By Ben Simpson

 

As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading. 

Today's daily reading is:   Mark 14:53-72

Scripture

Mark 14:61

But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.


Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

 

Reflection

As a community we have drawn near to the cross, we have walked with Jesus, and his end is now in view.

We know the story. But we tell it again. We must.

During Holy Week, our top priority is to tell the story of Jesus and to tell it well, to remember what we have forgotten and so emblazon it upon our hearts and minds that we do not forget, we do not waver. We live according to this story; we proclaim it as the most important story the world could ever hear, and that we have ever heard. 

We know that Jesus was received triumphantly upon entering the city of Jerusalem. But by Thursday night he was betrayed, arrested and abandoned, and will soon be condemned to die.

Following the Last Supper, Jesus went to a place called Gethsemane and entered a garden there. It was likely an olive grove. He took his closest associates, Peter, James, and John and asked them to stay nearby and keep watch while he prayed. Jesus fell on his face and pleaded with God “that if possible the hour might pass from him” (Mark 14:35). Jesus said, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. But not what I will, but what you will.”

He offers this prayer three times. The disciples are tired and fall asleep. They cannot keep watch with him. Jesus’ betrayer then arrives and Jesus is arrested and put under guard. Jesus goes with them, saying “the Scriptures must be fulfilled” (Mark 14:49). Mark adds, “Then everyone deserted him and fled” (Mark 14:50). Jesus is alone. 

The high priest, chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law have taken Jesus under cover of darkness. They assemble their kangaroo court, and the mock-trial begins. Many gave testimony against Jesus, but their testimony did not even agree. The high priest asks Jesus if he will answer, but Jesus remains silent. Finally, the high priest asks Jesus directly, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One.” 

“I am,” Jesus says. 

The high priest tears his clothes, a sign of mourning and outrage. He accuses Jesus of blasphemy and asks those assembled what should be done. They all agree that Jesus is worthy of death. They spit upon him, mock him, and beat him. And the guards take him away, doing the same.

Jesus’ actions bring to mind Isaiah 53:7, which says “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” This passage is famous, and its meaning has been debated by scholars and theologians for centuries. Christians see in Jesus the fulfillment of Isaiah. Jesus was the Suffering Servant, the redeemer of Israel, despised, rejected, and afflicted, “pierced for our transgressions...crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 52:13-53:12).

When Jesus is asked if he is the Messiah, he answers, “I am.” The priest was incredulous. What about you?

If you confess him as Messiah, if you believe that Jesus is God’s Son, look upon what he has done for you and honor him with your response, your life, your every action, every word.

Worship him. Adore him. God’s salvation is costly. God’s love for you is rich. How do we know what love is? “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). Live in light of the forgiveness, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ. And as you do so, point to him, the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One, the Savior, Redeemer, the Lord.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to look upon your life and see that you died to save sinners, even me. Thank you for rescuing and redeeming me from sin. Empower me to live a holy life by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell, seal, and transform me. Amen.