|LESSON 11||*June 4 - 10|
|Betrayed and Arrested|
|CLIMAX OF THE AGES. Our final three lessons in Mark's story of
Jesus focus on about 72 hours, the crisis point in the life of Jesus.
The next three lessons are locked together. Each contains events and decisions that affect the final outcome. In this week's study we see Jesus wrestling in the Garden of Gethsemane, struggling with the agony of becoming the Sin Bearer for the world. If He turns back, we are eternally lost. Next week we will follow Him to the Cross, where Satan hurls all his assembled schemes in the greatest effort to defeat Him. If Satan succeeds, we are eternally lost. In the final lesson we see Jesus dead, laid in a stone-cold tomb. If His body continues to lie there, all His life and teachings, all His sufferings and death have been in vain-and we are eternally lost. Indeed, the stakes are high.
The Week at a Glance:
|How did Judas justify his betrayal of Jesus? Why did Jesus say that
He would not drink of the "fruit of the vine" until we were in the kingdom
of God? Why did Peter deny Christ despite his strong affirmation that he
would never do that? What does it mean to call God "Abba"? Why did the disciples
all fail Christ so miserably in His climactic hour?
Scripture Passage for the Week: Mark 14:1-51.
|" 'Abba, Father,' he said, 'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will' " (Mark 14:36, NIV).|
*Study this week's lesson to prepare for Sabbath, June 11.
The Betrayal Plot (Mark 14:1-11).
Read Mark 14:3-10 along with John 12:1-8; from the two accounts, piece together the best you can why it was after this incident that Judas went and betrayed Jesus.
What's so frightening about the story of Judas is how easily a human being can be deceived into believing that his or her action, no matter how bad, is right.
What was the issue that got some people upset in this account? Was it not, in and of itself, a "valid" point?
In Mark's account, a number of the disciples, not just Judas, were upset about the "waste" of the money. How might the fact that others complained have helped Judas be convinced that his indignation was indeed well-grounded?
It's interesting how Mark 14 begins: The leaders are looking for a way to put Jesus to death. Then, we are given this incident with this woman and Christ's rebuke to those disciples who "had indignation within themselves" over what she did. The next thing we know, Judas goes to the leaders and gives them what they were looking for. (Luke does the same thing but in a different way: see Luke 22:1-4.) Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Mark apparently wanted to show the reader how it was this incident that pushed Judas into his terrible betrayal. Notice, too, how the theme of money plays prominently in both Simon's house and with Judas and the leaders. That should tell us something about how the devil (Luke 22:3) uses our weak points to gain control of our minds.
|We stand horrified at Judas, and yet, none of us are immune to the same principle: that of being swept away by cherished sin until we, too, betray our Lord. What was the only thing that could have saved Judas, and the only thing that can save us? Mark 8:34. How do we make this real in our lives?|
The Last Supper (Mark 14:12-26).
The last meal of Jesus with His disciples has been commemorated by Christians from the beginning of the church. Some twenty years after Jesus sat down with the Twelve on that last Thursday night, the followers of Jesus in Corinth, probably meeting in a house church, gathered to celebrate the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:17-22). Paul wrote to them to correct abuses that had come into their practices. Today, almost all Christian churches observe the Supper, but the understanding of its meaning varies considerably.
Read Mark 14:24, 25. What is Jesus saying here? How do you see here a clear reference to the Second Coming? Why would He be talking about the Second Coming at this time, in the context of His own death?
Look at what Jesus is saying, not just to His disciples but to us, as well. His words reveal the closeness, the bond, the unity He feels with those who will be with Him in "the kingdom of God." He's not going to drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God has come (see Luke 22:18); that is, until all of us who are saved by this shed blood will be there with Him. "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:29). In other words, not until we are there to drink with him will He Himself drink. Again, we have to remember who is speaking to us (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16, 17; Heb. 1: 2)and yet, He views us with such a sense of closeness? What a testimony to God's love!
