The Final Sacrifice:
God's plan down through the ages was that His Son, Jesus Christ, would give His life that men might live. The Passover feast, the sacrifices, the voices of the prophets-all these looked toward the moment in history when the Son of God would make the final sacrifice for man's sin.
Jerusalem was a city filled with excitement during the Passover week. Multitudes of people poured in from all over Judea to take part in this celebration. It was a time of thanksgiving to God for delivering His people from bondage. But the minds of the religious leaders were focused on Jesus and how to get rid of Him.
But man doesn't decide the timing for God's plans. And man didn't choose the time for the first event in His plan of redemption which took place during that Passover week. God did. Three times Jesus had told the disciples that He would suffer, be rejected, die and rise. The time had come.
Two events immediately foreshadowed the fulfillment of Jesus' words. First, Jesus was anointed at Bethany. Second, the Passover feast became the Lord's Supper.
I. The Plan Revealed. Mk. 14:1-26
A. Jesus was anointed. v1-11
1. Jesus went to Bethany to eat a simple meal with friends.
2. We know from John's gospel that Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead were there. Jn. 12:2-3
3. Mary took a jar of very expensive perfume, broke the jar, and poured the perfume on Jesus' head.
4. Some protested, pointing out that the costly perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.
5. Jesus said "Let her alone ... she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying."
6. Mary expressed her love for Jesus in a beautiful way while there was yet time.
7. In contrast to Mary, Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver-the cost of an ordinary slave.
B. The Passover Feast became the Lord's Supper. v12-26
1. Jesus was in complete control as He directed two of His disciples to prepare for the Passover Feast.
2. The room that Jesus chose for this observance with His disciples was an upper room in a home.
3. Jewish law was specific in describing preparations for the Passover Feast.
a. A lamb was killed by the head of the household in the courtyard of the Temple while the priest held a bowl to catch the blood.
b. Afterwards the priest poured the blood at the foot of the altar of burnt offering.
c. The lamb was taken home to be cooked in an open courtyard of the family home.
d. Then, unleavened bread, wine, bitter herbs, salt water, and a paste made of apples, nuts, raisins, cinnamon, and wine were all prepared and placed on the table.
e. Each of these carried symbolic meaning helpful to the Jews in remembering that first Passover night when the death angel passed over the blood-marked doors of the Israelites.
4. On that Passover night when Jesus gathered His disciples around Him for the Passover Feast, He announced that one of them would betray Him.
a. And a prophecy of David's was fulfilled:
b. "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." (Psa 41:9)
c. John's gospel tells us that Judas who took the bread which Jesus gave him, a symbol of his betrayal, and departed to do his evil deed.
5. Both Judas and the religious leaders must now move within the time frame of God's plan.
6. To those remaining, Jesus revealed the New Covenant.
a. He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take, eat; this is My body."
b. Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and offered it to them, saying, "This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many."
c. It is doubtful that the disciples understood that Jesus was identifying His body and His blood as the body and blood of the final Passover Lamb to be slain.
d. The cup He offered them was a symbol of both suffering and joy- the two coming together for us today in the Lord's Supper.
7. After they sang a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
a. Jesus yearned for His disciples to understand what was happening, but He knew their weakness.
b. He must go to the cross alone.
c. All over Jerusalem faithful Jews were remembering that dark and fearful night when their fore- fathers, slaves to the Egyptians, observed the first Passover and waited for their redemption.
d. But how could they understand that this event, observed for centuries, foreshadowed God's great plan of redemption for mankind, the final Passover and sacrifice of this night?
e. Now for Jesus and the disciples the long night of waiting began.
II. The Messiah Rejected. Mk 14:27-15:15
A. Rejected by those close to Him.
1. Perhaps the most painful rejection any of us ever face is rejection by those we love the most.
2. Jesus surely felt the pain of being rejected by His disciples.
3. Judas Iscariot: v27-45
a. Judas kept the moneybag for the group, and I suspect that he had financial motives for following Jesus.
b. If this man from Galilee became king of Judah wouldn't his disciples become wealthy?
c. When this didn't happen, Judas turned traitor.
d. He rejected Jesus and later betrayed Him with a kiss- ironically a sign of love.
