The Gospels of Mark and Luke again present us with a parallel of events we have considered in our earlier readings in the Gospel of Matthew. Today’s devotional will focus upon Mark 14.
Mark set the scene for when Jesus had supper at the home of Simon the leper. This was the meal Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, interrupted when she anointed Jesus for His death and burial (14:1-9). Mark chronicled Judas’ arrangement with the chief priest to betray Jesus (14:10-11), and the disciples’ plans for the Passover meal (14:12-16). As we read in Matthew, Mark gives us the conversations at the table where Jesus observed the Passover, which was His last supper before He was betrayed, tried, and condemned to die (14:17-25).
Walking into the darkness of the night, Jesus and His disciples made their way to the Mount of Olives (14:26). Along the way, He warned them the night would not pass before the prophecy of Zechariah would be fulfilled which said, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered” (14:27; Zechariah 13:7). Yet, with that warning He gave them hope, saying, “after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee” (14:28).
Understanding Jesus was saying all would abandon Him, and He would be left alone to suffer, Peter protested, saying, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I” (14:29). His boast was answered by Christ predicting he would deny him three times that night “before the cock crow twice” (14:30).
Arriving at the garden called Gethsemane, Jesus asked His disciples, “Sit ye here, while I pray” (14:32). He then took Peter, James, and John with Him, and went further into the garden to pray (14:33). Surely, the disciples sensed the LORD’s sadness before He confessed, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch” (14:34). Though He asked them to pray while He prayed, Jesus came to the disciples three times and found them asleep (14:35-41). With earnest resignation, Jesus confessed to his sleepy disciples, “the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand” (14:41b-42).
Even as He spoke, Judas came into the garden, and with him “a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders” (14:43). With a kiss, Judas betrayed Jesus, saying, “Master, master” (14:45). His enemies took hold of our LORD, and Peter momentarily took courage and “drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear” (14:47; John 18:10; Luke 22:50), only to be rebuked by Jesus who said, “Suffer ye thus far” (meaning permit them to do as they will), “and he touched his ear, and healed him” (Luke 22:51).
Christ challenged the cowardly act of betrayal and arrest by those who arrested Him, and asked, “Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled” (14:48-49)
What manner of man was Jesus? (John 18:3-6)
His enemies had long plotted His arrest and death. Though His life and ministry had been one of love and gentleness, His enemies came with a great entourage of soldiers and officers (John 18:3). When Jesus asked, “Who seek ye?” (John 18:4), they answered “Jesus of Nazareth” (John 18:5). When Christ confessed, “I am he,” they could not stand in His presence (John 18:6). Jesus Christ was the incarnate, sinless Son of God. No man could bind Him without His permission. Rather than flee His enemies, He submitted to their will, saying, “the scriptures must be fulfilled” (14:49).
Fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah, “all forsook Him, and fled” (14:50; Zechariah 13:7), and they led Jesus away to be tried. Only Mark gives a record of a “certain young man” who was present that night, and when an attempt was made to take him, he fled and “left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked” (14:52). Who was that young man? I cannot be certain, but I wonder if he was not John Mark, the author of the Gospel that bears His name.
The balance of the Gospel of Mark follows our LORD’s trial before the Sanhedrin (14:53), and the travesty of justice that took place in the early morning hours of that Friday. As Peter watched from a distance (14:54), false witnesses were brought to testify against Jesus, yet their testimonies did not agree (14:55-60). Jesus had answered not a word in His own defense, until He was asked by the high priest, “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed [meaning, God the Father]?” (14:61) Jesus answered saying, “I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (14:62).
With those words, Jesus was accused of blasphemy, which is under Hebrew law, a capital crime punishable by death (14:63-64). (Of course, He had not committed blasphemy, for He was the Christ, the Son of God). Falsely charged, and physically abused, Jesus was condemned to die, even as it had been prophesied (Isaiah 53).
Closing thoughts – Three times Peter denied being a follower and disciple of Christ (14:66-71). That Friday morning, even before the sun began to rise in the east, the crowing of a rooster drove home a conviction as powerful as any message that has ever been preached (14:72), Peter had denied Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. Yet, unlike Judas who went out and hung himself, Peter wept his way back to his Lord.
If you have not yet, I invite you to follow Peter’s example of brokenness over your sin, for you are promised, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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