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How Does Mark End For You


Mark 15: 42-16:8

We have been studying Mark for a long time and now we come to the end…and that is “Good News.”

I say that…but the truth is, whether the end of Mark here is “Good News” for you or not all depends on you.

Now you are probably thinking, “What is he talking about? This book has its own ending and it has nothing to do with how I end it.”

We have read down through verse 8 of chapter 16. But now I want you to notice verse 9.

Now scholars have been divided over this, not just for years, but for hundreds of years.

And to explain it the scholars say that there are basically three possibilities.

  1. They say that the gospel of Mark…the part that Mark wrote… ends at verse 8….but because it is such an abrupt ending some one else added verses 9-20 to give it a more sensible close.
  2. The second possibility is: whatever the ending originally was, whatever Mark wrote originally, that was lost and someone else added this ending to finish the book.
  3. And then of course, the third possibility is that verses 9-20 are authentic and a part of the gospel of Mark.

The argument that is made in favor of verses 9-20 being written by someone else is that “it only stands to reason that since verse 8 ends so abruptly that someone would add an ending.

So there is some question about whether verses 9-20 were actually written by Mark or if they were added later by someone else.

Now, listen carefully so you won’t misunderstand.

Well, maybe Mark did write verses 9-20.

But it may be that  Mark deliberately ended with verse 8…and left the rest of the story up to you to write….just as someone did here.

Now, as we go through this section it seems that Mark wants to make the point that when Jesus died on that cross…that He was really dead.

So Mark seems to make every effort to point out that Jesus was really dead.

In verses 39 Mark tells us that when Jesus breathed His last…when He died on the cross a centurion standing near by said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”

The only way you could give a crucified man a proper burial is if you had permission from the Roman magistrate in charge of the area.

But in Jesus’ situation some one did.

And so Joseph makes his request for the body of Jesus and Pilate is surprised that the body is already dead.

Now, this is the same centurion that Mark spoke of back up in verse 39.

Well, in verse 45 when Pilate asks this centurion if Jesus is dead the centurion ascertains that He is.

But Mark is not through. To make sure we know that Jesus was really dead he tells us about the actions of Joseph in verse 46.

Did you hear me? He was dead!

But Mark is not through. Look at chapter 16:1.

On the morning after the Sabbath the women take spices to the tomb.

And as they are walking they are asking one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us?”

But they get there…and the stone is rolled away.

“He says, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified….”

 What happened to the body?

Did the disciples steal the body?

Did the enemies of Jesus steal the body?

What happened to the body?

God did not roll that stone out of the way to let Jesus out.

Well there is no need to wonder. The only thing to wonder about is, “Will you hear the word of God on the matter?”  Look at verse 6 again.

But Mark isn’t through!  Look at verse 8 at the reaction of the ladies.

And they went out, and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

Now we come back to the question again, “Does the story stop here?”

But I am not sure that it doesn’t make perfect sense to stop right here.

What are you going to do with this angel’s words? (He was crucified but now He is risen!”

Someone else, after reading what Mark wrote about Jesus’ death and resurrection may well have written the ending found here in this chapter…and it is one of faith…and commitment…and promise.

And let me tell you….what you write will determine if it is “Good News” for you…or if it is a sad and hopeless ending.

Is it all a lie? Or is it the truth? IF it is the truth…and Mark says it is…God says it is….and the empty tomb says it is….then I hope that you are courageous enough to do that which the truth demands.

All through the gospel of Mark, Mark has been calling us to discipleship…not just people who have been baptized…He has called us to die to ourselves….and take up the cross and follow after Him.

The Thief On The Cross


 Luke 23: 39-43; Mark 16:15-16;

When we read the two passages that we read, you may not have realized it…but in reference to salvation, they initially seem to conflict…or contradict each other.

Which is it? And the answer to this is critical because there is no issue more important than eternal salvation.

And I must tell you, this is an issue that separates us as a Church of Christ from almost every other religious group in town.

First of all, these two passages do not necessarily contradict each other.

Let me show you what I mean. Turn with me to Matthew 9: 1-6.

2 And behold, they were bringing to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed; and Jesus seeing their faith…

Now, look what Jesus says to the paralytic: “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.”

Well, doesn’t that apply to saying you can be saved by faith without being baptized? Doesn’t denying baptism violate other scripture?

