Mark 14 Part 1: Who Is Yeshua?

Yeshua is the Most Important Man Who Ever Lived. The Most Important Man brought the world the Most Important Message, a message that must be believed for human beings, who are alienated from God and headed to Hell, not Heaven, to death, not life, to be reconciled to their Creator and live forever.

Everything Messiah did, everything He said, every interaction with others that has been recorded for us in the divinely inspired book of Mark, is extremely important. We want to understand as much as we can about the Most Important Man and His Most Important Message. We want to line up our thoughts and lives with the Most Important Man and His Most Important Message. We want to tell as many people as we can about this Most Important Man and His Most Important Message.

We’re getting close to the end of Messiah’s most amazing life and ministry. Everything is intensifying. Everything is building to a fantastic climax resulting in some of the most important events in history.

Marks wants us to understand that the arrest, trial, sufferings, death and resurrection of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world occur in the Spring, the time of new beginnings, and are connected to the Jewish holidays, particularly Passover. Now the Passover and the Holiday of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the Torah teachers were scheming to arrest Yeshua secretly and kill Him. “But not during the holiday,” they said, “or the people may riot.” According to Josephus, as many as two million people could be in Jerusalem for Passover. Many admired the wise and courageous miracle-working Rabbi and would protect Him, and the leaders knew that. They wanted to wait until after the holiday was over and the crowds left to quietly arrest Yeshua and execute Him.

While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman (Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus whom Yeshua raised from death. These were people Yeshua knew and loved) a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head. Normally, oil would be poured on someone’s head – not very expensive perfume. This is an extravagant gesture showing the utmost love, gratitude and respect. And there are times for extravagant gestures like this. This was one of those times. The Son of God, the Creator of all things, the Redeemer of the World was about to complete His great mission of atonement. He was about to suffer, die and leave this world. He deserved to be honored with an extravagant gesture like this. But, not everyone felt the same way.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages (that’s extremely expensive perfume) and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. Yeshua had a very different perspective. Not only was He not indignant that Mary used the equivalent of 40,000 dollars to demonstrate her love and gratitude, He was extremely pleased with her. “Leave her alone,” said Yeshua. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to Me.”

In addition to expressing her love, gratitude and respect, Mary may have known that Yeshua was about to die and did this to honor His life and death. Whether she had His death in mind or not, Yeshua knew He was about to die and used Mary’s extravagant gesture to again inform His disciples about His death. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on My body beforehand to prepare for My burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her – and it has. Yeshua is a true prophet. Mary’s extravagant gesture has been told to billions which has inspired them; and her memory is honored.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who is worthy of extravagant gestures of devotion. Someone who deserves our utmost love, gratitude and respect.

Yeshua is Someone who wants those with extravagant love for Him to be remembered and honored – which they will be.

The leaders of the Chosen People, who should have known Messiah the best and been devoted to Him the most, weren’t. All twelve of Yeshua’s disciples should have loved Him the most and been completely loyal to Him. They weren’t. They will abandon Him in His greatest time of need, and one will betray Him to His enemies. Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Yeshua to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand Him over. Now that there is a betrayer who has access to Yeshua and knows His plans, the leaders will be able to arrest Yeshua during the holiday, at a time when there are no people around to protect Him.

Now we are approaching the last day of the Most Important Man Who Ever Lived. It is full of events of tremendous significance. And, it takes place on a very special day that itself is full of meaning. On the first day of the Holiday of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Yeshua’ disciples asked Him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So He sent two of His disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Rabbi asks: Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Yeshua had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Whether Yeshua had prearranged this meeting with the man carrying a jar of water and the owner of the house, or whether God had told Yeshua to send two disciples into the city and these arrangements would fall into place, Yeshua is Someone who was committed to following the laws of the Sinai Covenant, including observing Passover. He who is the ultimate Passover Lamb will participate in His last Passover and eat His last meal and drink His last wine and infuse the bread and wine with new meaning.

