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The People’s Court

The People’s Court

July 27, 2020

We have come to the end of Mark 14, and it is in earliest hours of Friday morning, the Friday that Jesus was crucified.  Most commentators think our text is set between 1 and 3 AM.

 

Remember that Jesus was in spending His nights in Bethany and His days in Jerusalem all week long.  On Thursday night, He was at John Mark’s house with His disciples observing the Passover meal and introducing the Lord’s Supper. 

 

He then took His disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  It was there that Judas betrayed Him, and He was arrested and taken away.

 

We now pick up the story in Mark 14:53 in a message entitled, “The People’s Court.”  I want us to make three observations: the Jews lied, Jesus testified, and Peter cried.

 

 

  1. The Jews Lied, Mark 14:53-59.

53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. 54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire.  55 Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. 56 For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.  57 Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, 58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59 But not even then did their testimony agree. 

 

In these first two verses, Mark used a familiar writing technique when he bracketed or sandwiched two events that happening simultaneously.  In verse 53, we see Jesus’ first trial.  It was His religious trial.  It would be followed by a political trial.

 

Jesus’ accusers included the high priest, the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes.  In other words, these were the Jewish Sanhedrin. 

 

Why would they have a trial at 2 AM Friday morning?  It was not formal, but since He had just been arrested, they felt the need for an immediate hearing.  Second, the Romans held their trials shortly after dawn so they needed to act quickly.  Third, they didn’t want to risk releasing Him and having to arrest Him again.

 

Mark 14:54 tells us about Peter.  He followed Jesus at a distance.  I wouldn’t make much of that language other than Peter had temporarily lost his courage in following Jesus. 

 

Also, keep in mind this isn’t derogatory language as it probably came Peter.  We’ll come back to him in verse 66.

 

The Sanhedrin or the Council tried desperately to line up their witness to testify of Jesus’ blasphemy, but to no avail.  Notice the repeated results of verses 55, 56, and 59. 

 

They even presented something Jesus said in John 2:19. However, that didn’t even stand up according to verse 59.

 

John 2:19-21, 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”  21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

 

 

  1. Jesus Testified, Mark 14:60-65.

60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 61 But He kept silent and answered nothing.  Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”  62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”  63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”  And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.  65 Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.

 

 

Matthew’s gospel tells us that this high priest was Joseph Caiaphas, and his first round of questions begin in verse 60.  Jesus first responded with silence.

 

Then his second round of questioning is found in verse 61.  “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”  He wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah and also the Son of God. 

 

Jesus answered in verse 62.  He testified unequivocally, “I AM is here.”  He was claiming without any hesitation or reservation that He was both Messiah and God.  Certainly, His accusers remembered Jehovah’s words to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I AM has sent me to you.” 

 

Then Jesus combined Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13. In effect, He was saying, “You’re judging Me now, but I will judge you soon.”

 

His response created chaos.  Caiaphas tore his clothes and pronounced Jesus guilty of blasphemy.  All of the Sanhedrin present unanimously agreed, and they began to spit on Him, and blindfolded Him, and beat Him.

 

By the way, please notice I qualified the end of verse 64.  The translation is somewhat misleading.  We know that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea would not have voted in such a way. 

 

While all of this is going on, our last event was happening simultaneously outside.

 

 

  1. Peter Cried, Mark 14:66-72.

66 Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.”  68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed.  69 And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again.  And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.”  71 Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!”  72 A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.

 

In these last verses, we see that while Jesus was being tried in the people’s court by the Jewish Religious leaders, Peter was denying Him three times. 

 

In Mark 14:66-68, Peter was accused by one of the servant girls of being with Jesus.  Notice the use of the word “also” in the girl’s statement.  According to John 18, John was with Peter at this time. 

 

Peter denied it.  At the end of this verse, Mark tells us that a rooster crowed.

 

Why is that significant?  Remember 14:30. 

 

30 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”

 

In Mark 14:69-70, again, the servant girl claimed that Peter was one of Jesus’ followers.  Again, he denied it.

 

For a third time, look at Mark 14:70-72.  Some of the bystanders began to accuse Peter.  They accused Him of being one of Jesus’ followers and from despicable Galilee. 

 

However, Peter began to curse and swear.  This does not mean that Peter used profanity.  Instead, He said something like this, “I swear to you I am telling the truth, and if I am not telling you the truth then may the curses of God come down on my head.”

 

As soon as his final word left his mouth, the rooster crowed a second time.  According to Luke 22:61, Jesus and Peter made eye contact, and then Peter remembered what Jesus had said as they were walking to the Garden of Gethsemane earlier that night, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”

 

Peter’s heart was broken.  He was crushed, and he wept or cried because He had betrayed his Master.

