The Father, Friends, and Foes in the Story of the Cross (Pt 2)

July 9, 2023

Series: Morning Worship

Book: Mark

Audio Download

Scripture: Mark 14:1-16

Well, take your Bible, if you will, and turn to the Gospel of Mark. Chapter 14. Mark 14.
If you have been with us for a verse by verse study of Mark’s gospel, you know that we have come to the end of Jesus’s judgment on Israel and its religious leaders for rejecting him as their Messiah and their Lord and Savior. As we come to Chapter 14, Mark, writing from the memories the Apostle Peter had shared with him and as moved along by the Holy Spirit, is beginning to focus on the reason for Jesus Christ, God incarnate coming to Earth the first time.
As I reminded you and you all well know, Jesus came to earth the first time to die. If Jesus does not come to earth as the God man, be tempted in every way, as any man. And yet without ever sinning in any time, at any time and word, thought or deed, live a sinless, perfect life and then lay down His life to pay for the sins of all who would believe, as required by God, by dying in their place and then be buried as the evidence of His death, and then rise from the dead three days later, every single person ever born of man and woman would be destined and deserving of an eternity in hell. But that’s exactly what he did, and that’s the theme of the Word of God from the symbol pictures, pre filaments and prophecies of the Old Testament to the explanation in the New Testament. Because the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection is the pinnacle of all history, the entire word of God is aimed at the sacrificial death of Jesus for all those who would believe in Him.
That is Mark’s focus as we come to Chapter 14. In chapters 1 through 13, Mark demonstrated that Jesus is God incarnate, the only one capable of being the sinless savior of sinful mankind. Here in chapters 14 through 16, Mark will give us the detail of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.
Now, let me take a moment and explain this to you. All men born of man and woman by virtue of Adam’s sin, are conceived in sin, born in sin, and walk in sin. Therefore, all men are destined and deserving of an eternity in hell should they die. Only those who, by the grace of God, have been have been enabled by God to comprehend and accept Christ’s sacrificial death on their behalf and become members of the spiritual kingdom of God, which happens at the moment of salvation, which then in time makes us members of the physical, literal kingdom of God when He ushers that in on earth at the millennial.
In the Old Testament, those who were trusting in the promise of that one final perfect sacrifice for sin to come, look forward to the Messiah. Looking back, in the New Testament, then to Christ’s death on the Cross. Old Testament looking ahead, New Testament, looking back.
To say in another way, no one can be a part of this spiritual or the physical kingdom of God unless they’re enabled by God to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, except Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for their sins and commit their lives to live for Him. They must confess their sin, acknowledge that they’re a sinner before God and repent of that sin, be willing to return from that sin and commit their lives to live for Him. Those are the only ones who will wake up in heaven when they die. Only those enabled by God to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ then will return with Jesus Christ from Heaven in His second coming to earth to rule with Him in the Millennial kingdom. And then they will enter into the new heavens and the new earth when Jesus Christ casts all unbelievers of all time into the lake of fire for all of eternity.
And tragically, what the Jews both then and now long for, is God ushering in His kingdom on earth and reestablishing Israel as the ruling nation on earth under the leadership of God. But even more tragically, what they did not understand then and still do not understand today is that both Jew and Gentile must first be in the spiritual kingdom of God before they can be a part of the physical, literal kingdom of God.
And so, as in every gospel account, what Mark is going to cover now in this final section of his gospel, chapters 14, 15 and 16 are the details of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. 
Follow along as I read our passage for this morning beginning in verse one of chapter 14. Now the Passover in unleavened bread are 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 indignant, 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 in memory of her. Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to portray Him, Jesus 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. 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 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 wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house. ‘The teacher says, “Where is my guestroom in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples”’? And he himself will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready, prepared 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 final section 14 through 16. Mark is going to list for us here the major players in the story of the cross. But based on the opening phrase here, the theme of this section is the sovereignty of God. And what we begin to see here is that every single detail of the life of Christ on Earth is a part of the sovereign plan of God. This is all the work of God, set in place from eternity past. And as always, God will use 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. And 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. And that’s what we’ve seen in the first 13 chapters. 
