What does it say?
Jesus warns his disciples of his betrayal and crucifixion, as the religious leaders plot to take him (Mat 26:1-5). A woman anoints Jesus and this becomes the anointing for his burial (26:6-13). Though not named here, this woman is Mary the sister of Lazarus and is the same event recorded in Mark 14:3-9 and John 12:1-8. Judas agrees to betray Jesus and the last supper that follows (26:14-35) where Jesus says that the traitor is among them and also predicts Peter’s three denials. From there the group goes to the Garden in Gethsemane where Jesus prays as his disciples can’t stay awake (26:36-46). Judas arrives with those that arrest him and take him to Caiaphas the high priest to be condemned and where Peter will deny him three times.
Mark 14 covers the very same ground as Matthew 26. As you read, try to notice material that Mark adds or doesn’t mention. Remembering that each writer has a different purpose and focus, why do you think some of these differences might exist? Remember that the accounts are not contradictory but complementary.
What does it mean?
The hour of hours has arrived and Jesus is about to be crucified. These readings should spark emotions as we remember all that Jesus suffered for us. Yet in the midst of all the flurry of activity, don’t lose sight of the mission. History has been moving toward this event since Genesis 3:15 and before. God foresaw all that would happen and the horrible consequences of sin. He knew exactly how Israel would repeatedly sin. Despite it all, God set out on his mission to redeem and restore the human race and all of creation.
Also pay attention to the crescendo of fulfilled prophecies in these last hours of Jesus’ life. Judas the traitor, the anointing for his burial and so much more is fulfillment of the Law and Prophets who were used of God to point to the story of Jesus Christ through the centuries.
How will I respond?
What did Jesus really mean when he said that we must take up our cross and follow him? Does suffering surprise me? When I am called upon to suffer or even be inconvenienced for his sake, do I sometimes feel that I am entitled not to suffer? Is there a point of suffering in my life? Right now as I pray, I will surrender my life anew to God, thank him for the honor of following him into suffering and ask him to fill me and totally control me by his Holy Spirit.