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The Road To The Cross

SUFFERING KING: THE BOOK OF MARK:
The Road To The Cross: Mark 14:1-2
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday April 11, 2021

V1

Death Plot and Anointing

1 Now the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread were two days away; and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest Him covertly and kill Him;

2 for they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise there will be a riot of the people.”

It is Wednesday night.  Jesus had been teaching on Mt. Olivet, the Olivet Discourse.  At the same time the plot to kill Jesus was coming to a head.  The Pharisees wanted to rid themselves of Jesus once and for all.  The Passover was now two days away.  The 14th of Nisan in the Jewish calendar.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread would start on the 15th of Nisan.

It is important to remember that Jewish celebrations don’t follow the days as we know them.  The run sundown to sundown, sunset to sunset.  As we will discuss later, that the preparation for the feast of the Unleavened Bread will begin on the last part of the 14th of Nisan, which is the afternoon, and when the sun goes down it will be the 15th.  The point here is to show that these two festivals run together, hence how they are mentioned in the scripture.  These two festivals that coincided/ran concurrent with each other.  And they were both founded by God in the Old Testament.

The Passover is THE celebration for the Jews.  For the nation of Israel.  The event that commemorates what God did to release them from slavery to Egypt.  Turn in your bibles to Exodus chapter 12.  We find in this chapter the story of the first Passover.  It finds its birth in the final plague in Egypt.  This is the one which will set them free.  God is going to kill the first born children in all of Egypt.  He gives them orders, through Moses, on how the Israelite’s first borns will be spared.

Exodus 12:1-50 (NASB)

The Passover Lamb

1 Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,

2 “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year for you.

3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are, each one, to take a lamb for themselves, according to the fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.

4 Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; in proportion to what each one should eat, you are to divide the lamb.

5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to slaughter it at twilight.

7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.

8 They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails.

10 And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall completely burn with fire.

11 Now you shall eat it in this way: with your garment belted around your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in a hurry—it is the Lord’s Passover.

12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and fatally strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the human firstborn to animals; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord.

13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will come upon you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

14 ‘Now this day shall be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.

15 For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove dough with yeast from your houses; for whoever eats anything with yeast from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

16 And on the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except for what must be eaten by every person—that alone may be prepared by you.

17 You shall also keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your multitudes out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall keep this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.

18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.

19 For seven days there shall be no dough with yeast found in your houses; for whoever eats anything with yeast, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land.

20 You shall not eat anything with yeast; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’”

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slaughter the Passover lamb.

22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.

A Memorial of Redemption

23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; but when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to strike you.

24 And you shall keep this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.

25 When you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall keep this rite.

26 And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’

27 then you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord because He passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped.

28 Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

29 Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.

30 And Pharaoh got up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.

31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, “Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the Lord, as you have said.

32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also.”

Exodus of Israel

33 The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in a hurry, for they said, “We will all be dead.”

34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.

35 Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing;

36 and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Therefore they plundered the Egyptians.

37 Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.

38 A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock.

39 And they baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had no yeast, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

40 Now the time that the sons of Israel had lived in Egypt was 430 years.

41 And at the end of 430 years, on this very day, all the multitudes of the Lord departed from the land of Egypt.

Ordinance of the Passover

42 It is a night to be observed for the Lord, for having brought them out of the land of Egypt; this night is for the Lord, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.

43 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat it;

44 but as for every slave that someone has purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat it.

45 A stranger or a hired worker shall not eat it.

46 It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring any of the meat outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.

47 All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this.

48 But if a stranger resides with you and celebrates the Passover to the Lord, all of his males are to be circumcised, and then he shall come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised male may eat it.

