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But if Jesus was not using God’s own name in reference to himself, why was he accused of blasphemy (14:63-64)? What did he say that deserved punishment, even death, in the eyes of the Jewish officials?
After Jesus was arrested, he was taken to the home of the high priest, where he was interrogated by Jewish leaders from Jerusalem. Many witnesses offered testimony against Jesus, but their stories were not sufficient to condemn him. As he was being accused, Jesus remained silent.
Today’s text describes the seed falling into good soil. So, what makes the soil good? As our last set of reflections suggested, part of the answer lies in our giving conscious, sustained and disciplined attention to Jesus’ way of life and leadership. However, this is not merely an exercise in acquiring leadership knowledge or technique. Jesus’ teaching challenges us at the core of our being as leaders.
The prayer of Jesus in the Garden not only reveals the mystery of the Incarnation, but also invites us to pray without limit, hesitation, or fear. Most of us have learned not to tell the Lord what is truly in our hearts, at least not when we’re desperate, sad, angry, or doubting. We might give God a hint about what we’re really thinking and feeling. But, usually we couch this in safe and well-rehearsed spiritual language.
Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is, in my opinion, the most astounding prayer . . . ever. There is no prayer in Scripture that surprises us more than this one. And there is no prayer in Scripture that more passionately invites us into the very heart of Jesus and the mystery of God’s nature.
If you’re familiar with the story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane, you know that the three disciples whom he selected to come along with him did not “keep watch.” The Greek verb used here can also mean, “stay awake.” In fact, Peter, James, and John fell asleep while Jesus was praying, much to his chagrin (14:37-38).
Almost all Christians remember the events of the Last Supper and reenact those events on a regular basis. Some of us call this “Communion.” Others call it the “Eucharist” or the “Lord’s Supper” or the “Mass.” But, no matter the differences in name or theological nuance, all Christians understand that the sharing of bread and the cup in a worship service is an occasion to remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. It is a time to look back so that we might be renewed and refreshed in the present.
Today, as we make our way devotionally through the Gospel of Mark, we come to the Last Supper, the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion. As I read Mark 14:22-23, I am struck once again by something I didn’t see for the first five decades of my life. It’s something I’ve mentioned before in these Life for Leaders devotions. It’s something that is both obvious and usually overlooked. Thus, I want to reflect on it once again.
I want to pause one more day to reflect with you on the story of the woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion I focused on the costly sacrifice of the woman who anointed Jesus with such expensive perfume. Today, I want to draw our attention to something Jesus said in response to this generous act.
Some who observed the anointing of Jesus by the woman objected that this was a huge waste of money. Had the jar been sold, it would have brought in a large sum to care for the poor (14:4-5). But Jesus defended the woman’s actions. Her sacrifice for him was costly indeed and absolutely appropriate. Not only was she expressing her deep love for Jesus, but, unknowingly, she was also preparing him for his burial (14:6-9).
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