Mark’s gospel chapter fourteen. Mark seeks to give us a day-by-day type of schedule of the events of Jesus and this last week of His life. So we have Mark telling us of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and we know that that took place on Sunday which we commonly call Palm Sunday. And so in the eleventh chapter, he tells us of this triumphant entry into Jerusalem. And then in verse twelve of chapter eleven, he says, And on the morrow, or the next day which would be Monday when they were coming back to Jerusalem from Bethany, that He saw the barren fig tree, cursed it, came to the temple and cleansed the temple, drove out the moneychangers and those that were selling doves and all. And then verse twenty of chapter eleven, And on the morrow, that would be Tuesday, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree, it was dried up from the roots. Then Jesus talked to them about faith, and He had His confrontation with the religious rulers. And as they were leaving the temple area after the confrontation and the disciples were pointing out to Jesus the great stones and the buildings, it was then when they got over to the Mount of Olives that He predicted the destruction of the temple.
In the fourteenth chapter he tells us now,
After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people (14:1,2).
In two days coming the feast of the passover, the unleavened bread. And this conspiracy of the rulers of the Jews to somehow privately arrest Jesus, away from the crowds so that they will not create an uproar and especially we don’t want to do it on the feast day. What they didn’t know is that they weren’t in control of these events. Jesus Himself is in control. In the Old Testament when the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt and God sent Moses to go to the Pharaoh to demand their release, after a series of plagues, God was going to bring that climactic plague upon them, the death of the firstborn throughout the land including the son of Pharaoh. As the Egyptians awoke and found the people dead, you remember Moses instructed the children of Israel to take a lamb out of their flock and to slay it, put the blood in a basin and with a hyssop bush, sprinkle it upon the lentils in the doorpost of your house; the Lord said, When I pass through the land tonight, when I see the blood on the door I will pass over that house. Hence the word, passover. Where the blood was there on the door, the house was spared the death of the firstborn because the lamb was a substitutionary death for the firstborn within the house. The blood there on the door, it’s interesting on the lentil and doorpost would be sprinkled in the shape of a cross. After that, they instituted what was called the passover feast to remind them of how God delivered them out of Egypt at the time of the passover.
Paul tells us that these feast days and sabbath days of the Old Testament were only a shadow of the things that were to come, the real substance is Jesus. And so this passover, though it was a memorial feast, was also in anticipation of its fulfillment in Jesus. And thus it was necessary that Jesus be crucified on the day of the passover. It is important to remember that the Jewish day begins at sundown and so if we were in Israel, practicing Jews, it would already be Monday. It would have been Monday as of six o’clock this evening, when the sun went down then it was when Monday begins and Monday ends at six o’clock tomorrow evening when the sun goes down. So they measure time from sundown to sundown. We go from midnight to midnight but they go from sundown to sundown. Thus, the feast was held by Jesus in the evening but the next day was actually the day of the passover. Now the day before the evening of the feast is when they killed the passover lamb because they ate the lamb at the passover supper. And so Mark tells us it was two days to the feast of the passover, the unleavened bread, and there was this conspiracy to arrest Jesus, not though however on the feast day because they didn’t want to create an uproar.
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper (14:3),
We have a slight problem here in that John when he records this feast in Bethany, he tells us that it took place six days before the passover or on Saturday was the day before the triumphant entry of Jesus or he puts it six days before the passover in the twelfth chapter there of John beginning with verse one, “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus had been dead, and they made him a supper, Mary and Martha were serving: and Mary was the one that took this pound of special ointment, expensive ointment, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped him with the hair: and the whole house was filled with the aroma” (John 12:1-3). So it could be that Mark is not following a chronological order here but just remembers the event and he throws it in at this point because he is now talking about the death of Jesus and this conspiracy to put Him to death. “But being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,”
as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious [or expensive]; and she broke the box, and poured it on his head. And there was some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made (14:3,4)?