When evening came, Yeshua arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, He said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray Me – one who is eating with Me.” This was a very upsetting announcement. They were saddened, and one by one they said to Him, “Surely You don’t mean me?” While Yeshua knew who the traitor was, He chose not to identify him at that time. “It is one of the Twelve,” He replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with Me – indicating friendship and intimacy, making the betrayal all the worse.

And there are terrible consequences for disloyalty to the Son of God – especially for those to whom much is given, like these disciples, who were privileged to be close to Yeshua.

The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Yeshua is Someone who knows that certain things must happen – they are part of the predetermined plan of God – but that does not absolve individuals of responsibility for their evil choices, even though God is able to take an evil choice and use it to further His plan.

Yeshua knows He is the ultimate Passover Lamb. He knows He is about to die – on Passover. He knows He will come back to life. He knows that His life and death will provide redemption for fallen humanity. He knows that His life and death will make a new and greater relationship between God and humanity possible. Knowing this, He weaves His life and death into Passover’s redemptive story.

While they were eating, Yeshua took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take it; this is My body.” From that moment on, the matza not only reminds us of salvation from Egypt; it reminds us of the greater salvation provided by the life of Messiah and our union with Messiah.

Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” He said to them. The Passover wine, an expression of joy because we remember God freed us from slavery in Egypt, not only reminds us of that, but also reminds us of a new covenant made possible by the blood of Messiah. It is a covenant that frees many from slavery to Satan and the demons; sin and the sin nature; death and Hell. It is a covenant that provides complete forgiveness of all of our sins. It is a covenant that provides knowledge of the Word of God and an eternal relationship with God. Thank God for the New Covenant Messiah made available to us by His blood!

Yeshua knew that this would be the last meal He would eat and the last wine He would enjoy. He also knew that He would overcome death and enjoy wine after His resurrection. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Yeshua is Someone who knows that the kingdom of God is real, and real pleasures will be enjoyed there, like eating great food and drinking great wine. And Yeshua is Someone who wants to eat great food with us and drink great wine with us – after we are resurrected and living in the kingdom of God with Him.

Yeshua is Someone who taught that the bread and the wine are not His actual body and blood. When He said: This is My body, His actual body had held bread, broken bread and given that bread to His disciples. The bread was distinct and separate from His body. They did not eat His literal body. He was using non-literal, metaphorical language.

When He said: This is My blood of the covenant, He had given a cup of wine to His disciples, which they drank. His blood was separate and distinct from the wine they drank. They did not drink His blood. He was using non-literal, symbolic language.

Yeshua is not teaching us that the bread will turn into His actual body, nor the wine into His actual blood. This is non-literal language; this is the symbolic use of words. Yeshua is Someone who is teaching us that eating the bread and drinking the wine are meant to help us remember Him and His life and death and the New Covenant He made – so we can get closer to Him through that remembrance.

When they had sung a song (maybe one of the Hallel psalms,113-118 that are prayed at Passover praising God for various aspects of His saving power) they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Who is Yeshua? Yeshua is Someone who is able to sing with us, in our times of joy and even when we are facing very difficult circumstances – like the disciples were.

Yeshua is a prophet. He knew He would be abandoned by all of His closest disciples in His greatest time of need. “You will all fall away,” Yeshua told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Yeshua is Someone who knew the entire Word of God and wants us to know the Word of God. He knew the prophecies of Zechariah, and knew that this one, I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered specifically applied to Him and His disciples in the situation they were about to experience. He knew His disciples would abandon Him when He was arrested. But He also knew that even though they would fall away from Him, He would restore them and they would be gathered to Him in Galilee – which is exactly what happened.

Yeshua is Someone who knew He would be abandoned by His disciples, killed and come back to life; and He would graciously restore those disloyal disciples. And He instructed them to join Him in the north, in Galilee.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who is gracious and merciful and willing to restore those who are guilty of not being fully committed to Him – which is so good, because none of us have been as loyal to Him and as committed to Him as we should be. All of us have abandoned Him at various times and in various ways.

Peter did not agree with Yeshua’s prediction that all of the disciples would abandon Him. Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” Quite a bold, self-confident assertion that contradicted the Rabbi. Yeshua knew better than Peter and corrected Peter. “Truly I tell you,” Yeshua answered, “today – yes, tonight – before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown Me three times.”

