Partial script for the May 3rd episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 3rd episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis, and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today’s reading is in 1 Kings 14-15 & Luke 22. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
1 Kings 14
First Kings 14 begins with Jeroboam’s son in a desperate situation. He’s sick, and it initially appears that this is serious. Very serious.
What does Jeroboam do? He knows that he has distorted worship in his own land, so he sends for someone who is a prophet of the one true God. He’s content to lead his people into error. He’s content for them to have no one to turn to when they need a word from the Lord. But he goes to the truth when he is in trouble. He has abused his leadership.
1 Kings 14:1-3 (CSB): “1 At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became sick. 2 Jeroboam said to his wife, ‘Go disguise yourself, so they won’t know that you’re Jeroboam’s wife, and go to Shiloh. The prophet Ahijah is there; it was he who told about me becoming king over this people. 3 Take with you ten loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.’”
Jeroboam’s wife went to visit Ahijah. The prophet was old, and he had lost his sight due to age. But the Lord spoke to Ahijah and let him know who was about to walk through his door and why she was there. He would give her a word from the Lord.
I want to take a moment to speak a little bit about a point I made in yesterday’s reflections. I said that when someone says, “The Lord told me …”, then our default should be that we doubt their words unless they have their finger on Scripture to point out where God has actually said something. That’s not to say that God does not impress things upon our hearts. However, God has completed His Word, and we call it the Bible. So, God’s Word primarily and ultimately comes to us in the Bible now. When we sense, or someone else senses, that the Lord has spoken to our heart, then we should always, ALWAYS, compare it to the written Word to determine if God has actually spoken. The written Word is the only Word of God that we can be absolutely certain about.
Yet, in the Old Testament and the first part of the first century, God’s Word was incomplete. The full revelation of God in the Bible had not yet been completed. So He often spoke through prophets. That’s what He did with Ahijah as the Lord told him Jeroboam’s wife was on the way.
1 Kings 14:6 (CSB): “When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet entering the door, he said, ‘Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you disguised? I have bad news for you.’”
I can only imagine how Jeroboam’s wife’s face dropped. Like any mother, we can suspect that she desperately loved her son. But she was going to hear more, so much more, than news about her boy.
Before Ahijah spoke about Jeroboam’s son, he built a case for how the Lord had graciously raised Jeroboam up to lead his people when the kingdom was torn in two. Yet, according to the Lord, Jeroboam had behaved more wickedly than all who were before him. He made false gods and led the people of Israel to worship them. Because of this, God was going to bring disaster to his household.
God is not wrong in doing this. If a judge was known for letting criminals go free only so that they could commit more crimes, we would be furious as the judge. Well, my friend, God is a good judge. He cannot let disobedience against His laws go unanswered.
Then, listen as Ahijah told Jeroboam’s wife about her son…
1 Kings 14:12-13 (CSB): “12 As for you, get up and go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He alone out of Jeroboam’s house will be given a proper burial because out of the house of Jeroboam something favorable to the Lord God of Israel was found in him.”
Then, Ahijah spoke prophetically about how Israel would be taken captive “beyond the Euphrates” because of their spiritual adultery. This was about 200 years in the future but it certainly did happen as we will read about later in Scripture.
1 Kings 14:17-18 (CSB): “Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As she was crossing the threshold of the house, the boy died. 18 He was buried, and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through his servant the prophet Ahijah.”
We read that Jeroboam reigned for 22 years and then died. His son Nadab became king in his place.
Now, the spotlight leaves Israel and aims at the nation to the south called Judah.
We’re told that Rehoboam was Solomon’s son and was 41 years old when he became king. He reigned as king in Jerusalem for 17 years.
What happened to Judah under Rehoboam’s reign? The nation of Israel is jumping headfirst into paganism. What about Judah?
1 Kings 14:22-24 (CSB): “Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They provoked him to jealous anger more than all that their ancestors had done with the sins they committed. 23 They also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree; 24 there were even male cult prostitutes in the land. They imitated all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites.”
The Bible is like no other book. You would think that the writers would want to gloss over the deficiencies of the Israelites. After all, they are God’s chosen people, right? Yet, the Bible’s ultimate Author is the Lord. So, truth trumps everything else. The Bible simply tells it like it is regardless of how bad God’s people looked.
Yet, one more point worth mentioning is that the Bible says in Romans 3:23 that ALL of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, God’s perfect standard. That’s why He sent His Son to pay the sin debt of everyone who will place their trust in Him. It’s not just the Israelites who struggled with sin. It’s you and me, too.