Notice, too, how Christ places His shed blood at the center of everything here; it's only because of that blood that we can one day be with Him in the "kingdom of God" and drink with Him the "fruit of the vine," symbolic of that blood. How inadequate any theology that lessens the centrality of Christ's shed blood to the plan of salvation!
|Think about what Christ said here about not drinking the fruit of the vine until we are with Him in the kingdom. What kind of comfort, hope, and assurance does that give you? How can this wonderful revelation of God's character help you through a present discouragement?|
Peter's Failure (Mark 14:27-31, 66-72).
Jesus foretold that Judas would betray Him (Mark 14:21). He also predicted that Peter would deny Him (vs. 30). But Judas and Peter were not preordained by God to fail. To God, all things past, present and future are known; He sees what will happen, but that does not negate freedom of choice. Jesus said what He said only because He knew what they would do; if Peter and Judas wouldn't have made those choices, Jesus would not have made those predictions.
How far did Peter feel ready to go in following Jesus? Do you think he meant what he said? (Mark 14:27-31)
How like Peter we each are! How quick to affirm, "Although all shall be offended, yet will not I" (vs. 29). And Peter meant his words. So do we, as we make promises to God, but often we find ourselves again with Peter, broken, weeping, having failed the Lord. We each have to learn the lesson that Peter learned: to promise does not guarantee victory. We need to learn to look away from our own strength and resources and rely wholly on Christ for victory. If Peter had been quicker to speak of Christ than of himself, the story might have been quite different.
Notice, too, that Peter wasn't the only one who claimed that no matter what, even death, they wouldn't deny Jesus (vs. 31). All the disciples made the same affirmation. However, when things really got hot, "they all forsook him, and fled" (vs. 50). Though the focus here is particularly on Peter, the others had a lot to learn, as well, about what it meant to follow Christ.
|What words might Peter have said, or prayed, that could have revealed an attitude that might have spared him this terrible failure? Use the following texts to help you formulate the words: Ps. 56:1-3; Ps. 119:28; Luke 18:13; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Phil. 4:13. How might what you write down help fortify you for whatever temptations and challenges you face?|
Abba! (Mark 14:32-42).
The Garden of Gethsemane was a favorite place for Jesus. He had often retreated there to find relaxation and respite from the crowds. This night, however, the place of peace became a place of agony.
Ponder the story of Gethsemane, reading and rereading it in the Gospel accounts (Matt. 26:35-56, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:40-53, and John 18:1-12). Notice that in His supplication to the Father, Christ used a term of endearment--Abba. It suggests deep affection; we could translate it as "Daddy." Thus, amid the incredible suffering, the sense of separation between Himself and His Father, Jesus still trusted enough in the Father's love that He would call Him by that term. What a testimony to raw, naked faith amid utter despondency.
Ellen White describes what Christ was to face on the cross: "Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. . . . Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.
"As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness . . . . With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ's soul was filled with dread of separation from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan's kingdom, and would nevermore be one with God."Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 686, 687. And yet, even in anticipation of this, Christ could still cry out "Abba!"
Paul tells us that, as disciples of Christ who have been adopted into the family of God, we, too, cry out to our heavenly Father in this term of trust and affection"Abba!" Read Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6 (and don't forget to read them in context). What are they saying? What happened so that we, too, can call God "Abba?"
|If someone were to ask you, "How can I develop the kind of relationship with God that Is described in the above verses?" what would you say?|
Jesus Arrested (Mark 14:43-52).
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus struggled with the future that the plan of redemption laid out for Himand accepted it. Not His comfort but the bearing of humanity's sins, not His will but the Father's became His choice.
What was especially despicable about the manner in which Judas betrayed his Master? (Mark 14:44-46).
The enemies of Jesus came after Him in the dead of night when the common people would not be present to oppose their efforts. However, they were concerned that the shadows of night might afford an opportunity for Jesus to escape; and once again Judas aided their purposes. Following a prearranged signal, he went ahead of the mob and kissed Jesus. The original text indicates that Judas didn't just give Jesus an embrace, but he kissed Him several times so that Jesus' enemies could move quickly to arrest Him.
