Monthly Archives: March 2017

Mark 14:27-50

Title: The Abused Shepherd-King

Text: Mark 14.27-50

Introduction: We’ll be here in three different texts this morning: Mark 14, Zechariah some; Psalm 118. Mark these places for convenience.

My outline this morning will follow the geographical map for these guys:

  1. As they move out to the Mt. of Olives, Jesus offers The Prediction: They will all fall away
  2. Then, Jesus & the 3 move to Gethsemane, The Garden Prayer: Alone, because the others are sleeping
  3. Finally, Jesus and the 3 move back to the Mt. O w/ the disciples and are joined by Judas and the Mob, The Prediction: It is fulfilled as they all flee!

rd v 26; I wish I knew the hymn; we can safely assume it was one of the hymns of the Hallel; at this stage of the Passover celebration they were probably at Psalm 118 – which would be sung antiphonally;  (Read it together); then the mood changes as Jesus tells them plainly in v 27;

I.     The Prediction: Fall Away (27-31)

exp.: As they walk and sing, the mood changes when Jesus the reality of this night and tomorrow hit him hard in v 27: You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ Now you might expect Peter to pull Jesus aside and tell him once again not to be so negative – but that didn’t work out so well the last time that happened!

This Scripture Jesus quotes is from Zechariah; Zechariah is filled with prophecies about the Messiah; we learn a lot about the Messiah from Zechariah. One characteristic in particular is Zechariah’s emphasis on the Messiah as the Temple Builder. He is like the shepherd-kings:

  • Moses, who as the shepherd-king built the 1st Tabernacle which traveled with the children of Israel.
  • David’s Son: I say ‘David’s son’ because his is the Son of David. David , the shepherd-king was not allowed to build the Temple, but instead that task was given to his son.
  • Zerubabbel: He, too is a pattern, a type of Christ; he, too is a Temple builder; he came and rebuilt Solomon’s Temple after the devastation of the exile. The sheep were scattered abroad and he served as a ‘shepherd-king’ re-building the Temple. The Word of the Lord came in Zechariah 4.6-10;

Mark seems to be very familiar with Zechariah, taking from the 2nd half of Zechariah some of his prophecies and adding them to the story for us to follow

  • The Messiah’s Character – we see this future figure filled with righteousness and yet displaying deep humility (9.9); His Reign is Universal (9.10); This unique combination of humility and sovereignty is seen in the imagery of a abused shepherd-king;
  • The Shepherd-king Pattern: When I say shepherd-king, Can you see Moses? Can you see David? Zechariah continues to build on this imagery of this shepherd-king is one who is abused; rd Zech 12.10; 13.7; the Lord speaks to the sword: Strike the shepherd;

Jesus is quoting from this text where Yahweh says to the Sword: Strike the Shepherd. This is the Lord’s doing; Isaiah: Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him. But Jesus doesn’t end with this statement: you’ll all fall away. Look at what he says next: rd v 28; I’m going to die, you’ll be scattered, but I will be raised up and we will be brought back together. And, I’ll meet you in Galilee.

But Peter doesn’t catch all of what Jesus is saying. He only hears the negative statement of their falling away.

ill.: Do you ever do that? Listen to the 1st part of what is being said, but not the whole thing? It seems that Peter has done that constantly, starting back in 8.31; here, Peter has missed it again. Jesus is going to die and rise again. If Peter dies defending Jesus, he’ll miss that part!

app.: Well, Jesus leaves the sound of their voices resonating in the air. Me, too!

t.s.: So, they arrive at the wherever it is they’re staying at Gethsemane.

II.    The Garden: Gethsemane (32-42)

exp.: rd v 32; this word ‘sit’ has different meanings and from the situation at the end of this passage, it seems to mean ‘set up’ here. This word is used in the OT by God to tell David that he will set a descendant of his on the throne. So, these guys set up camp – maybe it already kind of was. Rd 33a; Jesus then takes the three others with him: Peter, James and John.