But there are other key players. Some we’ve already met that Mark is going to mention that God will use to set up the details of Christ’s death on the cross. So here’s our outline. Number one: the sovereign plan of God. Number two: the spiritually dead leaders. Three: the sacrificial friend. Four: this scheming enemy. And five: the subservient disciples. 
Now, last time together, we looked at the first key character in the story of the cross. The first key player in the story is God. And we looked specifically at the sovereign plan of God. Look at verse one. Now the Passover in unleavened bread were two days away. In terms of chronology, it’s still Wednesday evening as we come to chapter 14. Mark begins with this time reference to let us know where we are in the week. I think more importantly, he tells us this to highlight the sovereignty of God in the details here. You’ll notice that God is not named specifically in the text here, and yet in the opening words, His presence, His sovereignty, scream out the activity and the direction of the sovereignty of God in the picture here.
MacArthur writes, this chronological marker demonstrates that the details of the week were taking place precisely according to schedule and that specific Passover in the very year that the Prophet Daniel had predicted in Daniel 9:25 and 26 on the same day, at the same time when tens of thousands of Passover lambs were being killed in the temple, the Father God ordained in eternity past that the spotless lamb of God would also be slain.
In other words, the 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. And here we looked at the Apostle Peter’s masterful sermon on the day of Pentecost that highlighted God’s sovereign control over every detail of Christ life on earth, as well as His death.
You’ll remember that 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 says, No, no. It was all predetermined by God. God ordained and orchestrated every detail of his death, burial and a resurrection. You simply carried out the will of God exactly the way God designed it in eternity past. Peter says God designed it. You carried it out. Peter says Jesus was no victim. This was the perfect plan of God. It was all predetermined. God ordained it and orchestrated every detail of Christ’s death. And you’re responsible for your part in that. 
Now, look at the details. Verse one here. Now, the Passover and unleavened bread were two days away. Here’s the point. In eternity past, God ordained that Israel would serve under the oppression of Egypt. He also ordained that he would deliver Israel from Egypt, that deliverance would be remembered in an annual celebration called Passover, combined with the feast of unleavened bread to keep in front of Israel that their God was a delivering God. Every year on the 14th day of the Jewish month NISAN In the late March or early April, Israel was to celebrate that God had sovereignly delivered them from oppression.
Now, what was the greatest enemy of Israel they needed deliverance from? Not Egypt, not Rome. The penalty of their sin. The penalty of their sin that was sending them to an eternity in hell. And if Passover was a picture of the one final sacrifice, that one final perfect sacrifice, pointing a head to that that needed to be sacrificed to deliver them from the penalty of their sin, then when do you think the fulfillment of that picture would take place? During the Passover, when Jesus was in Jerusalem. Who was the only one who could offer up that perfect final sacrifice? Jesus Christ.
In other words, from eternity past, it was the plan of God that all of those years would pass. Every year, that celebration, Jesus would come to earth, live His life without sin. At this specific Passover celebration as the fulfillment of the picture of deliverance. He would then provide the way for sinful man to be delivered from the eternal penalty of his sin. 
Think about all of the times, pretty much every single day of His life on earth that the enemies of Jesus Christ wanted to kill Him, but could not. From the moment he was born, when King Herod tried to have him killed in his slaughter of the male babies, age two and younger, up until he cleared out the temple at the end of His ministry, His enemies were always seeking to kill him. And 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, sinless, spotless lamb of God. No one could take it 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 past. 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. 
You picture God creating all things. And from that moment in time, every event that has ever happened was a domino knocked over by God that first moment of creation. Although way right up until this moment at the Passover, not any Passover before, not any Passover after, at this Passover, the final perfect lamb of God would be slain. 
There’s no way you could orchestrate that. Only God can do that. 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 the second group that serve as pawns on the chessboard of life, as they also accomplish the perfect will of God right on schedule. And that’s the spiritually dead leaders. Look at the verse one. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him. Verse two. For they were saying, Not during the festival, otherwise there might be a riot of the people.
