Mid Week Lenten Devotions
Mark 14:22-52 (NIV) 22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial 27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’[b] 28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” 30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice[c] you yourself will disown me three times.” 31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. Gethsemane 32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,[d] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Jesus Arrested 43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
Following Luther’s simple way to pray and his way to let the Word of God warm up our hearts ad shape our prayers we reflect on this part of Jesus’ suffering tonight.
I C T S
Instruction: Again we hear that this pinnacle of God’s promise for the OT people is being changed as Jesus revolutionises the covenant of the Old one for the new – soon to be signed and sealed with his own blood. Those tremendous word ring out.
“Take it; this is my body, Drink it; This is my blood of new covenant. The words of Jesus tell us what Holy Communion gives us; Through these words Jesus gives us forgiveness and life, today and tomorrow. Anyone who has God’s forgiveness also has life with God. These words, together with our eating and drinking are the main thing in Holy Communion. When we believe Jesus we get exactly what he says: forgiveness and life”. (Luther’s Small Catechism – Holy Communion)
This is the new relationship we have the joy of now living in. Not one of gaining God’s approval by fulfilling his Law but one of receiving his approval daily as we live for him in joy.
This is not always what we do, as we see with peter’s denial and the three disciple’s sleepiness. Are we sleepy to the joy that he is giving us tonight? Are we struggling to speak our prayers and hear his words?
Are we denying his rightful place or his beautiful gifts of grace and life pouring into us from his Holy Meal.
I notice how Jesus is in charge here – both of his sleepy disciples and of his enemies and betrayer. “Let’s get and go” he says. He is ahead of us and more aware of everything necessary for our forgiveness and life than we are.
The betrayer betrays with a gesture that is usually a sign of shalom – or peace – or wellbeing and brotherly love. By his act of betrayal his own fate is sealed and God’s plan to enact free salvation for sinners and push back the power of sin and darkness for people is still on track.
Confession: I can’t help but identify with Peter and the others and recognise my sleepiness to God’s word and presence.
Like them I try and stay in touch with Jesus and his will, pray but I am distracted. I want to rely on his Word and live my life submitting to his will and way because I know it is always best, but I take the reins of my life and try and lead myself and run out of steam. And this is a denial of his promises, his cross; his love for me.
I identify with peter again as he acts on pure emotion and self-preservation that comes from fear. I share his tendency to cut off the ears of problems and enemies rather than to sheath my hurtful words and actions and rely on Jesus to us through whatever situation we find ourselves in. I do not always trust Him to take care of me and make wise judgements about life and people and decisions.
And, sad to say, I recognise both my disowning of Peter and the betrayal of Judas in myself. My disowning and betrayal of his Word come from this flawed old man inside who loves to pursue being god for myself.
This is the ONLY sin, really. To break one commandment you actually break two. Any sin is idolatry – me wanting to be god – replacing God – not loving him with my whole heart, mind, and strength. My sin is complete. Woe is me an unclean man.
Thanks It now that I return to the beginning to give thank for the meal of thank – the Eucharist – the thanksgiving.
It is where this woeful man is transformed to this forgiven and life-filled man.
I marvel that he did this before he suffered. He did not for himself but for us. He gave us a place to gather and see, taste, touch, smell and hear him for forgiveness and life.
I thank him for being the suffering servant who does not get distracted from his goal to forgive sinners in his meal and save me from all of the above – to save us from ourselves.
As the meal continues on day after day around planet earth, Jesus simply continues on, not letting our sin undo his goal to take all of it – every last drop of it into himself on the cross and nail it right there and then.
Supplication Open the eyes of our hearts Lord; that we may have the eyes of our hearts enlightened and know you better. Amen