Friday, February 19, 2016

Facing your Fears

In this passage in the Gospel of Mark the Lord Jesus is facing death. It is literally the night before Jesus will be crucified. By 9 a.m. the following morning Jesus will have faced a number of assessments in various courts and been condemned to death.
Any serious reader of the Bible will be aware that none of this was news to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel writer, Mark, records Jesus telling his disciples, while walking through the towns of Caesarea Philippi, that he was going to 'suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again,' Mark 8.31. Subsequent to this Jesus and his disciples visited Judea and as they were leaving and heading towards to Jerusalem Jesus was striding ahead of them. The disciples were bewildered, perplexed and really astonished! In fact they were so alarmed that they were afraid. Did they see the Lord Jesus walking straight into a trap? Did they think that he should have avoided Jerusalem at all costs? I am not sure but they were filled with fear. It is at this point that the Lord Jesus reminds them once again that he is facing death! His actual words are recorded - 'Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles. And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again,' Mark 10. 32-34
Please note this: On both of these occasions when the Lord Jesus tells them about his death he also tells them about his resurrection. In other words there is hope; his death is not permanent! He will die to pay for sin but he will come back to life to declare that salvation is freely offered to everyone who is prepared to turn from their sin (and old life) and trust the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life.
The events that surrounded the death of the Lord Jesus would embarrass his disciples and cause them offence and in Peter's case, cause him to deny all knowledge of or association with Jesus.
What about you? Does the subject of Jesus, his death, burial and resurrection offend you? I would imagine that Peter was offended for different reasons than you would be! Having lived and seen Jesus for three years, day in and day out, he could not understand why he would need to die. Peter was to learn that the death of the perfect, sinless, Son of God was required to meet the requirements of God. God is holy and sin and wrong must be accounted for and dealt with legally. Sin has a price. Payment must be made before sin can be cancelled and forgiven - that's justice. We understand the concept but don't like it when it comes to our guilt, our responsibility for our beliefs and actions, our accountability to our creator, God.
Think about it! The offer is available to you today, it might not be here tomorrow and if it is will you be here or will you have the capacity to make that choice.
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses - Acts 13. 38,39.
Mark 14. 27-53
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.

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