become convinced that God’s way is better than our way.
Exodus 26:21-33 study: The Veil and Curtain
31 “You shall also make a veil of violet, purple, and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skilled embroiderer. 32 Then you shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also of gold, on four bases of silver. 33 You shall hang up the veil under the clasps and bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; the veil shall serve as a partition for you between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.
The curtain separated the room between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The priest entered the Holy Place daily to commune with God and tend to the altar of incense, the lampstand, and the table with the bread of the Presence. The Most Holy Place was where God dwelt, his Presence resting on the atonement cover, which covered the ark of the covenant law. Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place, but only once a year which is on the day of the atonement, to make the atonement for the nation’s sins. The curtain tore apart when Jesus died on the cross from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). That is the symbol of our free access to God, and it is because of Jesus’ death. It is not necessary to approach God through priests and sacrifices.
Ezekiel 9:3 study: 3 Then the glory of the God of Israel ascended from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose waist was the scribe’s kit.
The Cherubim is cherub as a singular word; it is an order of powerful angelic beings created to glorify God. God’s absolute holiness and moral perfection are associated with it. The cherubim were placed at the entrance of Eden to keep Adam and Eve out after they sinned, which we learned in Genesis 3:24. The Cherubim was used to decorate the tabernacle and temple. The lid of the ark of the covenant, called the atonement cover, was adorned with two gold cherubim (Exodus 37:6-9.) It’s a symbol of the Presence of God. Ezekiel sees the cherubim leave the temple along with the glory of God (chapter 10). Ezekiel recognized them as the living creatures he had seen in his first vision (chapter 1).
Ezekiel 10:4, 18: 4 Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud, and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord.
18 Then, the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.
Christ revisited the temple in the New Testament times when God’s glory departed from the temple in the Old Testament. God’s holiness required that he leave the temple because people defiled it. God had to destroy what people perverted to bring true worship to be revived. We have to commit ourselves, our families, our churches, and our nation to follow God faithfully so that we never have to experience God abandoning us.
Exodus 40:34-36: The Glory of the Lord
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out.
The tabernacle was God’s home on earth. He filled with his glory, the overpowering sense of His Presence. Close to 500 years later, Solomon built the temple, which replaced the tabernacle as the primary place of worship. Again, God filled the temple with his glory (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). When Israel turned from God, his glory and Presence departed from the temple, destroyed by invading armies (2 Kings 25). The temple was rebuilt in 516 B.C. God’s glory returned in more extraordinary splendor close to five centuries later when Jesus Christ, God’s Son, entered it and started teaching. Jesus was crucified, and God’s glory left the temple again. But, God didn’t need a building after Jesus rose from the dead. God’s temple is now his church and the body of believers.
2 The Lord said to Moses:
“Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the atoning cover which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the atoning cover.
The Day of Atonement covers verses 1-25, but here is what to understand. If you read verses 1-25, Aaron spent hours preparing to meet God, but the good news is we can approach God anytime (Hebrews 4:16). We have easier access to God than the high priests of the Old Testament times. We can’t forget that God is holy nor let the privilege cause us to approach God carelessly. The way to God was opened to us by Christ. However, the easy access to God doesn’t eliminate the need to prepare our hearts as we come close to him in prayer.
Father, let us rejoice in the education received on the veil. I pray we can continue to grab the knowledge to better ourselves for you. Thank you for allowing time for us to study the veil. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
50-54 There was a man by Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the Council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin.
55-56 The women who had been companions of Jesus from Galilee followed along. First, they saw the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed. Then they went back to prepare burial spices and perfumes. Finally, they rested quietly on the Sabbath, as commanded.
-Luke 23:50-56 The Message
Jesus Is Buried
Verse 50: And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man
Verse 51: (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God— Verse 52: this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Verses 50-52 studies: Joseph of Arimathea was an honored member of the Jewish Council and wealthy. He was a secret follower of Jesus (John 19:38). The disciples that followed Jesus publicly fled. Joseph did a bold thing to ask for Jesus’ body to give him a proper burial. This action could cost him.
Verse 53: And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.
Verse 53 study: The tomb is a man-made cave cut out of one of the limestone hills in the area around Jerusalem. These tombs are large enough to walk into. After the burial, a large tomb would have been rolled across the entrance (John 20:1).