49 The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who resides among you.”

50 Then all the sons of Israel did so; they did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.

51 And on that very day the Lord brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their multitudes.

They are to select an unblemished male goat or lamb (we will use lamb moving forward), a year old.  No spot, not lame (v46), not blind.  This is the first lamb selection day.  After the selection, they would keep the lamb or the goat with them, more than likely in their homes, for four days.  After four days they would take the lamb and it would be killed at twilight.  The blood of the lamb would spread on the doorposts and the lintel.  The blood on the door will signify for God to pass over those houses.   The lamb would then be cooked and eaten, not raw or boiled.  And they would do this fully dressed and were to eat it in haste (v11).  The slaughtering of the unblemished lamb will save the first born of their households.  The blood represents life.  Those homes that have the blood will be spared.  The homes that don’t have the blood mark will not be spared.

The feast of the Unleavened Bread is similar in nature but longer in scope.  A seven day feast that begins at the same time the lambs of the Passover are slaughtered.  Leaven is removed from their houses (v15).  All the leaven is removed from the houses by noon of 14 Nisan.  The removal symbolizing the idea of the removal of sin and iniquity from the home (and from the nation of Israel).  If one violates this command of God they are to be cut off from the nation of Israel (v19).  It is important to remember the leaven is removed from the home on the afternoon of the 14 of Nisan which is when the lambs will be slaughtered.

Then the Passover becomes a reality.  Pharaoh had been warned, but the hardness of his heart prevented him from releasing the Israelites.  That night, at midnight, Exodus 12:29 tells us that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.  It says that from Pharaoh to those firstborn of the prisoners to the firstborn of the cattle in the field.  All those homes who have not placed the blood on the doorposts and the lintel suffer the death of their first born.  The cry in the land was great for this loss.  After this v33 tells us that the Egyptians urged the people to leave.  They even leave with their dough without the leaven v34).

V42 tells that this is to be an ordinance throughout the generations.

These feasts are to be celebrated as a permanent ordinance.  Deuteronomy 16:5-6 tells us that the observance will become a national celebration that will be located in the Israelite’s central place of worship, the temple.  The animals will no longer be slaughtered in the homes.  They will be slaughtered at the temple, the permanent duplicate of their moveable temple.   The blood will no longer be smeared upon the doorposts and the lintel but now the priest dips his fingers in the blood and takes it into the holy of holies and sprinkles it upon the mercy seat, which is the cover of the ark of the covenant.

Deuteronomy 16:5-6 (NASB)

5 You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which the Lord your God is giving you;

6 but only at the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt.

Fast forward in time and we arrive in the time of Jesus and the Passover festival and that of the unleavened bread.  The feasts have been merged into essentially one celebration (since the leaven is removed from the house on the afternoon of 14 Nisan).

Here is the scene in Jerusalem.  The temple is there, the location of the Passover Celebration.  The city is full of people, as many as 1-2 million Jews have come there for this celebration (more than likely 500,000 or so, give or take).  The lambs are there too.  The countless sacrifices that will be offered on the afternoon of Friday.

Therein lies the issue with the plot of the chief priests and the scribes.  This plot is driven forward by Annas, among others, the former high priest, Caiaphas’s father-in-law, who wielded considerable influence.  Annas, who’s bazaar was overthrown just days ago by Jesus Himself, for the second time.

Jesus needs to be gotten rid of.  He needs to be gone, permanently.  The pressure for this has been building for quite a while.  Mark, himself, mentions the desire to destroy Jesus in 3:6, 11:18, and 12:12.  No doubt that it is because Jesus has upset the system and convicted them of their true status before a righteous and holy God.

Mark 3:6 (NASB)

6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might put Him to death.

Mark 11:18 (NASB)

18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard this, and they began seeking how to put Him to death; for they were afraid of Him, because all the crowd was astonished at His teaching.

Mark 12:12 (NASB)

12 And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He told the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.

He has taught with authority that they don’t have.  He has taught what it means to follow the word of God.  He has convicted them of sin.  He has claimed to be God.  And the people like Him and many have followed Him.  The Pharisees have tried to trap Him before and so far they have been unsuccessful.

Look at the record of Lazarus being raised from the dead in John 11.  Right after Lazarus was raised.  Right after the funeral clothes were removed from Lazarus v45 tells us that many of the Jews believed in Jesus.  But v46 says that some went and told the Pharisees what Jesus had done.