 But now, let me show you the original point.

2 And behold, they were bringing to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed; and Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic lying on the bed, “Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, and walk’? 6 “But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– then He said to the paralytic– “Rise, take up your bed, and go home.”

 Now, it is obvious from this passage that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins…and while here on this earth he exercised that authority as He saw fit.

And that is what he did over in Luke 23 with the thief on the cross.

Well, a lot has happened.

But just before He leaves this earth…He gives his disciples and us, the instructions He gives in verse 16…instructions that are to be carried out…while He is gone!

In fact, look at Acts 1: 1-2.

“The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.”

And that is exactly what his disciples did.

You see, when Christ was here on this earth He exercised his authority to forgive sins as He saw fit.

Yes, the indication is that Christ saved the thief on the cross without the thief being baptized.

Look at this again. Look at Acts 1 again. In verse 2 it says that Jesus gave His apostles His “orders”…now look at verse 3.

3 To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

He gave His orders in Mark 16:16 just before He ascended into heaven…that means it had been 40 days since the crucifixion.

The thief never came under the command of the great commission.

To look at the thief on the cross and say that baptism is not essential for salvation is to look back to a time prior to our Lord’s ascension…and the orders that He gave for us to follow.

Now, let me show you something else that changed.  Turn with me to Hebrews 8:6. Let’s read this.

6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, He says,

“Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, When I will effect a new covenant With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers On the day when I took them by the hand To lead them out of the land of Egypt; For they did not continue in My covenant, And I did not care for them, says the Lord. 10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of IsraelAfter those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds,And I will write them upon their hearts.And I will be their God, And they shall be My people. 11 “And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ For all shall know Me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12 “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.”

13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Now, from reading this passage there is no doubt that there is an Old Covenant…and a New Covenant.

Now, when did the New Covenant come into being…or into “force”? Well, turn to Heb. 9:15.

Heb 9:15-18

15 And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.

 Christ mediated the New Covenant…He brought it into force when He died.

Look at Col 2:13-15

13 And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

When Christ died on the cross the old covenant was invalidated…and a new covenant was established.

Now, let me ask you this. Which covenant did the thief on the cross live under?

But after Christ’s death…after the New Covenant was “in force”…Christ commands all believers to be baptized for salvation.

Now, one last point.

 Matt 3:4-6 Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather belt about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan; 6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.

 It is entirely possible that the thief on the cross had heard John preach…and that he was baptized for the remission of his sins…and on that cross his statement of repentance may have  prompted Christ to forgive him of his sins and save him.

A great multitude of people today…perhaps even someone here this morning…have turned to the example of the thief on the cross to claim salvation simply by “calling on His name.”

I know the example of the thief on the cross is a very popular teaching…and the idea of salvation apart from baptism is one that many ascribe too.

What is right…and what we must ascribe too is what Christ commanded for us to do while He is gone…and He commanded us to be “baptized in His name…or by His authority,  for the forgiveness of our sins.”

 Which will you do? One will save you…the other will not.




Cross Words


 Mark 15: 1-39

This morning, in this chapter we come to that which Mark has been leading us to since the second chapter.

 You have 5 consecutive conflict stories that end in chapter 3:6 with the statement that the “Pharisees and the Herodians began to counsel as to how they might destroy Him.”

 You see, from early on Mark has indicated to us that Jesus was going to die.

And today, we finally get to what Mark has been leading us too.

I think there may be two reasons for that.

This morning, as we go through this passage, we are not going to examine every detail.

When you get to verse 10 the Jews have brought Jesus to the Roman procurator, Pilate.

And that is the irony here.

But notice what Pilate knows about this situation in verse 10.

And Pilate knew that.

Pilate just didn’t realize HOW jealous they were!

You see, Pilate didn’t realize how much people desire power and influence.

Now look at the phrase found in verse 15. It says that Pilate was “wishing to satisfy the multitude.”

And so what Mark has done is he has shown us that Jesus is led to his death, not just by the Jews…but also by the Romans.

Why? What crimes was Jesus guilty of?

Notice verses 16-21. What happens to Jesus in these verses is brutal.

And they mock Him as King…and they keep beating Him with reeds…and spitting on him.

And you would think that by now they would have all had their fill of being so cruel and inhumane toward Jesus.