John tells us that was Judas Iscariot who objected and he said,
It might have been sold for more than three hundred pence (14:5),
A pence was a denarius which was the wage of a laborer, a day’s wage for a laborer. So this was almost a year’s salary for a laborer, extremely expensive perfume. He said it could have been sold for three hundred pence
and we could have given to the poor. And the disciples led by Judas murmured against the act of the woman (14:5).
John tells us that Judas did not say that because he really cared for the poor but Judas was the treasurer of the group. He kept the money and John tells us he had been pilfering from the money. So when he saw this expensive ointment, he thought, Wow if I only had that in the sack here, I’d have more to pilfer from. And so he’s not the hero that some would make him out to be, concerned with the poor he was very filled with avarice.
So Jesus said, Let her alone; why do you trouble her? she has wrought a good work on me. For you have the poor with you always, and whensoever you will you may do them good: but you don’t have me always (14:6,7).
Leave her alone, don’t give her a bad time. You’re always going to have the poor around and if you want to help the poor, that’s fine. But you’re not going to have Me always.
For she has done what she could: she is come beforehand to anoint my body for the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also which she has done shall be spoken as a memorial of her (14:8,9).
So here we are speaking of what she did and wherever the gospel is preached, this is declared of this work that she had done in giving of this costly ointment anointing Him for His burial. Why this waste? What a horrible thing to say concerning anything that is given to Jesus. Nothing given to Jesus is wasted. Know that.
And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve (14:10),
This evidently upset him. He was rebuked by Jesus, let her alone, don’t trouble her. You want to give to the poor, go ahead and give to the poor. You’re going to have them always around here. I’m not going to be here always. She’s done this for my burial. And he’s upset and so he,
went to the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it [that is, the chief priests], they were glad, and they promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him (14:10,11).
Remember they’re wanting to arrest Him secretly, not in front of the crowds and so they need to catch Him when the crowds aren’t around. Judas is saying I’ll lead you to Him. And so the promise to give him money.
Now the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the passover? And he sent forth two of his disciples, and said unto them, Go into the city, and there you will meet a man who is bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room that’s furnished and prepared: and there make ready for us (14:12-15).
And so sent couple of the disciples in to go ahead and prepare the feast for Jesus and His disciples.
And when the evening had come, [that is the beginning of passover at sundown] he came with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eats with me shall betray me. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dips with me in the dish (14:17-20).
They made ready the passover. In the passover there were several necessary ingredients to observe this feast. First of all, there was the cup of the kiddush, which means sanctification or separation. The head of the family took the cup and he prayed over it and then he drank of it and then it was shared among the group. The passover meal itself was usually, we have the pictures of the passover and they’re sitting in a table and they’ve got beautiful dinnerware on it, silverware and all; and that’s not at all what it was like. They were reclining on the floor when they ate, leaning on their left elbow, eating with their right hand. That was the customary way of eating in those days. They did not have dinnerware, they did not have silverware but they usually ate with their hands. That’s why there was so much washing of the hands. Three times during the passover feast there would be the washing of the hands. It was carried out only by the person who was to celebrate the feast and three times he had to wash his hands in the prescribed way.
Then they would eat a piece of parsley or lettuce endive, which was dipped in a bowl of salt water. It was the appetizer to the meal but it was also very significant. The bitterness of the parsley or endive was to remind them of the hyssop bush that was used to sprinkle the blood on the doorpost and the salty water were the tears that their fathers shed while in slavery in Egypt and of the salty waters of the Red Sea that God divided in order to bring them through.
Then there was the breaking of the bread, the meal had three loaves and the middle loaf broken. With the breaking of the bread a couple of prayers were offered. And then the youngest child is to ask the question, What makes this night different from all nights? And the eldest male member of the family would rehearse the story of God’s deliverance of their fathers out of Egypt and the passover of the death angel. And then during the ceremony they would sing at this point Psalm 113 and 114. Now Psalm 113 to 118 are the Hallel psalms, the psalms of praise. And these were sung during the passover feast but at this point they would sing Psalm 113 and 114.
