October 16, 2021

It is Time to Awake and Get Up 28-03-2021

28th March 2021
Palm Sunday (Children Time) / The Sunday of Passion
Title: It Is Time to Awake and Get up
(Mark 14:1-11, 32-42)
By Heeyoung Lim

Who crucified Jesus Christ? Judas, the Jewish leaders, and Barabbas contributed to His death directly and indirectly, but the people cried out for His crucifixion. God could have prevented it from the cross, but it was not God’s way. God allowed Jesus to be crucified to die for all people, He also allowed Jesus Christ to be crucified by people who praised Jesus before. Why Jesus had to die by crucifixion? It was the most publicly humiliating way to die in those days. However, it was the only way because Jesus was the only one who could do it.
In today’s text, the religious leaders wanted to get rid of Jesus, but they decided to wait until the feast was over because they did not want the blame for killing Jesus and they wanted the Romans to do their dirty work. Verse 11 indicated that the religious leaders gained some unexpected help from one of Jesus’ own disciples, Judas. This may have convinced them to move ahead with their plan during the celebration of the Passover. (Mark 14:1)
Mark14 concentrates on the theme of Christ’s suffering, which is highlighted by Judas’s betrayal, Peter’s denial, and enemies’ injustice, but we see the incredible love that Jesus has for us. Jesus was about to enter the most painful time of his ministry.
Why He would be betrayed into the hands of his enemies by one of his own disciples; be forsaken by His disciples; be wrestled by being separated from his own Father in bearing the sins of all mankind. Why He would be rejected and denied by people; and face the injustice of his enemies. Why? Because Jesus “so loved the world” that he was committed to giving up his life for us. We can see the power of committed love.
While Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on His head. (3)
The Gospels of Mark and Matthew do not report this woman’s name, but the Gospel of John tells us it was Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1-2). Mary is mentioned three times in the Gospels; each time she is at the feet of Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42; John 11:31-32; 12:1-8)
Martha had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. (Luke 10:38)
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11: 32)
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3)
Mary loved Jesus and surrendered to Him.
In Mark 14 and John12, some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? They scolded her. And one of his disciples, Judas, who was later to betray Jesus, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.

In John14:6-9, Jesus said, the opportunity to help the poor would always exist, but He would not be with them much longer. He defended Mary’s actions by saying, “Leave her alone; why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me; She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” Jesus received Mary’s gift for which was a meaningful act of love and devotion. In this context, Mary’s expression toward Jesus was appropriate, the motivation for Mary’s act was love and devotion. It was a reminder of Jesus to his followers about his upcoming crucifixion and burial. (6)
In today’s text, we can see the insensitivity of the disciples in comparison to the sensitivity and great love Mary had for Jesus. Mary showed that Jesus deserves our best. The more we love Jesus, the more we will show it by what we offer to him. Jesus said, truly I tell you, “wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” What a blessing!
Jesus experienced blessing during betrayal. Regarding the betrayal, the religious leaders sealed the deal by giving Judas what he loved most, money, with the amount of thirty silver coins. (Matthew 26:15) His betrayal also was the fulfillment of a prophecy about the Messiah in Zechariah 11:12-13. (“So, they paid me thirty pieces of silver.”)
We are moving onto the story of Gethsemane; Jesus was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man. Mark reveals for us the complete humanity of Christ as he faced the most severe testing of his faith. The Garden of Gethsemane was one of Jesus’ favourite spots (Luke 22:39; John 18:12). He often went there to pray, but he faced his fear of his upcoming suffering by praying for strength to do his father’s will. (32)
Jesus took with him the three disciples Peter, James, and John to pray. They had accompanied him to Jairus’ house (5:37), and they had been with Jesus on the place of Transfiguration (9:2). They had been with Jesus during the best of times and the worst of times.
Jesus said to the three disciples, “Keep awake” when He was experiencing the intense emotional, psychological, and spiritual suffering. He knew what was about to happen to Him on the cross. Not only would he suffer great physical agony but he would bear all of the sins of the world. He would become the sin bearer instead of sinners; he would be forsaken by his own Father. (33) But the disciples could not do it, they could not even watch for one hour. (37) Jesus once again said to the disciples to watch and pray; You will not fall into temptation. Jesus showed the way to conquer temptation is to stay awake and to pray, but the disciples slept again.
Jesus fell to the ground because of this overwhelming task, and he asked that he take this cup from me. (35, 36) The cup refers to Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus showed us the clear purpose of prayer in the verse 36, “yet not what I will, but what you will”. Jesus willingly placed his desires in submission to his Father’s will. After Jesus went to pray for the third time, he returned to find the disciples asleep again. He said, “are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.” (41)
It was not “time for sleeping”, it was “time of praying”. It was time to go to the cross and finish His mission. Jesus is speaking to us today. “Are you still sleeping? Enough! The hour has come. Get up!”
We are in unstable places where the painful and shameful cases of dehumanization continually occurred like Roman power and crucifixion.
However, there is divine faithfulness in continuity with God’s love. Thankfully, we experience life-giving love in Jesus’ commitment to His mission, which is the restoration of humans and communities. We, every follower of Jesus, have a future and a hope because of the new covenant based on Jesus’ shed blood and the promise of his return.
How can we express our love and dedication to Jesus more in Holy Week? I hope we can do a beautiful thing to Jesus just like Mary. It is time to serve Jesus with love; It is time to awake and pray for our mission given by God; It is time to get up to go to the next stage. We can “do something” to bring glory to Jesus, and “do something” for someone we love. We can be also sustained through the prayer of “Gethsemanes” just like Jesus. I believe that God’s abundant blessings and unconditional love will be upon you always even during betrayal and hardship because the incredible love that Jesus has for us is touching us today and tomorrow.
We are called to follow Jesus Christ even to the cross; We do not need to be afraid to tell the Lord our deepest fears and frustrations. I pray we can pray for protection when feeling exhausted or weak and we will have our own Gethsemane to pray, serve, and love walking with Jesus even to the cross.

Thanks be to God! Amen!

(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)