Posted by: lepages | March 20, 2012

The Struggle within

Notes from the first of our Easter series 2012 shared at Rutland Road Church on Sunday 18th March 2012

The Struggle within

Mark 14:1-42 

Introduction

So, Easter is coming, in just a few weeks time.

Contrary to what all the shops would have you believe, its not all about chocolate eggs, bunny rabbits and chicks.

Its about an incredible man, and his incredible sacrifice on behalf of others.

Easter means focusing in on the person of Jesus Christ – a most wonderful person – a man of grace and love – a man of compassion and mercy – a man of wisdom and insight – a man who loved to bless others, ministering grace to people where others would cast stones, ministering healing where others would put up exclusion signs, ministering to practical needs where others would say go and sort it yourselves, ministering teaching which moved hearts and minds as it was shared with humour, passion and clarity.

You would think such a man would be someone who would be honoured by all around him.

But that is the opposite of what happened for this incredibly gracious, passionate and loving man.

Trevor has put some very poignant titles together for this series, following the account of the Easter story from Mark’s gospel – which we will also do on Good Friday in Harpur Square – making copies of the gospel available to folk so they can read the account for themselves.

The first two weeks he’s given the headings ‘The struggle’ – next week ‘The struggle without’ as Jesus faced the Roman authorities and the Jewish leaders, but this week:-

The Struggle within – Mark 14:1-42  

as Jesus faced struggle amongst his closest friends, and as he faced the struggles within himself, as he looked at what lay ahead of him.

At the heart of the struggle within is the word ‘betrayal’.

Jesus was to be betrayed again and again in various ways.

We’re going to look at the passage section by section as we see the various ways Jesus was betrayed and faced the struggle within.

The first section I’ve headed:- 

  1. Betrayal of worth v1-9

 Turn with me if you would to Mark 14 

 READ Mark 14:1-9

Have you ever had your worth denigrated by someone, or a group of people saying something like ‘He/she doesn’t deserve that!’ ‘fancy wasting that on them’?

It hurts desperately doesn’t it?

Somebody’s done something kind and gracious, which has been a blessing, but the blessing is ripped away as you are made to feel as though you’re not worthy of it.

That’s how Jesus was treated by his friends.

This woman comes to honour him, and her treatment of him is seen as being a waste of money – an extravagance which should have been saved to minister to the poor – something which Jesus had of course done on many occasions – remarkably even at this moment being in the home of Simon the Leper, who would previously have been seen as an outcast from society.

This scene flags up a couple of thoughts in me:-

a) How generous are we in bringing our worship in seeking to honour Jesus?

  • are we generous in our finances towards that which honours him?

  • Are we generous in our time, in taking the time to come and give him our love and devotion?

b) The second thought it flags up in me is how many of us have known the humiliation that Jesus might have felt, of being put down when others have sought to be a blessing to us?

Know that Jesus has been there and that he understands when you tell him about the pain of your experience.

So firstly we have a ‘Betrayal of Worth‘, next we come to a:- 

2. Betrayal of trust v10-21

READ Mark 14:10-21

Betrayal by a friend is one of the most hurtful, damaging things in life.

When those whom you trust go directly against you there are few more painful things emotionally.

Judas was the Treasurer for the disciples as they travelled around and went about their ministry.

He was trusted implicitly.

Just like we trust our Treasurer!!

Dave will know things about many of us in terms of our financial giving and sacrifice that no-one else will. We trust him with that information.

Judas was that sort of trustworthy guy.

But here he is seeking to betray this wonderful person that he has spent the best part of the last 3 years with 24/7.

Jesus knows it.

Its horrible when you just know that something is not right.

It disturbs you to the core of your being.

It can threaten to wreck your life, before anything is even seen to happen.

But Jesus doesn’t hide from the issue.

He raises it.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit had given him prophetic insight into the situation.

Perhaps it was just that human intuition which sometimes seems to know things even when we have no real way of knowing them!

Perhaps that is the Holy Spirit at work whether we recognise it or not.

The person who is to betray me is not someone on the fringes of our group – its someone at the centre, one of the Twelve.

Betrayal of trust is one of the most damaging things we can do in life.

It damages those whom we betray… and it damages us as well.

Jesus said, v21 ‘..woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.’

If you have had trust betrayed in your life, you know the pain.

If you have betrayed trust in another you will know how it not only damages the person you have betrayed, but also how it damages you.

