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Biblical/Doctrinal Studies:
Focus on Jesus Series

Table Talk in the Upper Room
Notes on Matthew 26:31-35, John 13:33-14:31, Mark 14:27-31, Luke 22:31-38
by Ed Vasicek

In today's sermon (taken from all 4 Gospels because all include and exclude different elements), we will begin contemplating the teachings of Christ He shared while in the “Upper Room,” celebrating the Passover. This time of teaching would continue as Christ walked with the apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane, His final Pre-Resurrection time of instruction. John's Gospel includes much more information about this time than do the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke).

Notes of interest

When Jesus told Simon Peter that Satan asked to “sift him like wheat,” Ann Punton informs us about this idiom:

“The grain is brought in a very dirty state, full of pebbles, straw, and dirt. Here starts the housewife’s work. Seated on the ground, she puts some grain into a large sieve and shakes it sharply to bring the pieces of rubbish to the surface. These she removes.... Chaff, straw and dust are blown away.... Finally, she sorts through the grain by hand to ensure there is no darnel [tares] amongst it.... To sieve or sift a person implies a screening and proving process by way of hardship and temptation...” (The World Jesus Knew, page 109).

Regarding the “crowing of the rooster,” Matthew, Luke and John quote Jesus as saying, “before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Mark’s account has Jesus saying, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times.” Here is another case of truth versus whole truth. Mark quotes Christ completely, whereas the other Gospel writers edit Jesus’ words to capture only the essential concept.

The respected Bible scholar of another era, R.C.H. Lenski, writes, “Two crowings were distinguished as marks of time, one near midnight, the other just before dawn. They helped to divide the night into the midnight or silent period...and the period after the dawn...” (The Interpretation of St. Mark’s Gospel, p. 632).

Another important comment refers to Luke 22:35 and following. Notice how the purposes of God can affect the nature of our perspective on the world. When Christ was offering the Kingdom to Israel, Jesus had one standard for His disciples. Now that the church age has been interjected into the equation, the rules have changed. Rather than seeing the Millennium introduced, Christians are spread through the world and must deal with tough situations, including the need for self-defense and financial planning.

Pastor Ed

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Highland Park Church
516 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana, USA
765.452.1779
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