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Today: [Mark 14] The Prince of Heaven in the Courts of Man: The chief priests and elders have colluded with Judas and Jesus is now in their clutches. Pilate questions him, the crowd vilifies Him, and Peter denies Him as in our chapter the dread three act drama of the crucifixion of our Lord begins in earnest.
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[Mar 14:1-26 KJV] 1 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. 2 But they said, Not on the feast [day], lest there be an uproar of the people. 3 And 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; and she brake the box, and poured [it] on his head. 4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, [this] also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. 10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard [it], they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him. 12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? 13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished [and] prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, [Is] it I? and another [said, Is] it I? 20 And he answered and said unto them, [It is] one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. 21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: 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. 22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. 26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

In verse 1 of chapter 14 of Mark we see the time of Passover drawing near when the chief priests and the scribes are about to spring their trap to take Jesus by craft and see to it that He is put to death by the Romans. Ever observant in the outward show of their faith, however they are ready to assassinate Jesus but don’t want to spoil a perfectly good religious observance so they will wait till after the feast day (how thoughtful of them). There were very few men and women that Jesus had an everyday friendship (at least from what we know recorded in the scripture); Lazarus, Mary and Martha were one family Jesus was wont to hang out with, and in v. 3 we see Jesus in the house of Simon the Leper (obviously Simon was not hanging out with all the cool kids, being a pariah because of his disease, yet Jesus delighted to recline at supper in Simon’s house, the chagrin of the religious authorities).
While in the house of Simon a woman came with a very costly ointment and breaks its alabaster container and anoints Jesus head. There were some that were offended, including (according to Matthew) Jesus own disciples. It is now the time when Judas, being pushed to his limit, begins to conspire in the death of the Lord Jesus in his depraved mind. Jesus dismissed the howls of protest about the seeming waste of the costly ointment, saying rather that her act was not injudicious, but would in time to come be spoken of as a memorial of her love, worship and adoration – perhaps the last, great kindness shown to Jesus before His crucifixion and death.

Judas, having been fully scandalized by this alleged waste, takes his leave and meets with the chief priests, agreeing to betray Jesus for a sum of money. Meanwhile Jesus takes His disciples in preparation for the first day of the Passover, instructing them to go into the city, secure a room only by telling the innkeeper that “The Master” bids the man to cooperate. The disciples go out and this is exactly what happens, to their amazement (I guess they didn’t have hotels.com back then). When the supper is prepared and Jesus is sitting at meat with them, we find that Judas has returned from his dastardly meeting with the elders and Jesus announces without preamble that one of the disciples (of only the 12 that are here, all others being excluded) one of these men will deny and betray Jesus. It is very telling what the disciples do next. Instead of pointing fingers at each other in accusation, or indicting Peter (because Jesus had called Peter Satan, just a few days before) instead they each asked “Oh, Lord is it I?” Here we see the influence of three years of walking with the Master. These bickering, jostling, ego centric men from diverse backgrounds, who had so much difficulty getting along have no been so influenced by Jesus that they have no heart to make accusation but are looking at themselves in godly introspection, humility and contrition.

In verse 22 we see Jesus in the midst of the meal (although other gospels say He did this after the meal) – Jesus talks bread and wine and breaking the bread, distributes it in a covenantal act to His disciples gathered at the table. This was not part of the Passover observance. What is happening here is that Jesus is concluding the Old Covenant (in the Passover meal) and then instituting a New Covenant in terms and according to protocols that would have been instantly recognized by His followers. In those days when two men made an agreement, instead of signing a document they would seal the contract or covenant with a sharing of bread and wine that was understood to represent the body and blood of the two parties in the covenant. This was not a religious practice but a civil practice upon which all important contracts were ratified in this culture. They understood that Jesus was cutting covenant with them. What does this mean? It means for us that in the court of heaven, these men by Jesus’ own appointment represented the 12 tribes of Israel who represented all the tribes of the earth and Jesus is giving Himself away to meet whatever needs they might have – the sin debt being most prominent in that agenda. What takes place here is how you and I can say “I am crucified with Christ…” because it wasn’t Jesus dying for Himself but Jesus dying to pay our sin debt to satisfy the judgments of heaven against disobedience. It is ALL about HIM and nothing about us!!! GLORY!!!

