Last month, I wrote about Matthew 27, the capture, conviction, and crucifixion of Jesus. The book of Matthew was written by one of Jesus’ closest confidants and a disciple who followed Jesus during His teachings and witnessed the events of Jesus’ life.
Today, I write about Mark 14. Mark, also called John Mark, was an early evangelist of the church with Paul. He is known to have traveled with Paul and Barnabas to spread the Gospel after Jesus’ death and resurrection
Mark 14 outlines the plot to kill Jesus and the final days He spent with His disciples before His capture. What weights heavy on my heart about this chapter is the betrayal Jesus knew would happen from His closest confidants and yet He still forgave them.
Jesus spoke on Mark 14:18 “assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me with betray Me.” During the Passover meal, Jesus knew that Judas would turn Him over to the Jewish authorities. Scripture tells us that Judas was one of the original twelve disciples, and he traveled with Jesus for three years during Jesus’ ministry. Three years of travel and companionship with anyone would assumedly lead to a productive and positive relationship. We would suppose that Judas supported Jesus in His ministry and was a confidant of Jesus. One would think Jesus would grow to know, trust, and like Judas during their ministry.
In Mark 14:30, Jesus said to Peter, “assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” Peter was identified in the Bible as one of the closest confidants of Jesus amongst the disciples, as mentioned in Mark 14:33 when Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane “And he took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.” Hours before His capture, He brought Peter with Him, knowing the entire time that Peter would “turn his back” on Jesus and deny knowing Him on three separate occasions.
Has someone betrayed you? Have you been hurt in a relationship, physically, emotionally, or mentally? The pain caused by the betrayal from others can be devastating and sometimes, life-altering. Each of us has our own story with likely very good reason to resent, dislike, or mistrust a person. We might resent the way they treated us, abused us, disregarded our relationship, our trust, our friendship, and might have damaged any possible future relationship with them. Unfortunately, carrying the burden or “baggage” from that betrayal can derail our lives. Perhaps we allow one incident to steal our trust, joy, belief, or even happiness in future relationships. It is difficult to be hurt and not allow that hurt to carry over to other areas of our lives.
But then we read in Mark 14:24, when Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper and He said, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.” At the very same table with Judas and Peter, Jesus forgave them. He introduced the Lord’s Supper as the act to recognize the “new covenant.” Luke 22:19-20 describes this event in a bit more detail in verse 19 And He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying “This is My body which his given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. Verse 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying “this cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”
The new covenant was God’s commitment to forgive us of our sins, through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. We can be assured that God forgives us of our sins, no matter how awful, if we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. The new covenant provides us the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven, when we commit to and believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. What a magnificent gift we have been given, for free.
So, during His final hours on earth, knowing that He would be betrayed by two of His closest confidants, He forgave them. He not only forgave them, but He gave them communion teaching them how to forgive others.
Yes, forgiveness is hard. We may forgive but we may never forget. That’s ok but we must resolve and absolve hatred, resentment, animosity, and strife for others. Jesus modeled for us, hours before His death, the ultimate gesture of forgiveness. Perhaps we can muster the courage and confidence to forgive others, even when it might seem impossible at the time.