As I said earlier, God, from the moment of Lucifer being thrown out of heaven has always used everyone and everything, regardless of their allegiance to Him to accomplish His perfect will in His perfect timing. That’s the case with these spiritually dead leaders. The religious ones and the political ones. And remember, even though God uses them for His perfect purposes, they were still nevertheless fully responsible for their participation in their evil acts. And we looked at that in the life of Judas in Luke chapter 22, God’s absolute sovereignty and man’s responsibility for his deeds. This is I said, a divine antinomy, a seeming contradiction, because it is of God, and God’s ways are always far above ours. 
Now here is what we can know. Man is responsible for his sins, not the plan 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, according to Matthew 26, a parallel passage were meeting together to plot His murder. Mark gives us the purpose of their meeting. Verse one they were seeking how to seize Him by self and kill Him. Verse two They were saying, In terms of timing, we can’t do this during the Passover celebration, otherwise there might be a riot of the people.
And so despite three and a half years of Divine teaching and miracles, these spiritually dead leaders ignore all of the divine evidence to conclude that they want Jesus dead. But they have a couple of problems. They want Him dead being under Roman law. They do not possess the power to put anyone to death. They witnessed the popularity of Jesus on Tuesday when the people cried out for Jesus to be their political leader as he rode into Jerusalem. And so they know if they capture Him in public, that could cause a riot, which would get Roman involved, which would cost them their power and their position and their pocketbook. They’re not interested in that. And so they need to figure out how to kidnap Him. And they wait. They think will wait until the majority of the Jews had left Jerusalem. Then we’ll get Rome to put Jesus to death. 
But here’s what I want you to see here. They are 100% correct. This is the worst possible time to go after Jesus. It could cost them their position with Rome, such as it was and thoes say and so they should wait. But that was not the sovereign timetable of God as determined by God in eternity past. So you’ve got the enemies of God determining when Christ should be killed. And God says, No, sorry, I will use you, my enemies, to accomplish My perfect will. God’s plan was that the sinless, spotless, perfect lamb of God laid down His life as the final Passover lamb in two days, while tens of thousands of lambs would be killed. All picturing that one final lamb of God, Jesus Christ. And so we see the remarkable orchestration in the sovereignty of God as He works all of these details together.
First, the sovereign plan of God. Then the spiritually dead leaders.
Let’s look at this third party ordained by God to help highlight an element of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. This is the sacrificial friend. The sacrificial friend, verse three. While he was in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper. Now, this is another obvious time reference. Now we know that Jesus and the twelve did not leave the Mount of Olives to return one last time to Bethany. We know that what this is, is a flashback to the previous Saturday, six days before the Friday of Passover, John 12 verse one tells us. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, just east of Jerusalem, you’ll remember that it was in Bethany where Jesus would stay in the home of Lazarus and Mary and Martha. But the previous Saturday, a man named Simon who had obviously been healed by Jesus, Simon the Leper, really the former leper, had been healed by Jesus. And he had hosted a dinner in Jesus’s honor. According to John 12 one, two, three, Mary, Martha and Lazarus were also in attendance, along with the twelve disciples. 
The question then is why does Mark refer back to that event? Why does he step out of chronological order to refer back to that event? Well, there are at least two main reasons here. Number one, to highlight the massive difference between the hatred of the religious leaders who wanted Jesus dead and the woman in this account who only wanted to demonstrate her sacrificial love for her savior.
And so look at this, in the text. The flow of the text here is you have the religious leaders who hated Jesus. You have Mary who loved Jesus, followed by a section on Judas who hated Jesus. Commentators call this a Markan sandwich. A Markan textual sandwich. It’s an approach we find several places in Mark’s gospel where he gives us the bad, the good, and then the bad or the good, the bad and the good. He uses it out of chronological order to make a point. The point he is making here is about the sovereignty of God. 
Secondly, Mark goes back a week to tell the story of how God in his sovereignty prepared the body of His son for His death. If the body of Jesus Christ, you remember it was prepared for His burial, it was not prepared for His death. And because of that, the Jews would have a major issue to this day. But God in His sovereignty covers that. Look at verse three. While He that’s Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, the Leper and reclining at the table. 