Think about these three:

  • Peter has just declared that he would never abandon Christ. He will go to prison or even fight to the death for him. Keep that in mind.
  • These other two were the ones that asked him previously that one of them might sit on his right and the other on his left. They declared that they were able to be baptized with the baptism of Jesus and drink from the cup that he will drink from. They said so ignorantly. ‘Cup’ often times has the idea of wrath with it. It is ‘poured’ out. They just don’t get it.

And here they have an opportunity to step up. For what they don’t see – and honestly, what I’m not sure we grasp – is Christ’s moment of…. Fear? Uncertainty?

I know, you’re like: what a minute Fred! This is God in the flesh. He ain’t scarit of nuthin’!

Bear with me….

Rd v 33b-34; note those three words:

  • Distressed
  • Troubled
  • Sorrowful (even unto death)

So in this state of distress, trouble and sorrow (even unto death!) he ask the three to remain here and watch. The idea is to stay awake and be alert.

Then, what does Jesus do? He walks a little distance away and cries out to the Father. Rd v 36; “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Here is Jesus acknowledging that all things are possible. And here’s his request: Remove this cup from me.

This is big, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Chiasm: the structure of this passage…
  2. The Prediction: Fall Away (27-28)
  3. Reply: Peter’s Denial (29-31)
  4. Disciples: Sit here (32)
  5. The Three: Watch and Pray (33-34)
  6. Climax: Distress, Troubled, and Sorrowful (33-36)
  7. The Three: Sleeping times 3
  8. Disciples: joined with Judas and the Mob
  9. Response: Peter’s Defense
  10. The Prediction: Fulfilled

 

So, with this information, let’s take a deeper look at this passage. If, this is correct – Mark’s focus then would be this moment – Christ’s suffering emotionally, spiritually.

  1. This is so… Un-Christ-like. Mark has presented to us someone who is unflappable in the Messiah. The Religious Leaders have tried to trip him up many times. Through all of the healings, feedings, struggles, storms – never once does the Messiah show weakness. But take his reaction to this now and compare it with many who’ve died for the faith.

Ill.: I am always amazed at the strength and courage of martyrs for Christ. Consider seven brothers and their mother, who praise God and mock the arrogance of Antiochus the king even as they are one by one gruesomely tortured and executed. After six have died, the youngest refuses to recant and even taunts the king:

But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all mortals, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of ever-flowing life, under God’s covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance (Strauss, p. 637).

Or consider Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, when brought before a magistrate and told he would be burned at the stake if he did not recant. Tim Keller records it this way:

The magistrate said in effect, “I will give you one more chance: You can reject Christianity, you can recant, and avoid execution.” Some witnesses wrote down Polycarp’s reply: “The fire you threaten burns but an hour and is quenched after a little….You do not know the fire of the coming judgment….But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.

Keller, in his book on Mark, also tells of Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer, who were burned at the stake for their faith in Oxford in 1555. They were tied side by side, and when the fire was lit, it is said that Latimer said to Ridley: Be of good comfort Master Ridley, and play the man: we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England, as I trust shall never be put out (Keller, p. 191).

But Christ is struggling in this moment. You know the story already, don’t you? He returns and pleads with them to stay awake and pray. Do they? No, these men who in their arrogance tried to instruct Christ – whimp out.

app.: Isn’t that so like most of us as humans? We speak boldly of a faith in Christ and if called on to die, we’d march right up to the stake and volunteer our hands to be tied. Die for Christ? Yes, and we’d sing praises to God as we burned at the stake. But ask us to watch and pray for one hour and what is our response?

We are whimps when it comes to praying. You and I are not willing to give up sleep.

As a church, I hear you say – we should be praying – we need a time of prayer about this matter. We have one: every Wednesday night.