4. Peter: v46-54
a. Peter's rejection was only temporary, but it was still painful for Jesus.
b. This disciple was one of the three whom Jesus chose to be with Him on a number of intimate occasions.
c. He was the first to say to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ" (Mark 8:29).
d. When Jesus told the disciples that they would all leave Him, Peter declared, "... Although all shall be offended, yet will not I."
e. But Jesus knew Peter's weakness- just as He knows ours.
1) Peter, along with the other disciples, was unable to stay awake while Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
2) Three times Jesus awakened them and three times they failed Him.
3) Later after Jesus was arrested the disciples fled-all but Peter.
4) He went as far as the courtyard, but there he denied his Master three times.
f. Jesus had predicted that the cock would crow to remind Peter of his denial.
g. When this came to pass, Peter broke down and wept.
B. Rejected by the Jewish religious leaders. v55-72
1. The chief priests, elders and teachers of the Law were the first group to question Jesus' authority.
a. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem for the Passover, they enlisted the Herodians and Sadducees to help them trap the Rabbi who was usurping their authority.
b. Those who should have led the way in welcoming the long- awaited Messiah, rejected Him.
2. The seventy-two men of the Sanhedrin, before whom Jesus was tried, rejected Jesus and condemned Him because He answered the high priest truthfully.
a. Note: v61-62
b. Boldly, Jesus was assuring the Sanhedrin that the day would come when He would judge them.
C. Rejected by the Roman governor, Pilate. 15:1-7
1. The Jewish religious Leaders had condemned Jesus for blasphemy, but legally only a Roman court could impose the death penalty.
2. The chief priests, elders, teachers of the law, and the whole Sanhedrin took Jesus to Pilate and accused Him of treason against the Roman government.
3. Note: Mk. 15:2
4. This trial before Pilate was also the trial of Pilate.
a. He revealed his own inner struggle and cowardice as he tried first to avoid an unpleasant issue, and second to escape responsibility for his decision.
b. Although he knew Jesus wasn't guilty, he feared both the Jews and the Romans.
c. Pilate chose not to stand up for Jesus-and thereby rejected Him.
D. Rejected by the crowd. v8-13
1. The arrest and trial of Jesus had taken place at night.
2. But He stood before Pilate early in the morning, and the crowds were gathering.
3. In an effort to save his own guilty conscience, Pilate had a convicted murderer named Barabbas brought before the crowd.
4. Roman custom decreed that one prisoner be released at Passover, so Pilate called for the crowd to choose between Jesus and Barabbas.
5. We all know that often just a few people can change the thinking of a crowd.
6. By this time the religious leaders had stirred up the crowd against Jesus, and the people shouted for Pilate to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus.
7. No doubt some of those who had waved palm branches before Jesus as He entered Jerusalem on the first day of the week were now in the crowd this Friday shouting, "Crucify him!"
8. The rejection was complete: Jesus stood alone before His enemies.
III. The Sacrifice Made. Mk. 15:16-47
A. The Romans placed very little value on human life, particularly that of a Jew.
1. We are told that to relieve their own boredom, Roman soldiers often tormented condemned criminals.
2. As Jesus had declared that He was King of the Jews the soldiers put a purple robe and a crown of thorns on Him.
3. They bowed before Him in ridicule, mocked, and spit on Him.
4. Then they led Him out to be crucified.
5. Weakened from torture and loss of blood, Jesus stumbled under the heavy cross placed on His shoulder.
6. The soldiers stopped Simon of Cyrene, a passer-by, and forced him to carry the cross outside the city to a place called Golgotha where Jesus was crucified.
