Posted on June 11, 2014
#58: The Last Word
Happy Wednesday! “Hump Day” it’s come to be called—mid-week, when we need a little boost to survive till weekend. Each week I pray that this post gives you a shot of spiritual energy and encouragement halfway between Sundays.
Welcome to Wednesdays in the Word and our current study, Knowing Jesus. We’re scouring the pages of Mark’s gospel to learn all we can about Jesus, who was the exact image of God clothed in human flesh. Grab your Bible and dive in!
Read Mark 10:32-34, and its parallel passages in Matthew 20:17-19 and Luke 18:31-34. These verses are a short but dynamic reminder of Jesus’ purpose and power.
According to Luke, Jesus had resolutely “set His face toward Jerusalem” (Lk. 9:51), leading the Twelve. Jesus had begun quite some time earlier to prepare His friends for future events. In fact, this is the third direct prediction about His upcoming death—each one giving a little more detail. (See the first two in Mark 8:3 and 9:30-32.) In today’s verses, Jesus spelled out in eight short, specific terms what was awaiting Him. More about that in a moment.
The disciples didn’t understand His words but they knew danger was ahead. The Jewish leaders despised Jesus; that was no secret. Then when Jesus raised Lazarus from a grave at Bethany, just two miles from Jerusalem, He set off a new level of popularity and a new level of hatred among the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. These enemies were out to kill both Jesus and Lazarus (John 11:47-48, 53; 12:10-11) in hopes of making His cause fade away.
His disciples feared what a return to Jerusalem would mean for Jesus and for themselves. Thomas (the one we remember as the Doubter), in a fine moment of courage, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us go also, that we may die with Him.” (Jn. 11:10)
In Mark 10:33-34, Jesus used eight future tense verbs to describe what was about to happen. Here are the first seven.
• The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law.
• They will condemn Him to death
• and will hand Him over to the Gentiles
• who will mock Him
• and will spit on Him
• and will flog Him
• and will kill Him.
These seven were all acts that would be done to Jesus. He was the passive receiver of these just punishments against a criminal guilty of sin—which is what He became when He took on my sin and yours. Though innocent, He stood with the condemned and bore it all—the sin, the shame, the punishment, and the death—in our place, taking what we deserved and allowing us to go free.
Then comes the eighth verb—the victorious one, the one that showed what would take place once sin and death were dealt with and The Life took command.
• Three days later He will rise. He will rise!
Don’t miss the hope in His words. Yes, trouble was ahead in Jerusalem. But trouble wouldn’t have the last word. Triumph would!
Less than two weeks later, a small group of despairing women would approach a tomb expecting to wrap Jesus’ lifeless body with burial spices and seal it away to decay. Instead, they met two angels who quoted part of His words from Mark 10. “Remember,” they said, “how He told you when He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again.’ ” (Lk. 24:6-8) Then they remembered His words and hope began to sprout in their hearts. He was alive!
The wondrous truth of the resurrection is still the triumphant core of our hope—the reason we know that trials are temporary but life is eternal. Dark times will come, but they will not have the last word.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:16-17) Death is dead, Jesus is alive, and eternal glory is ours—and that’s the last word!
© Diane McLoud 2014