Peter Meney, Scripture Meditations

The eating of the passover lamb brought to an end the passover feast and it was now that the Lord Jesus instituted a new feast of remembrance, the service we call ‘Communion’ or ‘The Lord’s Supper’. This ending of one and beginning of the other is important. Christ is the passover sacrificed for us, and as we have seen, the passover lamb was a type of Christ. Christ being the fulness of that shadow and the fulfilling end of that type, the passover feast had its accomplishment in Him and being finished is brought to its end for all time.

‘Take, eat …’

Now a new feast of remembrance is instituted to be observed by the Lord’s people and designed to draw our thoughts often to the Saviour’s suffering and sacrifice on our behalf and for our redemption. We are told Jesus first took bread, then blessed it, then break it, and finally distributed it to His disciples, telling them, ‘Take, eat: this is my body’. Afterwards he did the same with a cup of wine, called ‘the fruit of the vine’, telling them, ‘This is my blood’.

Christ’s body and blood

The breaking of the bread is for us a representation of the broken body of the Lord Jesus; broken on the cross where He was bruised, wounded and crushed under the weight of our sin. Taking the bread from the Saviour’s hand and eating it symbolises taking and receiving Christ in His death by the…

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Is It I?

13 Sep 2022, by

On Thursday morning of the so-called passion week two of the Lord’s disciples, Peter and John, enquire of the Lord about His plans to observe the passover feast. These two appear to have realised it was not this business Judas Iscariot was absent arranging (John 13:28-30). Jesus instructs them to go into the city of Jerusalem where they will meet a man in whose house the passover should be prepared. Our Lord Jesus attended the passover feast and fully observed the obligations of the Old Testament patterns (Deuteronomy 16:1-8).

Make ready the passover

Making ready the passover involved not only the preparation of the room where the meal would be held but the provision and preparation of the meal of roasted lamb and bitter herbs. The arrangements of finding and securing the upper room in which to host the feast shows the Lord’s prescience and providence. It is likely Peter and John bought a lamb in the city, lambs being no doubt supplied and sold at this solemn festival both to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all who came to celebrate this feast.

A sacrifice and a meal

As the law required, the two disciples would have brought the lamb to the court of the temple for slaughter. The creature’s fat would be burned on the altar and its blood sprinkled upon it. Then the cooking or ‘roasting it whole’ would take place back in the house. This ritual, together with the supply of…

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The identity of this dear lady who anointed the Saviour at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper is unknown. Some think she was Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, some suggest Mary Magdalene. However, the Holy Spirit has withheld her name and the reason seems to be that we look not so much upon the woman, but upon the gesture of love and the act of sacrifice offered by her to her Saviour. She understood what few in the room that night grasped. She came aforehand to anoint Christ’s body to the burying.

A testimony for the ages

The Lord’s appreciation and affirmation of her love and sacrifice will not allow us to overlook this beautiful act or its symbolical meaning, for ‘Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her’. So be it. Tomorrow, we shall remember the dear soul who came aforehand to anoint Christ’s body to the burying.

Kindness and criticism

There is a stark contrast highlighted in these verses. There is the kindness, compassion and understanding of the woman who brought her very costly offering to the Saviour. But there is also hard-heartedness; a critical spirit from indignant murmurers who observe this beautiful and precious gesture and completely fail to…

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Silent Wednesday

30 Aug 2022, by

Here is an interesting and remarkable thing. There is no record in the gospels of any activity undertaken by the Lord on the Wednesday before His crucifixion. It is a silent day. Christ, the Son of David, the Son of God, had entered Jerusalem on Sunday to the acclaim of the crowds. Monday and Tuesday had been busy with the Lord travelling from Bethany to Jerusalem both days. He had wept over the city, turned over the moneychangers’ tables, cursed the fig tree, contended with a succession of religious opponents, taught His disciples and preached to His followers in the Temple.

