Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mark, Chapter 14, part 2

Have you ever agonized over something you knew you had to do, but you knew it was going to be very unpleasant? For some people it is a trip to the dentist. For others, it may be visiting a particularly difficult to deal with family member. You know the act needs to be done, but you dread every second of it until it is finally over. We see the ultimate example of this as chapter 13 continues with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Literally hours after receiving the praise and honor from the woman with the perfume, Jesus had to prepare Himself for the most difficult thing anyone has ever had to face.

32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." – Mark 14:32-36

This was not an ordinary death He was facing. Men have died ordinary deaths both before and after this moment. Knowing that He was facing death was not a new emotion either. Still, this is the moment where Jesus was right up against it all. This is the moment that He knew He had to face, otherwise the fulfillment of His earthly ministry would not come to pass. Jesus certainly knew the joy that would come from freeing the world from sin. He knew the joy He would receive when each person turned from sin and accepted Him. It still did not make this moment easier. I don’t think we can even begin to grasp in human terms what he was facing. It’s not so much the physical torture and death that was so overwhelming; I think what he dreaded the most was taking on the physical, spiritual, and emotional burden of every sin committed by every human who has ever existed or will ever exist. I cannot even begin to fathom what that would feel like. Still, He knew he had to face it, and submitted.

This is the greatest picture of Jesus we can ever see. For all His power, He was still the most submissive person that ever existed and is the epitome of humble. He is the ultimate servant. He is the exact opposite of everything He could be, while also exhibiting and possessing all the characteristic of the divine, all-powerful Creator. I cannot wait to humble myself before His presence when the time comes. To me, there is no great example of humility and servitude to live up to, and He was the only one that could do it because He was perfect.

55The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58"We heard him say, 'I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.' " 59Yet even then their testimony did not agree.—Mark 14:55-58

This is the most absurd trial in human history. I am fond of saying that this basically boils down to the Jews saying, “You know Jesus, you’re not quite what we’re looking for in a Messiah.” Because He didn’t fit in with their notions and their ideals, He was a threat instead of a Savior. From reading the Old Testament, specifically Isaiah, we know that this had to happen, but it makes it no less tragic. They couldn’t even agree on their stories, but they still pushed through a guilty verdict. They chose only to listen to the parts of the message that suited their needs, and Jesus paid the price for that.

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