And then they would take the second cup, the dinner began with a cup of wine and now is the second cup. It’s called the cup of the haggada, which is the explaining or proclaiming, as they had just rehearsed the story. Now all of those who are present wash their hands in preparation for the actual meal and then they say grace which was “Blessed art Thou O Lord our God who brings forth the fruit of the earth. Blessed art Thou O God who has sanctified us with Thy commandment and enjoined us to eat unleavened cakes. And they would then distribute small portions of the bread.
And then they would have these bitter herbs and they were placed between two pieces of unleavened bread and then dipped in the karosheth, which was a mixture of dates and nuts which was to remind them of the mortar that was used on the bricks during their slavery. It was called the sap. This is what Jesus was referring to, he who dips in the sap with me, in the karosheth takes at that time these two pieces of bread with the bitter herbs, dips them in the karosheth, he who dips with me, the same is the one who will betray Me.
And so the disciples one by one began to ask, Lord or Master, is it I? John tells us finally when Judas said, Master, is it I? Jesus said, You said it and what you do, do quickly. And he left and went out to consummate the deal that he had made with the high priests. Jesus said,
The Son of man indeed goes, as it is written of him (14:21):
In other words, I’m going to die, that’s already a foregone decision.
but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born (14:21).
Judas Iscariot goes down in history infamous for his act of betraying our Lord. After the meal is eaten, the whole lamb of course must be eaten, nothing is to be left. Whatever is left is to be burned, they eat the remainder of the unleavened bread and then a prayer of thanksgiving.
And then the second part of the Hallel, they sing together Psalm 115 through 118 and then they drink the fourth cup, and it is believed that this fourth cup is when Jesus took the cup and said unto them, This cup is a new testament in my blood which is shed for the remission of sins. And as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you will show the Lord’s death. In other words, He gave a totally new meaning to passover. No longer is it to remind you of the sacrificial lamb in Egypt, it’s to remind you now of God’s sacrificial lamb that was shed for the sins of the world that through the blood of Jesus Christ, you will not have to die for your sins for He died in your place and He who lives and believes in Jesus will never die. Then there were two short prayers and then they would finish with Psalm 136. So in a moment we’re going to read that they sang a hymn, and that hymn that they sang was Psalm 136.
But as they did eat, Jesus took the bread, and He blessed it, and broke it, and He gave it to them, and He said, Take, eat: for this is my body. And He took the cup, when He had given thanks, and He gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And He said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will not drink anymore of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives (14:22-26).
Don’t you wish they had recordings in those days? Don’t you wish you had a recording of Jesus and the disciples singing a hymn? How I would love to have heard that. How I would love to have heard. You might take a quick look at Psalm 136 and you at least have the words of the psalm that is sung at the end of the passover feast and what is it about? The mercy of God, the oft repeated refrain is, For His mercy endureth forever. And so this was often sung sort of back and forth, like we would divide the auditorium and this part would sing the first part, O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good; and this side would sing, For His mercy endureth forever.
Let’s go through about five verses and you start the five over here and you’ve got the easy part, For His mercy endureth forever. You don’t even have to look. But let’s go ahead and let’s do it and you get the idea of how often these psalms were sung back and forth kind of a thing. Here we go.
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:1-5).
You got it, you make good Jews. So this is the way it was done. And so Jesus now singing with His disciples concerning the mercies of God. Think of it, He is about ready, now they had just sung Psalm 118 in which they were singing, Bind the sacrifice to the altar. In just a few hours He’s going to be hanging on the cross. And here they’re singing at the prophecy of binding the sacrifice to the altars and now they’re singing of the mercy of God. Here is God’s greatest demonstration of His mercy about to be shown in the death of Jesus Christ for our sins. His mercy endureth forever. That’s how significant that must have been that evening. The disciples didn’t grab the significance of it but I’m sure that Jesus recognized the significance of it as He led them in the singing of the mercies of God that endure forever. The mercies of God that are just about ready to be displayed in such a glorious way, as Jesus bears our sins and dies in our place. So they sang a hymn and they went out to the Mount of Olives.
