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Summary: Jesus met fierce opposition from ruling class hypocrites whose false narrative about Him was rooted in deep jealousy. By His decision to keep doing His Father's Will for the sake of mankind, love prevailed over hypocrisy.

GOOD NEWS PRESENTED BY MARK

Study of the Gospel According to Mark

As you read Mark, be aware that you are reading the very first written account of the ministry of Jesus – a fact well documented by credible Bible scholars. Quite naturally, we want to know who Mark was, and we find that he is mentioned frequently in the New Testament.

What we know about him is that he was the son of a very well-to-do woman in Jerusalem; her name was Mary, and her home became the center of early church get-togethers. So, you can imagine that Mark was there when Jesus’ closest followers came to his mother’s house for a “church council” meeting. Peter the chief elder referred to Mark affectionately as “my son.”

Mark was also the nephew of Barnabas who talked Paul into letting the youngster go with them on one of their missionary journeys - which, you may recall, resulted in Mark’s falling out of favor with Paul by leaving and going back home. However, it’s interesting to note that, years later, when Paul was in prison, facing execution, he asked Timothy to bring Mark with him, “for he is a most useful servant to me.”

I suppose Paul saw in this young man a Christian who had the ability to write; and, apparently having redeemed himself, he could now be counted on to carry out Paul’s wishes. This explanation is plausible because Mark had served as Peter’s scribe and, as such, had written much of what Peter related to him about his eye witness account of the ministry of Jesus.

MARK SERMON XI – MARK 14:1-44 . . .

A CLASHING OF WILLS ON THE WAY TO THE CROSS

On the way to an Olympics gold medal – or silver, or bronze, or for that matter, just to finish the race – the clashing of wills separates the fittest from the fainthearted. Strong-willed athletes tend to have the edge when it comes to disciplinary preparation and sheer determination.

Every Olympic contestant’s goal is “the gold”, but those participants who “stay the course” have no reason to hang their heads in shame!

Disappointed? Yes. Discouraged? Yes. Defeated? No. In practically every area of life – including religion - there are “winners” and “losers”.

During a period of crisis in a church I served, a neighbor of mine spoke words of encouragement to me as I left home to go to my office each morning. From his front porch across the street He would call out to me: “Remember, Charles, you’re on the winning side!” Raymond spoke of “winning” not in terms of prevailing - as in a contest - but as a reference to another of his euphemisms: “With God on your side, how can you lose?”

Although I, in no way, saw or see myself as a “martyr” - and certainly NOT a “savior” in any sense of the word - nevertheless there are times in our lives when we must admit that “a power beyond ourselves” is in control, and that, therefore, we are compelled to submit to God’s Way and Will.

As Jesus entered the final phase of His redemptive mission, He bowed to the absolute certainty and inevitability of the clashing of wills that would send Him to the Cross; but, through it all, He focused on God’s Purpose.

Jesus understood He was on the “winning side”; yet, humanly speaking, His burden was difficult to bear. Most of us have “been there” - in the sense that we have at times found ourselves “between a rock and a hard place”. As did Jesus, we too have experienced that feeling of loneliness.

During those final hours of great distress in the life of Jesus, not only did He have a difficult decision to make – as to God’s Will versus His own will - but so did other participants in that “drama of the ages”. To begin with, a decision by Jewish religious leaders set the tone for the events leading up to our Lord’s “Hour of Decision” --- Mark 14:1-2 . . .

How tragic it was that religious leaders conspired to murder this “teacher come from God” - on a mission “to save people from their sins” - whose innocence would be declared by the highest Roman official in Judea! For me, the lesson to be learned from the events leading up to the crucifixion is this: Love compels, but hypocrisy (hatred) repels – even kills!

Each one of us who encounter Jesus decides the path we will take in response to His redemptive claim – the way of love or the way of hypocrisy.

LOVE compelled the anointing of Jesus while He was visiting a friend in Bethany prior to going into the City (Mark 14:3-9) . . . A woman to whom Jesus meant more than words could convey decided to honor her Lord by anointing Him with a rare perfume.

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