Sadly for Judas it was to lead ultimately to him committing suicide, unable to cope with the betrayal he had wrought on this wonderful man whom he had loved and spent the last 3 years with.

If you have been betrayed, know that ultimately there is hope in the end.

Jesus went through a traumatic period, but in the end he did come out the other side.

There are those of us here, I’m sure, who have known what it is to be betrayed in the past, but have come out the other side.

It doesn’t mean the memories are good.

It doesn’t mean that the pain of the betrayal never rears its ugly head.

But it does mean that there is hope beyond the pain.

If you have betrayed another, it doesn’t have to end like it did for Judas.

Our God is the God of reconciliation.

He loves to reconcile us to himself, and he loves to bring reconciliation in damaged relationships…. but that doesn’t mean that its okay to betray another…..

If you are betraying the trust of another at this time, STOP IT NOW!

Before the damage your actions will cause damage the person of trust and before your actions damage you more than they already have.

Repent of your actions and seek forgiveness and restoration.

If it’s not enough that your worth is betrayed by others, that a close friend betrays you, then to add insult to injury Jesus experienced the :- 

 3. Betrayal of promise v27-31

 READ Mark 14:27-31

Words, words, words… it’s easy to say words…. and to think that we mean them…

That’s why a couple of weeks ago, when we introduced that new song ‘Surrender’ I read the lyrics before we sang it and asked you to reflect on whether they were words you could genuinely say and sing…..

I wonder how many of us, to take up some of the lines from the song, truly surrendered all to God as we sang that day:-

I’m giving You my heart All that is within I lay it all down For the sake of You my King

I’m giving You my dreams laying down my rights
I’m giving up my pride
For the promise of new life

And I Surrender
All to You, all to You

I reckon Peter meant it when he said he would never fall away, when he said he was willing to die with Jesus, rather than disown him…. but by the following morning he had sworn and in a temper said he didn’t even know Jesus.

 As a 14/15 year old lad I hit what I see as one of the lowest points in my life.

I had come to know Jesus for myself, I had taken the decision to follow him through my life.

I rejoiced in all he meant to me.

And yet, when asked by a fellow student why I went to church (think it was a genuine question with hindsight! Wish I’d known Alec Buchanan’s prayer ‘Lord give me an opportunity to speak for you today; help me not to miss it; tell me what to say.’) – because when this other lad asked me the question I said, ‘Oh, I just go to please my parents…’ end of conversation… when I should have been speaking of how much Jesus meant to me….

‘Betrayal of promise’ – can I suggest that maybe we need to be careful about our promises?

When you make a promise to the Lord, or indeed to any other person, make sure that you can see it through and don’t do it glibly.

Fortunately we have a gracious, loving Saviour in Jesus, and he went on to restore Peter gently from his failure…. and he wants to restore you too.

We come to our fourth and final betrayal from the passage, a :-  

  1. Betrayal of support v32-42

READ Mark 14:32-42

I guess many of us have known what it feels like to have a sense of betrayal of support, to have expected others to stand with us in our time of need… and to have found the support lacking….

I guess many of us will probably know of times when we have failed to be the support alongside another that we should have been…. I know that I have failed on that score time and time again…

Jesus wanted his closest friends to come and stand with him as he experienced not only the struggle of betrayal from within his own friends, the betrayal of his worth through the denigrating of those who sought to honour him, but also as he faced the struggle within himself…. moved to the core of his being as he faced the awful prospect that lay ahead of him… desiring that if there was any other way, that his Father might take away what lay before him.

Jesus’ love and grace is seen even as his longed for support failed, as he thought not of his own needs, but of the needs of his friends v38 ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’

Perhaps we need to learn some grace too… when we need support, to bear with those who struggle in supplying it…. and perhaps sometimes we need to give ourselves a pinch to wake us into action to stand with, pray with and support others.

Conclusion

Our reading ends with the words v42 ‘Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!’

Jesus knew all along what lay ahead of him. He knew how he was to be betrayed, how Judas would betray him, how Peter would deny him, how all would flee and run away, and where all of that betrayal was to lead… because it was all ultimately in God’s plan and purposes.

In our reading through of the chapter we’ve missed out on 5 verses.

5 verses that speak vividly of what Jesus knew lay ahead for him

READ Mark 14:22-26

Apply and lead into communion.

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