TODAY’S READING: MARK 14-16
The Servant’s suffering (chapter 14:1-15:20); the Servant’s death (chapter 15:21-41); the Servant’s burial (chapter 15:42-47); the Servant’s resurrection (chapter 16:1-18); the Servant’s ascension (chapter 16:19-20).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Chapters 14 through 16 in today’s reading break down into two neatly formed sections:
•The last six PLACES in the Servant’s WALK.
•The last four EVENTS in the Servant’s WORK.
First of all, let’s make our way through •The last six PLACES in the Servant’s WALK.
Place #1 – In the town of Bethany. (14:1-11) It was here that Jesus was WORSHIPPED.
This account lets us know that Jesus appreciates worship that is “out of the box” (14:3)! Jesus has already revealed the events of the His suffering and death, and nobody seemed to care (10:32-34). Nobody appeared to have been compassionate enough to even question what He meant! The only question in the disciples’ minds was where they would be sitting in the kingdom (10:35-41). But, then there was Mary. Rather than wait to use her precious ointment to anoint the body of her Savior after His death (14:8), Mary is passionate to lavish her love, adoration, and worship on Him now. Do recognize that when your worship is “outside of the box” and out of the “mainstream,” it will cause the “mainstream” to have the same response toward you that they had toward Mary: “And they murmured against her” (14:5).
Place #2 – In the upper room. (14:12-26) It was here that Jesus was BETRAYED.
What an incredible contrast! Coming off of the heels of this glorious act of worship in 14:1-11, Mark records the most hideous act of treason! One of His very own disciples would betray Him. What must have been going through our Lord’s mind and heart as He spent these final hours with His disciples, knowing full well that as He handed the bread that represented His body to Judas, the hands that reached out to receive it were the very hands that in only minutes would reach out to receive the money for offering the body of Christ to be crucified.
Place #3 – In the Garden of Gethsemane. (14:27-52) It was here that Jesus was FORSAKEN.
Peter is a classic example of the old adage, “Talk is cheap.” Again, knowing full well what Peter would do in the next few hours, Jesus invites him, James and John to go further than the rest of the disciples (14:33), allowing them to enter not only another level of information, but another level of intimacy with their Lord. At the time our Lord in His humanness most needed the love and support of His friends (14:34), He was forsaken. First, the “intimate three” slept through His deepest sorrow (14:37), then verse 50 adds, “And they all forsook him, and fled.”
Note that the real battle Jesus faced was won before He ever got to the cross. It was the battle fought in Gethsemane for “my will” vs. “thy will.” It is likewise in the “Gethsemanes” of our life, that battles are won or lost.
Place #4 – In the High Priest’s Palace. (14:53-72) It was here that Jesus was REJECTED.
Not only was Jesus plotted against by the chief priests and the council, lied about by the very ones He had come to redeem, but vehemently denied by the very one who vehemently vowed that he would die himself before denying Him!
A quick overview of Peter’s track record through Mark’s Gospel reveals that Peter:
•Argued when he should have submitted. (8:32-33) •Talked when he should have listened. (9:5-7) •Slept when he should have prayed. (14:37-38) •Fought when he should have surrendered. (14:47) •Denied when he should have witnessed. (14:66-71)
We read that and are tempted to “dis” Peter out, until we realize that he sounds an awful lot like us! Note also, that Peter was remorseful and repentant (14:72) and forgiven (John 21).
Place #5 – In Pilate’s Hall. (15:1-20)
It was here that Jesus was CONDEMNED.
In order to be condemned to death, the Jewish council recognized that they had to find some way to convince Pilate that Jesus had been guilty of a capital offence (John 18:31-32). There was only one possibility, and that was to spin Jesus’ claim to be King as a statement against Rome’s authority, making Him appear as a political revolutionary. Pilate recognizes, however, that the accusations of the chief priests were all bogus and born out of envy (15:10). Pilate, hoping to avoid having to make a controversial decision concerning Him, offers to release one prisoner, either Barabbas or Jesus, thinking that the people certainly would never choose to release the likes of Barabbas! The chief priests, however, had “worked” the people ahead of time (15:11), and they cry out for the release of Barabbas, and for Jesus to be crucified (15:12-14). Verse 15 is tremendously revealing: “And so Pilate, willing to content the people.” Mark it down, being a people-pleaser will invari!
able lead to unbelievable and unthinkable compromise!
Place # 6 – On Golgotha. (15:21-41)
It was here that Jesus was CRUCIFIED.
Mark provides us a time sequence of the crucifixion:
•“The third hour” (15:25) – 9 a.m.
Jesus was nailed to the cross.
•“The sixth hour” (15:33) – 12 noon
Darkness for the next three hours.
•“The ninth hour” (15:34-37) – 3 p.m.
Jesus’ final words and then He “gave up the ghost.”
The last section of Mark’s Gospel presents •The last four EVENTS in the Servant’s WORK.
Event #1 – The Servant’s DEATH. (15:21-41)
Event #2 – The Servant’s BURIAL. (15:42-47)
Event #3 – The Servant’s RESURRECTION. (16:1-18)
Event #4 – The Servant’s ASCENSION. (16:19-20)