Our church is taking part in a study called the Amazing Race, and as a church we are reading through the New Testament together until the end of the year. I thought I’d post my thoughts on the days readings, and I’d love to hear what you have to say. If you don’t attend SCC, I’d still love to invite you to read with us, and weigh in with what you are learning as well.
Today we read Mark 12:38-14:52.
Jesus keeps moving towards the cross. He is in Jerusalem, and the religious leaders want to arrest Him. Think about what is going on in real life terms. This is a crazy tense time. His disciples have a sense of what is going on. They want to keep Jesus quiet, to keep Him safe. He just keeps going and teaching, putting Himself at risk. You can imagine the stress and awkwardness that must have been going on with the guys.
What stands out is the contrast between Jesus and the disciples. They are struggling to see what is going on around them. Jesus is teaching about the end of time, about His betrayal, about His crucifixion, and they can’t comprehend it all. No wonder they can’t. We wouldn’t have either. They believe Jesus is there to take over the country. It’s the perfect time. At Passover, the Jewish people celebrated God coming in and saving them from the Egyptians. They celebrated it every year, and kept praying for God to do the same thing with the Romans. The Jews wanted to be free. Passover would be the PERFECT time for Jesus to declare Himself the Messiah, the One who came to save them, and take over from the Romans, setting the nation free. It was a script already written, just waiting for the right actors. And they, the disciples, were in on the ground floor.
But Jesus kept talking about the end of things, not the beginning of things. Even when He is speaking about the end of the world, they think He is talking about His kingdom coming right then. They miss it, because of their own dreams and plans for God.
In contrast, Jesus is all about God’s plans for Him. He is more in tune with what is going to happen in the future than at any other time in story. He is clearly moving on a set path, and nothing will stop it. But with His prayer in the garden, we see that it is His Father’s plan, not His. He is living in obedience to God’s authority, at whatever cost, and it gives Him laser vision and focus.
What a difference between the two sides. As we read today, which are more like? Are we like the disciples, looking for God to save us from the the things that scare us and worry us? Do we want Him to be a superman, coming to our rescue, so that we can live our dreams, our way, happily ever after? Or are we like Jesus, throwing ourselves into His arms, trusting Him to catch us, no matter what it costs? The second way is much more frightening, but it is the only way to salvation. The choice is ours today. Which will it be?