 

 

Applications/Conclusions

First, don’t be a Peter and deny Jesus.  However, I’m not talking about with your words.  I’m talking about actions.  Don’t deny Jesus in the way you talk to your wife or the way you mock your husband.  Don’t deny Jesus in the way you raise your children to believe that the lake and sports is more important on Sunday than church.  Don’t deny Jesus at work with your co-workers in how you treat them or your lack of respect for your boss.

 

However, if you are, don’t forget that Peter was restored, and you can be too.  This is the same Peter who all throughout the book of Acts is preaching and performing miracles and doing great and mighty things in the first church for the glory of Christ.

 

Second, be like Jesus in handling criticism.  He didn’t always speak and legitimize complaints.  However, He did speak to affirm the truth that He was God.  Ultimately, He trusted God to fight His battles.

 

Third, make no mistake about it.  Jesus was then and is now the only Son of God and the only way to be at peace with the Father. 

 

If you don’t know Him today, I would love to introduce Him to you as you call on Him to save you and receive forgiveness of sins, heaven, and eternal life.

Our Humanity…

Our Humanity…

July 13, 2020

In Mark 14, we have been looking at Passion Week, the last 8 days of the Jesus’ life on earth.  We are on Thursday night, and Jesus has just completed transitioning from the Passover Meal to the Lord’s Supper. 

 

Afterward, He and His disciples minus Judas left the upper room and went to the Mount of Olives close to the Garden of Gethsemane.  This morning’s message is entitled, “The Hopelessness of Our Humanity…”

 

 

Our Humanity

 

  1. In our humanity, we are often spiritually prideful.

We see this in the life of Peter.  He thought he was invincible.  He thought he couldn’t fail.  He saw himself as stronger than he was. 

 

Speaking to all of Twelve except Judas, Jesus prophesied that they all would stumble in verse 27.  Different translations use words like stumble, fall away, desert, and be offended.  We take our English word “scandalize” from this Greek word that is translated “stumble” in the NKJV.

 

Jesus didn’t mean that they would lose their salvation.  However, He did mean that they would temporarily disassociate with Him because they would not want the treatment He and any and all of His associates would receive.

 

The rest of verse 27 is a quote from Zechariah 13:7. The “I” refers to God.  Jesus is the “Shepherd.”  The “sheep” are the 11 disciples.  After God allows Jesus to be executed, there would be a temporary scattering of these men. 

 

However, Peter didn’t want to believe it.  Peter said he would never desert the Lord, but before the rooster would crow twice, Jesus said Peter would deny him three times. 

 

By the way, does it upset you and hurt you when family or friends are unfaithful?  Does it upset you or hurt you when family or friends betray you and stab you in the back?  Be encouraged.  You’re in good company.  Jesus experienced the same with Judas.

 

Jesus invested in Judas for three years.  However, at the end of those three years, Judas said no to Christ and turned his back on Jesus in betrayal. 

 

In verse 32, we see Jesus actually entering the garden and said to eight of the disciples to stay put until He returned.  However, He took His innermost circle of disciples with Him further into the garden.  That inner circle was Peter, James, and John.

 

 

  1. In our humanity, we can get physically exhausted.

The disciples had been up since early Thursday morning.  It was now past midnight on Thursday night and into Friday morning. 

 

Jesus asked them to watch and pray.  They couldn’t do either because of their physical exhaustion.

 

Some of you here today are not only physically exhausted but you are mentally and emotionally exhausted.  Our world today is exhausting. 

Learn to rest daily and weekly.  Learn to get away and unplug or at least unplug.  God told us to do such because He knew what was best for us. 

 

As Jesus went further in the garden with the Three, verse 33 says He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.  Not only did Jesus experience unfaithfulness, He also experienced unrest. 

 

In verse 34, Jesus said His psyche was exceedingly sorrowful unto death.  Other translations say troubled, deeply grieved, overwhelmed, crushed.  This was one of the most trying times of Jesus earthly life.

 

Peter, James, and John were told to wait and watch while Jesus spent some time alone.  Rather than watching for Judas, He more than likely meant for them to stay alert in the face of temptation.

 

Jesus also experienced the unfamiliar.  Why did Jesus feel the way the unrest that He did in verses 33-34?  The answer is found in verses 35-36.

 

Jesus went a little further by Himself.  He fell face down on the ground.  His sweat became like drops of blood and prayed for this unfamiliar experience to pass from Him. 

 

What was unfamiliar?  The One who knew no sin would become the sin of all humanity for the first and only time.  He would become every murder, every abortion, every rape, every affair, every profanity, every drug use, every drunken stupor, every look at pornography, every robbery.  He would become our sin, and the thought was overwhelming. 

 

However, that is not all.  Also, for the first time ever and only time, and for a brief moment, because God cannot have fellowship with sin, there was a brief interruption in the intimacy between God the Father and God the Son. 

 

In the words of Jesus, God the Father would forsake Him, and He couldn’t bear the thought.  This was completely unfamiliar ground for the Lord Jesus. 

