GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 51
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2011|
|We will identify three different ways that we turn our backs on the Lord Jesus Christ, and I believe it can be traced back—get this—to a misunderstanding of the identity and purpose of Christ.|
An Arrest Without a Protest
If you have a Bible, turn with me to Mark 14:43. The title this morning is An Arrest Without a Protest. This morning, I want to show you from the text to identify three different ways that we turn our backs on the Lord Jesus Christ, and I believe it can be traced back—get this—to a misunderstanding of the identity and purpose of Christ. I think this morning these three instances of men turning their backs on Jesus can be traced back to a misunderstanding of the purpose and the mission of Christ. And I believe some of the issues in your life spiritually can be traced back to a misunderstanding of who Jesus really was and what Jesus really came to do.
Mark 14, we get back into the text and to the arrest of Jesus. Jesus just had finished praying in the Garden of Gethsemane in verse 32 and following. In verse 43, we see Jesus confronted by the crowd: “And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.’ And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.”
That’s Peter. “And Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.’ And they all left him and fled.”
Let me give you three difference scenarios and then we’ll see really what the point of the message is and how we should respond. The first one is this. We see the betrayal of the Savior or the betraying of the Savior. We see this in the life of Judas. When the disciples were finishing up the last supper, Judas excused himself and went and met up with the chief priest. He was bargaining over how to arrest Jesus. He came with a group, a motley crew of corruption, and they came to find Jesus and they arrested Him in the garden. Now Jesus moments earlier was praying. He was crying out to the Father, if there’s any other way that this can pass from Me… nevertheless [what?], not my will but your will be done. Jesus knows that Judas is coming whether He hears him or He omnisciently knows which He does at all times. He knows that he’s coming.
Notice what verse 42 says: “Rise, [gentlemen], let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” I want you to notice how Mark describes Judas through this chapter. It’s pretty interesting. He doesn’t want you to miss what who Judas was. Look at verse 10, “Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the…” What? One of the twelve, do you see it?
Go to verse 20: “He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me [who will betray me].’” That’s Judas. And then we go down to verse 43. “Judas came [Who was what?] one of the twelve.”
We can only imagine what it would have been like to have the privilege of following the Lord Jesus Christ as one of His disciples. Could you image that? To be chosen from the crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, to live with Jesus. Judas had no excuse. He had seen Jesus walk on water. He had experienced all the miracles. He had seen Jesus with His own eyes feed 15,000 people not once but twice. He saw demons cast out. He saw deaf get back their hearing. He saw blind men get back their sight and now at this moment in time, he’s going to wash down the drain everything in one fail swoop.
Notice what John says. Turn to John 18:3. It gives us an insight into the hustle and bustle of that day. “So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.” The key word there is band. In one of the other versions it says cohort of soldiers. A cohort consisted of anywhere from 300 to 600 Roman soldiers. The only way you can have a discharge, a cohort of soldiers is if you go the governor and say that someone has committed a crime. So we don’t exactly know what happens, but we can deduce that Judas was the one who went to Pilate and said Jesus has committed a crime. Therefore Pilate released to him soldiers to attack Jesus.
Judas says simply this, you will know him by the way I approach him. Go back to Mark 14. Notice what happens. Judas comes up to Jesus in verse 45 and what does he say? “Rabbi!” You remember at the last supper when Jesus is eating with the disciples? He says one of you is going to betray me. What do the disciples say? Is it I, Lord? Is it I, Master? Is it I, Lord? And then Judas speaks up and says what? Is it I, Rabbi? Judas was still the king of his own kingdom. He was still on the throne of his own heart. Jesus was not his Lord. To him, Jesus was just a good teacher.
But I don’t want you to get sidetracked into the title. I want you to see what Judas actually does. He walks up to Jesus and on the cheek he gives him a kiss. Now, in the English we miss the weight of what’s happening here. But in the language of the New Testament, church—get this—that word kiss is in the active tense. It’s in the continual tense where it goes over and over and over again. Judas didn’t kiss him once. He kissed Him and kissed Him and kissed Him again. Jesus looks at Judas surprised. The reason He’s surprised is because you didn’t just greet people in the first century with a kiss. You actually accepted the call to discipleship by kissing your rabbi on the check. It was more than just an ordinary kiss, my friends. This was a sign of brotherhood. It was a sign of affection. It was a sign of friendship and most importantly, it was a sign of love.