And Jesus said unto them, All of you are going to be offended tonight because of me: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee (14:27,28).
Fellows, you’re all going to be offended because of Me tonight. Scripture says smite the shepherd, shepherd’s going to be smitten, the sheep are going to be scattered. But when I’m risen, I’ll meet you up in Galilee.
But Peter said unto him, Although all will be offended, yet will not I (14:29).
Peter is elevating himself above the other disciples. There has been this ongoing dispute among them concerning greatness in the kingdom of God, who would be the greatest. They’d been arguing over this for several days. It kept coming up. Until James and John came to Jesus and said, Lord, would you do us a favor? Jesus said, What’s that? When you come into Your kingdom, can I sit on one side and John on the other side? And the other disciples really got upset with James and John for asking, think of that. Peter no doubt thought, don’t they know I’m going to be sitting there on the right hand? So when Jesus said, All of you are going to be offended, Peter said, Yes Lord, they maybe, but not me. Put me on the right side, Lord. I’ll stand with you.
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, That this day, even this night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently [he really got emotional and into it now], If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise (14:30,31).
Boasting of his flesh, of his commitment. The Bible tells us, “Take heed when you think you stand lest you fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). We can only stand by the grace of God and through the help of the Holy Spirit. We need not to point fingers at Peter, Shame on you Peter because of your vacillating weakness, because none of us are any better. Without the help and the power of the Spirit, we are nothing and we can do nothing. Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). That is, of any spiritual value. You can do nothing of spiritual value apart from Jesus. So here’s Peter boasting in the flesh.
And likewise also said they all (14:31).
They all said, O Lord, we’re going to be faithful to You.
So they came to the place which was called Gethsemane [or the Olive press]: and he said to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he took with him Peter, James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy (14:32,33);
He was now facing the cross. He had come to the hour. Later He said to Pilate, “For this hour did I come into the world” (John 12:27). He prayed unto the Father. You wait here and watch. And he went forward a little ways from them, and fell on the ground. Notice He was “sore amazed, very heavy.”
And He said unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and pray. And He went forward a little further, and He fell on the ground and He prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him (14:34,35).
If it’s possible. The Bible tells us that the cross of Jesus Christ is foolishness to the Greeks but it’s a stumbling block to the Jew. The Jew’s concept of the Messiah was of a reigning king, overthrowing the powers of the world and establishing the kingdom of God. And that is a correct concept of the Messiah. And that will be true when Jesus comes again to establish God’s kingdom upon the earth. He will bring down the governments of the world.
Daniel’s dream when Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation and then Daniel’s vision, how that this stone not cut with hands smites the image of the great world empires and its feet and the image crumbles, the empires of men and the stone grows into a mountain that covers the earth. And so Daniel in interpreting it said, “And in the days of those ten kings shall the Lord of glory come and establish a kingdom that shall never end” (Daniel 2:44). The kingdoms of men were going to succeed one another through the centuries. But God will establish an eternal kingdom, His kingdom upon the earth. And for the kingdom we long and we pray, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Now Jesus is there on the ground praying if it’s possible, you see, the cross is an offense to people because there are so many that like to say there are many ways to reach God. And everybody comes to God their own way but it really doesn’t matter which way you come to God, it’s that we obey those impulses of our spirit and that we come to God, that’s what’s important. How we come isn’t so important. The cross doesn’t say that. The cross says there is only one way that you can come to God and that’s why it offends people.
People get really rankled when you tell them that you don’t believe that Buddhists are going to heaven. If Buddhists could go to heaven by doing their prayers and going through their religious routines, then Jesus would not have had to die. If you could go to heaven by being good, Jesus wouldn’t have to die. Being sincere in your religious beliefs, Jesus wouldn’t have to die. If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, if man can be saved by any other means. But Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Christianity is very narrow. Admittedly so. But Jesus said, “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leads to eternal life, few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). Broad is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many go in there at. Yes it is very narrow, very straight and the cross bears witness of that.