Verse 54: It was a preparation day, and a Sabbath was about to begin. Verse 55: Now, the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how His body was laid.
Verse 56: And then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath, they rested according to the commandment.
Verse 55 study: The Galilean women followed Joseph to the tomb. They did that so they knew where Jesus’ body would be at for when they returned back with their spices and perfumes. They women couldn’t do great things for Jesus. They couldn’t stand and testify or speak to the Jewish Council or the Roman governor on Jesus’ behalf. But they still did what they could. They stayed at the cross when the disciples fled; they anointed the Lord’s body. Their devotion is the reason why they learned about the resurrection. We may always believe as followers that we can’t do much for Jesus. But take advantage when you can, and not worry about what you can’t do.
Father, sometimes people feel helpless when they can’t defend you or speak about you in public places. It may be a situation where someone tried, and the words didn’t come outright. Some may just try to show more seriousness in you and not the loving side of you. Whatever the case, I pray we can take advantage of what we can do and not what we didn’t do. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
44-46 By now, it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—a total blackout. Finally, the Temple curtain split right down the middle. Jesus called loudly, “Father, I place my life in your hands!” Then he breathed his last.
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47 When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God: “This man was innocent! A good man, and innocent!”
48-49 All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened, were overcome with grief and headed home. However, those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil.
-Luke 23:44-49 The Message
Verse 44: It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the entire land until the ninth hour,
Verse 45:, because the sun stopped shining, the temple’s veil was torn in two.
Verse 46: And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” And having said this, He died.
Verse 47: Now, when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “This man was in fact innocent.”
Verse 48: And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, after watching what had happened, began to return home, beating their chests. Verse 49: All His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.
Verse 44 study: For three hours, darkness covered the entire land. All nature seems to mourn over the tragedy of the death of God’s Son.
Verse 45 study: The tearing of the veil showed a symbolizing event in Christ’s work on the cross. The temple was divided into three parts: Courts for everybody; the holy place where only priests can enter; and the holy of holies, where the high priests can only enter once a year to atone for people’s sins. It was the holy of holies, the ark of the covenant, and God’s presence with it rested. The torn veil was the one that closed off the holy of holies from view. Christ’s death is the barrier that split in two between God and man. Now everybody can approach God directly through Christ (Hebrews 9:1-4, 10:19-22).
Father, verse 48 reads: “And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, after watching what had happened, began to return home, beating their chests.” While they are beating their chests, you are already 5,000 steps ahead of them. When we feel in doubt because our enemy defeated us, let it remind us we are already ahead, it takes time to show it through your plans. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
38 Printed over him was a sign: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!”
40-41 But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”
43 He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.”
-Luke 23:38-43 The Message
Verse 38: Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
Verse 38 study: The inscription is ironic because a king who had lost his kingdom forever was stripped and executed in the public’s eyes. Jesus turned the world’s wisdom upside down and was coming into his kingdom. The death and resurrection would strike a death blow to Satan’s rule and establish Christ’s authority over Earth. Only a few people that read the sign understood it, but the sign stood steadfast. All was not lost; Jesus is King of the Jews, Gentiles, and the whole universe.
Verse 39: One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
Verse 40: But the other responded, and rebuking him, said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation
Verse 41: And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
Verse 42: And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”
Verse 43: And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Verses 39-43 studies: As a man was about to die, he turned to Christ for forgiveness, and Christ accepted him. Deeds don’t save us; our faith does. It’s never too late to turn to Christ. Even in misery, Jesus had mercy on a criminal who decided to believe in him. Our lives are helpful and fulfilling if we go to God early, but those who repent at the last moment will be with God in paradise.
Verses 42-43 studies: The dying criminal had more faith than the rest of Jesus’ followers. The disciples love Jesus, but their hopes for the kingdom are shattered. Most of them went into hiding. Two days later, one of his followers said, “We were helping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel (24:21). The criminal looked at the man who was dying and said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” The kingdom was finished by all appearances. His inspiration is the faith of this man who saw beyond the present shame to the coming glory.
Father, it is never too late to ask for forgiveness. It is not too late to follow and believe. I pray that those who think that it is too late understand that it is not. Let us speak truth and wisdom to those who are misled. In Jesus’ name. Amen!