The Father, Friends, and Foes in the Story of the Cross (Pt 1)

July 2, 2023

Series: Morning Worship

Book: Mark

Audio Download

Scripture: Mark 14:1-16


We’ll take your Bible if you will, and turn to the Gospel of Mark. We come this morning to chapter 14.
As we’re going to see, Mark has concluded his words on Jesus Christ’s judgment on Israel. You will remember that the first half of what is known as Passion Week is devoted to Jesus pronouncing judgment on Israel. Jesus has clearly prophesied and illustrated for the religious leaders, the Jews and everyone else, the judgment to come on the Jews for rejecting him as their Lord and savior and as their Messiah.

Jesus, then, in answering the twelves questions about the timing of the promised physical literal Kingdom on Earth, gave the 12 and us the details. First, the general details of the last days we are now living in. But remember, these signs were merely. The beginning of birth pains. Then He gave specific details of the final 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, a time He called the Great Tribulation, right before Christ returns to Earth to set up His Kingdom. And then He described what His return to earth would look like, will look like when everyone on earth will be able to see Him return in the air with His angels and the redeemed of all time. He will judge those who have rejected Him, sending them to hell. And His angels will gather all of the redeemed from the ends of the Earth to Himself and usher them into His millennial Kingdom on Earth.

This morning, as we come to Chapter 14, Mark writing from the memories of the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Peter had shared with him and has moved along by the Holy Spirit. Now begins to focus on the reason. For Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, coming to Earth in the first place.

As you work your way through the gospel accounts as we have, you can have a tendency to forget the main reason for the Gospels. So wonderful are the different accounts of Jesus’s life on Earth. Each of the Gospels are written for the purpose of demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is exactly who He claimed to be.

The promised Messiah of the Old Testament authors prophesied about. The son of God, ie, equal with God in every way. The Incarnate Son of God come to earth. The only Lord and saviour able to save sinful men from the penalty of their sins. Every word He spoke made it clear that He was speaking divine truth. Every miracle He performed was never once disputed by any one, not even His enemies. Everything He did was the indisputable evidence that He was God on Earth in the human body.

Only the Incarnate Son of God could come to earth, be tempted in every way, as every man is, and yet not once ever sin in word, thought or deed. Only the Incarnate Son of God could come to Earth, live a perfect sinless life and then go to the cross to take the responsibility for the sins of all who would believe upon Himself. And then die in our place to pay the price demanded by God for our sin. And in so doing, reconcile sinful man to a perfect sinless Holy God.

And so the deity of Jesus Christ is the focus of each of the gospel accounts. And the death of Jesus Christ, the burial of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the focal point. Because the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection is the pinnacle of all of history, the entire word of God is aimed at the sacrificial death of Jesus for all those who would believe in Him.

MacArthur writes as the central theme of scripture. Jesus is substitutionary death is repeatedly foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament as it looks forward to the cross. It’s in the promised deliverer of Genesis 3:15. It’s in the animal God killed to provide a covering for Adam and Eve. In the acceptable sacrifice offered by Abel. In the ram caught in a thicket that took Isaac’s place on Mount Moriah. In the thousands of Passover lambs that were slain in Egypt. In the entire system of Levitical sacrifices. In the bronze serpent lifted up in the wilderness for healing. In the concept of the Kinsman Redeemer. He continues. The cross was also foretold by prophets like David and Isaiah and Daniel and Zechariah. As the last of the old covenant prophets, the greatest of all men up until his time, John the Baptizer introduced Jesus to the world by describing Him as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

You come to the New Testament and the cross remains the central focus. As I said, it’s the focus of all of the gospels. Matthew 26, 27, Mark 14 through 15, Luke 22 through 23, John 18 and 19. Then the book of Acts, the transitional book traces the proclamation of the cross throughout the world as the gospel sounded forth from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and the ends of the earth. Then the epistles as they look back at the cross are filled with the profound theology of the cross and its practical implications for all true followers of Jesus Christ. Then finally, in its sweeping prophetic summary of the future, the book of Revelation looks back to Calvary, portraying the Lord as the perfect lamb who was slain to make redemption possible by His death, burial, and resurrection.

