Friday, April 7, 2017

Mark: Mary, Judas, and communion

Mark 14:3-25

In the first story, we have woman who was sinful and never pretended to be righteous that Jesus healed and changed into a Christian.  She knows that somehow it is one of the last times she will see Jesus, so she takes a very expensive jar of perfume, probably worth a lifetime of wages, and breaks it and pours it on his head.  Other Gospels indicate that this is Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus.  She could possibly be Mary Magdalene, but that is not certain.  Either way, this lady had been saved, her life made more valuable by Jesus, and now she takes her most valuable possession and gives it to him.  Someone, we know it was Judas Iscariot, sees this as a waste, but Jesus says that what Mary did was beautiful and will prepare him for his burial.

What, burial?  Jesus isn't supposed to die.  So, Judas Iscariot, who cares too much about money, decides he's had enough of Jesus and offers to betray him to the priests for 30 pieces of silver.  Judas, who followed Jesus for the past three years pretended to be righteous and did all the right things, but on the inside, he only cared about money and fame.  What a contrast to Mary who started out loving money but surrendered to Jesus.  Judas pretended to love Jesus, but really only cared about himself.

Next Jesus asks his disciples to find a place for them to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem.  This, along with the incident where they found a donkey and her son for Jesus to ride on in the triumphal entry, shows that Jesus specifically planned his last week on earth.  From before creation, God in his threeness: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, planned on sending Jesus to die for his people's sins should they fall like they did in the Garden.  They planned every detail from who would betray him, to which donkey he would ride, to which upper room he would celebrate passover in.  While all the people involved made their own decisions during that week, God orchestrated the whole thing to his glory and to the salvation of his people.  We may not always understand why God plans things the way he does or how our wills and responsibilities fit in with his sovereignty, but he knows what he is doing down to the smallest detail.

And lastly, Jesus institutes the Lord's Supper.  As baptism replaces circumcision, so the Lord's Supper replaces Passover.  No longer will lambs be killed over and over.  Now there is only one sacrifice -- Jesus's death on the cross -- that will forgive sins for all Christians for all time.  No more blood will be shed to atone for sins after this night.  Christians need to celebrate communion to remember this.  Not only does this visual represent Jesus's broken body and his spilled blood, but it transports our spirits to Jesus's body in heaven where we can enjoy him in his realness spiritually.

The really sad thing is that Community Bible Church does not celebrate communion enough.  Jesus said to do it often to remember him.  The church does a lot of things right.  It preaches the Word faithfully and baptizes people frequently, but it neglects the Lord's Supper.  Jesus said to do all of this.  It's like forming a relationship with someone but only going on dates with him twice a year.  This should not be.  We need to commune more than Christmas Eve and Good Friday.  We should do communion at least a week before or after we do baptisms.  It connects us to the Lord and connects us to each other in a very real spiritual way and must not be neglected.

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