[Mar 14:27-72 KJV] 27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet [will] not I. 30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, [even] in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all. 32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things [are] possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. 37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly [is] ready, but the flesh [is] weak. 39 And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40 And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take [your] rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. 43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead [him] away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and [with] staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about [his] naked [body]; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. 53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54 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. 55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what [is it which] these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands. 66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is [one] of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art [one] of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth [thereto]. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, [saying], I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

After concluding supper they sing a hymn and go out to the garden of Gethsemane. There Jesus reiterates to His disciples that they will all forsake and flee this night. Peter speaking up absolutely insists that there is no way that he will not stand by Jesus unto the end. Jesus simply affirms that yes, before the cock crows twice, Peter will deny His Master three times. In vehement denial Peter declares that he will die before doing so but that sadly we know is not the case. At the place of prayer, Jesus separates Himself alone with Peter, James and John, asking them to tarry with Him in prayer. He goes just a little further and cries out to the Father in exceeding sorrow for the dread of the hour that lay before Him. Thus we see the utter humanity of the Savior. Some suggest that His death was just an illusion but make no mistake – Jesus the spotless son of God is about to pay sins dreadful penalty in full measure for you and for I.

Returning to check on His prayer partners and unfortunately they have fell on sleep, just miserable at the things that Jesus has said. Jesus wakes them briefly and they fall asleep again. Can you imagine Jesus coming to find you at the place of prayer but no you are sleeping. What is Jesus doing right now? Is He not at the right hand of majesty on high ever interceding? Are we His prayer partners or are we sleeping for sorrow? Finally after a third time, Jesus rouses them, because Judas has come to betray His Master with a kiss. The soldiers step up to lay hold on Jesus but “one of them” which we know to be Peter draws his sword and strikes off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest. Jesus, we know from other accounts simply takes the ear up from the ground, maybe wiping it on His cloak and restores it whole to the side of the man’s head. Unfazed the soldiers take Jesus with only one of the disciples with only a linen cloth about him following behind. Theologians examining this account believe this is not Peter but John the Beloved following afar off. He laid his head on Jesus’ breast at supper but his fear has driven him away from the Master he loved so deeply – loving the Lord but unable to abide faithful.

Taken before the religious counsel the accusers cannot get their act together until they question Jesus directly saying, “are you the Christ?”. Jesus answer is that they will soon see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power. To this the High Priest rends his clothes and the soldiers begin to beat Jesus and spit on Him and mock him. See here the awfulness of sin, to raise one’s hand – to actually spit in the face of the savior of the universe! To which Jesus answers not a word, enduring it all for you and for me.

As this scene plays out Peter is nearby, and is recognized by one of the hand maids who was servant to the high priest. She points him out and confronting him, accuses him of being one of Jesus disciples. Here is the cost of being the loud mouth among the disciples. Had this been John or Nathaniel, they might have gone unnoticed, put impetuous Peter with his brash manner had put a target on his back. To this little chamber maid, Peter balks, turns white and denies he knew the Man. Then again another maid, perhaps informed on by the first calls Peter out as one of the disciples and he again denies, to which now a veritable chorus of voices rise in the rabble insisting that yes he is one of the 12. Peter begins to curse and to swear saying he has no idea what they are talking about and the cock crows, the moment impaling Peter, transfixed and guilty before God and before this wicked crowd of denying the Savior he only hours before insisted he would stand by till the end. Peter flees the terrace outside Pilate’s judgment hall and coming to his senses weeps bitterly. Thus, we know from the narrative on the whole that two men were weeping this night, both of them betrayers of the Darling of Heaven. Judas wept and in bitterness of soul, hangs himself. Peter flees, ashamed and in self-hatred will soon throw up his hands, abandoning his idealism and say “I go afishing…” Thus might have ended the narrative of Peter’s life … but God!

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