Heartache happens. 'Any idea what some people are dealing with right now? Never one to just take to my bed early and 'peace out', I did last night. What a day! And upon awakening, I learned one of our Morning Briefing brothers, Joe, lost everything but his life in the raging Maui fires, escaping out of his bathroom window. 'Never done this before, and I hope you'll give me grace, as I am including a link where you can learn more about him, his loss, and how to pray or give: https://gofund.me/aaec0166 (Joe is also the dad of my niece)
Lord, have mercy on the people of Maui!
Question: In light of struggles and heartache, why study the Bible? More narrowly, why the gospels and why in the world, the sham of the trial of Jesus Christ? Oh don't you see--the greatest hope, the strongest rock, the surest foundation we have in life is Jesus Christ. This is the reason he said of himself, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.1 And why he offered himself as the source of all peace, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.2
Let us continue then in Mark chapter 14, picking up after Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, where we have a front row seat.
Kangaroo Court on Netflix. Have you seen it?
Remember the days when you watched a television show on a given night and
had to wait a week to see the next episode? Turns out there was something good and
right about waiting, about pacing ourselves. Hmmm…. tis a foreign concept today.
As we wind toward the end of the road in Mark's gospel, we continue our look at the events of Passion Week two thousand years ago. We do not have to wait long to see how the plot plays out--horrific as it is. Now if this drama was on Netflix, I would binge watch one episode until it morphed into the next so I could find out what happened to this precious man.
However, I would be woefully unprepared to witness the next events that unfolded which are so vitally important to know in order to best understand our Christian faith--to grasp the love and commitment Jesus had/has for each one of us.
Our last look at Jesus was in the dark night of the olive grove at Gethsemane. Kissed in betrayal by one of the twelve, Judas Iscariot, Jesus was identified to those who sought his demise. And then, Jesus was arrested without cause.
What comes next is well documented--evidence of people and places unearthed in and around Jerusalem. While what comes to mind for many is the trial before Pilate, there were effectively six different trials: three religious--before Annas, Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, all of which violated their own rules; three civic trials--Pilate, Herod, and back to Pilate.
Mark writes, "They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet even then their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.“You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him." Mark 14.53-65
They could not even get their stories straight on trumped-up charges against Jesus. Their own jurisprudence required all trials be public and in daylight hours. Outside the illegal trial, their 'witnesses', which were required by Jewish law in Deuteronomy 19, could not get their lies straight. Why, it was a farce!
On this very long night, when Jesus prayed in the garden a few hours before, 'Father, if it is your will, let this cup pass from me,' this was some of the suffering to which Jesus referred. When asked “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am,” he knew he sealed his fate--he knew it meant death.
Stepping back into the shadows once again, I ponder what it all means, and am so humbled by Jesus' willingness to suffer for us. His sacrifice and ultimate death on the cross gave us the access to personal relationship with him which affords us His presence and peace, no matter the woes of this life.
And then I recall his earlier words, "In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world." And so we entrust ourselves, and our heartaches, fully into his capable, nail-scarred hands. We know that indeed we trust in the Overcomer.
Oh, and consider what Jesus said, "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."4 Amen.
One Morning, we will fly away!
'can't help but smile when you listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=192W0bhJNEg
in the footsteps of Jesus, the gospel of Mark, #48
1 - John 14.6
2 - John 14.27
3 - John 16.33
4 - Revelation 3.21