B. Many times Christians focus on the physical suffering of Jesus, and it is true that crucifixion was a painful death.
1. Jesus hung on the cross for three hours in the heat of the day suffering excruciating pain and agony.
2. But Jesus wasn't the first to die on a cross.
a. Crucifixion was widely practiced from early as the Sixth century B.C., not by the Jews but by nations surrounding them.
b. Hundreds of Jews had been crucified during the Maccabean revolt.
c. Surely the physical suffering of Jesus wasn't very different from that of others who had been crucified before him-or of the two thieves who hung on crosses to His right and His left.
3. Other times Christians focus on the mental suffering of Jesus.
a. It's true also that the rejection Jesus endured was painful.
b. Only a few dared to come to the foot of the cross and give Him comfort as He was dying.
c. The taunts and mockery the chief priests and teachers of the law rang in His ears during those last few hours, and Jesus must have suffered anguish knowing the judgment that awaited them someday.
4. But the Gospel of Mark focuses our attention on the spiritual suffering of Jesus-a depth of suffering which only the Son of God could endure.
a. Note the words Jesus cried out at the ninth hour:
b. "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, 'My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?' v34
c. What could cause this terrible agony of separation?
5. The prophet Isaiah foresaw the price of man's redemption.
a. "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)
b. The Old Testament the priest placed his hands on the scapegoat and symbolically transferred the sins of the people to the goat (Lev. 16:2).
c. Jesus Christ who had never known sin, was made sin for us, became our scapegoat, and came under the awful judgment of God in our place.
d. It isn't possible for us to know or to experience the depth of suffering which Jesus endured as He bore the weight of our sin.
1) Only Jesus, the perfect Son of God, could atone for the sins of mankind.
2) Because of this final sacrifice, only those who refuse to accept Jesus as their Redeemer will ever know the hell of total separation from God.
6. When death came to Jesus on the cross, the curtain of Temple was torn from top to bottom.
a. This curtain had for centuries separated the people from the Holy of Holies.
b. Now, God gave the sign that the work of Jesus Christ was completed.
c. No longer must man be separated from God.
7. A Roman centurion who watched Jesus die said, Truly this Man was the Son of God!
8. At least one member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea, must have agreed.
a. Showing great courage, he asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.
b. That evening before the Sabbath began, Joseph took the body of Jesus from the cross, wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock.
c. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance.
Jesus appeared to:
1. Mary Magdalene Mark 16:9.11; John 20:11 18
2. Several Women Matthew 28:9-10
3. Two Disciples on the Mark 16:12 13; way to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-35
4. Peter Luke 24:33-35; I Cor. 15:5
5. Ten Disciples Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25
6. Eleven Disciples John 20:26-31; I Cor. 15:5
7. Disciplcs by the Sea ot Galilee John 21:1-25
8. To Five Hundred people I Cor. 15:6
9. James, probably the Lord's brother I Cor. 15:7
10. Eleven Disciples Mt. 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18
11.Eleven Disciples at Mark 16:19-20; the Ascension Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1 :9-12
12. Apostle Paul on the I Cor. 15:8; road to Damascus Acts 9:3-5
IV. The Hope Secured. Mark 16
A. First, to Mary Magdalene. v1-11
1. During Jesus' ministry we have recorded in the Bible three times that He raised someone from the dead.
a. Jairus' daughter.
b. Widow's son.
2. People weren't accustomed to seeing people rise from the dead.
3. It's no wonder, then, that the disciples and friends of Jesus had difficulty believing Mary Magdalene's story that she had seen Jesus alive.
4. They probably thought she was speaking from sorrow or that she had seen a vision.
5. It's strange that they didm't rememhcr that Jesus had told them He would go ahead of them into Galilee when Hc arose.
6. But they didn't remember. And "they did not believe" that Jesus was alive!
B. Jesus appeared a second time to two men on the road to Emmaus. v12-13 cf. Luke 24:13-35
1. Like Mary Magdalene, the men told the disciples that they had seen Jesus.
2. But the disciples didn't believe this part either.
C. Jesus appeared a third time-this time to the eleven disciplcs. v14-20
1. Note what Jesus did: "He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart".
2. Then Jcsus gave them a command.
3. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
4. After this Jesus was taken up into heaven.