 And those men who mocked Him and said, “You saved others, but you can’t save yourself”, just didn’t realize that He could save others….and He could have saved Himself.

And then what happens next is hard to imagine. Vs. 33 says that “about the 6th hour darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

Jesus cries out, “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?”

It wasn’t so much the pain of the cross that made Him cry out.

God departed from Jesus so that He would never have to depart from you.

And that is why we should lift up the cross.

Notice now verse 38. Another strange thing happens. Just as Jesus breaths His last and dies, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Now notice verse 39. Here in this verse a Roman soldier, standing right in front of Jesus sees Jesus breath His last, and then he says what Mark has been telling us all along.

He calls Him the “Son of God.”

No one else calls Him that until this centurion does here in verse 39.

This centurion expresses what this gospel has been saying all alone.

 They thought when they killed Jesus that they would stop His message.

Have you heard the cross today?

There were three crosses that day.

On the right there was another man.

Because on that cross in the middle was man who had no sin in Him…but who had all sin ON Him.

Jesus died on the cross, “forsaken by God” so that you would never have too.

Peter On Trial


Mark 14: 54, 66-72

Last week in our study of the gospel of Mark we looked at the arrest and trial of Jesus.

And we talked about how Jesus told the mob that coming out at night with all the swords and clubs was so unnecessary because they could have arrested Him at any time during the day.

It was an ugly scene….so ugly…so frightening that when the mob grabbed one young man he “dropped his linen sheet and ran away naked.”

And then we talked about Jesus’ trial found in verses 53-65…that is if you can call it a trial.

Everything they did was illegal but they weren’t worried about legalities.

It was an ugly, ugly scene.

But I want you to notice verse 54 again.

I think Mark puts this here because he wants us to see that during this dark hour more than one man is on trial.

So let’s begin in verse 66.

Now, keep in mind just a short time before this Jesus had told the disciples that “He would be struck down and that they would all fall away or be scattered.”

But look at verse 66. Peter was in the courtyard…and one of the servant girls of the high priest comes up to him and she looks at him and she says, “You too, were with Jesus the Nazarene.”

He denies Christ!

Peter goes out on the porch…and again the maid begins to point to Peter and tell the bystanders…”This is one of them!”

And Peter doesn’t know that even as he denies Jesus that his own words betray him because of his Galilean accent. Look at the end of verse 70. They say, “Surely, you are one of them, for you are Galilean too.”

Notice now verse 71. Peter has got to convince these people that he is not one of those who followed Jesus so “he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about.”

The irony here is that inside, a bunch of brutes are beating Jesus while He is blindfolded, telling Him to prophesy…mocking Him as a prophet…while outside exactly what He prophesied would happened is coming true.

Look at verse 72.

72        And immediately a cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep.

 Not one time during this whole episode does Peter use Jesus’ name.

When Peter weeps here I believe that his tears reflect genuine sorrow.

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.

6            And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, {here is} the place where they laid Him. “But go, tell His disciples and Peter….”

Make sure you tell Peter. Be sure that Peter knows that Jesus wants to see him again.

You see, the great danger in a story like this is for you to say, “It is a great story but I just can’t relate to it. It could never happen to me.”

Let me close now with just a couple of lessons that hopefully we will learn.

First of all I want you to go back to verse 71.

I want you to notice that after he curses…the people never accuse him again about being a disciple.

And the thing I think we need to understand is, if it worked for Peter…it will work for us.

It will work every time.

Peter “cursed and swore” and denied Jesus and no one charged him anymore with being a disciple.

You see, what you say says a lot about whose you are?

Lesson Number 2: Be careful about thinking to much about yourself.

Do you remember earlier in the evening when Jesus was in the garden and he came back and three times he found Peter and James and John asleep?

Jesus knew what was going to happen that night…and he knew that unless Peter prepared himself the flesh would give in and he would fall.

Let me tell you, Satan is going to present several opportunities this week for you to confess or deny Jesus as Lord.

It may be one of many possibilities…and depending on how you handle it….you will either confess or deny Jesus.

It is so important for you to be in worship each week…and each Sunday night…and each Wednesday evening.

And finally, we need to learn that sin is a reason for weeping.

Do you know what sin is? Sin is a denial of the Lordship of Jesus.

And because he did…the Lord took Peter back again.