A busy few days

Observing a poor widow place two mites in the treasury box of the Temple the Lord commended the gift of ‘all her living’ above the offerings of the wealthy. He spoke at length to His disciples about the nature of true faith and warned of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the…

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The Lord Jesus has informed His disciples about the soon-to-come destruction of Jerusalem. He has been speaking about this event all along and He now brings His message to its end by giving a parable from a fig tree in springtime and a warning to watchfulness. Just as the witness of nature prepares men and women for the seasons of the year, so the warnings of the Lord inform His followers of danger and open a way of escape from their enemies, sin and death. These experiences would be fulfilled within the lifetime of the present generation and the calamities coming upon the Jewish nation were absolutely certain.

The day and hour unknown

Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, neither the angels nor the Lord Jesus Himself in His human nature knew the day or the hour it would happen. This hiding of the precise moment was designed to raise attentiveness amongst the Lord’s people and keep them vigilant. It was a lesson for that generation but one designed to elevate watchfulness in every generation by keeping the Lord’s people alert to the promise of the Saviour’s return to judge the world at the end of the age. We look for and hasten unto the coming of the day of God.

It also applies to every individual believer concerning the unknown but appointed time of our own physical passing from this world in death. We do not know the day and hour our earthly life will end and this should keep us looking to Christ. Moses asks in Psalm 90:12, ‘teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom’.

Watch and pray

The Lord’s message to His disciples is given in verse 33, ‘Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is’. For the next thirty-five years these men would carry in…

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The Lord Jesus had been asked by his disciples what signs will precede the destruction of Jerusalem, the desolation of the temple and the overthrow of the Jewish nation. His comments here in Mark 13, and in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, tell the disciples what to look for and expect. Christ’s words were given as timely warnings to prompt His people to flee their homes for safety when the judgments coming on the Jewish nation begin.

Daniel’s prophecy

The ‘abomination of desolation’ of which the Lord speaks is a reference to the book of Daniel and means the Roman armies who would surround, enter and destroy the city. The Saviour warns that when the time comes the enemy will act swiftly with a ferocity unequalled in human history. It would take almost forty years but the wrath of God and judgment of Jesus Christ would be severely visited upon the Jews who slew the Son of God and proudly declared, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Mat 27:25).

God’s elect people

Three references in these verses to the Lord’s ‘elect’ are particularly notable. First, the Saviour tells His disciples the coming days of terror and destruction will be shortened, or lessened, for the sake of the elect. The meaning is that the complete annihilation of the Jews would not be permitted but would be prevented. A remnant would be saved for the sake of the Lord’s chosen people, either those living at that time or their descendants in generations to come.

False preachers

Second, we are told there will arise men whose claims to be alternative saviours with other ways of salvation and deliverance are so plausible, and their powers so persuasive, as to deceive many, even, says the Lord, if it were possible the very elect of God, the very Bride of Christ. However, it is not possible! The Lord’s chosen will not…

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The Lord, we are told, went out of the temple. He would never again return. It is a solemn thought that the Lord should leave a place of worship never to return. Sacrifices continued to be made but the Lord was not present. Psalms, hymns and prayers continued to be offered but the Lord did not hear. The glory had departed. There is nothing more useless than Christless religion. It is good for nothing but to be cast down and trampled upon. This is what would happen to the temple. Amazing as it might seem to the disciples who admired the grandeur of the edifice, not one stone would be left upon another. The destruction of all false religion and vain, empty worship will be just as complete, be its structures and cathedrals ever so grand.

Lessons then and now

Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the Lord’s words and it is certain the disciples gave attention to the warnings. They would live through and experience personally the matters spoken of here by the Lord. These lessons were important instructions for the Lord’s apostles concerning times ahead and events that would quickly overtake them. However, there are also lessons for us all, enduring lessons for every age concerning the need to be alert to false and deceptive Christs, to take heed to recognise and avoid false doctrine, and the imperative of the Lord’s preserving care for His church.