It’s now here in Mark Chapter 14 that Mark has arrived at the story of the cross. Now remember, we have spent the last several weeks looking at the Olivet discourse in which Jesus has been teaching His men and us the signs of Jesus’s second coming to Earth in which He will judge all those who have rejected Him, and to set up His millennial Kingdom on Earth.

Tragically, what the Jews then and still do not understand today is that both Jew and Gentile alike must first be in the spiritual Kingdom of God before they can be a part of the physical literal Kingdom of God. And no one can be a part of the spiritual Kingdom of God without Jesus Christ paying the penalty demanded by God death. And dying on the cross being buried as the evidence of His death, and then rising from the dead to conquer Sin, Satan and death. So that we might be able to do the same. To enable us to become a part of the spiritual Kingdom of God and then in the future the physical, literal Kingdom of God on Earth, where we will reign with Him.

To say it another way, no one can be part of the spiritual or physical Kingdom of God unless they accept Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for their sins and be willing to confess and repent of their sins and commit their lives to live for Him.

And So what Mark is going to cover now in this final section of his gospel chapters 14, 15 and 16 are the details of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.

Follow along as I read our passage for this morning and next Lord’s Day morning. Beginning in verse 1, now the Passover and the unleavened bread were two days away, and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him. For they were saying, not during the festival, otherwise there might be a riot of the people. While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure Nard, and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another. Why has this perfume been wasted? For this, perfume might have been sold for over 300 denarii and the money given to the poor, and they were scolding her. But Jesus said let her alone. Why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could. She has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of her in memory of her. Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the 12, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them. They were glad when they heard this and promised to give him money, and he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time. On the first day of unleavened bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, his disciples said to Him, where do You want us to go to and prepare for You to eat the passover? And He sent two of His disciples and said to them, go into the city and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, the teacher says, Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with my disciples? And he himself will show you, show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Prepare for us there. The disciples went out and came to the city and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

Now to introduce this section, Mark here is going to list for us the major players in the story of the cross. The theme of this section is that this is all everything involved in the death burial in Jesus Christ. This is all the sovereign plan of God. This is all the work of God. It’s set in place from eternity past and God, as always, uses His children and His enemies alike to accomplish His perfect will.

Now, as I said, Jesus is the central most important being in the history of the world. Without Jesus Christ coming to Earth, living a sinless life and dying on the cross, every single human being would be destined and deserving of an eternity in hell.

And also as I told you, each of the Gospels spends the bulk of its time validating the deity of Jesus Christ to be able to satisfy God’s demands for the sins of those who would believe. The point is, we’ve already covered the main figure in the story of the Cross, Jesus Christ. It’s clear He’s God. He did things only God could do. He said things only God could say. But there are other key players. Many we’ve already met, others we haven’t. That mark mentions here to set up the details of Christ’s death on the cross.

Here’s our outline. #1 the sovereign plan of God. #2, the spiritually dead leaders. #3, the sacrificial friend. For the scheming enemy. #5 the subservient disciples.

Let’s look at the first key character in the story of the cross. The first key player in the story is God. God. We want to look specifically at the sovereign plan of God. Look at verse one. Now the Passover and unleavened bread were two days away. In terms of chronology, it is still Wednesday evening as we come to Chapter 14. Mark begins here with a time reference. This is a time reference to know to let us know where we are in the week.

Now you will notice that God is not named specifically in the text here, and yet the opening words scream out the activity and the sovereignty of God in the picture here. This is not a coincidence. It’s not a coincidence that the Passover lamb, the final perfect Passover lamb would be put to death on the Passover. That’s no coincidence. Again, MacArthur writes, MacArthur writes. This chronological marker demonstrates that the divine timetable was running precisely according to schedule. On that specific Passover, in the very year that the prophet Daniel had predicted in Daniel 9:25 and 26 on the same day and at the same time when 10s of thousands of Passover lambs were being killed in the temple. The Father had ordained an eternity passed that the spotless Lamb of God would also be slain. In other words. This time reference here tells us that every single detail that has and is taking place is on a divine timetable ordained by God in eternity past. This is the theme.