And he said, Abba (14:36),
which is another word for “father,” it’s a more personal kind of Papa or Daddy kind of a word, Abba,
Father, all things are possible unto thee (14:36);
Father, you can do anything, “all things are possible to thee”
take away this cup from me (14:36):
this is the prayer of Jesus, pouring out His heart to the Father. All things are possible to thee, take this cup from Me. But quickly He adds,
nevertheless not what I will, but what you will (14:36).
There we find Jesus setting for us an example in prayer that the purpose is not to get our will done but the purpose is to get His will done. There are people today that say if you pray, Not my will, Thy will be done, that’s a copout, that’s a lack of faith. How can they say that when Jesus Himself recognizing that all things are possible with God and yet, “Not what I will but Your will be done.” Later on, we read that Jesus prayed the same prayer three times. There are those that say, if you repeat the prayer a second or third time it shows you didn’t have faith the first time you prayed. All of this weird teaching on faith. How to get your will done, how to make God your little genie to do your bidding. And they would change the Lord’s prayer to, My kingdom come, my will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So Jesus submitting Himself now to the will of the Father.
And he came, and he found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, Simon, are you asleep? Could you not pray for just one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak (14:37,38).
Isn’t that the case? Spirit is ready but oh, the weakness of our flesh. What I would be, spirit’s ready, what I would do for God, the spirit’s ready, but oh, the flesh is so weak. And so many times, those resolves are never fulfilled because of the weakness of our flesh.
And again Jesus went away, and he prayed, and he spoke the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) and they really didn’t know what to answer him. And so he came the third time, and said unto them, Sleep on now, take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners (14:39-41).
At this point, there is a possibility of a gap of time between verses forty-one and forty-two. It could be that there is a period of time between this third time when He just comes and He says, Go ahead and sleep on, take your rest, it’s enough, the hour is come; and it could be that He sat there for a half hour or even an hour just watching them as they slept. And I believe praying for them. You could not watch with Me but I’ll watch you. I believe that this was the time when He was perhaps just interceding for them, knowing what they’re going to go through, knowing the heartache and the pain and the questions that they’re going to have. This is going to be a rough day on them because all of their dreams are going to be shattered when they watch Him die on that cross. He hasn’t been able to get through to them exactly what the death is going to mean. In fact, they always think when He talks of His death that He’s talking riddles. And knowing how that their hopes are going to be dashed, I believe that He just spend some time sitting there watching them as they slept, praying for them.
But suddenly there’s racket as Judas is leading in the soldiers of the high priest and the officers and so Jesus said,
Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrays me is at hand. And immediately, while he was yet speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is he; take him away, and lead him away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to Jesus, and he saith, Master, master; and he kissed him. And they laid their hands on him, and took him (14:42-46).
What a horrible act of treachery. One of the gospels tell us that Jesus said, “Betrayest thou Me with a kiss” (Luke 22:48)? Again, English language, we have a word “kiss.” You kiss a frog and you kiss a cheek and you kiss the forehead of the babies but there is also a passionate type of kiss among lovers. In the Greek they have different words for “kiss.” Kisses that are the kiss on the cheek, “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16), and so often even still in the old country the men when they greet each other in the street, rather than shaking hands they embrace and they kiss on each cheek. You see Arafat doing that every once in a while, sort of reminds you of Judas, doesn’t it? It’s just a way of greeting. But then there were the passionate kisses of the lovers. That particular Greek word is used here where Judas kissed Him sort of a passionate kind of a kiss. We’ll talk more about Judas at a later time but it were better for that man had he never been born.
And one of them that stood by drew a sword (14:47),
John tells us it was Simon Peter,
smote off the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear (14:47).
John tells us that the name of the servant was Malchus and that Jesus healed his ear, picked it up and put it back on, healed him.
Peter was probably sleepy, woke up out of his sleep and his eyes were heavy, sound sleep, hears a lot of racket, sees them grabbing Jesus and his first response is to pull out his sword and start to swing, whoever’s in the way, look out. Happen to be Malchus, close miss, got the right ear. Someone had suggested that if Peter was right-handed Malchus was going away to catch his right ear. I don’t know.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are you come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, you did not take me: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all [that is, the disciples] forsook him, and fled (14:48-50).
