King of the Jews

Day 19

Because I preached today on Jesus’ “death march” to Jerusalem as He prepared for His passion, I’m in a certain mood — a mood that, I think, matches the mood of Mark 14. Mark 14 is the final countdown to the cross. If you can read Mark 14 slowly and enter into the mood it creates, you can feel the building tension. It is a very dark and foreboding chapter.

It begins with the chief priests and scribes plotting to take Jesus by trickery and murder Him. Pause. These wicked men were plotting the most heinous crime in history. Not homicide or genocide, but deicide — the murder of God. And yet this was the plan of God all along: that His Son would be given over to sin and death that we might be redeemed from sin and death. But God did not cause the wicked intentions of the men who plotted Jesus’ murder. In this we see God’s sovereign purposes being accomplished while never violating the freewill of man. This is the wisdom and power of God. That the most heinous crime in history is now commemorated as Good Friday is the ultimate testimony to the truth that God causes all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28).

Then we find Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointing Jesus at Simon the Leper’s home in Bethany. In His defense of Mary’s actions which were criticized by some of those present, Jesus made what can only be described as a very morose and mysterious remark when He said, “She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.” I wonder what those present thought of this strange statement? Almost everything Jesus said in the final days before the cross seemed to make no sense at the moment. Only after the resurrection were His words understood.

Next we discover Judas meeting secretly with those in the conspiracy to kill Jesus. A deal is made. Mark lets the reader in on this dark intrigue, though at the time Judas’ treachery remained his own secret. The tension is building.

Now we are only hours away from the cross. Jesus and His disciples share a meal in the Upper Room — a meal that will later be known as the Last Supper, though at the time the disciples could not think in such terms (despite Jesus telling them plainly). During the meal Jesus speaks of His body being broken and His blood being shed and He illustrates these mysterious words with bread and wine.

At the end of their supper they sang a hymn. From Jewish tradition we know the hymn that would have been sung that night and toward the end of the song Jesus and His disciples sang these words: “Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.” (Psalm 118:27b) Before the night was over Jesus would be bound and by the next morning He would be sacrificed upon the altar of Calvary’s cross. What was going through Jesus’ mind as He sang these words, fully understanding they were prophetic of His own impending death?

Now the scene moves to an olive grove lit only by the full moon. The Garden of Gethsemane is such holy ground that we should remove our shoes. I am overwhelmed by these words…

Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.

Jesus asked His dear Father to take the cup away. Do we have any idea how horrible the cross was? It was so awful that Jesus asked His Father to remove this ordeal from Him. In His humanity Jesus recoiled from the horror of the cross, but in His love for the Father Jesus was fully surrendered to do His will…no matter what.

And it’s because of Jesus’ loving obedience to His Father that God will spend eternity bestowing honor upon His Son. Jesus is King of the Jews. He is our King. He is King of Kings. The nations are the reward for His suffering. His glory is the recompense for His obedience. He is worthy of all praise and glory and honor.


At the end of Mark 14 we have a story about a young man who was present at the arrest of Jesus. Possibly he lived nearby and when he heard that Jesus was being arrested in Gethsemane he threw on a simple gown and went to the garden. When some of the mob who came to arrest Jesus tried to apprehend this young man as well (he was as a follower of Jesus); he escaped by slipping out of the gown and running off into the night naked. It’s generally believed this young man was Mark, the author of this Gospel. I find it interesting that Mark only inserts himself into his Gospel this one time, and that in a not very flattering light. That’s humility.

An imaginary conversation:

Me: So you saw Jesus?

Mark: Yes.

Me: And you were present in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested?

Mark: Yes.

Me: What did you do?

Mark: I ran off naked! (Laughs) But Jesus loves me anyway.

Me: (Laughs) Yeah! Jesus is like that.


I’m at home with the wood burning stove going waiting to see if it’s really going to snow. Have a good week and be blessed. Tomorrow we’ll be with Dr. Luke.