Of the apostle Peter’s masterful sermon. The first Christian sermon on the day of Pentecost, look at Acts Chapter 2. Look at Acts chapter 2. Herein Acts chapter 2 verses 14 through 21. Peter begins his sermon by explaining the sign gift of tongues, you’ll remember on that day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon those who were true followers of Jesus Christ, and they began to speak in other languages. He points out in this section. That it was all prophesied by the Old Testament Prophet Joel. He explains the details that took place on the day of Pentecost. The people speaking in other known languages are not drunk, they are simply giving evidence of what Joel prophesied that God would pour out His spirit on those who were true followers of Christ as the evidence of being a redeemed people. And then he describes the miraculous signs by displaying the glory of the coming Lord Jesus Christ in judgment on the day of the Lord. And then he transitions to explain the role of God Incarnate. And how God was the dominant. Player in the life and the death of the Messiah. The religious leaders of Israel put to death on the cross.

Look at verse 22 men of Israel. Listen to these words, Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst just as yourself. You yourselves. In other words, Peter tells the crowd that day that whether or not they acknowledge it. Jesus was God Incarnate. And this specifically speaks of His life.

Look at it verse 22. Jesus the Nazarene. That was a name the religious leaders used to ridicule Jesus, believing that nothing good ever came out of rural Nazareth. He says a man attested to you by God. The word in the Greek for attested speaks of Jesus being put on display as God in human flesh, proven to be who He claimed to be and proclaimed to have the highest office, that of Messiah. And who approved Him? What’s he saying? Attested by God. God, God put Him on display. God proved by infallible evidences that He was who He claimed to be, and then declared that He had the right to the highest office.

And what did God approve Jesus Christ by by what did He approve Jesus Christ? Verse 22. What’s it saying with miracles? And wonders and signs. And John, 5:5-9, He recreated the insides of a man who had been sick for 38 years. And John 9:1-7, He recreated the eyes of a blind man. In Mark 7:31-37, the ears of the deaf. In Matthew 15:31, the tongues of the dumb. One day, Matthew 14:14-21 tells us by the Sea of Galilee, with at least 20 25 thousand people sitting at his feet. He fed the entire multitude, starting with only five loaves and two fish. At a wedding at Cana, where He began His public ministry, He created wine out of water and one day. He stood by the tomb of Lazarus and performed the acid test. He stood there and simply said John 11:43 Lazareth come forth. And he did. Jesus was a man approved. He was a man, attested to. He was proven, He was proclaimed, and He was put on display by God to be the Messiah, and it was verified by miracles and wonders and signs.

John 3:2 tells us that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, how did you know that? For no one can do these signs that You do, unless God is with him. See, Nicodemus knew that Jesus was from God by the miracles that He did, and he hadn’t even become a believer yet. But he could see that Jesus was approved by God. In other words, He was approved of God by miracles, that term miracles. Refers to the nature of these supernatural acts. Supernatural to us. Nothing to God. He operates outside the laws of nature. Miracles were manifestations of the mighty power of a supernatural God. That’s what the word miracle means.

The term wonders. That speaks of their appearance. The word wonders speaks of the wonder or the marveling that is generated in the mind of an individual who witnesses the miracle.

The term signs that speaks of intention, the miracles of Jesus always pointed to the fact that He was God incarnates because He was doing things that only God could do. They were the verification that what He said and what He did came from God. And so Jesus was approved by God by miracles and signs and wonders, His life was a living testimony that He was exactly who He claimed to be.

Notice that Peter gives credit for the miracles. Look at verse 22, which God performed through Him in your midst. Who God performed those miracles in their midst. Peter gives credit to God for the miracles and the signs and the wonders that Jesus performed. In fact, all of the way through this sermon, Peter gives credit to God. He says that God raised Him from the dead. Verse 24, verse 32, that God exalted Him to His right hand, verse 33. Said sit at my right hand until I make thine enemies a footstool for your feet. Verse 34 and 35. In other words, Peter is proving to those there and to us that God was running every single minute detail of Jesus Christ’s life. I came to do the father’s will. And then he says verse 22, just as you yourselves know.