Signs of the times

The question the disciples asked, and the Lord answered, was what signs would precede the destruction of the temple. Three distinct signs are revealed by the Lord; the…

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All That She Had

2 Aug 2022, by

When the Lord Jesus had finished preaching the crowd of listeners began to disperse. The scribes and Pharisees also withdrew and Jesus, with perhaps His first moment of leisure in the whole day, sat down near the entrance to the temple treasury to rest. There were several chests set out to receive the gifts and offerings of the people and as He sat the Saviour observed the worshippers bringing their gifts.

The what and the why

The people were not miserly and Mark and Luke tell us ‘many that were rich cast in much’. Whether there was a display of showiness about this giving is not explicitly said and there need not have been. The Lord knew the hearts and motives of those He saw and the circumstances of their giving. Let us never forget, nothing is hid from the Lord.

Teaching the disciples

The attention of the Lord was drawn to a ‘certain poor widow’ who came to make an offering. The Lord noted her offering was small in comparison to the amounts contributed by the wealthy men who went before her. She put in two mites, a farthing, or a quarter, a small fraction of the amount given by others. This supplied the

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Greater Damnation

28 Jul 2022, by

The dignity and composure with which the Lord Jesus turns these verbal clashes in the temple to the good of His people is a delight to witness. Every attack on the Lord or His people must bend to the Lord’s glory, contribute to the increase of the church’s happiness, and end in the shame of Christ’s enemies and ours. Mark it down. If you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ you will not be disappointed. That is not to say you will not be tried and tested, you will, but the Lord will always give you more than your enemies can take.

Christ rebuts all attacks

It is still Tuesday of the Passover week. By Friday our Lord will have been arrested, falsely accused, condemned, tortured and crucified. Yet every punch, kick, cut, bruise and piercing inflicted on Him will be but the last gasp rage of a defeated foe. There was yet much to be faced and endured by our Saviour for the redemption of His people, but by Sunday our Lord will have risen from His grave in triumph and power. Let us ‘continue in the faith’, knowing, like our Master, ‘we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God’.

‘What think ye of Christ?’

As the Scribe who questioned the Lord about the…

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A Scribe of the sect of the Pharisees, whom Matthew calls a lawyer, now comes to question the Lord about the law. ‘Which’, he wonders, ‘is the first commandment of all’. His question is more complicated than might first appear. He was not asking about the decalogue, or Moses’ ten commandments, but seeking the Lord’s view as to which of all the laws contained in the scriptures and Jewish oral traditions took greatest priority. There were literally hundreds of possibilities to choose from, all of which were minutely argued over by these Scribes and Pharisees.

Another question to tempt the Lord

Perhaps the Scribe thought to embarrass the Lord by exposing a lack of knowledge of the breadth of the law. Jesus was, after all, a carpenter with no training in the Jewish schools. Even if the Lord could provide an opinion and choose one law, then the ‘lawyer’ surely felt able to engage with Him in trading ideas, and arguing the…

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It is a fearsome thought that the Son of God looked into the faces of a group of devoutly religious men and condemned them saying, ‘ye therefore do greatly err’. They erred in their ignorance of the living God; they erred in rejecting the testimony of scripture concerning resurrection from the dead; they erred by refusing to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. In our earthly lives we make little mistakes and we make big mistakes, but in matters of eternal life if we do not trust Christ we have erred greatly and the consequences are eternal.

Wise unto salvation

People right now are erring greatly in matters of their soul’s eternal destiny. We worry about jobs, family, health, finance, and many other things, yet are careless for our souls. The preaching of the scriptures, through the faith which is in Christ, makes us wise unto salvation. May God grant us faith, shake us from our sleep of death, rouse us before it is too late, and awaken our souls to everlasting life in Jesus Christ.