Not one denial, which could almost be a mistake. Not two denials, which indicated a deliberate denial; but three denials – indicating intentional denial and nothing else. And that act of disloyalty would happen very soon, before the next morning was over.

But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You.” And all the others said the same. Yeshua is Someone who knows the future better than we do. Yeshua is Someone who knows us better than we know ourselves. So, if He tells us something about the future, or something about who we are, even if it is unflattering or unpleasant, we should believe Him.

Yeshua knew the cruelty that fallen human beings are capable of inflicting, and dreaded the horrors He was about to experience. He does two things: He seeks comfort and support from His disciples; and prays that the suffering can be avoided. They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Yeshua said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with Him (His inner circle), and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He said to them. He was extremely sad and distressed. “Stay here and keep watch.” Yeshua knew that danger was close – not just for Himself but for all of them and He wanted them to be prepared to meet that danger.

Going a little farther, He fell to the ground – a gesture of humility and submission to one who is greater – God the Father. Yeshua is Someone who acknowledges that the Father is greater in authority than He is. Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him. “Abba, Daddy,” He said, “everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Yeshua is Someone who did not want to suffer, but was willing to suffer, even suffer horribly, if that’s what God wanted.

Yeshua is Someone who knew what He wanted, but always puts the will of God the Father before His own will.

Yeshua is Someone who wants us to put the will of God before our will.

Yeshua is Someone who knows that everything is possible for God. God is infinitely wise and all-powerful and is capable of doing everything that is consistent with His nature.

Yeshua is Someone who wants us to know that everything is possible for God.

Yeshua is Someone who had the closest kind of relationship with God the Father, calling Him Abba, Daddy. But Yeshua also related to God the Father as His superior, always submitting to the will of that Highest Authority. And Yeshua wants us to have that kind of close, personal, intimate and loving relationship with Him and His Father, and at the same time treat the High King of Heaven, and His Son, King Yeshua, with the reverence and respect They deserve.

Yeshua had told His inner circle to watch while He was by Himself praying before facing the greatest challenge of His life. And He was not the only one facing a great challenge. The disciples were in danger and needed to be ready to meet their own great challenges. Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” He said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Yeshua was disappointed in their lack of vigilance.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. Yeshua knew they were in danger of failing the challenges they were about to encounter. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Yeshua is Someone who knows that life is full of dangers and temptations and He wants us to be ready to meet those challenges. He wants us to watch and pray – to be spiritually on guard, alert, aware; praying, close to God, in touch with God, talking to God about our areas of weakness; asking God for strength and wisdom to meet our dangers, challenges and temptations.

Yeshua is Someone who knows human nature, and knows that it’s not enough to know what the right thing to do is; it’s not enough to want to do the right thing. We have been too damaged and too weakened by the Fall for that. The flesh is weak. The old nature is weak. The only way we can consistently do what we know is right is by watching and praying, being spiritually alert and in touch with God, talking to God. Then we will have the power to do what we know is right, what our spirit is willing to do. Only then will we will have the power to suppress the corrupt desires of the flesh – our old, weak nature.

Once more He went away and prayed the same thing. Yeshua is Someone who, when facing a great challenge, prayed, and then prayed again. Yeshua is Someone who knew how to pray with perseverance. And He wants us to learn how to pray with perseverance.

When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. Another failure on the part of the disciples. They did not know what to say to Him – and when confronted by failure, it is better to say nothing than to make a lame excuse.

Yeshua went away and prayed a third time – revealing the importance of meeting serious challenges by persevering prayer – talking to God and listening to God.

After disappointing their master twice, surely the disciples would not fail Him a third time? But they did. And as a result, they were unprepared for what happened next and will fail in an greater way. Returning the third time, He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. The disciples were unprepared to meet their challenge – staying with their Rabbi when a armed force sent by Israel’s leaders and led by one of their own, comes to arrest Him. While it is easy to express disapproval for the failure of the disciples to watch and pray, if we are honest, we should admit that all too often, we behave just like they did. The Lord whispers to us: you are in danger today; you are facing temptation. Watch. Be ready. Pray. And all too often, like the disciples, we fall asleep. We are not watching. We are not praying. And we fail.