Now, you’ll remember you’ll remember that this was the typical posture for eating a formal meal in first century Israel. Rather than sitting upright at the table as we do today. Those at the table would recline on a cot, leaning on their left side to support their head so that they could eat with their right hand. A man’s head would be in line with the chest of the person reclining to his left, making it easy for him to whisper to him if he needed to. And we will see that in the texts to come. In John 13. Some of the statements made by Jesus were heard by all twelve disciples while other statements were private. Their feet would be pointed away from the table. And this was convenient. Then later for Jesus to wash the disciples feet. 
So you get the picture. They came a woman, he says, verse three, with an alabaster vial, a very costly perfume of pure nard. According to John, Chapter 12, verse three, the woman is Mary, who’s the sister of Martha and Lazarus. You will remember that Mary was the one sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him teach while Martha was cooking dinner. Martha complained to Jesus that Mary wasn’t helping, as she believed that Mary should be. And you’ll remember that Jesus responded by telling her that the worship and attentiveness of Mary to Him and His teaching was far more important than any temporal priority.
And then here on this occasion that that Mark is referring to. Again, Mary, the only one with any type of spiritual insight is the only one who understands that Jesus is about to die. He has repeatedly said he is about to die. She heard it, she believes it, and so she acts to prepare her Lord for His death.
Verse six There came a woman, Mary, with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard, an alabaster vial. Very simply is a long necked bottle, typically a long necked bottle made out of a special variety of marble and gypsum, a material that proved to be the best container for preserving expensive perfumes and oils. Pure nard was in oil taken from the nard plant, which was native to northern India.The fact that it’s pure meant that it was genuine and undiluted, which made it extremely costly. And so the combination of the expensive vial containing at least John 12:3 tells us, 12 ounces of expensive perfume made it very costly. 12 ounces of her perfume compared with perhaps one ounce in the typical bottles of expensive perfume sold today. This is obviously the most expensive object Mary possessed. 
As Jesus was dining with Simon, Mary comes in, she interrupts the meal, which was a breach of Jewish protocol. A woman was allowed to interrupt the meal only if she were serving the meal, but never for visiting or joining in on the conversation. Most likely, she does not join in on the conversation. However, she doesn’t hesitate. Mark tells us that she broke the vial and she poured it over his head. The fact that she breaks the vial, making the jar unusable again makes this an extremely expensive act. Most likely she broke the neck of the vial to more quickly carry out her act of worship. 
Verse five sets her actions at over 300 denarii at least one year’s worth of wages. A man would have to work an entire year to gain the money to buy the vial. She breaks in this one moment. Now, both Matthew and Mark tell us that she anointed His head. John tells us that she anointed His feet and wiped them with her hair. The point is that the 12 ounces of poured out ointment was enough to anoint Jesus from head to foot.
According to John 12:3, as a result of this most sacrificial act of devotion and worship, the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Well, the result of this most gracious act, carried out in God’s sovereign timetable gets the attention of Judas. Look at verse four. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, Why has this perfume been wasted?
What an interesting remark. Why has this perfume been wasted? According to the Greek text, they were not just annoyed, but their irritation rose to the level of fury when they witnessed this episode. They had no idea what they were witnessing and that they were witnessing the anointing of the Lord of Glory for His death. Most there that day saw this as an act of devotion by Mary, and they saw it as an inexcusable extravagance. Verse five They were upset for this perfume might have been sold for over 300 denarii and the money given to the poor.
You’ll notice that some, but not all of the people there were complaining about her actions. The language tells us that they were upset. They were offended. John tells us, John, Chapter 12, that it was Judas who was doing most of the talking and he was the one attempting to stir up some of the other disciples. 
Look at John Chapter 12 for a moment. John 12:4. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples who was intending to pray, who betrayed Jesus, said, Why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarii and given to poor people? Now, he said this not because he was concerned about the poor. He didn’t care about the poor, but because he was a thief. And as he had the money box, he was the treasurer of the 12.He used to pilfer, steal what was put into it.
Go back to Mark. Judas is the one stirring up the room. This is wrong. This should have been given to the poor. John says he wasn’t interested in the poor. Back to Mark 14:5, and they were scolding her in time. At this time they’re scolding her in time. They would more clearly understand that Judas had been stealing money from the financial gifts given to them. Right now they’re angry with her. 
