Summary: The Disciples had experienced one or two Passover Meals with Jesus before this. Why did Jesus wait til this last one to refer to how it applied to Him?
OPEN: There is a part of a basketball game that no spectator gets to see.
No matter how important the ticket holder may be.
No matter how much he’s paid for his seat.
There is one event he will NOT be INVITED to observe.
And yet this one event can change the entire course of a game. I’ve read of games that I’d have considered lost – games when teams were down as much as 20 points or more - that literally turned around when this part of the basketball game took place.
Does anybody know what I’m talking about?
That’s right - It’s called the half-time talk.
It’s considered to be so crucial to the tempo of a game that nearly every team has one.
I did an internet search looking for examples of these talks, but all I could find were colorful phrases to describe them. Phrases like:
(and my personal favorite) Paint peeling
Coach Jerry Wainwright DePaul Blue Demons once said that during such a talk: "I wasn’t real kind. Usually, I yell to our players. This time I yelled at them."
The objective a half-time talk is to tell the team what they may not want to hear - but things they really DO need to hear in order to succeed in the 2nd half.
APPLY: In this passage from the Gospel of Mark, we find Jesus telling his disciples some things they don’t want to hear. Just for the sake of my illustration, I want you to think about the disciples as being a team and Jesus is their coach.
Over the past couple of days, they’ve been on a roll. Jesus has come off a successful road trip
o where He’s performed numerous miracles
o healed hundreds of people
o And raised Lazarus from the dead.
And then they entered into Jerusalem where the crowd goes wild. The people cut down branches from nearby palm trees and lay them along the road and they shout out “hosanna, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.” Everybody is expecting that Jesus will soon proclaim Himself to be the King
Then Jesus goes into the Temple and displays His power and majesty when He clears out the money-changers that everybody knew were crooked businessmen and should have been dealt with years ago.
Yes sir, if you were to compare this to a basketball game, “Team Jesus” has gone into the locker room with a 20 point lead… and victory is assured.
But Jesus knows that’s not how this game is going to be played out.
Jesus knows this illusion of success will soon disappear… and so will His team.
And He knows He needs to tell His team things they don’t want to hear… but the things He needs to tell them - they need to hear if they’re ever going to overcome the tragedy and despair of the next few days.
And so Jesus is brutally honest with His disciples. He tells them:
“…One of you will betray me— one who is eating with me.” Mark 14:18
"You will all fall away" Mark 14:27
And then He shared the prophecy about Himself from Zechariah 13:7 where God declared:
”I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
This is unbelievable.
The disciples can’t even begin to grasp what’s happened.
Except for Judas, the rest of the team has been loyal.
They’ve played their hearts out.
And yet Jesus tells ALL of them that they will fail
He tells ALL of them that they will leave Him
And worst of all, He tells them that He will die
The prophecy from Zechariah declared that the shepherd would be “Struck”… which literally means he would be “slain” or “killed”
They couldn’t understand. How could Jesus say these things?
What had they done to deserve this?
ILLUS: Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever been slapped down by something that came completely from left field and left you wondering: Why did God allow this to happen to me? What did I do to deserve this in my life?
And you begin to search for something that you need to repent of because you just know that God must be punishing you for something.
That’s how the disciples feel. What had they done to deserve this?
Well, they hadn’t DONE anything wrong. This wasn’t about them. This was about a game plan that had been devised 1000s of years before they had been born.
The book of Isaiah had declared that this Messiah would be
“…led like a lamb to the slaughter” Isaiah 53:7
“…cut off from the land of the living….” Isaiah 53:8
“…assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death…” Isaiah 53:9