In other words, there is no possible way for you to conclude anything other than that God ordained and orchestrated everything Jesus did during His time on earth. And remember, at no time did anyone, friend or enemy, ever discount one single miracle Jesus performed. Now, not only was every detail of the life of Christ ordained and orchestrated by God Himself. But so was His death.

Verse 23. This man. Delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. You nailed to a cross. By the hands of godless men. And put him to death. The religious leaders. At the time of Christ’s death believed that they had Jesus killed. They believed that they had eliminated Him, but Peter tells them no, no. It was all predetermined by God. God ordained, and orchestrated every detail of His death and His burial and His resurrection. You simply carried out the will of God, exactly the way God designed it in eternity passed, Peter says. He designed it, you carried it out. Peter says Jesus was no victim. This was the perfect plan of God. It was all predetermined.

You remember what Pilate said to Jesus in John 19:10 Pilate said to Him, You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You and I have authority to crucify you? Jesus says in verse 11 you would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given to you from above. You don’t have any authority. God is running all of this. God ordained and orchestrated every detail of Christ’s life.

Now look at this verse 23. This man. Speaking of Jesus. Holy God and holy man, the God man. The fullness of God in human form. Verse 23 delivered over. That were delivered, “Ekdotos”, it appears only here in the New Testament. And it’s used as a word to describe those who have surrendered over. Been surrendered over to their enemies or have been betrayed. That’s exactly what happened with Jesus. In other words, catch this. God delivered Jesus over to death. He gave his son to be the Savior of the world, which entailed delivering Him to His enemies. By the very design of God, Jesus was betrayed by Judas into the hands of the Jewish leaders, who handed Him over to the Romans for execution. That’s what Peter is highlighting. This is all about God, he says.

Now notice. Peter does not say that Jesus was delivered by the will of men. Verse 23, he says that He was delivered over, look by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. The word predetermined comes from the Greek word, which from which we get our word horizon. It means to mark out with a boundary or to determine. Think the word ordained or orchestrated. See the word plan. The orchestrated plan. The word plan comes from a Greek word that refers to God’s will, God’s design, God’s purpose. Taken together, they indicate that Jesus Christ was delivered to death because God planned it, and He ordained it.

So God. Set it down in order. Marked it out. And said it is My will, that Jesus, the perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb of God, will die on Passover. It was all predetermined from eternity past.

I don’t know if you ever think about this when you read Scripture, but do you realize God had a fig tree planned out and put in place from eternity past that Jesus would curse? Not some random fig tree. God had a tree planned out and put in place that would provide the wood for the cross Jesus would die on. It was all planned out in advance. All of it.

Someone had to die for sin because it was God’s will that men would be recovered from sin by the death of someone else, and the only person capable of doing it was the sinless, perfect son of God. Thus, God planned with Jesus Christ, the death of Christ long before the world was even made. But it was all God’s planning.

I think we can have a tendency to think, whoa, Adam and Eve sin. I didn’t see that coming. It was perfect. No reason to sin. Ohh God, he, Plan B. Here we go. No, no. All perfectly orchestrated and ordained by God. Oh, God’s planning.

Look at acts Chapter 4 for a moment. Acts 4:26. The kings of the earth took their stand. And the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ. For truly in this city. There were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed both haired and Pontious Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel to do whatever Your hand, see it’s capital. Uppercase Your. Whose hand? God’s hand. All these leaders gathered together to do whatever God’s hand and God’s purpose predestined to occur.

Remember, as I said earlier, for a for a sovereign God, it doesn’t really matter whether a person is saved or unsaved in terms of whether or not God can use them to accomplish His will perfectly. Just because a man is not a true follower of Jesus Christ does not mean he is outside God’s ability to use him. God used people to carry out His predetermined will and crucifying Christ.

