Through the Bible Day by Day
After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.
AN OFFERING OF LOVE
This beautiful incident took place on the Tuesday evening of Passion Week, while the chief priests were gathered in the house of Caiaphas to plot the Lord’s death, Mat_26:3-5. Simon had probably been healed by Jesus, and the feast was held in his house, as being larger than Martha’s. Jesus was intimate with Lazarus and his sisters, and this unnamed woman was Mary, Joh_12:2-3. Alabaster resembled white marble, and the perfume was carefully sealed to preserve it. Its cost would amount to about fifty dollars, and would represent the work of three hundred days, Mat_20:2. Loveless hearts cannot understand the expenditure of love-they count it waste; but how quickly Jesus steps in to vindicate His own! Probably, of all His followers, Mary alone had understood His references to His death, and as she could not be present to perform the last offices of love, she rendered them in advance. Judas, who led the murmuring, seems to have been goaded to this act by the contrast of Mary’s spirit with his own, and by Christ’s gentle rebuke.
The two sent to prepare the Passover were Peter and John, Luk_22:8. We may often be guided by very trivial incidents-let us look out for them. A straw may indicate the direction of the current. The owner of the room was probably a secret disciple of Jesus, like him who lent the ass. The r.v. says, “my guest-chamber.” It is very beautiful when the Master feels free to put His hand on our possessions, and claim their use. Does he not ask for the guest chamber of our inner life? Is it at His disposal?
And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.
THE LAST SUPPER
The two disciples made their preparations, returned to Bethany, and later the whole company came in together. The simple meal, consisting of the Passover lamb, unleavened cakes, bitter herbs, and wine, proceeded in the usual way, interspersed with the singing of the Hallel, Psa_113:1-9; Psa_114:1-8; Psa_115:1-18; Psa_116:1-19; Psa_117:1-2; Psa_118:1-29. How well it is when we do not need the accusation, “Thou art the man,” because we utter the inquiry, Is it I? Those whose hearts misgive them are not likely to commit the deed of treachery. At the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Mar_14:22-25, Jesus gave thanks for the bread and the wine, Luk_22:19; 1Co_11:24. We must understand His words in Mar_14:22 in the same sense as when He says, “I am the door of the sheep.” Those who receive the outward elements worthily partake, at the same time, spiritually of the things which they signify. Let us never fail to remember at the Lord’s Supper, that it is the sign and seal of the new covenant into which God has entered with Christ on our behalf. See Heb_8:1-13. For Mar_14:27 compare Zec_13:7. The energy of our own resolution is not enough to carry us through the supreme ordeals of trial. We need the Holy Spirit for that. Mark alone mentions the warning of the double cockcrow.
And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.
ALONE IN THE HOUR OF TRIAL
When the soul is overwhelmed, it seeks to be alone, and yet not too far from human sympathy and help. The three most trusted might enter the enclosure, but even they could not share the depth of the Master’s anguish, which was so great as to threaten His very life. He cried to Him who could save Him from dying before His trial and sentence, and was saved from what He feared. Our Lord did not shrink from physical suffering, but from the horror of becoming sin-bearer for the race, and putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. His disciples failed Him, but as He submitted to the Father’s will His spirit rose triumphant. Sleep on now-the past is irrevocable. The disciples fled as fast as their feet would carry them. If only they had prayed, they would have been steadfast and unmovable. There are good reasons for supposing that the young man mentioned here was Mark himself.
And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE
A commission of the chief priests awaited the result of the treachery of Judas at the house of Caiaphas. They had made up their minds what to do, but the form of a trial was necessary. The false witnesses were obviously unable to establish a sufficient case, and our Lord maintained a dignified silence. It was too much for Caiaphas, and he put his prisoner on his oath. Our Lord made no attempt to parry the issue or turn aside from the challenge, but replied: I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. See Psa_110:1; Dan_7:13. Then followed a shameful scene, Mar_14:65. But our Lord was as self-restrained in the use of His mighty powers as if He had been one of the most helpless of men. The graphic story of the denial, which took place at the time of the trial in the servants’ hall, was probably given to the evangelist by Peter himself. What a contrast between the strength of the Master and the weakness of the disciple! Yet Peter was forgiven and made the Apostle of the Pentecost! We may have hope!