Psalm 2:12 explains how kissing is something that is sacred. Listen to what the psalmist writes: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is kindled against you.” Judas profaned a symbol of affection. Jesus doesn’t do anything other than say these words. Look at Matthew 26:50. Watch what Jesus says. Imagine hearing these words from our Lord. “Jesus said to him, ‘Friend.’”
Did you catch that? “Friend…[do you betray me?] Do what you came to do.” Luke 22:48, he said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” See, the kiss for Judas was a double death sentence. It not only solidified Jesus going to the cross and moments later dying on the cross for all the sins of the world; but it also solidified his own death because in just a few moments, Judas will go out from this scene, give the money back to the high priest and then go out into a field and he will hang himself. Judas, my friends, kissed the door of heaven and he plunged into hell. Did you catch that? Judas, at this moment, kissed the door of heaven but he plunged into hell. No one put Judas up to this task. He did it on his own accord.
Now, I want to remind you, there’s a good reminder in this text for those who believe they are religious. Judas reminds us that religion alone will not get us into the kingdom of God. Judas was very religious. He was a chosen disciple by Jesus Christ. He heard all the sermons. He experienced all the miracles. Yet, he was not a friend of Jesus. Neither was he a follower of our Lord. It reminds us of 2 Corinthians 13:5 when Paul says these words, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.”
Is he talking to unbelievers? No, he’s talking to believers. Examine yourself, believers, or so called believers. He’s talking to church members. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.”
You know, people tell me from time to time, Pastor that was a hard message. Why would you preach so hard on us as believers? I would rather you examine your own life now than stand before the judgment seat of Christ, my friends, and it be too late. The Bible says it’s appointed for a man to die once and then the judgment. You know, John MacArthur said about hard preaching. He said soft preaching produces hard people. Hard preaching produces soft people. My friends, the Bible sometimes is hard to deal with but we need to examine ourselves, right, to determine if we have betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ. But Peter has seen enough. Peter witnesses Judas the betrayer coming with his cohort of military leaders and Peter takes out his sword and he responds.
I want to submit to you that the reason Peter responds in the wrong way is because he has a misunderstanding about the Savior. Judas betrayed the Savior. Peter misunderstood the Savior. After sleeping when he should have been praying, Peter sees the ensuing crowd, brings out his little dagger. It was called a makaira; it was a little sword used for assassinating people. What is Peter doing with a sword? That’s another sermon. But he’s got one. He pulls out this sword and he stands up for the Lord. Now, maybe he’s standing up for the Lord because just earlier in that week, he said, Jesus, if they all fall away, not me. If they all cower down, not me. So Peter takes out his sword and he cuts of the servant of the high priest’s ear.
Now, don’t miss this. I don’t think Peter was aiming for the ear. Peter was aiming for the jugular, and in the midst of coming out with the sword, Malchus the high priest sees him and ducks. He loses his ear and Jesus heals this man. Now, the only text of the gospels that we hear about of Jesus healing the high priest servant’s ear is Luke. Did you know that? Luke is the only one of the gospels that records the healing of the servant and I imagine that Luke was the doctor. This was important to Luke that Jesus performed a medical miracle right in their midst.
Now don’t gloss over this miracle, because it is a miracle. Jesus in this text healing the servant, it’s the first time in all of the gospels where Jesus heals a man that is an archenemy of Him. Did you know that? First time. In addition to that, Jesus is not healing Malchus’ ear or putting his ear back on for his own well-being as much as He is protecting Peter from going to prison. You have to realize if Jesus doesn’t heal Malchus, not only will there be three crosses on Calvary. There would have been four crosses on Calvary. And Jesus said, Peter, your time is not yet come. You have a mission to pursue and now is not the time.
Why would Peter do this? I think Peter realized that it was game on. See, Peter always thought that the Messiah would come on the clouds, destroying the Roman Empire, taking away those who have oppressed them and, in coming by force, attacking them. Jesus told him time and time again Peter, I’ve not come to attack. I’ve come to submit my life as a ransom for the world. He did this over and over in Mark.
Go back to Mark 8:31. We see the first instance when Jesus tells about His death and resurrection. Look at verse 31: “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.” He wanted them to get it.