John 11:44-53 (NASB)

44 Out came the man who had died, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him.

46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.

Conspiracy to Kill Jesus

47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council meeting, and they were saying, “What are we doing in regard to the fact that this man is performing many signs?

48 If we let Him go on like this, all the people will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take over both our place and our nation.”

49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all,

50 nor are you taking into account that it is in your best interest that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish instead.”

51 Now he did not say this on his own, but as he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation;

52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

The reaction of the Pharisees is far from what someone would expect upon hearing that a man that had been dead for four days came back from the dead.  Their immediate reaction is that they perceive that their power is threatened.  That they will lose authority over the people (because Jesus has true authority).  V48 says that they are afraid that men will believe in Jesus and that Rome will then come and take their place and their nation.

Caiaphas, the high priest, Annas’s son in law, proceeds to prophesy about what will happen.  God’s will is being revealed and they don’t see it.  He specifically prophesies about what the death of Christ will mean.  That through Jesus salvation will come for both Jews and Gentiles.  Yet they don’t see it.  We should think about how blinded they are.  They are seemingly unaffected by the reports that a dead man has risen from the grave.  A man that has been in the grave four days.  The period of time which in their belief would indicate that the soul has left.  You see, they believed that the soul would be near the body for three days.  Yet after four days, as the authorized version says, Lazarus would stinketh.  And this the man that was brought back to life.  Yet the Pharisees are unimpressed, they don’t care about this miracle.  They only care about getting rid of Him even though He raised a man from the dead (and they wanted to kill Lazarus too).

They become singularly focused on killing this troublemaker, Jesus.

V2

2 for they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise there will be a riot of the people.”

They want Him gone but they don’t want any problems with the people.  Because of His popularity (at this time) they need to be careful with their plot.  One of the big reasons is that they want to keep the peace with Rome.  They can’t afford any semblance of insurrection.  They can’t afford to have the might of Rome coming down on them.  And with so many people in Jerusalem for this most holy of festivals it is a distinct possibility that if this is not handled correctly that the people will revolt.  And if that happens…

Therefore, stealth is necessary.  Jesus needs to be arrested and then they can kill Him after the festival is over.  When the people have started to return to their homes.  Then they can be rid of this troublemaker.

Acts 2:32-37 (NASB)

32 It is this Jesus whom God raised up, a fact to which we are all witnesses.

33 Therefore, since He has been exalted at the right hand of God, and has received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear.

34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at My right hand,

35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what are we to do?”

Now let’s review what we know so far…

Lamb selection day has occurred on Sunday.  Coinciding with Christ’s entrance into the city.

Jesus knows that the time of the Crucifixion is near because Jesus knows what is going to happen.  We know that the time of the crucifixion is near because we have the whole story.  But those around Him, those who are the high priests and scribes don’t know what will happen.  They don’t know how their plot will be the means to the end of God’s plan.

The true lamb has been selected.  The lamb that was selected before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).  And Jesus is also the High Priest that will be administering His own sacrifice as the perfect first born Lamb before a righteous and holy God, His Father.

Revelation 13:8 (NASB)

8 All who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slaughtered.

What does this mean…

The Passover was a type of salvation that pointed to the true salvation to come.   Jesus is the priest who administers the sacrifice.  He is the one who willingly goes to the cross.  It is His blood and life that is offered at the most holy place in Heaven – the True Temple.  The blood of the fulfiller of the covenant as offering for our sins.

What we see here is not by chance.  It was foreordained by God.  From the foundation of the world.  That this day would come to pass.  That they would plot against Jesus.  That the time of the slaughter of the lamb of God would be the same time the lambs were being killed for the Passover.  The time that the blood of Christ is being spilled for the final time is the same time of the removal of leaven from the households.  The cleaning of sin.  All that is happening per God’s plan is happening at exactly the time that it is supposed to happen.  The Lamb and the Leaven coinciding on the cross.