Yeshua is Someone who knows when we are facing danger, and will tell us to watch and pray. May we listen to Him and watch and pray so we don’t fail our challenges.

Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. These are men are doing something evil. Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!” Yeshua knew the traitor. Now He identifies His betrayer. Just as He was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the Torah teachers, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest Him and lead Him away under guard.” Going at once to Yeshua, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him. A kiss is a gesture of affection. How ironic and horrible to be betrayed by a kiss.

The men seized Yeshua and arrested Him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Mark, who was close to Peter, and perhaps not wanting to embarrass Peter more than he has, doesn’t mention that it was Peter who cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest.

Yeshua is Someone who did not want to be defended with violence at this occasion. And for centuries after this, too often the disciples of Yeshua were too eager to draw the sword, when Yeshua would have wanted them to meet their challenges in non-violent ways. Think of the crusades which were instigated by various Christian leaders.

Yeshua knew this was the wrong time, the wrong place and the wrong way to arrest Him. “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Yeshua, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture Me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Yeshua knew He was loyal to God and the Torah and this is not the way one arrests a good and honest man; and to treat a good and honest man as if he were a rebel leader indicates that something sinister is going on with those doing the arresting.

Yeshua knew this was arrest was wrong. And He knew that it was the beginning of more mistreatment, and suffering and death which would fulfill the prophecies about the Messiah of the first coming, like the one found in Isaiah 53. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

Then everyone deserted Him and fled – fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah, and fulfilling the prediction which Yeshua had given earlier that night. One man in particular is singled out for dishonorable mention: A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Yeshua. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind. This man is most likely Mark, who out of humility does not mention himself by name in this divinely inspired book; and who out of humility includes his failure to remain with his leader, and his nakedness and his shame. But Yeshua is Someone who is able to redeem a disloyal, naked, shamed Mark and transform him into a great spiritual leader who can bless millions.

So, who is Yeshua according to this part of the 14th chapter of this divinely inspired book of Mark?

Yeshua is Someone who is worthy of extravagant gestures of devotion, love, gratitude and respect.

Yeshua is Someone who was committed to following the laws of the Sinai Covenant, including observing Passover. And Yeshua is the ultimate Passover Lamb.

Yeshua is Someone who knows that certain things must happen – they are part of the predetermined plan of God – but that does not absolve individuals of responsibility for their evil choices.

Yeshua is Someone who knows that the kingdom of God is real, and real pleasures will be enjoyed there, like eating great food and drinking great wine.

Yeshua is Someone who is able to sing with us, in our times of joy and when we are facing difficult circumstances.

Yeshua is a prophet. He knew He would be abandoned by all of His closest disciples in His greatest time of need. Yeshua knows the future better than we do. Yeshua is Someone who knows us better than we know ourselves. So, if He tells us something about the future, or something about who we are, even if it is unflattering or unpleasant, we should believe Him.

Yeshua is Someone who knew the entire Word of God and wants us to know the Word of God.

Yeshua is Someone who did not want to suffer, but was willing to suffer, if that’s what God wanted.

Yeshua is Someone who wants us to put the will of God before our will, before what we want.

Yeshua is Someone who had the closest kind of relationship with God the Father, but also related to God the Father as His superior. And Yeshua wants us to have that kind of intimate yet respectful relationship with Him and His Father.

Yeshua is Someone who knows that life is full of dangers and He wants us to wants us to be ready to meet our challenges by being alert and aware, and by praying – asking God for strength and wisdom to meet our dangers, challenges and temptations.

Yeshua is Someone who did not want to be defended with violence when He was arrested.

Yeshua is Someone who is able to redeem a disloyal, naked, shamed Mark and transform him into a great spiritual leader who can bless millions. Yeshua is Someone who is willing to restore those have been disloyal to Him – which is good because none of us have been as loyal to Him and as committed to Him as we should be. All of us have abandoned Him at various times and in various ways.

May God enable Yeshua to be all these things to us and may we respond faithfully to all He is and become all that we should be.