Our text this week will be Mark 14:43-65, and you can read it here.
As the tension of the situation mounted last week in the scene of Jesus’ prayer in the garden, it now explodes into crisis, as Judas leads a group of armed men to come and apprehend Jesus to take Him back into the city for trial.
This “multitude” as Mark puts it, would have been a a detachment of the Temple Guard, men who were authorized by the Roman government to carry arms and act as local police, so that Roman soldiers weren’t always responsible for day to day operations of the city. Think of them as the Iraqi police our military is training to keep order in Baghdad.
Several characters and groups come into sharp focus as this crisis mounts…and their true nature gets revealed in the process.
Our first exposed character is Judas (v 43-46). He greets Jesus, it says, with a kiss. The word implies tenderness and affection. It looks so good on the surface…but something else is revealed. What are Judas’ motives for showing affection to Jesus? Who benefits from his action? Do our actions ever flow along these same currents when it comes to our walk with Christ? What do we learn from Judas? What should we watch out for in our own expressions of loyalty and love for Jesus?
The next character exposed is unnamed in Mark, but we’re told in John 18:10 that it’s Peter(v 47)…the guy lopping off ears with a sword. Peter was pretty adamant about his loyalty to Jesus in the last section we read. What gets exposed about Peter in his actions here? The parrelel account of this in Luke tells us that Jesus has to clean up this mess for him. What, again, is Pete relying on in this crisis? How does it seem to work for him? Have you left any ears on the ground in your response to a crisis? What do we learn about where our battles should be fought?
The rest of the disciples get exposed (v 48-52) during this arrest. For all of their lofty talk a few hours before, when the whip comes down, they scatter. When we are faced with crisis, how are we tempted to move farther away from Jesus? Using v 52 as an example, what is often the result of distancing ourselves from Christ when things seem to be falling apart?
The trial before the religious leaders takes up the rest of the section (v 53- 65) Here, the religious leaders are exposed for who they really are. As I read this, I have no reason to think that they believe they are doing God’s will, and defending God’s ways. Yet in the process of doing what they think is right, they do an awful lot of stuff that’s wrong. In fact, you might find this article interesting, concerning the illegal procedures the Sanhedrin employed in Jesus’ trial. What does this tell us about the religious leaders? They believe they are doing the right thing, and are willing to go to any lengths to achieve it? Is it still right, if we employ wrong tactics to get what we want? What implication does this have on how they esteem their own interpretations of the Word? Are there places in our lives where we are unteachable? Have you ever been pressed to give an answer, and been tempted to “make something up” in order to prove you are right? What do we learn about “being right” in this portion of the text?
The final revelation comes concerning who Jesus is (v61-62). When they ask Jesus point blank “are you the Messiah, the Son of God (Blessed)?”…Jesus answers first with two words. Read Exodus 3:13-14. What does this tell us about Jesus’ response? Who is Jesus revealing Himself to be? It amazes me when people say “Jesus never said He was God, His followers said that after He was gone.” Not true, as the passage above reveals. That’s what causes such a dramatic reaction from the High Priest. In light of who Jesus is revealed to be in this crisis…what do we learn about where our loyalties, trust, and direction is to be toward? How do we do that in real life?
Stuff to think about. See you Sundee’. Have a great 4th of July!