So what is it about this struggle that is different than these Martyrs? Well, Christ isn’t being martyred. He is going through something quite different. He is about to bear the sins of humanity. He is standing on a precipice which overlooks the flames of hell. He is standing before the open gates of hell and he feels the rush of heat blow past his soul. He is about to bear the penalty for your sin and my sin.

t.s.: The wages of sin is death…but the free gift of eternal life would not be a possibility today if he hadn’t paid this price. He returns a third time to find them sleeping in v 41, but it is too late to prepare in prayer now – rd v 42:  Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

III.   The Prediction: Fulfilled (43-50)

exp.: display the chiasm; Jesus returns to the place where he left the disciples earlier in time to meet up with Judas and a mob that has come to arrest him. Judas betrays Jesus with a greeting and a kiss. They lay hands on Jesus and Peter decides now to act in defense. He cuts off the ear of Malchus, but Jesus stops it all. Rd v 48-49; and the prophecy comes true in v 50 – they all left him and fled. So quick to get away, one young man who had stripped down to his towel, probably cleaning himself up for the night, when someone grabbed him….rd 51-52;

t.s.: And the prophecy is fulfilled.

Conclusion: I wouldn’t say that Christ was depressed in our story. But, he sure was hurting, struggling with all that he was going through.

Application: Christ was distressed and troubled as his soul became very sorrowful, even unto death. While at his lowest point, entering into the suffering and persecution he would face, all of his friends – and enemies, would abandon him. Even the Father would turn his back on him as he carried the sins of the world on his shoulders (Ps 22). That is why he cried out, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me” while hanging on the cross. He endured this suffering and death alone.

Therefore, in light of this:

  1. When we endure the hardest of times, there is one who understands far better than we know! Tim Keller writes: “there’s a gap between the desires of your heart and the circumstances of your life, and the bigger the gap, the greater the suffering.” I think the trick then is to close the gap between our desires and our circumstances. I know that’s not easy. I’m not saying it is. Maybe I’m saying just try to be more realistic and genuine in where you are. And Remember, The writer of Hebrews reminds us that God has promised us that he will never leave or forsake us. Let us then hold on to the promise of God.
  2. Let us be cautious and not so glib in our commitment to Christ. Sure, we stand and say, I’ll not abandon you, I’ll go to prison for you, I’ll even die for you! But, what are we like when he asks us to watch and pray for just one hour with him? Is the commitment of your displayed mostly in your activity with others? Or, can you honestly say you fight and defend the faith on your knees before the Father in prayer.
  3. Let us be cautious when we handle the Word of God – not to take part or even some, but the whole counsel of God. Peter heard the part about Jesus going to die, but he missed the wonderful part about their planned reunion.
  4. As you consider Christ facing Hell in all of its horror and terror, do you know that without Christ, that penalty is still yours? Won’t you trust him this morning as your Passover Lamb?
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Mark 14:12-26

Title: Celebrate and Remember!

Text: Mark 14.12-26

Introduction: Can you remember special Christmas mornings growing up? Maybe you’ve got some memories as an adult with your own kids. Maybe some of those special memories go back to when you were a kid. I grew up opening presents on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was reserved for presents from Santa Clause. Others grew up opening just one present on Christmas Eve and then diving in early Christmas morning for all of the rest of the present.

Christmas is special for us all in some way. Traditions have been established and you love them. I love the way the Baker’s open a present on Christmas Eve and it is a new set of PJ’s! They wear them that night and avoid the world the next day – staying in their pajamas all day long Christmas day. That’s sweet!

Hopefully, as I’ve just mentioned Christmas and Christmas Traditions, you’ve been taken back to a time or place and your heart rejoices at what you remember – and who you remember.

Our topic today is that way for many Jewish people who celebrate the Passover. It is a very special holiday – holy day. For them, it was the very 1st one established by God. To understand it, we’d have to go back to Exodus 12 and see what they did and when they did it. In many ways, the Passover celebration is no different today for our Jewish friends and Messianic Jewish brothers than it was for Jesus and his disciples.

Sure, there are some differences, but as to the basics – those traditions have been around for … well, thousands of years!

Rd Mark 14.12; what is Mark talking about? Let’s turn to Exodus 12 and see if we can gain some insight into their celebration;

You know the story: Abrham; Isaac; Jacob; 12 sons; Egypt; 400 years and enslaved; God has yet to reveal who he is to them; Moses; to lead them out of slavery and Egypt to freedom and to become a nation – a people; There have been 9 plagues – all a part of what God has been doing to show the people his power. Now, the time to lead them out has arrived – and it will come when the 10th plague hits – the death of the 1st born.

