This chapter is what makes Jesus such an intriguing figure, both in our Christian faith and in history. We’re really good at celebrating the miracles, how Jesus loved the world so much, how He suffered on the cross. But in Jesus’ final hours, we see an inglorious, suffering, bizarre figure – and this sums up the Son of God’s ministry?
Much of the chapter tells a story of darkness and secrets. During dinner at a leper’s home, a strange woman shows up and dumps perfume at Jesus’ feet, suggesting His future death and burial. A Passover meal is prepared in a makeshift fashion, in a man’s upper room. Jesus performs the rites that we have made familiar in church as communion, which resemble nothing less than cannibalism, all the while pointing out that someone at the table would betray Him. In the same breath, Jesus also proclaims that His closest follower would deny their friendship. As darkness falls, He finds Himself very alone. He cries out to God to remove what He was asked to do. He is then betrayed, arrested, abandoned by His best friends, and put on trial by the same people He spent a huge amount of time chastising for religious malpractice.
What a sucky way to go. This is our Savior of the world, the man we will glorify and revere for all eternity? Who is this guy?
I think church misses this aspect of Jesus completely. We preach prosperity, healing, grace, love, eternity in heaven, forgiveness, and the better life we’ll live if we just walk with Christ. I don’t think the people at the pulpit preaching these messages week to week are paying attention to the matter of Mark 14, the chapter that encapsulates a forlorn, depressed Savior. . And mind you, this is BEFORE the whipping and mockery we glamourize in our Savior’s weary waltz to the Cross.
Every man that says they know their Lord is to know this chapter, because the sooner we consume and digest these holy words, the sooner we will recognize the character of our suffering servant we call our Lord. And understanding that our Savior felt and hurt might help us realize that it’s okay to feel and to hurt, to know that He did actually experience what is common to man. And this is more encouraging to me than any doctrine of prosperity that can be concocted by a wealthy preacher. It compels me to live for Him without feeling like I’ve stumbled somewhere to earn a crown of difficulty. It’s normal. And it makes the realm of heaven that much more attractive.