“All of you will be offended this night because of Me.” And the disciples all took off.
There followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked (14:51,52).
There is the speculation and probably correct that Mark is inserting his own little personal incident into the account. Mark was at this point probably twelve or thirteen years old and his family, his uncles and all were involved with Jesus and as a little boy, he probably was sort of hanging around as young boys often do. And when they grabbed him, his linen coat that he was wearing he wriggled free and they believe that this is Mark’s little personal insertion. You see, Mark’s gospel is written mainly from Mark hearing Peter tell the story. So in Mark’s gospel basically you have Peter’s account as Mark tells the stories as he has heard Peter tell them over and over concerning the Lord. So this is Mark’s personal little injection of his own personal involvement in the evening.
And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with the high priest were assembled the chief priests, the elders, the scribes. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire (14:53,54).
Peter was sticking close by but not too close. Not close enough to be identified with Him but curious as to what were going to be the results.
And the chief priests and all the council sought for witnesses against Jesus to put him to death; but they could find none (14:55).
Looking for charges, looking for someone to bear witness of some capital crime that He committed.
There were many who bare false witness against him, but their witness did not even agree with each other. And there arose certain who said against him, We heard him say that I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I’ll build another made without hands (14:56-58).
So put Him to death.
But neither did their witnesses agree together (14:59).
Now Jesus did say, Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll build it again, but He was talking about the temple of His body. So they didn’t even have that straight.
And the high priest stood up in the midst [getting nowhere], and so he asked Jesus directly, saying, Don’t you answer any of these charges that these witness are making against you (14:60)?
Don’t you respond in your own defense? But Isaiah had said in prophecy, “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). No defense.
But Jesus held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed (14:61)?
It was the belief in those days that the Messiah would indeed be the Son of God. And that’s why the question, Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed? Today the Jews say that the rabbis teach that the Messiah will not be the Son of God, he’s a man. But in his book, The Search for the Messiah, Mark shows where the earlier rabbis believed that the Messiah would be the Son of God. And it’s obvious here the high priest was putting it together, Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed? Because it was prophesied of the Messiah that the Lord said unto my Lord, “Thou art my beloved Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7). Also, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government will be upon his shoulder: his name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor” (Isaiah 9:6), obviously prophecy of the Messiah but He is the Son who is given. “God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). So, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed?”
And Jesus said, I am: and you will see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his clothes, and said, We don’t need any further witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy: what do you think? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. And then some began to spit on him (14:62-65)
Isaiah said that He did not hide His face from those who spit on Him (Isaiah 50:6). In the Orient that’s the worst insult, spitting on people. Sometimes we’ve been over there and people spit at us because they know we’re Christians but it’s a thing of disdain and disrespect. You’ll learn to dodge though.
and they covered his face, and began to buffet him (14:65),
The body has been created in a very marvellous way, we see Sunday after Sunday these quarterbacks getting hit with tremendous blows or an end, catching a pass and just being creamed. And you see them jump up. You think, man, they’ll never jump up from that one. And you see them jump up and run back to the huddle. Sometimes they get up rather slowly but they get up. But the body is so constructed by God that it can’t be destroyed. It can be but it takes an awful lot of abuse. But there is this thing that we do almost instinctively, you don’t really think, Oh, there’s comes a blow, I better faint with the blow; but you just do it naturally. Now when the quarterback really gets hurt is when he gets blindsided, when he is not prepared for it. If he sees the guy coming, then he can relax and roll and tumble with it and it doesn’t hurt nearly as bad. But if you don’t see it coming, you get blindsided, that’s when you can really sustain serious injuries. You see fellows boxing and pummeling each other. But as you see a blow coming, there is that instinct of rolling with the punch so that you can take a punch as long as you can see it coming, your reflexes are such that you roll with it and you don’t feel the firmness of the blow or the full intensity of the blow because you have that natural instinct to feign and to roll with it.
