Read: Mark 14:1-51
It is the time of the Passover, and Jesus is moving ever nearer to the cross.
- Jesus is Anointed (Mark 14:1-9) In what appears to be a scene of incredible waste, a woman anoints the feet of Jesus with perfume which was worth “more than a year’s wages” (14:5). Those who saw it pointed out that the money could have been better spent. Are unnecessarily expensive, impractical gifts no longer wasteful if given to those we love? In what ways should we emulate this wasteful woman? In what ways should we avoid emulating her?
- The Lord’s Supper (Mark 14:10-26) Jesus wants to keep the location of the last supper a secret (notice his strange instructions in 14:13-15), probably to keep Judas from handing him over to the authorities during the meal (see 14:11). Why was this meal so important to Jesus?How should we relate to Jesus’ last sentence in 14:21? If it would have been better for Judas to never have been born, how would Scripture have been fulfilled? Without Judas (or Pilate, for that matter), would the “plan of salvation” have been accomplished? Was Judas’ sin needed for our salvation? In what way does evil contribute to God’s cause?
According to Mark 14:26, Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn after the Passover meal. According to Jewish custom at the time, this hymn was composed of Psalm 115-118. Read these chapters and imagine that you are singing these words, as Jesus was. What phrases seem especially powerful?
- Peter’s Denial Predicted (Mark 14:27:31) Peter contends that he is willing do die rather than disown Jesus. Later, in Gethsemane, the disciples face an overpowering mob and we discover that Peter was indeed willing to fight to the death for Jesus (see Mark 14:47 and John 18:10-11). Peter, then, was strong when faced with a clear threat. He failed, however, when faced with the less stressful, “safer” questioning of a servant girl (14:66-70). What can we learn from Peter? When are we most in danger of denying our Lord?
- Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42) In Gethsemane, Jesus says to his Father, “Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Is Jesus really asking that he be spared the experience of the cross? Was the cross somehow “against” Jesus “will” or desire, as his question indicates? Was Jesus’ failure here a real possibility? What was it that Jesus dreaded most? How would you respond to someone who said that Jesus was afraid? Doesn’t perfect love cast out fear?
- The Arrest (Mark 14:43-51) Judas arrives in Gethsemane, leading an armed mob. In attempting a defense (or, in attempting an attack!), Peter cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest. How does a swordsman cut off someone’s ear? What was Peter likely aiming for? Do you think Peter intentionally targeted this servant, or was he simply the one closest to Peter?In Mark, there is no record of Jesus’ healing the high priest’s servant. Also, there is no rebuke of Peter’s action. Are there times when good people must resist evil–and even resort to violence to do so? Which is the greater danger for us–unnecessary violence, or inaction in the face of injustice? Is all violence evil? Is all violence unnecessary? In short, how should the disciples have responded when faced with the mob? How might they have protected Jesus? Or, since this was fulfilling Scripture (14:49), were they supposed to run away?