But Judas and the mob need not have worried about Jesus' escaping. Jesus had long foreseen this moment, had prepared for "this hour," had made His decision during the preceding struggle in earnest prayer. Jesus made no attempt to escape or resist arrest.
How did the other disciples react when the mob arrested Jesus? (Mark 14:47-50). Why did they fail miserably when the test came to them? Was there any reason, given their past performance, to expect anything different from them?
During the Last Supper Jesus had warned the disciples about the coming test. He singled out Peter, warning that Satan intended to make him an object of special attack (see Luke 22:31-34). But in the Garden the disciples slept instead of praying. Again Jesus tried to prepare Peter for what was coming (Mark 14:37, 38), but His warning went unheeded. When the test came, the disciples at first attempted to meet force with force. Peter's response was to draw his sword and begin flailing about with it (John 18:10, 11). He and his companions were not in touch with their Master, whose kingdom is not of this world and who rejected physical force. So, the disciples' feeble, worldly efforts failed, and they all fled.
All through the Gospels, the disciples make one mistake after another; yet, with the exception of Judas, God used them to form the core of the Christian church. What message of hope does this offer you?
|Study the parallel accounts of Jesus' betrayal and arrest in
Read Ellen G. White's
"A Servant of
Remembrance of Me,"
in The Desire of Ages, pp. 642-661, 685-697, 716-722.
"The awful moment had comethat moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. . . . Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus, 'O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.'
"Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world's Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentation of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself."Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 690-693.
|Dwell more on this idea of Christ's not drinking of the fruit of the vine until we are all in the kingdom. What does it tell us about the character of God? Share with the class other examples of this same principle, that of someone not doing something until someone else could do it with them (for example, Uriah's not wanting to spend the night with his wife while his troops were still in battle; see 2 Sam. 11:11). How do these stories illustrate the point that Jesus was making?|
|Jesus has come to the last moments of His earthly life before His crucifixion. The plan first thought out in the days of eternity was now coming to fruition. With everyone else failing around Him, Jesus alone stood firm. The fate of the world depended upon it.|
|I N S I D E Story|
|"Where Is My Church"
Adela was born to Jewish parents in Romania. When she retired she immigrated to Israel, where her children lived. Adela had become an Adventist and quickly began looking for a church. But she did not speak Hebrew and knew few people in Tel Aviv, where she settled. She tried contacting the Adventist field office in Jerusalem, but no one there spoke Romanian.
She asked friends in Romania for the address of an Adventist church in Tel Aviv but could find none. However, they did send her Sabbath School quarterlies when they could. She spent Sabbaths studying her Bible and reading her lesson. Her children were not Adventists and she had few friends, so Adela spent her Sabbaths alone in her little room. Her constant prayer was, "God, where is my church?"
One day while waiting for a bus, Adela met 15-year-old Katalina. Realizing Katalina was a Romanian, Adela did not waste time. "I am an Adventist, and I am looking for the Adventist Church in Tel Aviv," she said.
Katalina smiled. "I am an Adventist too! We have a church in Tel Aviv! I can tell you where it is. No----" Katalina stopped. "Tomorrow I will come and take you to my family's house to meet them. Then on Sabbath I will take you to church!"
Katalina kept her promise. She took Adela to meet her family. Adela was so excited to meet fellow Adventists that she could hardly stop talking. "I have been here for so many years and did not know where to find the church! This is wonderful!"
On Sabbath Katalina took Adela to her first worship with fellow Romanian Adventists in Israel. During church Adela shared her story of years of loneliness, praying to find fellow believers. Adela learned that Romanian Adventists did not own a place to worship. The church moved from one rented building to another when a landlord or the neighbors objected to Adventists meeting in the area. It was difficult to let people know where the church was located.
Today the church rents a large hall in a good building. But the congregation is growing, and members want to open a second church closer to where Adela lives. Now that Adela has found her church, she is working to win others to Christ, the Messiah.
Adela Amariutzei lives in a small apartment in Tel Aviv, Israel.
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