Mark 14

Mark 14 has Jesus preparing to come to Jerusalem for the Passover.  The religious leaders wanted Him dead before the feast.  “The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him”.  They were afraid of an uprising of the people if they did it during the holy celebration, so they wanted to arrest and prosecute Him before that.  Judas Iscariot turns out to be their tool as he became more and more frustrated that Jesus wasn’t going to become the political leader that he wanted.  “Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them”.  Judas thought he was part of Jesus’ becoming the king – a political agenda – and it wasn’t happening to his satisfaction.

Judas signed on to betray Jesus just before the Last Supper was held in the Upper Room.  Can you imagine Jesus being there with His Twelve, knowing that one sitting in that very room would soon hand Him over to the authorities.  “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me”.  Of course, as Jesus shared that truth, everyone was astonished and asking “Is it I”?  They could not believe that one of their group who had followed Jesus together for nearly three years would betray Him.  But Jesus makes it clear: “It is  one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me”.

The betrayal takes place in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus had told them “You will all fall away, for it is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered”.  Of course, the now eleven disciples denied that they would deny Christ, particularly Peter, who became a bit indignant at that thought.  He said “If I must die with you, I will not deny you. And they all said the same”.  Of course, history shows us that while their initial response to the confrontation with the authorities was strong, they quickly scattered leaving Jesus alone.  Peter hangs around the shadows but soon denies Him three times and then the rooster crows.

So Jesus is dragged into court alone.  He had prayed fervently to God: “Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will”.  Jesus didn’t have to die.  He CHOSE to die because He knew it was the Father’s plan and will for Him.  He had come to earth as a man to bring a way for us to overcome the penalty of sin – the payment of the price on the Cross – so that anyone who believed and received that gift of grace could have eternal life.  As He stood before the High Priest who questioned Him, Jesus said “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and  coming with the clouds of heaven”. Jesus gave His life, not because He had to, but because He loved the Father and all of us.  That love provides the grace we need to be able to be set free from our sin and stand in holiness before God on judgment day!

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