Today’s Bible Reading:
Mark 14: 32-72
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
32They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
35He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
37Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 38Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
39Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. 40When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say.
41When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
43And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. 44The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” 45As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.
46Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 47But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.
48Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 49Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me.”
50Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. 51One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, 52he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.
Jesus before the Council
53They took Jesus to the high priest’s home where the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law had gathered. 54Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and went right into the high priest’s courtyard. There he sat with the guards, warming himself by the fire.
55Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any. 56Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other. 57Finally, some men stood up and gave this false testimony: 58“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’” 59But even then they didn’t get their stories straight!
60Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 61But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62Jesus said, “i am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? 64You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”
“Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”
65Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and beat him with their fists. “Prophesy to us,” they jeered. And the guards slapped him as they took him away.
Peter Denies Jesus
66Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.”
68But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.
69When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” 70But Peter denied it again.
A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.”
71Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.
Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.
Verse of the Day:
Today we read from the perspective of Mark about what happened in the garden right before Jesus is arrested. His account is very similar to what we read in both Matthew and John over the past several days.
Verse 53 picks up where we haven’t read so far – Jesus is taken to be questioned by the high priest and religious leaders. Remember – these are the very same people that tried so many times to corner Jesus during his teachings and trick him with their questions.
Even now, the high priests are unable to find fault – they can’t get their stories straight and they are even contradicting themselves. Jesus doesn’t even reply to this craziness.
Only when asked directly about being the Messiah – does he speak up with the truth. And they declared it blasphemy.
In the final portion of our reading we see how quickly Peter denies Christ – 3x, one right after the other.
All the warnings and predictions from Jesus to his disciples, as well as the word of the prophets in the Old Testament – are beginning to come true. It’s unfair. It doesn’t make sense. Yet, it is exactly what Jesus has been preparing for.
What emotions flood your mind as you read about everything that is happening?
Part of me feels helpless. But then another part feels hopeful. I think about those words from Jesus, even in the midst of the questioning and beating, that we will see Him seated in the place of power at God’s right hand in heaven. I think about how Jesus has said that we will grieve – but then we will have JOY! And I follow along with the story of His life to once again remember all that he did for me.
How about you?