Exhort for 18th Feb 2007 Reading - Mark 14 Bro David Evans
2007年2月18日劝勉词 读经：马可福音第14章 大卫伊万斯弟兄
There would be very few readings that would be more appropriate to consider before sharing the bread and wine than an account of the events that took place in the upper room. Our reading today in Mark 14 is one such chapter. Here we have the details of the Lord as he instituted these emblems so that we might remember his sacrifice week by week.
Mary Anoints our Lord—Mark 14:1-9; see also John 12:1-9
Before considering the events in the upper room Mark takes us back a few days to the time when Mary anointed Jesus while he was eating in their home in Bethany. He does this because what happened there had a significant bearing on the events that follow. John records: “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:3). This very moving act by Mary was motivated by love for her Lord. Because some questioned what Mary did, inferring it was a great waste, Jesus answered them saying: “She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying”. (Mark 14:8). Is this an insight into Mary’s understanding of what was to happen to her Lord? It seems she was one of the few who realised that Jesus was to die and rise again. Possibly the resurrection of her brother Lazarus had confirmed in her mind what Jesus meant when he said: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Mark 10:33-34). She believed that as her brother Lazarus had come forth from the grave, so her Lord would be raised also.
At such a meal where love predominated (John 11:5), who would have thought that in the heart of one at that same meal a plot was developing that would fulfil those other words of Jesus: “the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes”? We see the seeds of this evil action in the words Judas spoke when he saw Mary anointing Jesus. He was not moved by her love for her Lord but his mind quickly turned the ointment into monetary value. To him it was money wasted, that he could use. Like all hypocrites, his real thoughts were concealed in words conveying a deep feeling for the poor: “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:4-5). Three hundred pence was equal to a year’s wages, for labourers were paid a penny a day (Matthew 20:2). Such a large amount, if given to the poor, certainly would have been very helpful for them. However John adds the following comment: “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein”. It was blatant hypocrisy for Judas to present himself as one who cared for the poor—his intention was to steal from the bag. Jesus, who knew what was in man, knew the evil thoughts of Judas’ heart.
Judas Contracts to Sell his Lord
Mark next tells how Judas went to the chief priests to betray his Lord. He was desperate to get money. How true are Paul’s words: “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content”, and he warns: “They that will (or desire to) be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:8-10).
We live in a materialistic world and we too can be drawn into the desire for riches, just as Judas was. Judas had heard Jesus teach: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21), but he did not believe it. Judas’ treasure was in the money bag and what he could get from it, rather that in the promise of the kingdom to come. How foolish he was!
Jesus had said to his twelve disciples: “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28). Judas’ desire for money in this life lost him the wonderful blessing of everlasting life and rulership with Christ in the kingdom. He valued eternal life less than 30 pieces of silver. We may see the folly of Judas, but do we always have our values right? Do we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”, or do we get distracted by all those things that the Gentiles seek after? (Matthew 6:30-33). We are here this morning to examine ourselves and to see if we have our priorities fixed by a faith in God and His promises, or centred on the present things in this life. Paul said that those who lust after riches will be completely drowned in “destruction and perdition”, a word that means “ruin or loss”. Jesus called Judas, “the son of perdition” (John 17:12), because he showed by his actions that this was what he was.
Preparing the Upper Room—Mark 14:12-16
Mark introduced this chapter saying: “After two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death” (v1). What an amazing contrast in these two statements! Passover should remind the nation that Yahweh in His mercy and love had delivered them from slavery in Egypt. This salvation was achieved through the blood of the lamb, sprinkled upon the doorway of their homes. The lamb was roasted and then shared among all in the house and eaten with unleavened bread. However Mark tells us that the chief rulers of Israel were plotting to kill the Lamb of God who was to take away the sins of the world. We could not have a starker contrast than this!
As the Passover drew near the disciples asked Jesus: “Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?” (v12). We will recall that before Passover there needed to be careful preparation of the house in which it was to be eaten—it was to be cleansed of all leaven. The law stated: “The first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel…Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel” (Exodus 12:15 &19). Paul tells us what this preparation typified when he wrote: “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). The Passover lamb foreshadowed “Christ our Passover”, and the thorough cleansing of leaven spoke of the personal examination of our hearts and minds to ensure that we have no “leaven of malice or wickedness” secretly hidden there. We must personally examine our own hearts before we share our Passover lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, symbolised in this bread and wine.