IF all we do is excuse sin….deny sin…ignore sin…justify sin….and by doing so deny the Lordship of Christ….then their will be no sorrow…there will be no repentance…and as a result their will be no restoration back to Christ.

Conclusion: Jesus wasn’t the only one on trial that night…Peter was too. And today each one of us in on trial. Where do you stand with Jesus? What do people say about you?


Night Court


Mark 14: 43-65

Today in the passage that was read you see Jesus arrested and put on trial.

The question that we will be faced with this morning is, “What do you say about Jesus?”

Today we are going to see Him go to “Night Court” and maybe His appearance in “Night Court” will be your day of decision.

In verses 43-52 we read about Jesus’ arrest.

And you can imagine the fear and the threat that the disciples felt.

And then Judas comes forward and He signals to the mob which one they were after by kissing Jesus.

And when he does that verse 46 says that the mob, “laid hands on Him, and seized Him.”

They seize Jesus and in verse 47 Peter jerks out his sword and he swings at the face of one of the high priest’s slave with every intention of ending his life.

Had Jesus not picked it up and placed it back on the head of the man who was injured and healed him, there very likely would have been 4 crosses the next day at Calvary.

Look what Jesus says in verse 48. “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as against a robber? “Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me.”

This scene in the middle of the night was so unnecessary.

Because they are afraid of the people.

So they arrest Jesus, but I want you to notice the very end of verse 49. Jesus says:  but {this has happened} that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.”

This was an ugly, frightening scene. And I think that is confirmed by verse 51 and 52.

And as he was watching, some in the mob grabbed him…and to escape he dropped the sheet and ran away naked.

 And I think Mark wants his readers to ask the question, “Is that like you? Are their some prices just too high to pay when it comes to following Jesus?”

In verses 53-65 you read about the trial…that is if you can call it a trial.

And they want to condemn Jesus so badly that in verse 56 they bring in witnesses to lie.

And so in verse 60 the high priest stands up and he begins to question Jesus.

And look once again at verse 65.

65        And some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps {in the face.}

This whole trial was a sham! This was a Kangaroo Court.

First of all, according to Jewish law, the arrest was illegal.

Secondly, the arrest is illegal because it was brought about by the word of a traitor…and you could not arrest on that basis.

Third, the court proceedings themselves, this hearing before the Sanhedrin was illegal because a trial could not take place at night….it could not take place before the morning sacrifice.

It was also illegal to have a preliminary hearing in private. Any kind of hearing like this had to be public.

It was against the law for the high priest to question the witness. The high priest was not allowed to directly question the witness.

Inconsistent and conflicting testimony is being accepted.

The witness himself is condemned based on his own testimony…that was against the law.

He was charged with blasphemy…and even though the charge was serious…under Jewish law that charge was not specific enough to condemn Him.

Once the accused is found guilty, 24 hours had to pass before sentencing could occur. They passed sentence immediately.

The Judges were not polled individually for their verdicts. They were supposed to ask each one individually what his verdict was.

And under Jewish law, any verdict that was unanimous was considered invalid because they said that a unanimous verdict was clearly the action of a mob or the result of emotional fervor.

You see, this whole thing was a sham.

But there is something here about Jesus I want you to notice.

But they have got to find something to justify their actions against Jesus….so the high priest asks Him in verse 61, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”

And now, if there was ever a time to keep silent, this is it!

But guess what?

 And look what he says in verse 62: “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

 That is not a confession, that is a warning!

The high priest knew he got the answer he wanted.

And they beat Jesus with their fists, and slap Him, and tell Him to prophesy….and they don’t even realize that as they do so they themselves are fulfilling prophesy.

Now, let me give you 3 lessons from this story.

  1. In the midst of all of this Jesus stands alone.

And the point is, when you follow Christ, you too may find yourself at times, standing all alone.

Jesus stands alone and His courage and His conviction does not rest on others.

And if we are going to stand alone…we must do the same….we must develop a faith of our own that gives us the courage and conviction to withstand any and all charges that people might make against us because we follow Jesus.

  1. Jesus told the truth.

Jesus told the truth and the question is, “Will you?”

Will you tell the truth about Christ? Regardless of how painful it might be?

  1. You stand on one side or the other…there is no middle ground.

You see, that is why this story is here: For you to ask “where do I stand?”