Verse six Jesus said, Leave her alone. Let her alone. Why do you bother her? She has done a good thing for Me. He instantly corrects those criticizing her. He quickly points out that what she had done was a very good thing. Just like when Jesus commended Mary for worshiping Him by listening to his teaching. He again commends He again commends Mary for having the right priority.
Verse seven. You always have the poor with you wherever you wish, whenever you wish. You can do good to them. But you do not always have me.
He says, Look, you’re focusing on the lesser priority. There’s a greater priority. Referencing Deuteronomy 15:11, Jesus reminds everyone there that day that by God’s sovereign plan, there will always be poor people that you can minister to. But as for God, our in cannot for but but for God incarnate, sitting there, right there in their midst, He would soon be gone. Mary understood that and seized the moment to worship Jesus by giving all that she possessed to Him. 
By contrast, the religious leaders wanted Jesus dead and in the passage to follow. He was willing to sell Jesus to eliminate Jesus for what would amount to a few shekels of money. And of course, the point that Jesus is making here is that sacrificial worship is always the priority. Loving one’s neighbor, caring for the poor. That’s noble, that’s necessary. But loving the Lord is more important. Love, right. And love your neighbor as yourself. 
Well, Jesus continues. And in so doing, He’s exposes Mary’s motive for worship. Look at verse eight. She has done what she could. She has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. What Is clear is that she has believed Jesus the many times He has said that His death was imminent. She believed that and was used by God in his sovereign plan to anoint Jesus for His death and His burial because of her willingness to act in spite of the criticism she knew would follow. She is still revered today for understanding the priority of worship. Look at verse nine. That’s what Jesus said. Truly, I say to you, where wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.
Those who promote a social gospel, elevating things like ministry to the poor over the study and the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God. They’ve missed the entire point. Jesus is making. Jesus said she’ll always remember, be remembered for having the right priority. Simply stated, her actions symbolize the love and worship that characterizes all who are true followers of Jesus Christ. And so she sacrificed all she possessed to express that love and devotion to her Lord. Don’t miss this. Because of the haste with which Jesus was buried after his death, His body was not anointed with spices in typical Jewish fashion. This anointing then was the only anointing he received for burial as such, and it took place right on time because it was God’s plan from eternity past. His body will be prepared again, you know, but not like this, in a different fashion.
So the sovereign plan of God, the spiritually dead leaders, the sacrificial friend. Look at the scheming enemy. Verse ten. Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve.
Now again, we see the sovereignty of God in action here. You will remember that Judas was the only disciple not from Galilee. The term Iscariot simply means a man of Kerioth telling us that he came from that village located nearly 25 miles south of Jerusalem. We know that he was deceptive enough to be able to keep the other 11 from ever discerning who he really was. And in the text, the other 11 are still deceived, but not Jesus, whom with Divine patience, allowed the Plan of God to play out just as God had designed in eternity past. And you might even remember that in John’s Gospel, Jesus implicates Judas a couple of times by referring to him as a devil.
And so watch this verse ten. Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve. So you have the betrayer of Jesus, chosen by Jesus, who knows he’s the betrayer, and he’s listed as one of the twelve. Either Jesus really blew that one or this is the perfect plan of God from eternity past. 
Notice the first word of verse ten, then that’s another time reference. Then when’s the then? Well, after the supper, Saturday night in the home of Simon the Leper. So we’re going back a week before passion week after Mary had, in his mind squandered that expensive perfume, Judas, no doubt in anger, leaves the home of Simon the Leper, to find the religious leaders to try to make some kind of a deal.
And you’ll remember that the religious leaders are smart enough not to try and put Jesus to death during the Passover. But that didn’t matter because God was in control and everything was taking place according to the schedule God put in place in eternity past. And so Judas has right on time doing the work of Satan as ordained by God. All the while being fully responsible for every single evil word, thought or deed he carried out.
Verse 10, Mary pours the perfume. Judas went after the Chief priests in order to betray him to them. Verse 11 They were glad when they heard this. The religious leaders were glad when they heard what Judas wanted to do, and they promised to give him money.
