NT Convictions for Mark 14-16
We are capturing one conviction each day in these three areas (and doing it in the third):
- About God: In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to have the "this cup taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will." Mark 14.36 We have a long and storied history of Christian martyrs who face their death with absolute resolve (Polycarp: "Why do you delay (to his executioner)? Come do what you will." Ignatius: "I am writing to all the Churches and I enjoin all, that I am dying willingly for God's sake, if only you do not prevent it. I beg you, do not do me an untimely kindness. Allow me to be eaten by the beasts, which are my way of reaching to God. I am God's wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become the pure bread of Christ.") So why does Jesus pray for a change of plans? It was not his fear of pain nor his fear of humiliation. It was likely his fear of the unknown - the fear of sin's defilement (the one thing he could never have known). So Christ prays three times in order to endure my stain, my stench, my sins. How much he loves holiness; how much he hates sin; how much he loves us.
- About NT Christianity: Peter asserts that even if he has to die with Jesus, he will never disown him. Mark 14.31 The anticipated persecution for following Jesus was very real. When a servant girl looks closely at him, Peter begins his string of denials under the fear of persecution. Our brothers and sisters followed Jesus at their peril.
- DWIS: Jesus' profound advice to the disciples in the garden are words that I now will put into practice today, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." I am about to head out on a prayer walk where I will "watch" or think through all the possible tempations today (for pride, to lie, to lust, to avoid service, to give in to fear). And I won't stop praying until the Holy Spirit has solidified a course of action to avoid, resist or flee those temptations. I won't be blindsided by my laziness today, instead I'll be forewarned and forearmed by following Jesus' direction.