Two things about your verdict:

 You see, Jesus is no longer on trial, but we are.

Don’t miss Marks point.

It might mean a cross for you too.

And so what will you do? Will you stand up with Him or will you flee.

This morning, you are before the bar…He is watching you…what will your answer be?


In The Garden


Mark 14:32-42

Today, Mark is going to take you and I into the garden of Gethsemene where 8 of Jesus’  disciples were not allowed to go.

And as we go into the garden God is going to test our hearts.

He is going to test your heart because you are going to see the Son of God grief stricken and crushed.

Let’s begin in verse 32.

In verse 32 Jesus and His disciples come to Gethsemene.

It says that, “He began to be very distressed and troubled.”

It is so easy for us to just say these words and go on and miss the whole impact of how Jesus is feeling.

Do you see the word “distressed?” That word means to “be a fright.” 

And the word “troubled” literally means to “be heavy.” To be “burdened down.

And the phrase “deeply grieved in His soul to the point of death” literally means He was “surrounded by sorrow.”

And some of you have felt that and seen that.

I have had times when I have had to tell someone that their mate…or their child has died.

That is much of what Jesus is feeling here because look at verse 35.

Why? Why is Jesus so grief stricken? Why is He feeling so crushed…so heavily burdened?

Well, look at verse 36. He says, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for Thee, remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”

Do you see the word “cup?”

And what you need to understand here is, Jesus is not burdened down with grief and pleading with God just because He is about to die.

He is burdened with grief and full of fright because He is soon to feel the wrath of a sin hating God! And look at 2 Cor. 5:21:

Did you know that this is where   Jesus comes under a lot of criticism from Antichristian critics?

What they fail to understand is, Jesus is facing more than just death.

And that isn’t all.

And understand this… because this is where the test of your heart comes in.

That is why He is grieving!  This is His dread!  He will suffer for you and me!

And so He falls down and prays.

He raised His voice, He clinched His fists and He cried out, “All things are possible for  you God , take this cup from Me.”

But then He says, “Yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”

Many believe that the cross was the critical moment in Jesus’ life in terms of His struggle to obey God’s will.

Here in the garden is where the struggle takes place.

Here is where the tough decision was made.

When God made man and called him Adam, He put him in a garden, and He didn’t ask much.

But here, outside of Jerusalem, in a second garden, the second Adam is in a garden, and, it is astonishing, what God asks of Him.

Here is where the battle took place…and thanks be to Christ that because He submitted
to the will of the Father… We won!

Jesus prays, “Yet, not my will be done, but Thine,” and He gets up and He goes and finds his disciples sleeping.

Understand what He is saying here.

Prayer is so important because it constantly reminds you of God…and His will…and His purpose for you…and His power and His strength…

Prayer is so important for keeping the spirit strong.

Jesus tells His disciples to “Keep watching and praying”, and then He goes back and again He asks God to remove the cup from Him…and He agonizes again with the fact that He will soon face the wrath of God and be alienated from Him.

And then for a third time He asks God to remove the cup…and again He tells God, “Yet not my will but thine.”

And a third time He comes back and finds the disciples asleep.

But now don’t miss what happens in verse 41.

But then He says, “It is enough, the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand.”

Don’t miss the calmness and the courage of those words.

The cup is not removed from Jesus…instead He accepts the will of the Father.

You see, the real battle was won before the swords and clubs even showed up.

And that fact puts you and I to the test. Look at Hebrews 12:28.

Do you know what this verse says?

The word “gratitude” speaks of that which the heart feels because of what God has done.

And if we aren’t grateful.. .well, the Hebrew writer reminds us that “God is a consuming fire.”

So what you find is your response to what Jesus did in that garden when He willingly agreed to die on the cross for your sins…your response to His actions that night…is a pretty good indication of the kind of heart you have?

And that is important, because it will be life or fire, depending on what kind of
heart you have.

One more quick point and the lesson is yours.

Today we read of the second of two significant gardens mentioned in the Bible.

And your relationship with God is summed up in the two gardens.

And in the second garden there is a second Adam, your spiritual brother.

And I suggest to you that your relationship with God and your future with God depends on which garden, and which Adam you follow.

Jesus died to self and surrendered to the will of God….and because He did salvation is available to all.

