Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Mark 15: Delivered By His Enemies
When you’re powerless, the only tactic left is to refuse to cooperate.
We’ve all watched it on the evening news. A man on trial refuses to testify. A group of protestors refuses to move. A prisoner refuses to eat. It’s the only power they have left to wield.
Recently I read a report about the hunger strike currently going on at Guantanamo Bay. Starting with a handful of prisoners, there are now 100 who are refusing food as a protest against being detained without being charged with crimes. What politicians have failed to do, they have begun to accomplish. Media attention is growing and public pressure is sure to follow.
Passivity is a power play for the powerless.
Not passive, but meek
As we read Mark 15, it might look like Jesus has begun a form of passive resistance. He speaks only once to Pilate, in answer to a direct question. His silence in answer to further accusations is utterly baffling. He offers no further answer.
He submits to his enemies. He is passed from one to the next like some kind of package, until he reaches his terrible destination. The Council “delivers him over to Pilate”. Pilate delivers him over to the mob. The mob demands his death. Pilate delivers him to be crucified.
But was this the passive resistance of the powerless? No. Matthew tells us that Jesus could call on his Father at any moment and be delivered by an army of angels (Matthew 26:53). His silence and submission and refusal to drink the myrrh laced wine wasn’t a last ditch protest. It was absolute power under absolute control. He decided to die.
This was the submission to the Father’s will that he had fought for in the Garden of Gethsemane. He laid down his life willingly for us. It was the ultimate obedience. He died, not just at the hands of his friends who forsook him, not just at the hands of his enemies who betrayed, mocked, and crucified him, but at the hands of his Father, whose will it was that he be crushed.
For you. For me.
Day 1: Context — Read Exodus 12:42 and review the events of the night before in Mark 14.
- According to Exodus 12:42, what did the LORD do during the night of Passover? How were the people to celebrate that aspect of their salvation?
- How was this a night of watching? For the disciples? For Jesus?
- What temptation did Jesus overcome by watching and praying?
Day 2: Observation — Read Mark 15 and observe the details of Jesus’ rejection and suffering.
- Who rejected him in Mark 15:1-15? What was the reason for each of the 3 rejections?
- What abuses did Jesus suffer from the soldiers? Record what “they” did starting as recorded in Mark 15:16-25.
- What mockery did he endure while hanging on the cross? What was the irony of their words? Mark 15:26-32.
- What one sentence does Mark record from Jesus’ lips? How was this the ultimate suffering?
- What two things happened immediately after he died?
Day 3: Meaning — Read Mark 15 as a story of passion, not powerlessness.
- Why was Jesus condemned? Whose condemnation did he take? (Romans 8:1)
- Why was Jesus rejected? Who is now welcomed? (Romans 15:7)
- Why was he forsaken by the Father? Who is now beloved by the Father? (John 14:23)
- Why was he silent before his accusers? Who now bears witness? (Acts 1:8)
Day 4: Application — Read Mark 15 as a message of comfort for your sins and help for your needs.
- What sins are troubling you today? Nail them to the cross and celebrate your freedom. Sing to your Savior!
- What needs are you aware of in yourself or others? Run through the torn curtain straight into the Father’s presence and ask.
- Who do you know that needs to hear about the passionate love of Jesus? Seek the Spirit for an opportunity and the boldness to speak clearly.
Have a blessed week contemplating the cross of Christ. All the grace you need was paid for that day.