Well, in verses 25-28, we read that King Shishak of Egypt went to war against Jerusalem. According to verse 26, “He seized the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and the treasuries of the royal palace. He took everything. He took all the gold shields that Solomon had made.”
The most prized possession in that Temple was the Ark of the Covenant. We know that it wasn’t in the Temple in the first century. It went missing sometime in the Old Testament. We just don’t know when it was taken and by who. Was it taken by King Shishak of Egypt?
Listen to what the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary says about when the Ark may have been taken.
Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary: “The precise time of the theft or destruction of the ark is unknown. Some have suggested Shishak of Egypt plundered the temple of this most holy object (1 Kings 14:25–28), but it seems more likely, from Jer. 3:16–17, that the Babylonians captured or destroyed the ark in 587 b.c. with the fall of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple. As Jeremiah predicted, the ark was never rebuilt for the second temple, the holy of holies remaining empty.”
As 1 Kings 14 comes to an end, we are told that Rehoboam and Jeroboam fight throughout their reigns. Finally, Rehoboam died and was buried in Jerusalem. His son, Abijam, became the next king of Judah.
1 Kings 15
After the death of King Rehoboam and King Jeroboam, the chapters feel like we’re playing tennis as the ball bounces back and forth across the net. We will read about a king of Judah and then a king of Israel, only to read about the next king of Judah and so forth. There are chronological charts available online that show the kings of Israel and Judah. I will include a link to one of them in the show notes.
Well, 1 Kings 14 ended by telling us that Rehoboam died, and his son, Abijam, became the new king of Judah (the southern tribe). So 1 Kings 15 opens by introducing us to Abijam.
1 Kings 15:1-2 (CSB): “In the eighteenth year of Israel’s King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah, 2 and he reigned three years in Jerusalem…”
So, was Abijam, the great-grandson of David, a good king?
1 Kings 14:3 (CSB): “Abijam walked in all the sins his father before him had committed, and he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God as his ancestor David had been.”
Yet, the Lord was gracious and continued to preserve Jerusalem because of king David. Then, Abijam died and his son, Asa, became king of Judah.
Asa is now the third king of Judah after Solomon, while Israel still has their first king.
1 Kings 14:9 (CSB): “In the twentieth year of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem….”
When we look at Asa’s reign, we realize that he was a good king who followed the Lord. He got rid of the male cult prostitutes, removed the idols, and even removed his grandmother from being queen mother because “she had made an obscene image of Asherah” (v.13).
We learn that there continued to be wars between Israel and Judah. On one occasion, Asa took the silver and gold items that remained in the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace and sent them to Ben-hadad of Aram. He paid him to break his treaty with Israel. So Ben-hadad attacked cities in the north, causing the king of Israel to withdraw from Judah.
We learn that in his old age, Asa developed some sort of disease in his feet. I’m not sure if this was the cause of his death, but he died and was buried in Jerusalem. His son, Jehoshaphat, became the new king of Judah.
Now, the tennis ball gets hit over the net, and we are now looking at a couple of kings of Israel. The first is Nadab, the son of Jeroboam. This guy was a real winner.
1 Kings 15:25-26 (CSB): “25 … he reigned over Israel two years. 26 Nadab did what was evil in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of his father and the sin he had caused Israel to commit.”
In verses 27-28, we find out why Nadab only reigned for two years. He was assassinated by Baasha, who then claimed the throne of Israel for himself.
Then, we read about how Baasha killed every descendant of Jeroboam. This, once again, illustrates the paradox of God’s sovereign rule over His creation alongside mankind’s free will to do as he pleases. Let’s read verses 29-30 and see if you can observe these two things at play.
1 Kings 15:29-30 (CSB): “29 When Baasha became king, he struck down the entire house of Jeroboam. He did not leave Jeroboam any survivors but destroyed his family according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. 30 This was because Jeroboam had angered the Lord God of Israel by the sins he had committed and had caused Israel to commit.”
As 1 Kings 15 comes to a close, we read that king Baasha ruled over Israel for 24 years. Was he a good king?
1 Kings 15:34 (CSB): “He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of Jeroboam and the sin he had caused Israel to commit.”
One of the things that you’ll notice as we continue reading about the kings of Israel and Judah is this…
Every single king of Israel was bad. They may have done a few things right, but all of them were overwhelmingly evil. There wasn’t a single king that attempted the lead the nation of Israel in revival.