We learned Matthew in Matthew 26, verse 15, that Judas agrees to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Get this, that’s around $0.64 to $0.72 each coin totaling slightly more or less than $20. The price you would pay for a common slave, according to Exodus 21 verse 32. We also learn that prompted by Satan himself, he is eager to make the deal. He would think differently later, verse 11, and he began seeking how to betray Jesus at an opportune time. 
And so get this from the middle of Saturday night, the middle of that Saturday night meal when Judas placed himself in league with Satan and under the contract with the religious leaders throughout the rest of Passion week, Judas was looking for a way and time to betray God incarnate. Don’t miss the fact that this is all pre-meditated. He has a plan that he’s working out. He doesn’t know it’s God’s plan. 
The religious leaders still don’t believe that it’s wise to go after Jesus during The Passion Week. But what they think doesn’t matter because again, Judas, his plan is right on schedule. Don’t forget Jesus knows all of this. He’s aware of all of this. The religious leaders know they needed to kidnap Jesus away from the crowds. And with Judas on board, they know they now have an insider who can tell them where Jesus will be at any given time. But they’re still looking for sometime after the Passover celebration has concluded. 
Now, don’t forget this. Do not forget this. Satan understands the plan of God. He understands the plan of God, but not the specific details. And so Satan was constantly seeking to disrupt the plan of God. For example, trying to move. He moves Pharaoh to kill all the babies, two years and younger. Earlier in Christ’s ministry, he tries to use Peter to convince Jesus to avoid the cross. No doubt at this point Satan wants to disrupt God’s timetable by delaying the crucifixion until after the Passover. If he could successfully do that, it would miss the entire point of the picture of Christ’s death. But because God is sovereign, it doesn’t really matter what Satan’s plans were. Because nothing he could do could override God’s sovereign plan from eternity past. Jesus said it this way in his high priestly prayer. John 17:12. I guarded them and not one of them perish, but the son of perdition, that’s Judas, so that what does Scripture said would be fulfilled. So on track as Scripture, such as Psalm 41:9, 55 verse 12 to 14, Zachariah 11 verses 12 and 13. And so even with Judas, everything Judas would do, he did in concert with God’s perfect sovereign plan, and yet he was fully responsible for every part of it.
So we’ve got the sovereign plan of God, the spiritually dead leaders, the sacrificial friend, the scheming enemy, number five, the subservient disciples. Look at verse 12. On the first day of unleavened bread when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed. That’s another what? That’s another time reference. So we move from Wednesday back a week to Saturday night. Now we move forward a week to Thursday.Thursday. It is now early Thursday morning.
Verse 12, his disciple came to Him and said to Jesus, Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover? Now, remember, Jesus knows that Judas is now acting in concert with the religious leaders, so Jesus cannot announce His plans to all of the disciples or Judas would go tell the leaders and they would stop Jesus from celebrating the Passover. And so Jesus tells just two of his men, Peter and John, according to Luke 22, verse 8 His secret plans. Notice that they’re similar to the plan He made about riding into the city on Tuesday morning. 
Verse 13, He sent two of His disciples and said to them, Go into the city, Jerusalem, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him. Now, this is very interesting in that it was highly unusual for a man to carry water in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover. In fact, the Israelites regarded the carrying of water, the women’s work, the only men who carry jars of water were either slaves. But there was one exception. The Essenes. The Essenes was a group of Ascetics who lived in the desert became famous centuries later, following the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.This sect of Jews had divorced themselves from the mainstream of Israel. Since the Essenes had no women, they had to carry their own water. And therefore this man carrying water in Jerusalem was either a slave or Essenes. This is something out of the normal. The two disciples would need a unique situation given the number of pilgrims crowded into Jerusalem. Catch this. Josephus tells us then A.D. that in A.D. 66, more than 2 million people crowded into Jerusalem for the Passover.
And so Jesus says to the two. Go into Jerusalem. And in the crowd of 2 million people, there will be a guy carrying some water. He himself, wherever he enters, verse 14, follow him wherever he enters. Say to the owner of the house, the Teacher says, Where is My guest room? The Teacher wants to know where is His guest room in which He may eat the Passover meal with His disciples.
