THURSDAY, AUGUST 9
SCRIPTURE: Mark 14
BY: Jeremy Witt
Today we near the climax of Mark as we head towards the cross and the resurrection. The religious leaders are plotting to kill Jesus in verses 1-2, but are waiting for the Passover to be completed. The Passover comes from Exodus 12 when God “passed over” homes marked by the blood of the Lamb and saved the firstborn sons of Israel. The similarities between the Passover and eventually the Crucifixion and Resurrection should be studied in greater detail. The day of Passover is followed by a 7 day festival called the Festival of Unleavened Bread, an event reminding the Jewish families of their quick escape from Egypt (slavery) and didn’t have time to put yeast in the bread. Jewish families gather together for a meal that includes a lamb, wine, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. Notice as you read the story of the Cross and the empty tomb how these components are seen in the last days and hours of Jesus.
We see Jesus being anointed with perfume by Mary (see John 12:1-3) in verses 3-9 and a few of the disciples getting upset over it. In John 12:4-5, it is not a few who are mentioned, but Judas Iscariot is named specifically. It shows us a contrast between Mary’s devotion to Jesus and Judas’ betrayal as seen in verses 10-11.
Verses 12-26 show us preparations for the Passover meal or what we, Christians call the Last Supper in verses 12-26. There is one verse in particular I want to focus on. Notice verse 19. Jesus has just said that one of the disciples would betray Him. But each one asked, “Am I the one?” In Matthew 28:22 states this in the same manner, but in Luke 22:23, we see this question stated differently, how could any of us do this? I ask the same question. How anyone could betray Jesus especially if they walked with Him? I wonder how they could ask the question, “Am I the one?” if their faith was sincere. Then I am reminded of how I have betrayed Jesus in the variety of ways that I have: when I did not speak up, when I felt the Spirit prompt me to; when I unintentionally disobeyed Him, or worse yet, when I intentionally disobeyed Him. Maybe the disciples were more aware of their fragile faith than I am or were more consumed with their faith relationship that they didn’t have the pride I have, and were willing to ask, “Am I the one?” I am not sure where you are in relation to this verse, but I see for myself that I have much more to learn and discover.
Verses 32-42 remind me of Mark 13 and how Jesus said to be watchful and waiting for Him. The disciples fell asleep because of fatigue and the lateness of the hour just as we do when in similar circumstances. Yet despite knowing our limitations, Jesus invites us to join Him. Will we watch and pray? Will we be faithful and obedient? To borrow the question from Mark 14:19, “Am I the one?” Who will watch and pray? Will I or will you?
Our chapter ends with the arrest, questioning, and Peter’s denial of Jesus. If one of the 12 could deny Jesus, it is safe to assume that we can as well. Let us learn from their mistakes as well as our own, and be faithful to Him. When we fail, let us remember that our Savior forgives just as He did Peter (John 21:15-17)