I don’t know what your experience is this morning, but if you’ve ever experienced unfaithfulness from a family member or friend, if you’ve ever experienced unrest because of your current situation, and if you’ve ever faced the unfamiliar, you’re in good company.  Jesus did too.

 

 

  1. In our humanity, we are easily tempted.

Peter was trending downward.  Notice that Jesus called him Simon in verse 37.  He wasn’t living like the strong rock that Jesus envisioned. 

 

Jesus had prophesied of his unfaithfulness and warned him again in verse 38.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

 

In verse 40, Jesus found them sleeping again.  They had succumbed to the temptation to sleep and not watch and not pray.

 

 

Conclusion/Application

If you are down and deflated from today’s text and this story in Jesus’ life, that’s exactly how you should feel.  In our humanity, we are hopeless. 

 

If left up to us, we have no hope.  We are spiritually prideful, get completely exhausted, and are easily tempted. 

 

However, I conveniently skipped over one verse.  Did you notice it?  It is verse 28.  Jesus alluded to His resurrection.

 

Brothers and sisters, Jesus’ resurrection is our only hope.  Because He conquered sin, death, and the grave, we have hope for eternal life and hope for victorious living in this life.  Paul said it like this in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

 

8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

Even though we look at ourselves and are hopeless, remember Jesus’ resurrection and know that there is hope for me and hope for you regardless of our current situation because His power is perfected in and through my weakness. 

 

By myself, I am hopeless, but Jesus is my only hope!

His Body and His Blood…

His Body and His Blood…

June 28, 2020

We are still on Thursday night, and we are still in Jerusalem with Jesus and His disciples celebrating the Passover meal.  It is very late in the evening, and in Mark 14:22-26, Jesus transitioned from the Passover meal to the what we often call the Lord’s Supper.

 

That reference is from 1 Corinthians 11:20.

 

20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.

 

The Book of Acts 2:42 calls it the breaking of bread.

 

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

 

1 Corinthians 10:16 calls it communion.

 

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

 

Our more liturgical brothers and sisters use the name Eucharist, a word that we often translate as thanksgiving, from 1 Corinthians 11:24.

 

24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

 

Today’s message is entitled His Body and His Blood, and again, it is from Mark 14:22-26.  However, this story can also be found in Matthew 26, Luke 22, and 1 Corinthians 11.

 

Before we look at today’s text, let me remind you of the elements of the Passover meal as we heard last week.

 

The Passover meal included:

  1. First cup of red wine mixed with water;
  2. Ceremonial washing of hands;
  3. Eating bitter herbs from a common bowl to remember Israel’s Egyptian captivity;
  4. Second cup of red wine mixed with water;
  5. Singing of Psalms 113-117 and explanation of the Passover;
  6. Eating of the Passover lamb and the unleavened bread;
  7. Third cup of red wine mixed with water.

 

We also saw last week from John 13 that it appears that Judas left the group after step 6 to put his plans of betrayal into motion, and then Jesus transitioned from the Passover meal to the Lord’s Supper with the remaining Eleven and the unleavened bread.

 

 

  1. The Ritual of the Lord’s Supper, Mark 14:22-26

This practice involved His body, His blood, and His Benediction.

 

How Christians understand these elements is what makes different denominations today.  Our Roman Catholic friends hold to what is called Transubstantiation.  When an authorized priest says, “This is my body,” the bread and subsequently the wine or the juice actually become or transform into the literal body and blood of Christ.  Furthermore, for those who participate, they receive a dispensing of grace through this sacrament.

 

Why might they believe this?  See John 6:53-56.

 

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

 

Obviously, we don’t interpret the words of Christ literally but figuratively.  The main reason that we do that is because Jesus was still literally standing there when He spoke these words and after they ate.  By the way, first-century non-Christians propagated the lie that followers of Christ were cannibals because they were aware of what Christ had said.

 

Our Lutheran friends hold to what is called Consubstantiation.  This view says the bread and the wine contain the body and blood of the Lord, but the elements themselves are not substantively changed.

 

The rest of Protestant Christianity holds to some form of Symbolic or Spiritual Presence of Christ or Memorial View.  We believe the bread and wine or juice are symbolic of the Lord’s body and blood and certainly Christ is spiritually present and partaking memorializes His death on the cross.

 

In verses 25-26, Jesus seems to be alluding to a future time when of God’s kingdom.  We believe that is His millennial kingdom after His Second Coming.  After singing Psalm 118, they left for the Mount of Olives.

 

 

  1. The Requirements for the Lord’s Supper: Salvation and Sanctification

Exodus 12:43-45, 43 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. 44 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. 45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it.

 

Even though I have taken us back to the Old Testament, follow the logic.  The Passover meal was not for anyone outside of the nation of Israel.  It would have made no sense. 

 

The same is true for the Lord’s Supper.  It is for Believers only.  Otherwise, it is illogical and irrelevant.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-32, 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.  27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

 

As for sanctification, it is the process of being made holy and more like Jesus.  Therefore, it includes being in right standing with the Lord and with one another.