逾越节将至，门徒就问耶稣：“除酵节的第一天，就是宰逾越羊羔的那一天，门徒对耶稣说，你吃逾越节的筵席，要我们往哪里去预备呢？”（12节）我们必须知道在逾越节的头一天对于要用来吃逾越节的房子犹太人必须仔细的布置，其中所有的酵都要除去。律法这样规定：“你们要吃无酵饼七日。头一日要把酵从你们各家中除去，因为从头一日起，到第七日为止，凡吃有酵之饼的，必从以色列中剪除。在你们各家中，七日之内不可有酵，因为凡吃有酵之物的，无论是寄居的，是本地的，必从以色列的会中剪除。”(出埃及记12：15、19节)保罗告诉我们这些准备的预表：“你们这自夸是不好的。岂不知一点面酵能使全团发起来吗？ 你们既是无酵的面，应当把旧酵除净，好使你们成为新团。因为我们逾越节的羔羊基督已经被杀献祭了。 所以，我们守这节不可用旧酵，也不可用恶毒（或作阴毒），邪恶的酵，只用诚实真正的无酵饼。”（哥林多起前书5：6-8）。犹太逾越节的羔羊预示着“基督我们的逾越节的羔羊”，彻底的除酵指的是我们各人自我查验，除去的思想和内心中隐藏的恶意，确保没有“罪恶和不道德的酵”。所以在我们分吃这逾越节羔羊的时候我们必须自我省察，而这代表着主耶稣基督就是饼和酒。
One of you shall betray me—Mark 14:17-21
We can appreciate the amazement of eleven of the disciples when Jesus said: “Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me” (v18). To them this seemed inconceivable—but Judas knew he had made an agreement with the chief priests to betray his Lord to them. Let us realise that our Lord knows the thoughts of our hearts. He has said: “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:23), and that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). There are no secrets we can hide. The disciples asked “one by one, Is it I?” (v19). They did not say, “Is it Bro X or Sis Y”. They asked “is it I?”—this is real self examination. Paul encourages us to do this as we partake of the emblems: “Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord (like Judas did). But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (1 Corinthians 11:27-28).
It is amazing that though Jesus knew who should betray him, he persisted with Judas, endeavouring to turn him from his wicked ways. Even at the meal in the upper room there was time for Judas to change. At that meal Jesus said, after he had washed the disciples’ feet, which included Judas: “I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he” (John 13:18-19). Jesus knew from Psalm 41:9 that Judas would sit and eat with him as his friend, but in his heart he had determined to lift up his heal against him and betray him. We deceive ourselves if we think we can share the bread and wine in fellowship with Christ, while persisting in sinful ways that we have not repented of. We come each week to reflect upon the past week, and rededicate our lives in service to God and Christ.
Before us we have bread and wine. The bread speaks of our Lord giving his whole heart and body in service to do the will of his God. The wine speaks of the new covenant in his blood which was given for the forgiveness of sins. How blessed we are to be able to examine our motives and service, seek forgiveness where we have failed, and ask for guidance and strength to follow in the steps of our Lord in the coming week.
He went out and it was night
Judas did not repent and forsake his wicked plan. Jesus said to him, “That thou doest, do quickly”, and he “went immediately out: and it was night” (John 13:27-30). Though Jesus knew where Judas was going, his disciples did not: “Some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor”. They could not believe that one would even think of betraying his Lord for 30 pieces of silver. But as we have seen, “the love of money is the root of all evil”, and this was Judas’ weakness.
犹大并没有悔改并放弃他罪恶的计划。耶稣对他说：“他吃了以后，撒但就入了他的心。耶稣便对他说，你所作的快作吧。 同席的人，没有一个知道是为什么对他说这话。 有人因犹大带着钱囊，以为耶稣是对他说，你去买我们过节所应用的东西。或是叫他拿什么周济穷人。 犹大受了那点饼，立刻就出去。那时候是夜间了”(约翰福音13：27-30)。尽管耶稣知道犹大有往哪儿去，但他的门徒并不知道，还心想：“有人因犹大带着钱囊，以为耶稣是对他说，你去买我们过节所应用的东西。或是叫他拿什么周济穷人。”他们甚至不相信有一个人因为30两银子要去背叛他们的主。但就像我们看到的一样，“贪恋金钱是万恶之源”这便是犹大的罪恶所在了。
The serious warning and lesson for us from Judas’ life is that he left his opportunity for repentance too late. The Lord had offered many opportunities for him to overcome his lust for money and focus upon God’s promise of future blessings, but he refused. As we read through the gospel records, let us consider the many parables and direct teachings he gave about Judas’ problem—and it may well be ours—–of placing trust in material things.
His confession, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4) was too late. The words of Jesus were clear: “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born” (Mark 14:21) Possibly, like the rejected at judgment, he was “weeping and gnashing his teeth”, knowing that his judgment was just and final and it was because he had not examined himself, repented and changed his ways when he had the opportunity. The 30 pieces of silver in his hand were a reminder of his self-inflicted condemnation, so he cast them away in disgust and went and hanged himself.
So, brethren and sisters, as we share this bread and wine, let us remember the example and sacrifice of our Lord, and examine ourselves that we may eat worthily. Then, when our Lord returns, we shall eat it anew with him in his Kingdom.