We pick up in v 1 of Exodus 12 where we see God establishing the Institution of The Passover.

I.     The Passover: An Established Institution (12-16)

exp.: rd Ex 12.1-2; Wow! A new beginning! You have right here the establishment of a new calendar! According to the Jewish Calendar, it is the year 5777!

So the calendar is created, and what is a calendar without holidays? Rd v 3-6; So dates are given: the 10th and the 14th; get a lamb; kill the lamb; rd 7; sacrifice this lamb and take its blood and put it on the doorposts and the lintel. Rd v 8-10; Roasted Lamb; unleavened bread and bitter herbs; rd v 11; So there you have it: the Lord’s Passover; 12-13;

So, this Passover is to be:

  • Celebrated: starting in v 14, we learn that this is also to be
  • Commemorated: rd v 14-15; This is a fun time for the family as the women clean the house from top to bottom to ensure that no leaven is found in the house. However, the wife will usually leave a small bit on the counter. The father walks through the house and finds the leaven on the counter and sweeps it away into the dustpan. A reminder to the children of what they’re doing. Rd v 16-17; So this week long celebration is instituted here, as a part of the Passover Celebration basically going from the 10th-21st.

app.: So, this is what is going on with Jesus and his disciples. In Mk 14.12 they basically say to Jesus: its time for the Passover Celebration. Tell us what to do to get it all ready. Rd 13-16;

  • A man carrying a jar (13): that’s pretty unusual.
  • Wherever he enters, say to the Master of the house (14). Now, 1st off, it is a holiday, Jesus could have very easily have made plans with a follower for this occasion. This could be supernatural, and I think it has supernatural flavors about it. The point here is that a place is already prepared for these men to set up shop for the night. There are still chores to be done, food to be purchased, wine to be bought.

They prepared the Passover (16). This celebration commanded by God was about to be kept and commemorated.

t.s.: And v 17 tells us he came with the rest of the disciples to celebrate. Which brings us to the 2nd part of our passage this morning:

II.    Passover: An Event to be Remembered (17-21)

exp.: rd 18a; While they are eating; Jesus would be the one presiding over the celebration. It would be during this festive time while eating this wonderful meal that the mood in the room changed: rd v 18-19; from v 10-11, we know this is Judas;

app.: Something incredible takes place here. There has been all of this symbolism during the course of the meal. And all of it has been purposeful. As we read in Mark, we get the sense that Judas is dismissed to go work his evil in v20-21.

t.s.: But Jesus, the presenter, then ties the Passover Celebration together with a new institution to be recognized and remembered by those who believe. And, he gives to us, his followers…

III.   The Lord’s Supper: An Institution to Celebrate and Commemorate (22-26)

exp.: As they were eating, he took the bread and he broke it and he blessed it and he gave it to his disciples. This he said, is my body. In the Aramaic, there would be no verb. We supply it here so that it makes sense grammatically. But to the eyes and ears, Jesus would have taken the Unleavened Bread and tore it down the middle and said: this…my body.

The Passover Meal was consumed. It was a Lamb that had been sacrificed on their behalf. They knew that God had said when the 10th plague came upon Egypt: The firstborn of every household will die tonight; however, if you’ll trust me, do this: sacrifice a lamb which shall die in your place. Put the blood on the door as a sign of this faith. And your actions demonstrating that faith in me will save that life.

Jesus says: this is my body which is broken for you. Like the Passover Lamb, you place your faith in me with your actions and my death will save you.

Rd v 23-24; There are 4 cups of wine that are used during the Seder dinner. Each cup represents 4 promises God made to his people:

  1. For rescuing them from Egypt,
  2. For freeing them from slavery,
  3. For redeeming them by his awesome power, and
  4. For a new relationship with Him.

Now, I’m no expert in the Seder dinner, but from what I’ve read, the third glass of wine is the glass Jesus would be holding when he came to this part of our passage. I’m standing here wondering what it would be like for these guys who know what is supposed to be said and done. They’ve heard this many times over and yet, they must be caught off guard as Jesus leaves the script with which they’re so familiar.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. The shedding of his blood is what will redeem them by his awesome power. And then, Jesus says something very interesting: 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

I’m reminded of the guys in Acts 23 who wanted Paul dead. More than 40 men said something like what Jesus said here in reference to destroying Paul. They said they would eat no food until Paul was dead. Well, they had to break their vow or die! And that’s the point. A vow like this is like saying: I’m going to get this done if it’s the last thing I do. Or something like: Even if it kills me, I’m going to….