 

Furthermore, as Baptists, we believe that for a Christian to be in right standing with the Lord includes believer’s baptism.  That is exactly why we require baptism for church membership, and this has been our Baptist practice and what we believe to biblical for over 400 years.   

 

1646 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Article 39, Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be dispensed upon persons professing faith, or that are made disciples; who upon profession of faith, ought to be baptized, and after to partake of the Lord's Supper.

 

1758 Principles of Faith of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association, Article 10, That the church has no right to admit any but regular baptized church members to communion at the Lord's table.

 

1833 New Hampshire Confession of Faith, Article 14, Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer (72), into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost (73); to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life (74); that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation; and to the Lord's Supper (75), in which the members of the Church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ (76); preceded always by solemn self- examination (77).

 

1858 Abstract of Principles, Article 15, Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord's Supper.

 

1925 Baptist Faith and Message, Article 15, Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The act is a symbol of our faith in a crucified, buried and risen Savior. It is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation and to the Lord's Supper, in which the members of the church, by the use of bread and wine, commemorate the dying love of Christ.

 

So when I only invite only Christians, not just Baptists, who have participated in believer’s baptism by immersion, I am not trying to be rude or insensitive.  I am following 400 years of Baptist history and all that Baptists have ever known.

 

Now, some will say that is Baptist history and tradition, and Baptist history is not the Bible.  I agree that is possible.  However, I am confident in saying that the first church knew nothing of unbaptized believers. 

 

What about the thief on the cross?  He certainly wasn’t baptized, but the church didn’t exist at that point, and he wasn’t baptized because of timing not because he refused.

 

Another item to consider is how can we as Baptists in good conscience look people in the eye and say that immersion is required for church membership but not for taking the Lord’s Supper?  Isn’t that a double standard?  Doesn’t that smack of hypocrisy?  

 

Well, maybe then we shouldn’t require baptism for church membership?  Well, are we really Baptist?  And for some, why would you ever want to be a member of Baptist church if you disagree with what Baptists have believed since their formal beginning?

 

 

  • The Rationale in taking the Lord’s Supper

Why do we take the Lord’s Supper at all? 

 

First, we take the Lord’s Supper to renew our commitment to Christ and to one another.

 

1 Corinthians 10:17, 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

 

Second, we take the Lord’s Supper to give thanks.

 

1 Corinthians 11:24, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

 

Third, we take the Lord’s Supper to remember what Jesus did for us through His death on the cross.

 

1 Corinthians 11:24-25, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

 

Fourth, we take the Lord’s Supper to proclaim the message of Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 11:26, 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

 

Conclusion

Our invitation this morning is for anyone who is lost to call on the name of the Lord and be saved and be baptized.  Maybe the Lord is leading some of you to recommit or rededicate your life or join this church.  This invitation is for you.

 

Woe to that Man!

Woe to that Man!

June 28, 2020

We have now moved to Thursday morning of Passion Week.  We are one day away from the crucifixion of Christ on Friday.

 

Remember from last week that Jesus was at the home of Simon the Leper.  He lived in Bethany. 

 

Today’s message is entitled, “Woe to that Man” and is found in Mark 14:12-21.

 

 

  1. The Preparation for the Passover, Mark 14:12

12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”

 

Verse starts with a little of confusion as to when the first day of Unleavened Bread was.  However, Mark clears up the dating matter with “when they killed the Passover lamb.”  This was clearly Thursday.

 

Jesus’ disciples then asked Him where He wanted them to go to prepare the Passover meal in order to eat.  Even though we mentioned this last week, I think it is prudent for us to remember what was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  See Exodus 12:1-17 and Exodus 12:29-32.

 

1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.  12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you. 17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.

 

29 And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. 30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.  31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.”

 

 

  1. The Identification of the Place, Mark 14:13-16

13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.”  16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.  17 In the evening He came with the twelve.

 

Again, it was Thursday morning according to verse 12.  Passover would have begun at 6 PM or sundown on Thursday and continued until 6 PM or sundown on Friday. 

 

Because the Passover Meal had to be taken inside the city walls, verse 13 says that Jesus sent two of His disciples into Jerusalem.  Luke 22:8 tells us that it was Peter and John. 

 

As they entered the city gate, they would see a man carrying a water jar.  That probably sounds common and arbitrary, but it actually was very unusual. 

 

Women normally carried the water jars, and men carried wineskins.  Therefore, a man carrying a water jar would stick out like a sore thumb. 

 

When they saw him, they were to follow.  He would lead them into a house owned by a man who would show them a furnished upper room upon their request. 

 

Some may be wondering how all this was accomplished.  Was this all a product of Jesus’ omniscience or were all of these events prearranged? 

 

I don’t know that it matters a great deal.  However, either is possible, but I think the prearrangement is more likely.  I think Jesus knew the owner of this house and even prearranged the man carrying the water jar.  This conclusion would also be supported with the title of “The Teacher” used in verse 14.