But the only way you can be a partaker of that salvation is to do the same…you too must die to yourself.. .and surrender to the will of God. Will you do that today?

The Disciples Fall


 Mark 14:26-31

One of the things that a disciple of Christ is supposed to do is he is supposed to live a life that manifests himself as a disciple of Christ.

But what about those times when we as disciples stumble?

Well, this morning, Christ and His disciples are going to give us some insights to these questions.

In the verses just prior to this Jesus has just initiated what we call the “Lord’s Supper” with His disciples.

And Jesus speaks and He tells His disciples a little more about what is going to take place in the next several hours.

So He tells them that they will “all fall away”, and that He would be “struck down”…and then afterward He would be raised….and after He has been raised, He will go before them to Galilee.”

But Peter takes exception to what Jesus has said.

And Jesus tells him, “Peter, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

 But Peter continues to disagree, and he insists that “he would die with Jesus, before he would deny Him.”

Now, let me make a couple of quick points and the lesson is yours.


You see, while Peter was with Christ…he was strong and confident.

Even when they came out to arrest Jesus down in verse 47, John 18:10 tells us that Peter pulls out a sword…and cuts off the “ear of the  high priest’s slave” in an effort to defend Christ.

So up to that point, Peter still seems strong and confident.

But look at verse 53….Jesus is removed from Peter.

And look who He is with in verse 54.

And look at verse 66…Peter is in the courtyard and one of the high priest’s servant’s girls sees Peter warming himself at a fire…and she puts him on the spot!

And in verse 69 she does it again:  “This is one of them!”

And then in vs. 70  the bystanders say it again, “Surely you are one of them.”

What in the world happened to Peter?

Peter loses his confidence and his resolve because he is separated from Christ and the other disciples…and he is among those who give him no strength…and no encouragement.

And that is just exactly what Satan wants to do to each of you…and unfortunately has done to some of us.

There is nothing that Satan wants more than to get you off by yourself away from Christ and your brethren…because if he can do that…he can destroy your confidence and resolve too.

Satan works in different ways.

If you aren’t spending time in prayer…if you aren’t spending time in His word…if you are only hit and miss in assembling with the saints….if you are doing those things…Satan is getting you to do just exactly what he wants you too.

Now, let’s look at some good news. Look at verse 27 again. Jesus tells His disciples…these men who walked with Him, learned from Him…and ate with Him…”that they would all stumble.”

Jesus knew that they could not be perfect enough and neither can we.

Well look at verse 28 again. This is interesting.

 Jesus doesn’t say, “You guys denied me so after I am raised I’m not going to have anything to do with you!”

Instead He says, “I will go before you to Galilee.”

Just because we stumble…and we will…doesn’t mean that you are without hope.

But notice something else here.

That is the key!

But if we stumble…and stay down there…and refuse to come back to Christ and follow Him…then we have no fellowship with Him…and we, just like Judas, are doomed to destruction.

Turn with me to 1 John 1: 7.  John says, “If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.”

But now notice the next part of the verse. He says: “…and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses (that is continuous action) us from all sin.

But notice, “the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin!”

Now go back to Mark 14: 28. Jesus says, “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

Do you have the same kind of character?

These men fall, and then they follow Jesus again.

Why would they do that? What made them so determined the second time?

Hopefully, the fact that Jesus takes us back too will cause us to be even more determined than ever….to follow Jesus…even to the point of death.











The Lord Institutes His Supper


Mark 14: 12-26

Just a little bit ago we participated in the taking of what we call the “Lord’s Supper.”

Notice in verse 12 that it is the time of the Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread.

And so in verse 13 He sends two of His disciples into the city and He tells them that they would meet “a man carrying a pitcher of water”.

Now the reason the man carrying a “pitcher of water” was an effective sign is because in those days men didn’t carry jars of water.

And as far as the “owner of the house” is concerned, he very well could have been a follower of Christ because Jesus does not even have to give him His name.

The disciples do…they go into the city and they find the room just as Jesus told them they would.

Now look at verse 17.

Now these disciples have walked with him for 3 years now and not one single time has Jesus said something, and no matter how absurd it seemed, did it not come true.

And I think their response is interesting in that it seems to show that they are not confident in their own moral strength.

And now look at what He says in verse 20.  He says, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips with me in the bowl. For the Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

 The first thing that Jesus does here is He narrows it down.

