I’m back from the Holy Land and our devotionals will return on their normal schedule. I hope you all had a Happy New Year as well. One question for you, we are close to finishing Mark, what would you like to do next? I am either going to return to the format that I have done for years, reflecting upon a passage from the Morning Office (or some other daily lectionary) or I may do another book of the Bible. Any feedback? Let me know what you think!
Today we are going to look at Mark 14:53-64:
53 They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. 54 Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. 56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. 57 Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 But even on this point their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 61 But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 Jesus said, “I am; and
‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power,’
and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. 65 Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.
One of the things that you always take away from going to the Holy Land is the reality of all that Jesus went through for our sake. You see the places where He was abused, where He was mocked, where He was spit upon.
You see places, just like what is described here, where these things happened.
We like to skip ahead the good part. The resurrection, the victory, all that is to come. But, in doing that, we cause the “good part” to lose part of its power. When you see all that Jesus went through, the power of the empty grave is even more amazing! He overcame ALL of this! Don’t rush through the tough parts to get to the victory.
When confronted with the reality of Jesus’ suffering, it’s easy for us to look past it. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked here, we tell ourselves.
But it was. It was as tough as it seems here. In fact, it would have been even worse than we could have imagined. And that hurts. That’s painful. We don’t like to think about what Jesus went through for us, it’s too painful.
I think, for me, one of the reasons it can be difficult is when I see the lengths of faithfulness of our savior, I compare it to how easy I want everything to be. I don’t want to struggle. I don’t want these challenges. I want it to all be calm waters.
But that’s not the way that life works. The challenges, the tough times, that’s most when we see the power of Jesus.
Don’t rush through the tough parts of the Bible. And don’t rush through the tough parts of our lives. In those valleys, in those trials, that most often when we see the power of God.
Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 14:66-72.
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