The kings of Judah were hit and miss. Some were good, and some were bad. Some were really bad, but others led the nation of Judah in a time of renewal and revival. I’m looking forward to talking about King Hezekiah and King Josiah. But we’ll get there eventually.
Let’s begin at the beginning…
Luke 22:1 (CSB): “The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover, was approaching.”
Chapter 22 begins with a reminder of what time of year it was. As Jesus was in what is called “Passion Week,” the week that would end in His death and resurrection, “the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover, was approaching.” The Passover was one day in which the Jews celebrated annually how God’s death angel passed over them in the Egyptian plagues because of the blood on their doors. The Festival of Unleavened Bread was a 7-day annual reminder of the hasty exit the Jews made from Egypt. So, together, these two holidays made for an eight-day time of reflection and celebration.
So, as the time was nearing that Jesus would be crucified, we are told in verse 3 that “Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot.” Judas wasn’t a good guy. He wasn’t on his way to Heaven. He was wicked, and his body had the welcome mat laid out for Satan to enter him, possess him, and cause him to turn over Jesus to be killed.
Well, Judas went to the chief priests and agreed with them to hand Jesus over to them in exchange for the cost of a common slave – 30 pieces of silver.
Luke 22:6 (CSB): “So he accepted the offer and started looking for a good opportunity to betray him to them when the crowd was not present.”
We come now to verses 7-13 where Jesus and his disciples observe the Passover. There are a couple of items we need to pay careful attention to.
First, when the disciples asked where to prepare the Passover, why didn’t he give more specific instructions? Just listen to what he said…
Luke 22:10-12 (CSB): “10 ‘Listen,’ he said to them, ‘when you’ve entered the city, a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters. 11 Tell the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks you, ‘Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover with my disciples?’ ” 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished room upstairs. Make the preparations there.’”
So, why wasn’t Jesus more specific about the location? Simply stated – Judas Iscariot. Jesus knew that Judas was prepared to turn Him over, and He needed to, among other things, institute the Lord’s Supper, or Communion as some people call it.
Then, we come to understand that Jesus was preparing to observe the Passover with His disciples. If Jesus was placed on the cross on Friday morning, then He observed the Passover on Thursday evening. Yet, we read that the religious leaders, on Friday, wanted Jesus off the cross because they hadn’t been able to yet observe the Lord’s Supper.
John 18:28 (CSB): “… They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover.
So, Jesus and His disciples observed the Passover on Thursday evening, but the religious leaders in Jerusalem were going to observe the Passover on Friday. How is that possible? The Old Testament Law didn’t allow for people to observe the Passover anytime they wanted. There was a specific day on which it was to be observed.
According to John MacArthur’s study Bible, he notes that Josephus (a 1st-century Jewish historian) and the Mishna (written collection of the Jewish oral traditions) allowed those who lived in the north to observe it on the evening before the Passover and those in the southern area to observe it the next day. If you want to read the full explanation, just check out the MacArthur Study Bible notes for the Gospel of John under the heading “Interpretive Challenges.”
In verses 14-23, we read that Jesus took two of the elements from the Passover table (the unleavened bread and the wine) and had the very first Lord’s Supper.
This special meal is intended to remind us of what Jesus did for us.
The bread reminds us that Jesus came in a real body. Since Adam, the first man, lost a relationship with God because of sin, Jesus came in a body as the second Adam to take back what Adam lost. He offers His free gift of salvation to all who will trust in Him.
The wine reminds us of His blood that was shed. Just as the first Passover lamb had to be killed and its blood painted upon the doorposts in order for the death angel to pass over, Jesus was the ultimate and final lamb who died for our sins. It is His blood that is shed for our forgiveness.
Before we move on, I want to clear up one more matter. In verse 19, He gave the bread to His disciples and said, “This is my body.” This has been understood in at least a few different ways. One of those views is essentially cannibalism because it teaches that when the priest prays over the bread, it actually becomes Jesus’ body to be eaten.
But that is not at all what Jesus was saying. Let me illustrate. If I were to pull out my wallet and show you a picture of my wife, I could point at that picture and say, “This is my wife.” I would be right … and wrong! I’m right in that it is a great picture of my wife, but I’m wrong because it is only a picture of my wife. It’s only ink and paper. I’d much rather spend time with my wife than with that piece of paper. The bread and juice in the cup IS a powerful picture of Jesus’ body and blood. It is only a picture, but it is a powerful one for us to remember Him by.