But watch this, He never violated their own will to do it. So He used them, but they willingly did it. Back to Chapter 2:23. See the word foreknowledge. Acts 2:23 foreknowledge. Delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. The word foreknowledge comes from the Greek word prognosis. It’s one of those words that is often misunderstood by people. A lot of people use the word foreknowledge to explain predestination or election and say, well, our election is based on God’s foreknowledge in the sense that God knows what’s going to happen before it happens. In other words, they see God up in heaven. He’s looking down at the world, and He’s surveying the future. And He says, you know, I know that in time that John Zimmer is going to get his act together and and he’ll finally come to me. Therefore, I will elect him knowing that in time. He’ll get it together. I’ll just fit it into my plans. For knowledge, then is determined by some to mean an awareness beforehand, or knowing something before it happens. The problem with that? Is that that word translated for knowledge never has that meaning in the entire word of God. It always means, catch this, for ordination. For planning. Or predetermining.

Let me show you what I mean. Acts 2:23 would make absolutely no sense if it said, this man delivered up by the predetermined plan, and because God knew he was going to do that. That makes no sense. Foreknowledge knowing what’s going to happen before it happens could have known that Jesus would be delivered to His enemies, but it could not have acted to make it happen. Foreknowledge can’t act, but for ordination can. So Christ wasn’t delivered up by foreknowledge. He was delivered up by for ordination.

The word prognosis means to for ordained or for planned, and it should be translated for ordained everywhere it’s used. That would help to clear that up. The word always has to do with with choosing, for ordination and predetermination. God maps it all out beforehand because He’s sovereign. His purpose is run the entire world, and so Peter makes a very powerful point of all of this because he wants to show that Jesus was not ever a victim.

You say, well, does that remove human responsibility? No, you know better than that. Look at the rest of verse 23. You nailed to a cross. You did it. You nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

The indication of the phrase you nailed to a cross is a reference to the Jews. The phrase by the hands of godless. Literally lawless men, is a reference to the Romans. The Jews were the instigators, the Romans were the executioners. And so Peter Peter here presents here, in verse 23, the total sovereignty of God and the complete responsibility of man.

It was God’s plan that it would happen this way. You say, Well then, they didn’t have a choice. They did had a choice, and because they took the wrong choice, they’re held responsible for that. You say, well, I don’t. I I I don’t know how those two things go together. Guess what? You’re not going to be able to pull that together.

But the point you have to see here is that from man’s perspective, he is always responsible for his sin. From God’s perspective, everything in the world is mapped out according to His divine plan from eternity past. And here’s the point. Here’s the point that I want you to understand here. It’s essential that you do not miss this. Both the life and the death of Jesus Christ, every single detail of it, every single moment of it, was ordained and orchestrated by God. Jesus was no mentally deluded soul who pushed His luck too far so that He had to be killed. He would choose to lay down His life because that was the plan of God from eternity past, and every single detail of His life and His death is a picture of God’s sovereign plan at work. And that’s exactly what we are seeing in these opening words of Mark’s Gospel as Mark begins this final section on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Now go back to Mark Chapter 14:1. Now the Passover and unleavened unleavened bread were two days away. You say wow. Wait, Passover is coming. Jesus is called the Passover lamb. What a coincidence. No. He’s not going to die one millisecond before the Passover. Because that’s been the plan. Ordained and orchestrated by God from eternity past.

Now here’s what we know. The Passover was celebrated each year on the 14th day of the Jewish month. Nissan in the late March or early April. It was a celebration instituted by God to remind the Jews of that night in Egypt when the Angel of death passed over the houses of the Israelites who had obeyed God, by way of Moses and killed the lamb and sprinkled its blood on the doorposts and the lentils. The Passover was a picture for the Jews of deliverance. It’s a deliverance picture. The deliverance of God from the evil Egyptians. You are to celebrate every single day of your existence the fact that God can and does deliver you.

The feast of Unleavened Bread, also instituted by God, began the next day and lasted one full week from the 15th to the 20 to the 21st of Nissan. It commemorated Israel’s exodus from Egypt, and it was named for the flatbread that the Jews took with them when they made their hasty escape from Egypt. Because the two celebrations were so closely intertwined to Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread eventually came to be interchangeable terms. Together they made-up one of Israel’s three major feasts, along with Pentecost, known as the feast of Weeks in the Old Testament and the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.