I want you to notice that these two disciples never question Jesus. You know, you would have had some questions. They never questioned Him, never questioned Him.
Peter and John, we learn, are the two there, to follow a man carrying water there, to stay there and finalize the preparation. That way, none of the other disciples would know the details until they arrived with Jesus later that night.
Notice, if you will, that the owner they were looking for had been chosen by God from eternity past and was an obvious follower of Jesus Christ, as he knows exactly who the Teacher was. No names, just the Teacher. You think God was in sovereign control of this? Verse 16 The disciples went out, came to the city. The two found it just as He had told them, and they did what He told them to do. They prepared the Passover.
Again, what we see here is the remarkable divine sovereignty of God in ordaining and orchestrating all of these details. 
Do you realize that nothing from the creation of all that exists, right up until the moment this man decides to walk down the road in a group of 2 million people with a water jug? Do you realized all of that has to take place perfectly? Or the guy with the waters too soon or too late. The two disciples who are true followers of Jesus Christ, they obey submissively without even a question, providing for us an example of trust and allegiance to Jesus Christ. What did they do to prepare the Passover meal? Well, they had to get a lamb and they had to take it to the temple to be sacrificed, and they’d have to keep a part of the roasted meat to eat later that evening, and they’d have to obtain other ingredients required for the feast, including unleavened bread and wine and bitter herbs. And see, Jesus knew he had to celebrate the Passover with his disciples that night, because during that final Passover meal, he would need to take that final Passover celebration and turn it into the Lord’s Supper celebration. 
The Passover celebration was a time to remember the lambs that were killed to deliver Jews out of Egypt. That was a picture of the one final perfect sacrifice that had to take place for the sins of those who would believe. The Lord’s table would be a celebration to remember the one final lamb of God who died deliver those who would believe from the penalty of their sins.
We’ll look at this next Lord’s day. But can you imagine the lesson in that upper room? Here’s what you have done for centuries that has all been a picture of what I am about to accomplish once and for all time.
Instead of representing the lambs that were killed in Egypt, the bread in the cup would now signify the body and the blood of the sacrificial lamb of God.
Mark introduces this final section by reminding us that Almighty God was sovereignly in control of every single detail of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. And what I love is he uses true followers and ardent enemies to accomplish His perfect plan put in place in eternity past. 
That’s a good reminder for us. Because if you’re honest, you know, you hear the news and you say, God, where are you? Why are you allowing this to take place? And you know what? It’s all right according to plan. Why? Because the greatest evil in time will magnify the glory of a sovereign God. 
From the religious leaders looking for the opportune moment to have Jesus put to death. Mary seizing an opportunity to worship Jesus. There wouldn’t be another one like that. Judas looking for the opportune moment to betray Jesus to the true followers of Jesus submissively obeying the direction of their Lord without question. God’s in perfect control. We rejoice in that.
Father, thank You for our time together this morning. This is a lesson we must remember. We’re so quick to wonder why You allow things to take place the way they do. And the fact of the matter is, You are in sovereign control of all things. And it doesn’t really matter whether we understand or not. That doesn’t really matter. What’s important to know is that You’re in control and Your will will be carried out.
For those of us who are true followers of Jesus Christ, we know and we understand that You chose us in eternity past, not based on who we would be or what we would do, simply because You chose to love us. And then You orchestrated every single detail of our life so that at that one point in time You drew us to Yourself and You enable us to comprehend the truth so that we might be in eternity with You worshiping You for your sovereign choice and love of us.
Now, Father, we know there are people here this morning who do not live for You. They have not denied self. They would never take up their cross for You. And they are not interested really in obeying and submitting to the word of God. And that’s all a part of Your perfect plan as well. Until and unless You open their eyes to comprehend the truth, they’ll never be a part of that spiritual kingdom or that physical kingdom. And so our prayer, as always, is that You would do whatever it takes in their lives to draw them to Yourself so that they could then look back and marvel at Your sovereignty in working all things together for their good. All these things that we pray in Your name. Amen.