All within the plan of God.  That their plans to have Him killed quietly are undone by the righteous and holy plan of God.  Everything happening when God ordained it to be and not when they desire it.  The quiet plan for Jesus’ demise will happen exactly when the lambs are slaughtered and when the leaven is removed.  Just as Daniel prophesied in Daniel 9:26.

Turn to 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.  Jesus is the Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NASB)

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?

7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

8 Therefore let’s celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Obviously, we will talk in greater detail about the cross when we get to that part of Mark, but it has been necessary here since the correlation is so clear.  It was therefore prudent to give some background and detail here.

What we see with these two short verses is God on display.  The sovereignty of God on display.  Not man’s will but God’s will.

Don’t misunderstand me, these men are doing exactly what they want to do.  They are not veering from that course.  But God knows the end from the beginning.  He ordains not only the end but also the means in how we get there.

All found in His great plan that He would save the elect and be glorified in doing so.

We should find great hope and comfort in passages like this.   Lets think about what we know.

And the church in Rome did too.

This is the same Jesus who cast out demons, cured withered hands.

Jesus calmed the sea.  Let that sink in.  Like glass.

After the disciples had said, ‘don’t you care that we are perishing?’

He calmed the sea.  And their immediate result – they were terrified.

This is the Jesus who will be crucified.

Not because of the plans of men but because of the plans of God.

It is not by accident that Jesus has cursed the fig tree

It is not by accident that He foretold them of the fall of Jerusalem

It is not by coincidence that He told them about the end times

It is not by accident that Jesus is in Jerusalem for the third Passover during His ministry

We should have great confidence in our Savior

Even though our sins are great we have an even Greater Savior

We should look to this witness and see how God has brought about His great plan of salvation

Frankly, we should look at what was done with wonder as the angels themselves do

When we think about this and dwell upon the work of Christ we should come to realize the firm foundations of our salvation

The firm grip that He has upon our lives

Think about this.  When God birthed creation He knew that Adam and Eve would sin, and that Jesus would go to the Cross.  When God confronted Adam and Eve and set forth the protoevangelion in Genesis 3:15, He knew that Jesus would go to the Cross.  When God chose Abraham to be the father of nations, He knew that Jesus would go to the Cross. He knew that the Israelites would be in slavery for over 400 years, He knew that Jesus would go to the Cross.  When God enacted the Passover He knew that His Son would be celebrating the Passover at this time, and He knew that Jesus would be going to the cross.  The Trinity always knew that the Son would be The Passover Lamb, the last, final, the perfect  one.

Genesis 3:15 (NASB)

15 And I will make enemies

Of you and the woman,

And of your offspring and her Descendant;

He shall bruise you on the head,

And you shall bruise Him on the heel.”

We worship a Sovereign Triune God who will bring about salvation in His Son.

Who was always the plan

This Jesus is THE HIGH PRIEST

Who enters into the Holy of Holies not of this earth but in the Heavenly Tabernacle by His own Blood

Who offers Himself as the Lamb without any defect

Who places His blood in that place for US

From eternity past the Son

Truly God and Truly Man

Never missing a Millenium

Never missing a Decade

Never missing a Year

Never missing a Month

Never missing a Week

Never missing a Day

Never missing an Hour

Never missing a Minute

Never missing a Second

On the way to that Cross

On the way to that Mercy Seat

That is our High Priest, who does it all once and forever

It is no wonder that one of the most common symbols found on Christian tombs in the Roman Catacombs was an anchor.  Think about this, an anchor not a cross.

Hebrews 6:19 tells us why.  Because Christ is that anchor for our soul.  Steadfast, sure, immovable.  Because of the work of the cross we are found anchored in Him.

Hebrews 6:19 (NASB)

19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil,

The most common symbol for believer who died in the catacomb burials was that of an anchor.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8  Christ is our Passover

V7 – death of Christ in the Passover

V8 – the sinlessness of Christ in the unleavened bread

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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