Summary: On the most chaotic, stress-filled day of His life, Jesus modeled calm and stayed in control. Here are four things we can learn from Jesus about keeping calm.
A few years ago, I started noticing this poster everywhere: Keep Calm and Carry On. It was on social media. T-Shirts. Coffee mugs. And it wasn’t long after that that you started seeing all the variations to it: [advance each one]
• Keep calm and wash your hands (that one has just been in the past few months)
• Keep Calm and swim fast. (saw this in a beach shop on our last vacation)
• Here’s one for Star Wars fans: (Calm you shall keep and carry on you must)
• Now, Mike, I know you’ve never seen Star Wars, so I found one for you: Keep Calm and Conceal Carry
• And, because of my own warped sense of humor, here’s my favorite: Keep Calm and Carrion
[back to actual poster]
Now, all this got me wondering about the origin of the poster itself. I had heard that it had been produced during World War 2 by the British War Department, but I was curious as to why we just started hearing about it in the past few years. Then I found this video about its backstory. Watch this…
Ok, first off, how many of you really want to go find that bookshop right now? It’s amazing to me that the British never released it because they wanted to save it for a time of great crisis. I guess the bombing of London by the Nazis didn’t count. But it also makes me think that right now, we are living through a time of great crisis. There’s a pandemic. There’s economic uncertainty. There’s a presidential election. There’s families wondering about whether or not they should send their kids to school next year. It seems to me that we are in a time of great crisis, and maybe we need this message, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
But this morning I want us to look at the events of Mark 14. This is the Thursday of Holy Week. The day starts with Jesus sending some disciples to scout out a location for the Passover meal, and it ends with Jesus getting arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. So you can imagine, it’s a pretty stressful, chaotic, day. I think Jesus was fully aware of what he was about to go through. But as we look at this, I want you to pay attention to how completely in control Jesus was throughout the last 36 hours of his life. We are going to look at four things we can do to help us manage the chaotic, stressful, difficult days.
1. Keep calm and create community (v. 22-25; Luke 22:14-15)
When Jesus woke up on Thursday morning, I believe He had full knowledge of what the day would bring. I think He knew that the next day He would be handed over to be crucified.
Which makes it kind of amazing to me that the first thing Jesus did on Thursday was to dispatch two of his disciples to make dinner plans. Let’s look together at verses 12-16:
12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Now there are a couple of really interesting things about these verses that I want to point out. First off, if you compare the gospel accounts you may get confused as to why Matthew Mark and Luke seem to say that Jesus ate the Passover meal on Thursday night, but when you flip over to John’s gospel, it seems that Passover hasn’t happened yet. John 18:10 says that after Jesus was arrested early FRIDAY morning, the religious leaders brought him to Pilate’s headquarters, but that they didn’t enter his house because that would have made them unclean and they couldn’t eat the Passover.
But notice that Jesus sends His disciples into the city to find a man carrying a jar of water. They were to follow him, and he would show them a guest room that was prepared for them to eat the Passover.
Men didn’t normally carry jars of water. That was considered women’s work. But some scholars suggest that there was an Essene community living within the walls of Jerusalem. Essenes were sort of like a Jewish monastic group. The men were celibate, so they would have been carrying water jars. And, they followed a different calendar than the more mainstream Jews, so they would have observed Passover on Thursday instead of Friday. Since Jesus knew that the religious leaders were looking to arrest Him, He may have arranged to observe Passover according to the Essene calendar in order to throw them off the scent. So there’s a good chance this was a prearranged signal that would lead Jesus and His disciples to an upper room used by the Essenes.