The great error of false religion …

There seems to be a censure here particularly aimed by Christ at false religion. These men were Sadducees, a theological school of teachers and students who rivalled the…

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It is likely these Pharisees and Herodians who came tempting Jesus had little in common with each other beyond a desire to ensnare the Saviour in His words, and cause damage to His reputation. Luke calls them ‘spies’ and Matthew and Mark tell us the Lord was not deceived by their overly-reverent greetings but denounced their ‘wickedness’ and ‘hypocrisy’. The Lord’s enemies did not hesitate to make alliances with their rivals to oppose Him, and still today the gospel of grace is attacked by all shades of religion of the freewill and works kind.

Paying taxes

The plan was simple. These two groups were on opposite sides of a thorny political question about paying taxes to Caesar. If Jesus could be tempted to speak against paying taxes to the Roman state the Herodians would accuse Him of rebellion against the government. If, on the other hand, He encouraged paying taxes to…

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Mark says our Lord spoke several parables in the temple but records only this one. It was spoken publicly but directed against the priests and scribes, and they understood it to be so. The parable uses the story of a vineyard owner and his fraudulent and violent tenants. There are historical, current and a future aspects to the Lord’s words. They apply to the ill treatment given by the Jews to the Lord’s prophets in times past. They allude to Jesus’ own death, and point to the subsequent destruction of the Jewish nation.

The key message

As with all the Lord’s parables we take from them the key messages without straining to find a parallel in every detail. The main lesson is the rejection and abuse of the Lord and His people by the Jewish religious leaders. The ‘certain man’ may be likened to God the Father, the ‘vineyard’ to the Jewish nation, the ‘tenants’ to the Jewish religious leaders and the ‘servants’ to prophets sent by God seeking…

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It is two days since the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem and the day after the cursing of the fig tree. Our Saviour, with His disciples, has returned to the city from their accommodation in Bethany, or somewhere near the Mount of Olives. Jesus is walking with the disciples in the temple precincts and teaching a large group of followers and hearers.

The Jewish Sanhedrim

As the Lord brings His message a delegation arrives from the Jewish Sanhedrim, the main council of religious leaders, comprising ‘the chief priests, and the Scribes, and the elders’. Full of their own self-importance these men do not hesitate to interrupt the Lord as He speaks. This was not a random meeting but an attempt to silence the Saviour by challenging His authority to teach and preach in the temple, and His recent acts of cleansing the temple of those who bought and sold there.

A plan to ‘destroy’ Jesus

There is context here. Remember what Mark told us previously. When the Lord accused the authorities of making ‘his house’ a den of thieves Mark tells us, ‘the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine’. This is the Saviour’s first engagement with the scribes and priests since that occasion and it is part of their plan to ‘destroy’ the Lord.

By whose authority?

The question posed by these men to the Lord Jesus was designed to ensnare Him and publicly humiliate Him. Previously, the Jewish authorities had tried to counter what Jesus was doing and saying. Now they attacked His…

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Our Lord Jesus left us several curious examples of His humanity and divinity in incidents designed to teach lessons to His disciples, a feature we have noted often in our studies in Mark. His cursing of a fig tree is one such. Jesus was hungry and went to a tree looking for food. However, despite an outward show of greenery the fig tree was barren of fruit.

Another object lesson

Speaking to the tree the Lord said, ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever’. The Lord’s words were taken by the disciples as a curse upon the tree and the next day they marvelled to see the tree dried up and withered not only in its green leaves and branches but from its roots. Peter was astonished at the speed of the transformation and said so to Jesus.

A small miracle

The Lord’s response to Peter’s comments show there was a lesson in the miracle and a deeper spiritual significance to the incident than mere food or figs. Perhaps the Lord was…

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As the Lord Jesus approached Jerusalem He was clearly affected by the sight before Him. The city was full of pilgrims attending the feast of Passover. There were three main feasts each year to which Jewish worshippers were expected to travel: the feast of Tabernacles in October, the feast of Passover in April, and the feast of Pentecost in May.

