May 2, 2015.
Daily Reading: Mark 13-14.
Background: Mark 11-12.
Concepts and Connections.
Talks about the future: The entire chapter of Mark 13 is essentially devoted to prophecy of the future made by Jesus to His disciples (see Matthew 24 for a good parallel to this chapter). He begins with the foretelling of the destruction of the temple which would come about with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Then Peter, James, John and Andrew ask Him privately when this would come to pass, and He tells them the signs of wars and rumors of wars, false Christ’s, earthquakes and famine. He goes into the persecution that they would soon suffer for His name sake, but He tells them not to worry about what they will say when they are tried before rules and the people, for they will be given words to speak from the Holy Spirit. They must endure to the end. He warns them to be on guard, for perilous times were coming (probably referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, which was a terrible time for the Jews indeed) and there would arise false Christ’s to lead the people astray, because they would all be looking for any type of savior. After this prophecy, He seems to fast forward into the far future, after the tribulation, when He would return from the clouds, gathering His elect from the four corners of the earth. Though heaven and earth pass away, His word would remain forever. We are to be vigilant, on our watch, for no man knows the day or the hour when He will return. When He does, will He find us watching?
1. Foretelling and preparation for the cross: (See Matthew 26 for a further discussion of the events in this chapter) Much of this chapter is devoted to the preparation and backstory of the cross. It begins two days before the passover as the chief priest and scribes were seeking a way to kill Him. They would eventually settle on having one of His disciples, Judas, betray Him with a kiss, from where they would lead Him away by night to be tried. Before this, however, Jesus was at a leper’s house (which is indicative of His character to associate with those who the rest of society would not associate) at Bethany when a woman came with an alabaster box to anoint Him. When some of His disciples got mad at her for wasting the precious ointment, He rebuked them saying that they would have the poor with them always, but Him they would not. He said that she had anointed Him for His burial. It seems that every time that Jesus tells of His coming death, the disciples can’t comprehend what He is saying. Peter denies what He says outright, as did the other disciples. In preparation, Jesus takes the passover with His disciples, in which He institutes the Lord’s Supper (see Matthew 26:17-29 for more on this). The time was drawing near, and Jesus takes His disciples to the garden of Gethsemane to pray.
2. The betrayal and denial: (See Matthew 26 for a further discussion of the events in this chapter) As they are in the garden, Jesus knows that his betrayal and crucifixion are at hand, and He is very distressed. In this distress, He turns to prayer, which is a good example for us to follow. His disciples, however, could not stay awake in the hours that He prayed. After the third time of coming to find them asleep, He says that it is enough, for His betrayer is at hand. Before He could even get the words out of His mouth, Judas shows up with a crowd of people ready to take Jesus. Eventually, they do take Him into custody and His disciples are scattered. Peter denies the Lord three times before the rooster crowed twice, just as Jesus had told Him he would; after he realized what he had done, he wept bitterly. Jesus was tried before the counsel, but none of the “witness” testimonies were lining up, as they would need to by law (see Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15). In all this, Jesus kept silent (see Isaiah 53:7). Finally, when asked if He was the Christ, He affirmed, and at this they said they didn’t need any further witnesses, for He had spoken blasphemy. Notice the lack of logic in this statement, for by this reasoning, there could never come the actual Christ they were looking for, for if He said He was the Christ, they thought it was blasphemy. They were simply looking for something to charge Jesus with so that they could put Him to death. His our had finally come.
Tomorrow’s Reading: I Corinthians 10-13.
Stand strong in the Lord.