Now notice that Mark tells us that the Passover and unleavened bread were two days away. That means, as I said. That it is still Wednesday night. Because Passover is 2 days away, Jesus knows that it is now time for Him to lay down His life on the Cross in two days. Not before, not after. Listen to Matthew 26. Matthew 26 parallel passage, you know that after two days the Passover is coming and the son of man is to be handed over for crucifixion.

Well, wait, didn’t they come in the middle of the Night and grab You? And no one knew it was going to happen? No, no. After two days, the Passover is coming. The son of man is to be handed over for crucifixion. Everything’s right on track. From eternity past, it was the plan of God that Jesus would give up His life at the Passover celebration as the fulfillment of the picture of deliverance when He would provide the way for sinful man to be delivered from the eternal penalty of his sin.

Think of all of the times, walking around in the wilderness, in the countryside. That is, the enemies wanted to kill Him. One time they forced Him to the edge of a Cliff. And the text says, He just He just walked, right back through the crowd, that was incited to kill him. From the moment He was born, when King Herod wanted to try to have Him killed, when King Herod tried to have Him killed by slaughtering all the male babies age 2 and younger, up until He cleared out the temple at the end of His ministry, the second time, His enemies were always seeking to kill Him. And you know what, from a human perspective, they could have killed him at any moment in time.

The only thing that prevented them was the divine timing of God set in motion from eternity past. Jesus was to lay down his life on the Passover as the perfect, spotless, sinless Lamb of God. No one could take His life because He was God Incarnate, but He would lay it down and right at the exact moment in the exact place God determined in eternity passed.

And that’s what Jesus meant when He told His men the night before His death, that for indeed the son of man is going, as it has been determined. By whom? By God. Every single aspect from the timing, to the details, to the players involved in the death of Jesus Christ was ordained and orchestrated by omnipotent God to accomplish His sovereign perfect will.

By the way, back in Peter’s sermon, the rest of his sermon, he speaks about the fact that God also ordained that He would raise up Jesus from the dead, having paid the price demanded by God for the sins of all who would believe. And so the first key player in the story of the cross is God the father as He perfectly carries out His sovereign plan through His son Jesus Christ.

Now there’s a second group that serves as pawns on the chess Board of Life. Moved by God and yet fully responsible for their movement. They helped to accomplish the perfect will of God right on schedule. This is the spiritually dead leaders. Look at verse one. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize him by stealth and kill him. For they were saying not during the festival. Otherwise, there might be a riot of the people.

As I said earlier, from the moment of Lucifer being thrown out of heaven, God has always used everyone and everything, regardless of their allegiance to Him to accomplish His perfect will in His perfect timing. And that is the case with these spiritually dead leaders. And remember, as I’ve said now several times, even though God uses them for His perfect purposes, they are still nevertheless fully responsible for their participation in their evil acts.

Look at Luke 22 for a moment. This is a good picture of this. This is speaking about Judas, who is both the pawn of God and fully responsible for his own actions. Luke 22:21. But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. Luke 22:21. For indeed, look at this, the son of man is going as it has been determined. This is all according to plan, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed. You see both sides there. God’s absolute sovereignty and the man’s responsibility for his deeds. This is a divine antinomy that’s a seeming contradiction. It’s not a contradiction, it’s a seeming contradiction, because it’s of God and God’s ways are so far above our ways.

Here’s what we can know. Man is responsible for his sins, not for the plans of God. And so on Wednesday night of Passion Week, as Jesus was speaking to His disciples about the glories of His second coming, the Jewish religious leaders were meeting together to plot His murder.

Look in Matthew Chapter 26 for a moment. Matthew 26. Matthew 26:3. Parallel passage, then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest named Caiaphas. And they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. The chief priests for the most part were Sadducees. The Sadducees were comprised of the high priest, the captain of the temple, who assisted the high priests and other high-ranking priests. They rejected everything and anything supernatural the Sadducees. The Scribes, who were mostly Pharisees, were the legal lawyers, they were the experts in both Old Testament law and all of the man made, man centered works righteousness, Rabbinic tradition. Together, the Sadducees and the Pharisees comprised the apostate religious leadership of Israel, who were the primary tools of Satan in opposing Jesus during his incarnation.