 

Church tradition says this was Mark’s father’s house.  Regardless, Peter and John made these arrangements in Jerusalem.

 

Evidently, according to verse 17, Peter and John then went back to Bethany and reported on their findings and came back to Jerusalem with Jesus and the others for the meal they had prepared.  What did that involve?

 

  1. First cup of red wine mixed with water;
  2. Ceremonial washing of each person’s hands symbolizing the need for spiritual and moral cleansing;
  3. Each person present then passed around a bowl of bitter herbs to eat which was symbolic of the slavery in Egypt;
  4. Second cup of wine along with the explanation of the Passover;
  5. Singing of the Hallel (Psalms 113-118);
  6. Eating the Passover lamb and unleavened bread;
  7. Third cup of wine.

 

 

  1. The Declaration of the Perfidy, Mark 14:18-21

18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.”  19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?”  20 He answered and said to them, “It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. 21 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”

 

The word “perfidy” means an act or an instance of disloyalty.  If you’re like me, that is a new word for you.

 

Close to 6 PM on Thursday evening or at least after sundown, the twelve disciples and Jesus were in the upper room.  According to verse 18, they sat and ate. 

 

They would have been reclining on large pillows similar to bean bag chairs with small tables for their drinks and meal.  Then Jesus dropped a bombshell of an announcement. 

 

He spoke of a perfidy or an act of betrayal, but no one knew who He was talking about except Him and Judas.  However, Jesus began to give at least three clues. 

 

First, he was one of the Twelve according to verse 18.  Second, he was eating with them at that moment.  Third, according to verse 20, he would dip his bread at the same time as Jesus. 

 

At this point, let’s turn to John 13:23-27.

 

23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.  24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.  25 Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”  26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”

 

In verse 21, Jesus reminded the disciples that even His death would be a fulfillment of prophesy and God’s perfect plan.  We also know that Judas’ betrayal was fulfillment of prophesy.  However, that’s not the point of this text.

 

 

Conclusion

The main point of this text is this.  The only person responsible for Judas’ rejection of Jesus is Judas.  It may be hard for me and you to reconcile the fulfillment of prophecy with personal responsibility, but that is exactly what Jesus said in 14:21. 

 

Woe to that man who would betray Jesus.  It would have been better if he would have never been born because hell is going to be bad.

 

Today, each person is solely responsible for what he or she does with Jesus.  If you accept Him, that is a personal decision.  If you reject Him, that is a personal decision.  Don’t blame anybody else for your decision.

 

Remember these warnings from Hebrews.

 

Hebrews 9:27, 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…

 

Hebrews 10:29-31, 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

Today, the decision is yours.  Will you receive Jesus or reject Jesus?  Will you love Jesus or loathe Jesus?  Will you say yes to Jesus or no to Jesus?

Wasterd Perfume

Wasterd Perfume

June 15, 2020

We have now moved to Wednesday, and it is at least the midday meal.  Mark is going to do something that he has down in the past.  He is going to bracket an event or sandwich an event between two others.

 

Chronologically, Mark 14:1-2 and 10-11 go together.  Mark 14:3-9 is a separate event that probably happened the previous Saturday but is included to contrast two difference responses to Jesus. 

 

This morning’s message is from Mark 14:1-11 and is entitled “Wasted Perfume.”

 

 

  1. A Desire to Deceive, Mark 14:1-2

1 After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death. 2 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.” 

 

It is not my desire to get into a lengthy discussion about the how Romans counted time and how the Jews counted time.  For simplicity sake, I am presuming that these events in verses 1-2 happened on Wednesday. 

 

The Passover began at sundown on Thursday and lasted until sundown on Friday.  Therefore, “after two days” counted Wednesday as the first day and Thursday as the second day so again, it has been concluded by many that we are talking about Wednesday. 

 

At this time, Jerusalem was crowded to say the least.  Some have reported there was a minimum of 250,000 Jews in Jerusalem at this time while others have said close to 2 million. 

 

The Feast of the Passover was celebrated by the Jews in Jerusalem remembering when the Lord passed over the houses of the nation of Israel protecting them from the death angel in Exodus 12.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread celebrated Israel’s exodus from Egypt in the same chapter.

 

The religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus at this time.  He had challenged them and asserted His authority over theirs.  He had exposed their hypocrisy and deceit. 

 

They wanted Him out their hair and were willing accomplish such through trickery and deception, but it wasn’t the right time because of the crowds.  There were too many people around, and Jesus was a crowd favorite so they decided to wait until later.

 

 

  1. A Deed of Devotion, Mark 14:3-9

3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.  6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” 

 

Let me share with you some facts about this event, here are some agreed upon conclusions. This event is also recorded in Matthew 26 and John 12.  However, this is not the same event as recorded in Luke 7. 