Jesus is telling them here that he will give himself to die. He is going to become our Passover Lamb. His body will be beaten and whipped to shreds. His blood will be poured out as a payment for our sins.

Therefore, the one who looks to this Lamb for salvation, a new exodus will come, a new Passover will occur. And from this moment forward, he will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until it is accomplished.

t.s.: Maybe that is why he said on the cross when he was done: It is finished.

Conclusion: When we lived in Wyoming we heard a lot about the Yellowstone fire of 1988. Ashes from that fire fell down and covered our little town. Cars, houses, streets… all covered in ash.

It is interesting how life comes from death. When a tree dies, seed is spawned and there is rebirth. You can survey a hillside of ashes just a couple of months after a devastating fire and see the seedlings of many trees rising up out of the ashes.

Tim Keller tells the story of how he read in National Geographic years ago of just such life coming out of the ashes. It seems that there were some Park Rangers tasked with surveying the damage. And as they made their way up a hill, they came to the charred remains of a bird, sitting there perfectly still. The sight of this bird bothered the ranger – it seemed so eerie and out of place. So, he grabbed a stick and pushed the dead bird over – when to his surprise, three tiny chicks came out from under the shadow of her wings.

She could have flown away, but instead faced the hell that burned around her and sheltered her chicks from raging fire.

We’re going to participate in observing the Lord’s Supper and remembering Christ’s great sacrifice. If you’ve never trusted in the saving work of Christ, I want to give you a chance to do that this morning. Your prayer should be something like Psalm 57.1: Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

Let’s pray.

You don’t have to be a member of Calvary, but you do have to be a member of the body of Christ! Also, I’d like to warn you not to enter into this time lightly. If there is any sin or rebellion or animosity you have toward a brother, please abstain from taking this morning.

Observance of the Lord’s Supper

 

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Mark 14:1-11

Title: What do you seek?

Text: Mark 14.1-11

Introduction: Our story is bookended with a typical Markan Sandwich. Two separate stories with a common theme that bookend another story which is related to them. Here, the bookends deal with the desire of the Religious Leadership to arrest and kill Jesus and a disciple who is tired of how things are going and is ready to hand him over to his enemies for the right price. The middle story – our focus, is the story of how a woman comes and anoints Jesus’ body for burial.

The religious leadership wants him dead; he says this woman’s actions are to anoint his body for burial; Judas is ready to make that happen by betraying him into their hands.

 

To tell this story, I’ve outlined this message in three scenes:

  1. An Evil Plot
  2. An Extravagant Gift
  3. An Embittered Betrayal

I.     Scene 1: An Evil Plot (1-2)

exp.: The 1st item on Mark’s agenda is to give us a time reference. Mark doesn’t do this too often in his book;

 

Have you ever wondered why Easter is different each year? Like, why isn’t it the 3rd Sunday in April or whatever? – Well, from what I understand, Easter is set to coincide with the Jewish Passover. Passover is at the 1st full moon after the Vernal Equinox – which marks Spring. V 1 tells us it was just before Passover (Exodus 12) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

This is important because the crowds have swelled in Jerusalem way beyond their normal numbers. 2nd, some of our theology is informed by this event. Paul helps us here by telling us that Jesus is our Passover Lamb. So, the timing here is important. Mark wants us to know what time it is.

V1 continues to tell us that the religious leaders were seeking… “Were seeking” is an imperfect verb – which indicates a repeated action in the past; Mark has told us of three such incidents in the past (3.6; 11.18; 12.12); their goal was two fold

  1. to ‘arrest’ him by stealth
  2. to ‘kill’ him.: in deceit to arrest and kill him. The word deceit means to bait or to lure.