Now go back to Mark 14. Mark gives us the purpose of their meeting. I just explained it to you from the parallel passage in Matthew. Verse one and the chief priest and the scribes were seeking how to seize him by stealth and kill Him. It’s interesting to note catch this, think this through. It’s interesting to note. Don’t ever forget this. That the nature of depravity you’ve talked about this many times, we we hear the word depravity and we think oh, that’s some sexually immoral person. Well, yes, that’s true. But that’s not the meaning of depravity. The meaning of depravity is literally sinful to the point that your brain no longer functions. To be depraved is to be brain dead. Literally, it’s what the Greek means.

You say, well, I mean, how can how can the people of this world and how can our government and how can they do these things? Depravity. The brain is no longer functioning. That’s a that’s a biblical definition.

It’s interesting to note, then, that the nature of depravity, the result of being consumed by sin, prevents people from rationally considering anything other than what they believe to be true. Well, I need to live out my truth. You’re depraved. Because your truth isn’t going to get you into heaven, but it will get. You into hell. Because the religious leaders considered Jesus to be a threat to their position and their power and their pocketbook. Rather than consider the evidence of His deity. They look instead for ways to put Him to death. It’s no different today. The prevailing mentality of the world is to want true followers of Jesus Christ killed rather than considering the message of the gospel.

We see this in a previous meeting of the religious leaders before this meeting on Wednesday night with the religious leaders trying to find a way to have Jesus killed. They did the same thing after the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. They gathered together, the text says. We have a problem. We have a guy who was dead. We all know he was dead. The whole city knows he was dead. The country knows the guy was dead. They all know that Jesus showed up, raised him from the dead, and instead of considering this miracle as the unmistakable nature of deity, they sought to put to death both Jesus and Lazarus. Thinking that would cover it up.

Such is the nature of depravity that shuts down the ability of sinful man to think rationally. The religious leaders want Jesus dead. They want him dead right now, so they need to figure out how to put Him to death. And that’s a problem because under Roman rule they do not have the power to put anyone to death.

Remember, these factions of religious leaders all hate each other, but they are united in their hatred of Jesus. But, but they know enough to be fearful that the people will oppose them and begin to riot due to the popularity of Jesus. Verse 2, for they were saying not during the festival. Otherwise, there might be a riot of the people.

And so the plan is, let’s kidnap Jesus, we know He’s here, and then let’s wait until the majority of the Jews have left Jerusalem, and then we’ll get Rome to put Jesus to death. They were correct. They should wait. But that was not the sovereign timetable of God as determined by God in eternity past. God’s plan was that the sinless, spotless, perfect Lamb of God lay down His life as the final Passover lamb as 10s of thousands of four legged lambs would be killed as the picture of the one final Lamb, Jesus Christ. As we’re going to see, that’s exactly what happened.

So see so key key characters in the story of the cross, there’s God. The sovereign plan of God. And then there’s the spiritually dead leaders. The religious leaders, the political leaders. All used by God to accomplish His purpose, all responsible to God for their sinful choices.

Next time we’ll pick up here and we’ll look at the rest of them mentioned here by Mark as he begins to describe the events leading up to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. In one sense, this is such a tragic story. That the sinless, perfect one would die for you. For me. And yet it is. All the more profoundly beautiful. As God has. Ordained and orchestrated, every single moment of what is going to take place. Pretty exciting.

Well, Father, thank you for your time and the text this morning. What a good reminder. Yes, we know that you’re sovereign. Yes, we forget that on a moment by moment basis. As we leave this place this day, help us to marvel in your sovereignty. Help us to marvel at the fact that You kept us alive until that moment in time, the spirit called us to You, drew us to You and enabled us to understand what we could not understand one moment before. Help us to marvel in that. Rejoice in You. All this Lord we pray in Your name.