 

These verses involve Simon the leper, who probably was healed by Jesus, maybe in Mark 1:40-42, and Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.  The other event in Luke 7 involved Simon the Pharisee and Mary Magdalene. 

 

Mary was probably the only woman in the room.  In verse 3, she anointed Jesus head with a vial of perfume. 

 

John’s gospel lets us know that she also poured the spikenard on His feet and wiped them with her hair and also tells us that the perfume amounted to about a year’s pay.  Imagine pouring out $30,000 worth of perfume.

 

Again, John’s gospel tells us that Judas then led the attack.  Why was the perfume wasted?  It could have been sold and given to the poor. 

 

However, we also know that Judas had no intent of ministering to the poor.  He wanted the money in his hands as the embezzling treasurer of the Twelve Disciples. 

 

Verse 5 says all of the disciples were scolding her.  This word means to snort like a horse.  Obviously, Mary was embarrassed.

 

In verse 6, Jesus came to Mary’s defense.  He described her deed of devotion as good.

 

He then chastised the Twelve, but notice why He chastised them.  He didn’t chastise their desire to minister to the poor. 

 

He chastised their timing.  The contrast is not poor and Jesus.  The contrast in verse 7 is “always” and “not always.” 

 

Of course, we should minister to the poor, but it was time to demonstrate devotion and gratitude to Jesus while He was still alive and available.

 

This reminds me of things I’ve heard recently in our world.  Of course, all lives matter.  However, if black lives don’t matter then all lives don’t matter. 

 

Verse 8 tells us that Mary’s deed was not only costly but completely.  Her devotion was completely to Jesus.  She did all she could. 

 

However, she probably didn’t even know all that she had done.  It wasn’t Mary but Jesus who declared that she was anointing His body for burial in verse 8.

 

Then comes verse 9.  It is the key to this text, and I’m going to come back to it in a minute. 

 

 

  • A Disciple who Deserted, Mark 14:10-11

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.

 

In verse 10, we see that Judas had every intent to betray Jesus.  Matthew’s gospel tells us that the amount of money was thirty pieces of silver. 

 

By the way, I would suggest to you that Judas is not an example of falling away, but an example of being constantly exposed to the gospel but never saved.  Jesus deserted Jesus the man and the Twelve.  Judas had never embraced Jesus the Savior. 

 

 

Invitation

As I said a moment ago, verse 9 is the key to this text.  This text is about the gospel.  The good news of the gospel is why Mary did what she did.  She gave what she could because Jesus was giving and would give all He could for her and the world.

 

Here’s what we learn.  First, when it comes to responding to the gospel, some will love Jesus, and others will loathe Jesus.  We see that in this story in the religious leaders and Judas and Mary.  We see that in John 6:63-65.

 

63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

 

And verse 65 actually leads to my second point. God is in complete control.  In a mysterious way that is hard to understand, Judas’ betrayal was part of God’s plan.  See John 17:12.

 

12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

 

That phrase “son of perdition” was actually a Hebrew idiom that meant one destined to perish. 

 

However, thirdly, humanity, in an also very mysterious way, is fully responsible for our choice.  That is the choice of either receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  See John 1:12.

 

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

 

Judas never received Jesus.  He rejected Jesus and is in hell today. 

 

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus wants to forgive your sins and give you eternal life.  For that to happen, you must admit you’re a sinner, believe that Jesus died in your place on the cross, and call on Him to save you.

 

Today, will you receive Him or reject Him?

 

The End of the Age, Part 2

The End of the Age, Part 2

June 8, 2020

Last Sunday, we began looking at Mark 13, and the end of the age.  The Olivet Discourse here and in Matthew 24-25 and Luke 21 are Jesus’ most comprehensive teaching on the end times.

 

After a comment about the temple’s beauty and grandeur, Jesus prophesied about its destruction, and it was destroyed just 40 years later in AD 70 by the Roman Army.  However, Jesus’ prophecy was not just about the destruction of the temple but also the end of the age. 

 

Then, the disciples who had been with Jesus the longest asked Him when the temple would be destroyed and what signs would indicate it was happening.  Jesus told them first about signs. 

 

  1. Signs of a Broken World that will be Distorted

    1. False Messiahs, 13:6
    2. National Warfare, 13:7-8a
    3. Natural Disasters, 13:8b
    4. Christian Persecution, 13:9-11
    5. Family Division, 13:12-13

 

 

  1. Signs of the End of the Age that will be Definite

    1. The Abomination of Desolation, 13:14
    2. The Great Tribulation, 13:15-23

 

 

  1. Sign of the End of the Age that will be Ultimate

 

Verse 24 begins with “but” and is in contrast to the false messiahs of the Great Tribulation.  The true Messiah will come as there will be a cosmic announcement. 

 

All of Jesus’ language is a combination of apocalyptic language from major and minor OT prophets.  The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shine. 

 

Stars will fall, and powers in heaven will be shaken.  I believe these powers simply refer to forces of energy that hold everything in place.  God will allow them to be shaken.

