Lord, would You help me cling to the hope of the gospel? Lord, thank You that You came to conquer sin and death. Help me have faith to believe the power of the gospel. Help me trust fully in the gospel and not be lured by lesser hopes. Help me, as I open Your Word, to see the things You desire to teach me. Give me a heart to respond to your Word, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Mark 14-16
Mark 14:1–72 Jesus moved relentlessly to the cross. The weight of the cross was already weighing heavily on Him. He paused to pray and ask God to take the cup of suffering away; however, even if the cup wasn’t removed, He was willing to do God’s will. He trusted God’s ways are always good.
This scene of peace in which Jesus prayed and the disciples slept was soon disrupted by His betrayal and arrest. Chaos and confusion set in as a soldier’s ear was cut off by Peter and a young man fled—probably Mark, the author of this Gospel. Following the arrest of Jesus, Peter found himself out in the courtyard being harangued by the crowd. He instantly moved to protect himself and denied Jesus, the One he loved. He was quick to betray his Savior, but he was also quick to weep over his sin.
Mark 15:1–47 The scene moves quickly now to the crucifixion. Pilate, giving in to the demands of the crowd, released Barabbas and had Jesus sent away to be scourged and crucified.
The whole scene is saturated with injustice. The crowd condemned Him to death; they were so consumed with sin they were blinded to the reality that their Savior stood in front of them. Yet the whole time, Jesus, the innocent One, remained silent. Amidst the loud accusations, He remained silent.
The pain was real. The mocking was relentless. The insults hurt. But His thoughts never turned to Himself; they remained fixed firmly on His good and loving Father who will never fail. He knew the One whom He could trust completely.
Keep in mind, our sins led to this moment. Our sins caused this travesty. As Jesus was nailed to the cross, so too were our sins, each and every one of them. Jesus experienced not only great physical trauma but also the worst kind of spiritual agony: being forsaken by God.
But He was forsaken so we could be forgiven. In this scene, we see a marvelous picture of grace. The centurion who witnessed and even took part in the murder of Jesus had the scales removed from his eyes. He saw how Jesus died and declared that surely He was the Son of God. Mark seemed to have recorded this man’s testimony as an indication of his faith, and also as a vindication of Jesus. Even one who participated in the murder of Christ could be saved.
Mark 16:1–20 As we see in our passage, Jesus was buried and on the third day He rose again. He victoriously defeated death. The work of Christ wouldn’t be complete without the resurrection. If the resurrection hadn’t happened, death wouldn’t have been defeated.
But Jesus did rise from the dead. He did appear to the women at the tomb, and to the disciples in Galilee. The voice of the angel is the declaration of victory: “He has risen.” As we share the gospel with others, we have to be sure we’re communicating the full gospel. Jesus declares in Mark 16:15–16 that we must now go into the whole world and make known the glorious gospel.
Jesus fulfilled His mission and calling. He willingly went to the cross. He died for the forgiveness of sins and then victoriously rose from the grave. The gospel is the good news of victory that can be found in Christ alone. We, as His disciples, are called to proclaim this gospel to all nations.
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.24 And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’
- In the midst of your suffering and pain, are you quick to go to God in prayer? Are your prayers marked by a desire for God’s will do be done in the midst of your suffering, or are they merely peppered with thoughts of self?
- Are there moments in your life when you’re prone to deny Jesus? Are there certain people with whom you find it dangerously easy to betray your Savior? When this happens, are you quick, like Peter, to grieve over such sin?
- There will be days when we’re insulted and mocked for what we believe. We’ll face injustice and work with those on the receiving end of a persecutor’s clenched fist. But in those moments we don’t need to fall back into fear. We need to run to the cross and consider it great joy to share in the sufferings of our Savior and Lord.
- Do you pray for the salvation of those who persecute the church? Do you pray that they too will have their eyes opened to the truth of what they’re doing and the fact that they, too, can be saved?
- Pray that the Father will give you the opportunity to share the gospel with at least one person this week. Set aside time to go out and share.