I think He is giving Judas a chance to repent.

But the reality is some people do not want to repent…and I hope you are not one of them because each one of us knows what happened to Judas.

And here is another thing.

And here is something else: When Jesus proclaims this betrayal “by one of the 12”, He implements within each of them a self-examination.

Self examination is something that we all should do regularly.

Now, there is a paradox here that is a little troubling.

If God planned for Jesus to be betrayed, why does He blame and condemn the betrayer?

That is a hard question and there is no easy answer.

I am absolutely persuaded that Judas’ choice to betray Jesus was Judas’ choice.

Now in the next few verses Jesus is going to share His supper with the other disciples, but I want you to see something that I think is significant in understanding His supper. Turn to John 13: 21.

Now verse 26, read with me:  Jesus therefore answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, {the son} of Simon Iscariot.             And after the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Jesus therefore said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”  Now no one of those reclining {at the table} knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 And so after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

 Jesus knew what Judas had in mind.

 Well, I will tell you why He does that.

Now, go back to Mark 14 and verse 22.

What Jesus does here when He does this is He equates Himself and His impending death to that of the Passover Lamb.

When He takes that bread and breaks it and gives it to each one and says, “This is My body” He is in a sense equating Himself to that Passover Lamb that they were eating of…and all that Lamb stood for.

 But there is more.

 Well, when it came to the Passover the door posts and the lintels served as the altar where the blood was sprinkled…and that signified atonement.

 And when Jesus hosted this Passover meal…and then took the bread and presented it to these disciples…He was symbolically saying, “We are in fellowship with one another.”

So you see, when we take of the bread…we are recognizing Christ as a sacrifice superior to the Passover lamb.

Notice something else.

Jesus takes the bread and He says, “This is my body.”

But now look at verse 23.

Back in chapter 10 and verse 45 Jesus said that “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

That is what the Lord’s Supper is.

Observing the Lord’s Supper does not take away sin.

Now, look at verse 25. Jesus says:  “Truly I say to you, I shall never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

When Jesus institutes this memorial supper He knows that by the next evening He will be dead.

That makes this memorial feast unique above all other memorials.

He is still alive…and He is coming back…and the Lord’s Supper reminds us of that.

Are you ready?

Judas wouldn’t repent and be saved. Surely you aren’t that way?



An Extravagant Love


Mark 14:1-11.

In this passage we find the story of what we call, “the Alabaster Jar.”

Now what you are going to find in this story is that some people couldn’t appreciate the gift for counting the cost.

As you look at verses 1 and 2 you find that it was a dangerous time for Jesus.

But it wasn’t up to them.

Now in verse 3, as Jesus’ day of crucifixion approaches, Jesus is in the little town of Bethany, which is just outside of Jerusalem.

John’s account, found in John chapter 12, says that Lazarus was also there.

But any way, while they are reclining at the table, Mark says, “a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard” came in.

Now why would she do that?

So what she does is she takes this “jar of perfume.”

She takes the most expensive…most precious thing she owned.

And look at the reaction of some who saw her do this. Look at verse 4.

But some were indignantly {remarking} to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted?

 For some, what she did was too much! It was too extravagant!

Well, they may have been able to do that…but not Mary.

Mary had no limits on how much she loved Jesus.

But not this woman.

And so, some of those who were present began to rebuke her indignantly.

“Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.”

Isn’t that amazing?

Today we see this manifested in a little bit different way.

Or a man quits his high paying job with all these wonderful benefits…in order to be able to attend church…or do more work for Christ…or to better fulfill his God given responsibilities to his wife and kids…and people say, “What a waste.”

John says that Judas is the one who actually spoke these words recorded here in Mark. .

But let’s not be too hard on Judas.

And you know what this tells me?

And they didn’t pay attention when the widow with the two coins put all she had in the treasury.

But you see, just like so many, those teachings of Jesus were just a couple of more sermons that went in one ear and out the other.

And so, they turn on the one person in the room who had understood what Jesus was saying.

And  it happens today.

 And let me tell you, we do this in reference to other congregations.

And do you know what I think Jesus would say to us when we do that?

Let me tell you what I have seen.

Realize this…in scripture Jesus speaks more against insincere, going through the motions, uncommitted, lukewarm, love and devotion than He ever does against what we might consider an extravagant expression of love.