 

In verse 26, those alive will see Jesus returning on chariots of clouds in all of His glory and power.  Along with Him will be His angels and His elect that have been gathered in anticipation of ruling and judging during Jesus’ earthly reign.

 

 

End of the Age Timeline

Now, I want to back track just a little and give you what I believe will be the big events of the end of the age.  Not all of these are mentioned here, but I believe all of these are biblical.

 

First, since coming of the Holy Spirit, we have been living in the church age.  This has been true for 2000 years. 

 

I believe the next big event will be the rapture of the church.  It will be sudden and without warning and could happen today.  That is the taking of all born-again Christians to be immediately with the Lord and for eternity. 

 

The next big event is the tribulation period.  I believe the book of Daniel describes it as two 3.5 year periods.  After the first will be the Abomination of Desolation.  Then the second happens.

 

At the end of the two 3.5 year periods, I believe Jesus will return as described in Mark 13:26.  His second coming will keep off His 1000 earthly reign.  After it, eternity will begin. 

 

 

The Parable of the Fig Tree, Mark 13:28-31

28 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! 30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. 

 

In this first parable of today’s text, we are to learn from the fig tree.  Even though many have tried to make this more complicated than necessary, this is actually a very easy parable to read, understand, and apply. 

 

Remember that a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, and fig trees were very common in the first century.  Jesus’ audience would have been familiar with fig trees and their growth patterns. 

 

When the branches put forth leaves, summer was near.  That is easy.  Fig trees bloomed as spring ended and summer began.  Their bloom was the sign that summer was near.

 

According to verse 29, these things will be a sign that Jesus’ coming is near.  What were “these things?”  The things that Jesus was speaking of began in verse 14. 

 

These were the events of the tribulation period and will include the abomination of desolation and the greatest persecution Christians have ever known.  There will also be signs and wonders and false messiahs.  These are all signs that the Second Coming is close…at the doors.

 

Therefore, this first parable teachers us that the end of the age will be scripted.  It is scripted by the hand of God and the words of Scripture.  It will follow a predetermined script, and in verse 31, Jesus said, you can count on this script or prediction or prophecy coming true. 

 

Before we go to the next parable, let’s look at verse 30 for a moment.  What generation is Jesus speaking about here?  He said that this generation would not pass away until all these things take place. 

 

I think this generation can have two meanings.  Remember that this entire conversation started about the temple.  I believe that Jesus was saying that this first generation would not pass until they saw the destruction of the temple.  That happened just 40 years, and Jesus was right.

 

At the same time, I that Jesus is also talking about the last generation, the generation that sees the beginning of the tribulation period.  Jesus is saying they will also see His second coming. 

 

The parable of the fig tree teaches us that the end of the age will be scripted.

 

 

The Parable of the Absent Homeowner, Mark 13:32-37

32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

 

Our second parable actually doesn’t being until verse 34.  However, let’s look at the verses leading up to the parable of the absent homeowner. 

 

In verse 32, we see that the only one who knows the exact timing of Christ’s return is the Father.  Does that speak ill of Jesus?  Not at all.  It simply lets us that know that Jesus chose purposefully to limit some of His divine omnipotence. 

 

Verse 34 then begins the parable of the absent homeowner.  A man left his home to go on a trip, and he left his servants in charge.  They were to do their work.

 

He also left a doorkeeper and told him to watch for the homeowner to return.  Don’t get caught sleeping or you will miss the homeowner’s return. 

 

As for its meaning, this parable doesn’t distinguish between the servants and doorkeeper.  Both were to be prepared for the homeowner’s sudden return.  Obviously, Jesus is the absent homeowner. 

 

If the parable of the fig tree teaches us that the end times will be scripted, the parable of the absent homeowner tells us that the return of Christ will be sudden.  When He comes, your time to prepare will be over.

 

One more truth is implied but not explicit in this second parable.  The judgement of God will be severe.  Don’t get caught sleeping when Jesus returns. 

 

 

Conclusion

So what do we do?  The end of the age will be scripted.  The return of Christ will be sudden.  The judgment of God will be severe.

 

We are to watch or be ready and pray.  Just like last week, on three occasions, Jesus said to watch: 13:33, 35, 37. 

 

We are to watch and be ready in our relationship with God and our relationship with others, and we are to pray.  Pray for the Lord Jesus to come quickly, and pray for those who are lost to recognize their lostness and Jesus as their only hope. 

 

Watch and pray!

The End of the Age, Part 1

The End of the Age, Part 1

May 31, 2020

Generally speaking, people are very interested in the future.  We want to know to know the future personally.  We want to know the future related to EBC.  We want to know the future of our community and school and economy and favorite teams.    

 

We want to know the future as it relates to the Bible, and that often means details.  For the next two Sundays, we are going to be looking at Mark 13 and the end of the age.  However, if you are looking for a detailed timeline, you will probably be disappointed because our text is full of apocalyptic language that is highly symbolic and by nature can have multiple meanings.