Notice what Peter says. Peter took Jesus aside and put his arm around Him probably and began to rebuke the Lord. “But turning to the disciple, he rebuked Peter and said, get behind me, Satan, for you’re not setting your mind on the things of God but on the things of man. You would think Peter would have learned it at that point but obviously he doesn’t. Go to Mark 9:30. Jesus again. Same song different day. He’s telling them again, guys, don’t you understand? I’m going to go to the cross. I’m going to be raised from the dead. And you would think they would get it there. They don’t. Look at Mark 10:32. He has to tell them one more time.
See, the problem with Peter is Peter wants to follow Jesus as long as Jesus—come in real close—follows his agenda. Jesus, as long as you become the Messiah that I want you to be, as long as you do the things that I want you to do, I’m with you, Brother. I’m following you. But all this talk about death, Jesus. All this talk about the cross, we don’t want to hear that.
I know what you’re saying, Robby, I never do that. But we do it all the time. How often do we say things like this to God? God, I’ll commit my life wholeheartedly to you if you do blank, right? God, I’ll surrender to the call to preach if you let me be the lead preacher in the ministry, right? But maybe God wants you to play the second fiddle. Have you ever thought about that? Maybe God’s calling you to ministry to sit in the second chair. God, I’ll pastor a church if you let me preach to thousands one day, right? But what if God called you to go to a church of 20 people and no one will know about your faithfulness other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Would you do it? God I want to sing in front of thousands. Well, how about starting with the children’s choir and being faithful with a few? God I want to go to the mission field but just let me pick the country and the context. What if God sent you to Burma, India and for seven years you never saw a convert like William Carey. Would you do it? God I’ll serve in the church as long as I can pick something that I like to do, as long as I get notoriety for the things I do in the church. What if God called you to serve behind the scenes in an area that was out of your comfort zone? God I’ll serve you if you give me a new car, I’ll serve you if you give me a new house. I’ll serve you if you increase my salary. I’ll serve you if you let me have the new job. I’ll serve you if you let me leave the city and go to another city.
You know what I’ve realized about that mentality? What if God wants you to be faithful where you are? What if God has you here for a reason? So often we want to blame God for the problems we have; but the problem—don’t miss this—is never with God. The problem is always with us. Peter, I think, misunderstood that. For Peter to misunderstand it, it shows us how easy it is for us to misunderstand it, right? If Peter missed it, how easy it is for you to miss it who only get into the Bible 40 minutes a week when the pastor preaches on Sunday morning? Do you think that’s going to help you understand Christ? Brother? Sister? Do you think it’s going to take more than that? That you and I have to be students of the Word that we need to get into the Word until the Word gets into us. We need to study the Word. We need to set aside time. We need to have a desire for the Word. We need to have a passion to know who Jesus is, not just know about Jesus, not just know about the Word of God but know the God of the Word.
See Peter had a misunderstanding of the Savior. Judas had a misunderstanding and so he betrayed the Savior. I want you to understand the final aspect of those who would turn their back on Jesus and that is they abandoned the Savior. We see a betrayal of the Savior. We see a misunderstanding of the Savior; we see an abandoning of the Savior. Robby, how many ran away? All of them. They all left the Lord. Can you imagine it? But Jesus was not bothered by this because He said at the end of the chapter, He said listen, this all must happen to fulfill scripture.
Now go back to 14:27. Jesus predicted it. Here’s another prophecy that came true. Jesus said you will all [what?] fall away. In the garden, they were sleeping rather than praying and now they are abandoning rather than standing with our Lord. Have you ever wondered what you’re made of? Look no further than these men. When push came to shove, when times got difficult, when they were in the middle of a trial, they fled. When they were tempted, they cracked under the pressure.
Now, I don’t know if you know this, but in the first century, rabbis believed that you should willingly endure testing to buffet the body and to help the body grow spiritually. That’s what they believed. So they would encourage their followers to willingly put themselves into situations where they would be tempted. They justified this from Psalms 26:2 when David said these words, Test me O Lord, examine my heart and mind. That’s where they got it from. So they looked at testing like weights for the body. It was a way to run for the physical body, to beat up or to build up the spiritual muscles.
For Jesus, there’s nothing that could be further from the truth. Jesus never encourages believers to run headlong into temptation. In fact, Jesus says in the body, in the flesh, we are weak. We can’t fight against temptation with our own power. We need God’s strength. So don’t judge the disciples here based on their response in the middle of this temptation because they don’t have the filling of the Holy Spirit. You see, this is pre-Pentecost. Before Pentecost we see in the text fearful, timid disciples. But after Pentecost—Acts 2—when the Spirit of God comes upon the disciples they stand up boldly and proclaim the gospel.
