Summary: What will you do when you face trials, temptations, and persecution? Will you leave Jesus or will you remain faithful to him? I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give brief feedback.
INTRODUCTION (SECURE ATTENTION) & BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE:
PRAY before starting the sermon.
Attrition among Christians is a common problem faced by several pastors and missionaries.
For instance, according to Pew Research Center, in 2007, 78% of the American adults in the US considered themselves as Christians.
But just 7 years later, in 2014, only 71% of the American adults in the US said that they were Christians.
While doing my doctoral studies at SAIACS, we had a course named, ‘Anthropological Insights for Missiological Issues,’ in which we learned that there is alarming attrition among new believers.
For example, according to some estimates, 30-35% Adivasis (members of any of the aboriginal peoples of India) move out of the church.
When I look back at more than 12 years of my pastoral ministry, I can think of several Christians who claimed to be saved, got baptized, and later left the church and even left Christ.
The question is, “Will you also end up as a Christ-less and a church-less person?”
Don’t say that it will never happen to you.
If we are not careful, we can backslide and live a Christ-less life.
In today’s passage, we read that the disciples of Christ, who were extremely close to Jesus left him and fled.
Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to MARK 14:43-52 (READ)?
I have entitled today’s sermon as: “WILL YOU LEAVE JESUS?”
Mark 14 & 15 describe the betrayal, abandonment, arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Christ, which is referred to as “passion” (which is the Latin word for “suffer”).
The theme of chapter 14, which is the longest chapter in Mark, is the abandonment of Jesus.
In the passage that we read today, we see that:
CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE TEXT: As Jesus is seized by his opponents, his disciples left him and fled.
Mark 14:43-72 consists of A-B-A' pattern.
A: Judas betrays Jesus and the disciples betray him (14:43-52).
B: The trial of Jesus (14:53-65).
A': Peter denies Jesus (14:66-72).
FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already dealt with.
THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To exhort the members of EAGC to remain faithful to Jesus and cling to him when they face opposition.
CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: I have used inductive proposition for this sermon.
I. JESUS IS SEIZED BY HIS OPPONENTS.
A. Judas comes with a ‘crowd’ to get Jesus arrested.
Read Mark 14:43.
As I mentioned earlier, the word ‘immediately’ is used several times throughout Mark’s gospel.
From here on, several events happen swiftly.
While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve came with a “crowd.”
Mark highlights the treachery of Judas by mentioning that he was “one of the twelve.”
The same phrase is used in Mark 14:10, 17, and 20.
This “crowd” carried “swords and clubs.”
This “crowd” was sent by “the chief priests and the scribes and the elders,” which were part of the Sanhedrin, who opposed Jesus throughout his ministry (cf. 8:31; 11:27; 14:53; 15:1; also 10:33; 11:18; 14:1, 55).
Based on John 18:12, scholars say that even Roman soldiers were involved in Jesus’ arrest.
Based on the description in the Gospels, some scholars say that as many as 200 armed men came to arrest Jesus.
These men were prepared to act against any resistance that would come their way, which did come in verse 47.
B. Judas gives them a sign and kisses Jesus.
Read Mark 14:44.
Judas gave them a sign because it must have been dark in Gethsemane.
Also, the “crowd” may not be familiar with Jesus.
Judas tells the crowd to “seize” Jesus “and lead him away under guard.”
The word “seize” appears in verses 44, 46, 49, and 51.
Read Mark 14:45.
Judas went to Jesus “at once” or “immediately” and refers to Jesus as “Rabbi!” and kisses him, which was a customary greeting (1 Sam. 10:1; 2 Sam. 19:39; Luke 7:45; Rom. 16:16; 1 Pet. 5:14).
The word, kataphileo¯ means to “kiss earnestly.”
This same word is used in Luke 15:20, where Luke mentions that the Father ran towards his prodigal son, embraced him, and “kissed him.”
Judas exaggerated the kiss so that the crowd could identify Jesus and seize him.
Judas’ kiss emphasizes his betrayal.
In 2 Samuel 20:9-10 (read), we read that Joab killed Amasa by pretending to kiss him.
Judas did something similar to Jesus.
Judas mocks Jesus by greeting him through a kiss.
The theme of Jesus being mocked can be found again in chapter 15.
C. The “crowd” seizes Jesus.
Read Mark 14:46.
After Judas identifies Jesus, the “crowd” seizes Jesus.
The swiftness with which the “crowd” seizes Jesus shows their extreme hostility towards him.
D. The high priest’s servant is wounded.
Read Mark 14:47.
Several events were happening at the Garden of Gethsemane in quick succession.
It seems that many of these events happened without much thought.