In this study, we come to the death of Christ, which is a familiar topic to most of us because it is so central to the story of Jesus. However this familiarity sometimes works against us – we start to take things for granted, instead of taking them to heart. "What kind of death?" is this that we are going to look at? It is no ordinary death. Every part of Jesus’ death is out of the ordinary and we have to avoid making it ordinary so that we can fully understand it. Let's not come to Jesus' death in a flippant way. His death should be something we behold and treasure.
We move closer and closer to the cross, and in this study, we'll take a closer look at the trial that Jesus went through on the way to the cross. Mark 14:53 picks up right after Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested.
The book of Mark is disproportionately divided. The first half covers the first 33 years of his life, while the latter half covers the final week. Mark 14, which we are going to look at today, records for us the last hours of Jesus' life. In the final hours of his life, he was still in control, and he spends it with his friends. We're going to look at 3 different friends, and how they treated Him when He reaches the cross.
This passage is set on "the first day of Unleavened Bread'. Jesus and His disciples were celebrating the the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was commanded by God in Exodus 12. It was a celebration for the time when God passed over the sins of the Israelites in judgment, before they left Egypt. It is here that the Passover Lamb is sacrificed, to celebrate and remember God passing over the Israelite camp and sparing the lives of their firstborn. Thus, Jesus and his disciples were celebrating this, and participating in this Jewish ritual. This Feast was to become a statute and part of their law, because it was important enough for them to celebrate it every year. Exodus 12:14, 17 specifically calls for Israelites to remember God in their Exodus. In a way, this is the day Israel became a “nation”, they became independent, and it marked their freedom and deliverance by God.
Today's study takes us into a parable of Jesus. Parables were used by Jesus to illustrate specific points, thus we need to beware of reading too much into it, because they have been designed for a specific illustrative purpose. Jesus is addressing the scribes and Pharisees here, and this context will prove helpful as we look at what Jesus is trying to say, and what kind of a Judge He is.
Lent is meant to prepare our hearts for Good Friday and Easter, as we trace the steps our Savior took to the cross. The Bible, and these passages especially, gives and shows us Jesus. As we read these passages, the circumstances and scenes may seem very foreign to us, with all the mentions of cloaks, colts, etc. Yet our 2016 world bears some similarities to the New Testament world of the Bible. We live in a world of refugee crisis due to oppressive regimes and crimes abound in our society. We are not that far off from the life of the NT Jews in Mark. They too, live under the oppressive Roman rule, and are distressed and insecure. This is the world that Jesus entered.