Mark 14

Cornerstone Church,

Mark 14 

 One of the primary themes in the Gospel of Mark is the authority of Jesus. Throughout Mark’s account we see numerous examples of Jesus driving out demons, healing the sick, and forgiving sins. We see people bowing before him in faith, the disciples proclaiming his lordship, and the religious leaders doing everything they can to silence Jesus. And through all of this, the cosmic battle between good and evil wages on, coming to a head in chapter 15 as Jesus gives up his life on the cross.
     In Chapter 14 we find ourselves on the cusp of this battle as Jesus makes the final preparation for his work on the cross. The religious leaders, aided by Judas, arrest Jesus, and the disciples all flee, leaving Jesus completely alone. Of course, we also see Peter’s denial of Jesus and this leaves us with, what seems to be, a hopeless moment.
     However, as believers on this side of the cross, we know this is not hopeless. We know the outcome, and that Jesus rose victorious on the third day. But we shouldn’t just gloss over this chapter because of the difficult and disheartening themes found within it. Instead, we should see this as instructional and look at the mistakes of those present, relate it to our own lives, and learn how we can pursue Christ more faithfully.
     I would encourage those of you who read this devotional to take more time to study this chapter than to simply just read a 5-minute article. The purpose of this devotional is to spur you on to deeper study, not to check off your “Bible” box for the day. You don’t just eat some crackers and call it good for the day. You fill yourself with the necessary nutrients and calories in order to be effective at your tasks for the day ahead. I encourage you to do the same with your biblical study. But for now, here is a light snack to tide you over until you have a more filling study. Here are three things to take away from this chapter:

1. Christ’s Authority is Steadfast, Regardless of Your Preference
  • Mark 14:60-64 says,  60“Then the high priest stood up before them all and questioned Jesus, ‘Don’t you have an answer to what these men are testifying against you?’ 61 But he kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest questioned him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ 62 ’I am,’ said Jesus, ‘and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ 63 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy. What is your decision?’ They all condemned his as deserving death.”
  • Even after all of the miracles, and the teaching of the Scriptures, the religious leaders hated Jesus and the way he threatened their traditions, and false teachings. Then once Jesus proclaims who he is, asserting his authority, both now, and in the end of days, they reject him and declare that he should be killed.
  • For us, this may look like the surrender of Christ’s authority in the decisions we make in our lives. For the time we devote to other less important things, or even the relationships that should be ended. Christ has the ultimate authority, and the rejection of that authority only serves to harm us, and ultimately harms our spiritual walk.

2. Jesus is Who He Says He Is, Not Who You Want Him to Be
  • Mark 14:3-11 says, While he was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured in on his head. 4 But some were expressing indignation to one another: ‘Why has this perfume been wasted? 5 For this perfume might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’ And they began to scold her. 6 Jesus replied, ‘Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a noble thing for me. 7 You always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body in advance for burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.’ 10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 And when they heard this, they were glad and promised to give him money. So he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him.”
  • John’s gospel account tells us that Judas was one of the disciples concerned with the use of this expensive perfume, but specifically because he would steal from the group’s collective finances. So then we see as Jesus corrects the group for rebuking the woman, Judas has had enough. After this encounter he goes out and sells Jesus out to the religious leaders.
  • Many scholars attribute much of Judas’ betrayal to the disillusionment he may have felt over Jesus’ approach to ministry, and the fact that he came as a suffering servant, rather than a conquering king. Judas was disappointed in who Jesus was, because he had made an idol out of the things he felt that his “Jesus” should have provided for him.
  • We need to guard ourselves against pursuing Jesus for what we get out of it. Yes, we rejoice that we find peace and spiritual security as Christian believers, but our primary motivator for following Christ should be obedience and bringing glory to him. We receive many blessings and benefits as children of God, but as soon as we consider this relationship quid pro quo, we have the wrong mindset and prepare ourselves for disillusionment and failure.
3. There’s Plenty of Grace for All of Us
  • Mark 14:27-28 says, 27”Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will fall away, because it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” 28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you Galilee.”
  •  Prior to Jesus’ arrest, he speaks with the disciples and tells them that they will all abandon him in his final hours. Immediately after that he says they will meet each other again in Galilee after his resurrection. There is no rebuke, no anger, no disappointment in this conversation at all. This doesn’t mean their failure is acceptable, or affirmed by Jesus. But it does show us that Jesus’ grace and compassion for those he came to save is enough. His grace truly is enough for us, and we don’t need to live in fear that we will ever out-sin his grace.

    The Gospel is meant for all of us, but it requires submission on our part. After reading Mark 14 I hope you are encouraged to learn from the rejection of Christ’s authority by the religious leaders, the disillusionment of Judas’ poor expectations, and know that Christ loves you infinitely more than you could comprehend. His grace is enough, and he is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory.

Eli Tucker

Sermon Prepping Playlist

Here's some of the music I listened to as I put together the sermon and devotional for this week.

Sermon Notes