In verses 24-30, the disciples had an argument about who was the greatest among them. They were full of self-centered ambition and did not fully appreciate the gravity of the moment as Jesus would soon be betrayed and hung on a cross.
But if it weren’t for their totally inappropriate words, we would not have heard Jesus give the incredible description of true biblical leadership in response to them.
Simply stated, biblical leadership is not for the benefit of the leader but for the benefit of those who are served. Those who are served can certainly bless their leader in various ways, but he or she doesn’t lead for themselves. Just listen to Jesus say this…
Luke 22:25-27 (CSB): “25 But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them have themselves called “Benefactors.” 26 It is not to be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. 27 For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.’”
Then, in verses 31-34, Jesus shocks Peter by telling him that Satan has asked permission from the Lord to make Peter’s life miserable. This lets us know that Satan can do nothing to us without getting God’s permission first.
However, even though Satan recognizes God’s authority, Peter doesn’t. He seems to have been relying upon himself and his own power when he told Jesus in verse 33: “Lord, I’m ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” But Jesus brought Peter back down to reality when He said that Peter was completely impotent. Without reliance upon the Lord and only relying upon himself, he would deny that he knew Jesus three times before the rooster crowed in the morning.
In verses 35-38, Jesus reminded them of God’s provision when he had sent them out “without money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals” (v.35). But, now they they had observed that God could take care of them, they were to keep that attitude of faith while taking provisions as they went out to share the news of the kingdom.
But he told them in verse 36: “… And whoever doesn’t have a sword should sell his robe and buy one.” In the next verse, the disciples said: “Lord, … look, here are two swords.” And then He replied: “That is enough!” So what is this all about?
So what does this talk about swords mean? It seems that the best explanation is that having two swords among the 11 apostles would be enough to get them branded as potential a brood of hoodlums and criminals. This would seem to make sense seeing that Jesus had just told them in verse 37: “For I tell you, what is written must be fulfilled in me: And he was counted among the lawless. Yes, what is written about me is coming to its fulfillment.”
In verses 39-46, we join Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed. There are a couple of things in these verses that require our attention.
First, let’s look at Jesus’ words in verse 40: “When he reached the place, he told them, ‘Pray that you may not fall into temptation.’” Clearly, Jesus saw prayer as a means of defeating or even avoiding situations that we would find tempting.
In fact, when we look at the Model Prayer, we hear Jesus telling us to pray that God would keep us from situations that could tempt us to sin. In Matthew 6:13, He tells us to pray: “And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Who’s to say that if we didn’t pray this passionately each morning that we could avoid a lot of tempting situations that we ordinarily have to face throughout our days.
The second item in Jesus’ prayer that requires our attention is when He said in Luke 22:42 – “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
The “cup” generally referred to God’s wrath. But was Jesus requesting that God would keep Him from going to the cross? That doesn’t seem likely since Jesus knew that Old Testament prophecies required it. I tend to believe that Jesus was praying about the intense inner turmoil He was experiencing there in the Garden. He was sweating drops of blood and may have felt that He would die prematurely in the Garden before He ever got to the cross. So I think his request of having “this cup” taken away was a request for divine assistance as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In verses 47-53, the mob came to the Garden with Judas. Jesus was betrayed. Peter remembered what Jesus said about having swords, so he thought this would be a great time to use his. He swung and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. But one of the other Gospel writers tells us that Jesus rebuked Peter and then healed the ear. The other Gospel writers tell us that the disciples, feeling confused and vulnerable, ran and abandoned Jesus.
In verses 54-62, we read of Peter’s denial that he knew Jesus. It appears that Peter followed from a distance as the mob led Jesus away into the high priest’s house. Peter may have been shocked and ashamed that he abandoned Jesus in the Garden. He may have also realized how capable he was of denying Jesus. So he determined to face danger, from a safe distance, with a desire to stand up for the Lord.
But, as Peter stood outside the high priest’s house, he was confronted three times by people who suspected that he was one of Jesus’ followers. In the pressure of the moment, Peter denied that he knew Jesus each of those three times.
But there is something that Luke mentions in His Gospel that none of the others do. It’s powerful. Jesus looks at Peter. Let me read Luke 22:60-62 as Peter denied Jesus for the third and final time…
Luke 22:60-62 (CSB): “60 But Peter said, ‘Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. So Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.”
Luke 22:63-71 ends with Jesus being beaten and then condemned by the Jewish Supreme Court (the Sanhedrin). The next chapter we read in Luke will have Jesus on the cross.