Summary: A series of reflections on Texts for Good Friday from Mark’s gospel.
Good Friday Reflections on Mark’s Gospel
Reading: Mark 11:1-11
Reflection: “In lowly pomp ride on to die”
When we spoke of this incredible entry into Jerusalem Palm Sunday, we spoke of it as a glimpse of something we knew was going to be greater. But today we see the detour through which that glory and greatness must pass. There are so many words that come to us as we think about the fickleness of those who shouted hosanna on that day. Of those who would turn their backs. Of those who would turn their voices from voices of praise to voices of scorn. He entered the city in triumph and we will see that it will appear he will depart the city in defeat and disgrace. But we know that there is something beyond this day, that there is something beyond this triumph of Palm Sunday. As we prepare ourselves to walk with Jesus to the cross, let us prepare ourselves and ride with him in triumph and in majesty.
Reading: Mark 14: 26-31
Reflection: “They departed to the Mount”
There are a lot of brave words that are spoken before a time of crisis. After they departed from their supper, the Last Supper they would have with Jesus, there was something he was trying to explain to them. Trying to show them the pain and the suffering that was going to come. Trying to explain to them the sacrifice that he was about to make. Trying to explain to them the darkness of the days that were about to come. And they did not hear him. They did not understand. For weeks as they traveled to Jerusalem, he kept telling them that I must go to be sacrificed, I must go to die and then be raised after three days. But they would not hear him. What they heard him say was that he would be taken by Roman authorities, taken by temple authorities, and they all thought to themselves, We will stand up to those people. We will stand up to them with our swords, and with our fists, and we will make sure Jesus is not taken. They did not heed, they did not understand, what was about to come. They did not understand the darkness. They did not understand the sacrifice. They did not understand the pain. And we hear each time them saying, no, we will not run away. No, we will not deny you. And they had Jesus with them. They walked with him for three years, and still they denied him. Still, they deserted him. And it strikes us who do not have the man with us, as we think to ourselves, “Are our words brave words? Are our words words of courage? Will we be deserters? Will we scatter like the flock? Will we deny the Lord that is to come?”
Reading: Mark 14: 32-42
Reflection: “He came and found them sleeping”
There is a sense that Jesus, as the Lord of all the world, should have been powerful enough, should have been strong enough, should have had the mental courage to live through this painful night. The other gospels tell us stories of how in his prayers, how he was so filled with anguish that the sweat on his brow was turned to blood. That he was so filled with pain and anguish and suffering about what was about to happen that he could not bring himself to face it. And if he had trusted in his own judgment, if he had trusted in what his human senses were telling him, he would have ran away, as so many of us run away from the spiritual problems that face us. From the pain, from the grief, from the anguish that faces us, we run away. Maybe not physically, but emotionally and mentally there are people who shut down. Those who leave these things on a shelf somewhere, never to be found. But Jesus in his anguish did not bear it alone. He went up to that garden in Gethsemane, and he prayed. He prayed probably the hardest prayer he ever prayed in his life. He prayed that the cup which had been given to him might pass, that the job he was given to do might be taken from him, that the role he was to play in the world be given to another. And you can tell he probably believed those words as he said them. For who among us would walk willingly into such a sacrifice, into such a cross. Jesus did not walk blindly. He said Remove this cup from me, if it is possible, BUT not my will but yours be done. That is the powerful part in this prayer. For whatever Jesus wanted for himself, he knew that God’s purpose was foremost in his life and in his mind. He knew that with God behind him, he could overcome the pain, the doubt, the anguish and all the other human faults and sins that would hold him back, as they hold us back. They keep each one of us from fulfilling the full potential that God has in store. Will we be asleep like the disciples? Asleep at the important moments in the life of our Lord, and of our church?