Chapter 14 is full of heartbreaking stories. Jesus is betrayed, disobeyed, deserted, lied about, and these are just his friends. Jesus is arrested and in verse 53 brought before the high priests and the Sanhedrin.
Now the Sanhedrin was the “Supreme Court” in Jerusalem made up of 70 judges, and this nighttime meeting was illegal for them. They were looking for a reason to put Jesus to death. “Some gave false testimony against Jesus… yet even their own testimony did not agree (v. 59).”
Finally the high priest asks Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus responds, “I am.”

Now up until this point Jesus has told people to be quiet about him being the Messiah (Mk. 1:34, 44 5:43, 8:30). We even blogged about it a few weeks ago as Shad brought it to our attention. Scholars know this idea as the “Messianic Secret.”

Jesus knew the consequences of such a claim… and here at this moment he reveals any secret of who he is. In response to a direct question, Jesus does not hesitate. In fact, he uses the very word “Adonai” used to identify himself to Moses at the burning bush, when he said, “I am who I am.”
So not only does Jesus affirm he is the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One, he hints that he is to be identified with Adonai himself!

This would have been a loaded statement to the high priests and Sanhedrin who knew their Torah well. Can you imagine the intensity of this moment? The priest tore his clothes!
Yesterday, Matt shared about how he was reflecting on who Jesus is. Maybe today we can also reflect on Jesus’ response to the question about who he is… “Adonai”.

The secret is out.



Jared did a brilliant job with our NT reading calendar. Notice that we are reading Mark's account leading up to the resurrection. And on Sunday, we will be reading Mark 16 - the account of the resurrection.

Today, I found myself simply reflecting on who Jesus is. In thinking of the different ways to describe Jesus, I remembered an old sermon by S M Lockridge. I think the sermon was titled "That's My King." If you have a few minutes, watch this clip -

And don't forget that we'll be gathering on Thursday evening to reflect on Jesus' last supper with His disciples. We'll gather at MMCC at 7pm. Hope you can make it.



Have you noticed the conflict between Jesus and religious people? I think this is one of the most overlooked pieces of the Jesus stories in our world. Well, maybe not completely overlooked...but passed over in how they relate to us. I believe there are many times when we, as Christians today, could probably see ourselves in the stories of the Pharisees. I'm just not so sure we would like what we see. I think we read them and relate them to others instead of ourselves. So we read the stories and just pass over them. Notice that Jesus isn't real interested in all the religious debates these religious people want to start. Yes, He answers their questions and leaves them angry, but He just doesn't seem that interested in religiocity. I love the story of the 'tax' question. I love the way Jesus responds and turns the tables. But my favorite piece of today's passage is found in verses 28-34.

I'm not sure why he asked the question, "What is the greatest commandment?" Maybe, like many of us, he just wanted to know the most important thing. Maybe in the spirit of the surrounding stories, he was trying to trap Jesus. For Jews, all of the law found in the Torah was important. Maybe he was just trying to catch Jesus 'off His game.' I'm not sure why he asked, but I am so glad that he did. I have a feeling that I would have asked this question. And Jesus' response? It becomes a direction for us, a foundation for us, it becomes the thing we should focus on every single day of our lives. Here it is. "Love God with everything you are and love other people with no strings attached." (my paraphrase) Period. Everything comes down to this: Loving God and loving other people. That's it.

So, the question today...How are you doing at the most important thing? How are you doing at loving God with everything you are? How are you loving people with no strings attached? And after answering those questions, what can you do to take another step in loving God and loving others today? These are the most important things.

Father, forgive me for not loving You with everything I am. Forgive me for making gods of the things in our world. Forgive me for loving money and stuff. Father, forgive me for ignoring people around me. Forgive me for thinking only of myself. Forgive me for the agendas I often have with other people. Lead me to love them with no strings attached today. Help me to love You and love others like Jesus did. Amen.


God in a box

Forgive me as I am going to work backwards through Mark 11 today.  Verse 24 jumped out to me today. I often pray within the limits of my humanness. I believe but I keep God in a box. For example, I pray that our van will continue to run or that some day we can afford a new one, but I never pray for God to just bring us a better vehicle. Why not? Because that's too big for God? Because I shouldn't exhibit such faith? Because it's out of the ordinary and I keep God in a box. But I sometimes wrestle with the notion in this verse that if I ask it I will get it; I love how The Message phrases this verse: "That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything."  I should pray for everything on my heart AND (I love this emphasis) I will get God's everything. In other words, anything God gives me is great because it's from him.  

OK, now it's time for a little Bible history. I give credit to Beth Moore--I just love how she links the Old and New Testaments together for us! As we studied the Psalms of Ascents last Fall, we learned about the Three Feasts. The last of the Feasts, I believe, was celebrated at the end of the harvest season: The Feast of the Tabernacle. You can read about it in Leviticus 23:33-44, but verse 40 is of particular interest today.

On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.

We know that this is exactly what occurred on Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered Jerusalem.  Let me try to tie this together simply.  During the Feast of the Tabernacle, they would celebrate the coming Messiah.  They would shout "Hosanna" which means "Send Messiah" or "Save Now".  So, when Jesus entered Jerusalem that day, for those who believed, it sent them straight into the Feast of the Tabernacle.  When they cried "Hosanna", they were acknowledging and proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah.  

Palm Sunday was yesterday.  Did you shout "Hosanna"--did you cry out, proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah, your Savior & redeemer.  As we lead up to the Easter celebration, I'm thinking I need to keep a certain heartattitude.  So, I believe I will start every morning this week with a "Hosanna!"