The reason they chose not to do this at this particular time is given in v2: because they didn’t want to upset the crowds of people gathered for the Passover; they feared the people who loved Jesus and saw him as a man of God.

t.s.: So, be clear here: this is their goal and has been for some time; however, they’re not going to do this dastardly deed at this time. Nonetheless, life is continuing on as normal. There is so much going on and these guys are busy during this time of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. There are services to be conducted. People, people, people are everywhere. And though these guys are making plans and think they’ll act on their own accord when the timing is right, God has other plans.

Transition: You might see this next part of the story as a “meanwhile, back at the ranch” kind of scenario. Let’s pick up there in v 3… I call this section…

II.    Scene 2: A Extravagant Gift (3-9)

exp.: Mean while; at the house of Simon the Leper; truth is, we don’t know who Simon is. There is a lot of speculation, but no one today really knows. Some say he is Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ father. Others say he was a leper whom Jesus healed. Truth is…we just don’t know. I’m guessing that Mark’s readers know who he was. But for us, it doesn’t really matter.

So, Jesus is at this man’s house when in walks a woman. The other Gospels which tell this story, tell us that she was a woman of ill repute. A prostitute, maybe? We don’t really know her sinful behavior. My guess is that we don’t really need to know.

I think this is wonderful. Let’s talk about you for a moment, because I don’t want to talk about me. I’d rather talk about you. Sinner. My guess is that you’re a sinner like her. Maybe your sin is different than her’s, but it is still embarrassing and nasty just the same.

Maybe that’s why Mark doesn’t tell us, because it really doesn’t matter.

So, Jesus is reclining at the dinner table (3) when she comes up to him and breaks an alabaster flask of perfume – a very costly perfume (5). As this is taking place, Jesus looks at her. But, he sees something totally different than these guys in the same room with see.

You know the funny thing about us as humans is that we often times only see the physical. Too often we’re pinned into a scenario that overtakes us in the physical realm. Physically, this should be upsetting:

  1. She is a woman. That’s a big no-no.
  2. She is a ‘sinful’ woman. Jesus, a man of God shouldn’t be consorting with such people.

Ill.: One morning, while on my way to class at UMHB – an 8 am class – I was singing a song I had been working on. I loved the chorus and was working on getting it right. When all of the sudden, this woman jumped out in front of my vehicle. I slammed on the brakes to keep from hitting her. She, begged me to help her. Her face was bleeding and bruised. Someone had beaten her severely. Her clothes were nice, but tattered from the fray.

I let her in and drove away. As we talked, I found out her pimp had beat her up. I’d love to tell the whole story to you this morning, but for now, let me just say I was so afraid. Not of her pimp! But, I was afraid of the Christians who knew me that they might see me driving around so early in the morning with a prostitute in my car!

You’re probably not thinking bad of me, because I’m telling you the story. But, would most of you not judge me if you had seen me? First, have you ever noticed that women of the night dress differently than most of the women who go to church here? 2ndly, she was not a white woman – She was African-American – a black American female.

Yes, I wanted to help her – and I did. Lisa and I were dirt poor, and we didn’t have money. But I tell you this story not because I’m proud, but because I look back on that time and wish I wouldn’t have been so worried about the Christians I might have been seen by – But instead, I would have had all of my attention on her and her needs.

App.: you see, you and I, we just can’t get past the physical aspects of our lives.

  1. The flask she has is a very expensive heirloom. It would be something that took years to make – probably passed down from family and would have possibly been her dowry…that is, if she were to marry.
  2. Its value would have been in the range of what a normal person makes in a year: a year’s wages. Let that sink in! Identify how much you make in a year. Apply that figure to this flask!
  3. It’s broken and spilled out on Christ.

These guys are thinking: What a waste! A year’s wages!

And they scold her! You see that in v 5;

Yep…I say funny… I don’t mean ‘ha-ha’ funny, but rather ironic. You and I would probably do the same, because you and I are trapped in cultural and social dimensions that we filter our experiences through. But not Jesus!