 

Mark 13 along with Matthew 24-25 and Luke 21 is often called the “Olivet Discourse” because Jesus spoke to His disciples from the Mount of Olives.  We have probably now moved to Wednesday of Passion Week, and today, we will cover verses 1-23 and 24-37 for next week in looking at the end of the age.

 

 

Mark 13:1-4, The Temple will be Destroyed!

1 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”  2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”  3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” 

 

As Jesus and His disciples were leaving the temple, one of the disciples pointed out the beauty of the temple.  It was built with large white stones and decorated with gold.  The stones could have been 30 plus feet long and 12 feet high and 18 feet deep.  This would be akin to a railroad boxcar. 

 

The temple was not finished at this time.  Its construction began in 20 BC by Herod the Great.  It wasn’t finished until about 64 AD.  This conversation between Jesus and His disciples took place around 30 AD.  Therefore, even though it wasn’t finished, construction had been going on for 50 years.

 

Jesus responded to his disciple’s statement with a prophetic statement.  He predicted that the temple where they were currently standing would be destroyed. 

 

Did this happen? Certainly, it happened approximately 40 years later as the Romans burned the temple and destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.  However, this first prophecy would simply be a foreshadowing of another prophecy that would be further away and actually hasn’t been realized yet.

 

In verses 3-4, Jesus and His disciples left the temple and went up to the Mount of Olives to talk.  Those disciples that had been with Him the longest wanted to know when the temple would be destroyed.  They also wanted to know what signs would indicate its beginning of its destruction so we will answer their two questions today and next week as Jesus answered them.

 

He answered their second question first and their first question second.  Also, Jesus spoke prophetically about an event that would come sooner, the destruction of the temple, to teach them about an event that would come later.  Therefore, Jesus prophesied about two major future events here in Mark 13.  The rest of today’s text relates to that second major future event. 

 

 

Mark 13:5-13, Signs will be Distorted.

5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.  9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

 

 

In verse 5, Jesus warned His disciples regarding this second major future event about being deceived or tricked with false signs or signs that will be distorted.  They include:

 

  1. False Messiahs (13:6) – Many will come in Jesus’ name claiming to be the Savior, and they will convince many to follow them instead of Jesus.
  2. National Warfare (13:7-8a) – There will be wars and rumors of war. Jesus said these things must happen but are not definite signs of the end.  As a matter of fact, these five distorted signs have been happening for 2000 years.
  3. Natural Disasters (13:8b) – There will be natural disasters including earthquakes and famines and troubles such as tornadoes and tsunamis and flooding and COVID.
  4. Christian Persecution (13:9-11) – There will be physical persecution for being a known follower of Christ, and your persecution will be a witness to those who are persecuting you. Be encouraged that when you stand for Christ, the HS will never leave you or forsake you and give you the words to say in that very moment.  Also, please note that before the end comes, the gospel must be shared with the entire world.  This truth should fuel our missionary sending, missionary praying, and missionary funding, and this truth reminds us of God’s loving patience with a lost and dying world.
  5. Family Division (13:12-13) – There will be divisions and strife within families over following Christ. However, persevering through the end will demonstrate your faithfulness, and 1 John 2:19 tells us that those who turn away were never saved in the first place. 

 

All of these signs are not signs of the end of the age.  They are signs of a sinful world and have been happening for 2000 years. 

 

 

Mark 13:14-23, Signs will be Definite.

14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.  21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.

 

Beginning verse 14, Jesus fast forwarded to some definite signs of the end of the age.  The first is the abomination of desolation, and Jesus was using language from Daniel.  Originally, it referred to an event that was such an abomination and so horrible that is caused the Jewish people to scatter and leave the temple desolate or empty. 

 

Events like this has happened multiple times, but what is interesting about Jesus’ language here is that, in the language of the NT, it seems to refer to a person and not just an event.  It seems that Jesus was pointing to the Anti-Christ who will turn his back on the nation of Israel and raise an image of himself in the temple and declare that he is God.  That will send the nation of Israel and followers of Christ scrambling. 

 

Consequently, the abomination of desolation will begin the persecution of followers of Christ during this great tribulation period that will be worse than it has ever been in all of history.  Jesus warned them to run and hide, and warned them not to give in to following false teachers doing signs and wonders.  This time will end only because of God’s grace and mercy, and He will not allow His chosen to fall away.

 

 

Conclusion

What shall we take away from our text today?  Remember, Jesus prophesied about two major future events.  The first was the destruction of the temple.  We will see the second next week that will begin the end of the age.

 

Until then: watch, watch, and watch.  See 13:5, 9, 23.  Watch and make sure you are ready to me your maker, and you can only be at peace with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

However, after you make sure you are ready, make sure you are committed to sharing the gospel with others so they will be ready as well.