Let me ask you this.

Let me tell you something…there are enough darts being shot at us from the enemy that you shouldn’t have to worry about getting shot at from the back.

Jesus says, “Leave her alone.” Why are you bothering her.?” She has done a good deed to Me.”

Verse 7: He says, “For the poor you always have with you, and whenever you wish, you can do them good; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.”

In this verse you find another reason why Mary poured this costly perfume on Jesus’ head.

But not Mary.

Maybe we ought to do more of that today. Express our love before they die.

Now look at what Jesus says in verse 9.

“And truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, that also which this woman has done shall be spoken of in memory of her.”

 Notice this. He says the “gospel” is going to be preached.

So the “gospel”…the “good news of Jesus” would be preached to the whole world…

Why? Why would what Mary did here be spoken of too?

Because when you preach the gospel you call people to love Christ.

Now look at verses 10-11.

In these verses Judas goes to the chief priests and betrays Christ.

And I think the point is clear.

Mary loved Jesus because He raised her brother from the dead.

You know He has done more than that for us…He has saved us from our sins.

And, when Jesus died on that cross…wouldn’t you say that was an extravagant act of love?

Let’s be careful about criticizing others.





The End


Matthew 24:35-41

This morning we are going to talk about a truth that the devil does not want you to see…and that is the coming again of Christ.

Let’s go through this, this morning and let’s learn some things about the second coming of Christ.

If you remember from last Sunday, here in Matthew 24, the disciples came to Jesus and began to “point out the temple buildings to Him.”

So in verses 4-34 you have Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ questions.

Now, as Jesus answers their questions…His comments lead into a discussion of the end of the world. Look at verse 35:

35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

 Here Jesus says, “All that I have said pertaining to the destruction of the temple…you can count on. It is going to happen.”

 But notice that He speaks of “Heaven and earth passing away”?

First of all, I want you to look at the statement, “Heaven and earth will pass away.”

Well, when He comes again in the final judgment there will be no place to run.

So WHEN will this happen? Look at verse 36. He says:

36  “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father {alone.}

Look at what Peter says. Peter says in 2 Peter 3:10, that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief.”

And notice, this verse in Matthew 24 says that “not even Jesus knows when that day will come.”

How could that be?

 Jesus emptied himself of some of what it means to be God so he could be man.

Does He know now? I don’t know. Maybe?

And the interesting thing is, He was content not to know.

Jesus’ purpose when He was here was not to satisfy anyone’s curiosity about when He was coming again.

Now, look at vs. 37: For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.

Vs. 38   For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

40  Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. 

No one knows when the Lord will come again…but He will come…and it will be sudden and unexpected…in fact look at His instructions in vs. 42:

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

And then look at verse 44. He says: “You be ready.”

Because we are going to be tempted to fall asleep and not be ready…not physically…but spiritually.   Turn with me to I Thess. 5. Look what Paul says…and this pertains to what Matthew is talking about.

 1          Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3          While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4     But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6       so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

 You know, we speak of people who “are out of duty.”

Turn to Romans 13 and look at verse 11-12.

 11       And this {do,} knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

 The reason Jesus tells us to “stay awake” is because it is so easy to go asleep.

And what Jesus is saying here is, don’t do that.

When it comes to this idea of the “end of the world” there are two extremes.

But there is another extreme when it comes to the end of the world that is a trait of many Christians.

We live in the shadow of eternity.

The problem is not getting prepared for when Jesus comes back.

Turn to Hebrews 10:24-25 and let me show you what God wants us to do in order to stay awake…or stay prepared.

 24        and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging {one another} and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Why are you here today?

You hear us say, “You need to be in church…don’t miss.”

The reason we stress your being here in services is because those people who miss run a much greater risk of “falling asleep.”

So what do we do while we wait for the Lord to come?

How do we wait for the return of Jesus?

In closing, let me share with you a couple of things that Christ wants us to do while we wait.

Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

10        For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…

 In the face of the coming judgment Paul said they were busy trying to “persuade” men.

And now turn to 1 Peter 3:13:

13        Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober {in spirit,} fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

14        As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts {which were yours} in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all {your} behavior;

 While we wait Jesus wants us to grow in holiness.

 Persuading men…and growing in holiness.

Don’t be fooled by the lie that Satan has sold the world.