Man, to be able to see what’s going on in the spiritual realm; to not get trapped in the physical all the time. Rd v 6; And then Jesus gets to the heart of the matter; rd v 7; wow! They don’t know this, but the reader has a little insight from v. 1-2 and v 10-11; Jesus has but a couple of days left. Then, he’ll be gone. Rd v 8; burial! This must be so confusing for those listening in. And then, Jesus let’s us in on a little more… rd v 9; whenever the Gospel is proclaimed!

ill.: the word Gospel means good news. Good news. Everything we’ve been reading about is good news. The deceit of the religious leaders: good news. The frustration of disciples at the extravagant waste of this sinful woman: good news. Burial means death: also, good news.

app.: That’s the advantage of seeing into the spiritual realm!

t.s.: Well, we know from other gospels that Judas is the one who was most upset. And, from our story, his frustration spills over into life and he acts. Unable to see that God is at work here, he takes matters into his own hands. And, I call this…

III.   Scene 3: An Embittered Betrayal (10-11)

exp.: rd v 10; lit.: give over; The context tells us that frustration takes over from the waste of this extravagant gift. Judas has had enough. What we learn in the other Gospels is that he’s chairman of the finance committee! For three years he has walked with Jesus and there is no sign that Jesus intends to be the Messiah that Judas has been expecting. So, for a small sum (isn’t it odd that it all comes down to finances again), Judas agrees to betray his friend.

Transition: So the stage is set. Jesus is being set up. In this story, a sinister group of religious leaders delay plans to capture and kill Jesus. They don’t want to act on their desire to arrest and kill Jesus in front of the people.

You see, they think they’re laying out plans to do away with Jesus. I sincerely believe they think they’re doing God’s will. Little do they understand, that they really are pawns being moved by the mighty hand of God. And though they think they’ll wait – God has other plans.

Then, there is this Sinful Woman who makes her way onto the scene of a dinner party. Man, oh man, she is out of place. Women aren’t supposed to be mixing it up with men. She, however, thinks she is showing a display of her gratitude for Jesus. In her heart of hearts, that is what she is up to…but Jesus let’s us in on what God is doing. She’s anointing his body for burial. She is exercising her will, but accomplishing God’s will.

Judas thinks he is … well, I don’t really know what is going on in the head of Judas! He’s obviously frustrated at how things have turned out. He’s follow Christ for three years with the hopes that this really is the Messiah of God. So, he takes matters into his own hands – so he thinks. If you think about it, he is accomplishing the will of God, too – unbeknownst to him.

Conclusion: You see, in all of this, God is working out his plan…his perfect plan. And he’s using all of these people in his play…His Story.

As I look at this story with all of these people acting on their own accord, thinking they’re doing something according to their own plans, I realize that in all of their ‘doing’ they really have no idea what God is up to or that God is even up to something.

Application: I’d like to close with some questions for reflection:

  1. Do you know that God is up to something in your life? I have no idea what some of you are enduring right now. But can I encourage you to not see your life through the physical realm (like these guys did), but instead, to trust that God is at work in the Spiritual Realm just out of sight. My guess is that God is up to something absolutely incredible in your life that will bring Glory and Honor to himself through your circumstances. I think of Henry Blackabee’s Words: Don’t just do something, stand there!
    1. Why? Because you don’t want to work against God. 1st of all, you’ll fail! 2nd, I’m sure you want to be on the right side.
  2. Do you worry too much about what others think or about what others do – and not enough about what God thinks or what God is doing?
    1. The Chief Priests and Scribes worried about what the people thought.
    2. The Disciples worried too much about this woman’s wastefulness.
    3. Jesus doesn’t appear to be worried about any of it.
  3. What are you searching for? Our story is bookended with this one word: They were seeking and he was So, let me ask you again? What are you searching for?
    1. For the religious leaders, they were seeking to save their power over the people.
    2. For those listed in v 3-9, they were seeking financial gain, upset over this lavish waste poured out on Christ.
    3. Is it money or is it power, or is it more like what Judas appears to be going through? Can I encourage you to focus in on this ‘sinful’ woman? She is seeking to be with Christ. She takes what would be considered her future and destroys it – pouring it out on Christ.
    4. So, I’ll ask you one more time. Think deeply now: What are you searching for?

 

Let’s pray:

 

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