But when your face or head is covered, you cannot then see the blows coming. You then feel the full impact of the blows and thus, in covering His head He then feels the full impact as they begin to buffet Him. They began to mock Him saying,
Prophesy: [tell us who it was that hit you] and the servants struck him with the palms of their hands (14:65).
He suffered this physical abuse from them. As this was going on,
Peter was beneath in the palace, and there came one of the maids of the high priest: And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, You were also with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I don’t understand or I don’t even know what you’re talking about. And he went out; and the cock crew. And the maid saw him again, and began to say to those that were standing there, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And after a little while, they that were standing by said to Peter, Surely you are one of them: for you are a Galilean, and you have a Galilean accent. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom you speak. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter then called to mind the word of Jesus when he said to him, Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept (14:66-72).
Broken. How many times have we failed the Lord? How many things that we have promised have we not come through with? How many vows that we have made that we have broken? It is not at all right to call in question Peter’s sincerity. I believe that Peter was entirely sincere when he was saying, Lord, they could kill me and I would never deny You. Peter was expressing the sincerity of his own soul. He really believed that. He really believed that his devotion and commitment to Jesus was so great that he could die for Jesus and would not deny him. And yet we find Peter denying the Lord, doing exactly what he said he wouldn’t.
Paul the apostle in the latter part of Romans chapter seven tells of the problems that we often have. He said, I find that there’s some kind of a perverse law that seems to be at work within me. “For the good that I would I do not: but that which I do not allow, that I do. O wretched man that I am” (Romans 7:19,24)! I am doing things that I really don’t want to do. I’m not doing things that I do want to do and know I should do. To the Galatians he said, “The flesh is warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: so that we do not always do the things that we ought or that we would” (Galatians 5:17). As Jesus said to Peter, “The spirit indeed is willing or ready but the flesh is weak.”
And we all understand that, we all know what that is about. We’ve all gone through those very same experiences where we found ourselves doing things that we swore we would never do. The weakness of our flesh. Now it is good to know that His mercy endureth forever. And that God understands our frame and He knows we are dust. You’re made of dust, you’re not made of steel. You’re not a superman. And God knows that. And in time, we discover it. We realize our human frailties and in so doing, so often we’re disappointed with ourselves, so often with Peter we find ourselves weeping over our failures. I didn’t want to do that, I didn’t intend to do that and yet I did it.
But even as Peter failed and wept over the failure. You have two contrasting things here—you have Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. Later he repents when he sees that Jesus is being crucified, he brought the money back and he said, Take this money back, I betrayed innocent blood. And they said, That’s your problem, we can’t take it back. We can’t put it in the treasury, it’s blood money. So he just threw it on the floor and said do with it what you want. And he repented and it said, And he went out and hung himself. Peter repented with bitter tears and was forgiven.
The difference, and so many people today, they’re sorry for what they did but only because it didn’t work out like they were hoping it would. Others are genuinely sorry because of their weakness and their failure, they didn’t intend to do that. God is merciful and God forgives. Peter was yet used by God as one of the founding fathers of the church. Had a tremendous, powerful ministry. And he had a chance to redeem himself which he did very valiantly in Acts chapter four.
So when you fail, it doesn’t put you out. God doesn’t just say, Oh forget him. But He’s gracious, He’s forgiving, He’s merciful. And He sets you on your feet again and says, Okay, let’s try it once more. This time, hold on a little tighter. Stick closer, don’t try to follow afar off. Stick close to Me and we’ll see it through together. And with Christ, I can do anything. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me” (Philippians 4:13). Without Christ, I can do nothing. But through Christ, anything.
Father thank You for these important lessons, may we hide them away in our hearts. Seal them in our hearts tonight, make them part of our lives. And Lord, we pray for the power of Your Spirit, we don’t want that weakness of the flesh. We don’t want to live after the flesh, we know Lord that the flesh life is miserable. It’s filled with strife and envy and it ends in death. Lord, we want to live and walk after the Spirit. Help us, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8042