The Feast of Passover

This was Passover and commemorated the nation’s deliverance from Egypt. The population of the city swelled greatly due to visitors from near and far. It was a time of joy and celebration, good for business and full of religious fervour. Yet, feasts were occasions fraught with tension for the Jewish religious and civil leaders, and their Roman overlords. Messianic anticipation ran high, Jesus had the support of the people and there was popular expectation that the restoration of David’s kingdom was imminent. The authorities were on edge.

The Lord’s enemies conspire

Into this situation Jesus now entered. The common people cheered and sang His praises but the Lord’s enemies, provoked by a mix of jealously and fear, were…

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It is five days until the Lord Jesus will be crucified and our Saviour has reached the outskirts of Jerusalem. Here amongst the villages that dotted the approach to the Jews’ ancient capital He pauses and prepares for what will be a prophecy-fulfilling entrance into the city proper. Many years before, Isaiah and Zechariah had glimpsed this moment. The prophets knew by divine revelation that when the King of kings came to Zion, glory and gentleness, majesty and meekness, would characterise His arrival.

Fulfilled prophecy

Anticipating this moment Zechariah had written, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass’. Isaiah declared, ‘Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him’.

The coming Messiah

We are reminded that our Lord Jesus Christ did not arrange His actions to fulfil prophecy. That would be to misunderstand the proper order of things. Rather, the prophets of old were…

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The greater our thoughts of the Lord Jesus Christ, the sweeter will be our blessings by Him. The more we see and understand the glory, majesty, and dominion of our Saviour, the richer will be our peace, comfort and confidence in Him in this world and for the world to come. A great Saviour inspires great security and great joy.

Christ the First and Last

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Glory. When John in his vision of Revelation heard the words of the Voice that spoke to him on the Isle of Patmos, he turned to see the Lord Jesus Christ, glorified in the midst of His people, the church. The Lord declared, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.’

Growing in grace

These were the words of the risen, reigning Christ, and if we grasp what they mean we shall expand our own knowledge of Christ, and enlarge our appreciation of His greatness, glory, power, majesty, holiness, and…

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Have Mercy On Me

15 May 2022, by

I am not sure why we persist in calling Bartimaeus ‘Blind Bartimaeus’. Certainly, Bartimaeus once was blind, but what is much more important is that Jesus healed his blindness and gave him new eyes and instilled a new vision in his soul. Our passage today recounts the wonderful episode on the outskirts of Jericho when the Lord Jesus Christ on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified met Bartimaeus. The encounter changed Bartimaeus forever. I wonder if ‘Perfect-vision Bartimaeus’ might stick?

A blessing for Jericho

Jericho was an ancient walled city, and a cursed city. It was the first city conquered by the Israelites under Joshua when they entered Canaan. Once powerful, it had been destroyed and rebuilt several times. Now it was smaller and less impressive but today it was also blessed with the presence of Jesus Christ. Another conquering Joshua was passing through on His way to His greatest victory, but this time it was men’s souls that were…

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A Ransom For Many

10 May 2022, by

Oh, James! Oh, John! Have you learned nothing from the lessons the Lord has been teaching? Still you think the kingdom of God is temporal. Still you dream of David’s royal throne restored with external glory, earthly grandeur and political power. And, as if this deep rooted error is not enough, you have the audacity to request the positions of greatest honour in your imagined kingdom! You even brought your Mum to plead your case. Really?

Asking amiss

It is little wonder the other disciples were ‘much displeased’ with James and John. But it was not because they were wiser. On the contrary, they wanted those places for themselves. They felt they had as much right to pre-eminence as these presumptuous sons of Zebedee. Jesus had spoken of the disciples being seated on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes. He meant in their role as evangelists and gospel preachers, but fleshy desires heard ‘pomp and circumstance’. It is just a few weeks until the…

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