Let’s take Peter, for example. Peter, just moments before, is cowering in the courtyard. Fifty days later, what happens? He stands up in front of all the people and he says these words in Acts 2, Let all Israel be assured that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Messiah. Does it take guts to do that? The guy he just talked about was crucified and, if that wasn’t enough, Peter and John get in front of the Sanhedrin in Acts 4, the very people who crucified Jesus, and they look them square in the eye and say these words, Salvation is found, my friends, in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. You know what they’re saying? Every way you guys are believing in is wrong. Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we are weak. But with the filling of the Holy Spirit we’re strong. We go from cowards to heroes. We go from sinners to saints.
That’s why you and I need to be desperately dependent upon the Spirit of God. So much so that I believe every morning we wake up, we need to say to God, God fill me with the Spirit of God today. Have you done that this morning? Because you should. God fill me with the Spirit of God today. Where do you get that, Robby? Paul says don’t be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit with God. Yes, we were filled at the moment we came to God but there is a continual filling of the Spirit of God. We are desperate for God’s grace.
So we see a betrayal of the Savior; we see a misunderstanding of the Savior; we see an abandonment of the Savior. Robby, how should we act? We should submit to the Savior. That’s the key. See, just as Jesus submitted to the will of the Father in the garden—not my will but Your will—we as a church body at Brainerd Baptist, we need to submit to the will of the Savior. Jesus had a very different plan. Go to John 18:4. John gives an interesting insight that the other disciples, the other gospel writers overlooked.
“Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him [Nothing’s catching Jesus by surprise, right?] came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am he.’” Verse 6, “When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” Now, some have tried to say, well, they were scared of Jesus’ moral nature. That’s not the case. These men, these solders, many of them had never seen Jesus before. They don’t even know anything about Jesus. So the first time they’re coming into the woods and they see this rabbi and they don’t fall down when they see Him. They only fall down when He does what? When He speaks the words I AM.
Why is that important? You remember in Exodus 3, Moses said, God, who should I say sent you. What’s your name? And God said I AM WHO I AM. You know what it shows us? Jesus is completely in control of all the events surrounding His death. Nothing is catching our Lord by surprise. Matthew 26:52. Go back there. We’ll pick up the rest of the story. It shows us how it ends as Jesus is arrested. “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father [Watch this.] and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
There are three reasons why Peter’s sword was not useful at this point. First of all, it was unsafe. Peter wielding a sword is never safe but in this situation, Jesus says it’s unsafe. Peter, you shouldn’t have the sword because I’m not coming to win that way. I’m not coming to claim victory that way. I’m willing going to die. Put the sword away. First reason was, it was unsafe. The second reason was, it was unnecessary. Peter’s sword was unnecessary. Jesus says, Peter, don’t you know I could call twelve legions of angels at once. Let me paint a picture of how big that is. A Roman legion was 6,000 men. Jesus said I could call twelve of them. In a moment’s notice I could call 72,000 angels with the blink of an eye. If I wanted to, I could call it but, Peter, I don’t need the angels.
Now, here’s a good question. How many angels does it take to defeat an army? The Bible tells us. Did you know that? Go to 2 Kings 19:35. Let me show you this quickly. Don’t mess with the Lord after reading this. You’ll see why. Verse 35, “And that night the angel of the LORD [How many angels? One.] went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.”
So obviously 72,000 angels can wipe any army and possibly all the armies—yes—of the world. Jesus says, If I wanted to wipe out the opposition, that’s all I have to do is blink my eye and they’re gone. So, Peter, the sword is obviously unnecessary. Put the sword back. And thirdly, the sword is unfounded. Peter, once again has not understood the scriptures. I will not put up a fight. I will not send angels. I will not retaliate. I will willingly submit to their arrest. Isaiah talked about this in Isaiah 53:7. He was oppressed and afflicted yet he did not open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. This picture in this passage is not of a warrior. It’s of someone who is willingly going to die. Jesus is saying, listen, my life is an open book. You guys have seen me teach in the synagogue. You guys have seen me teach in the temple. Why have you come at night to take me?
Look at Matthew 26:55: “At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me?’”
Mark 14:55: “Have you come out day by day I’ve sat teaching in the temple and you did not seize me? But all this has taken place that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
They had no right to arrest our Lord. He had committed no crime. No law was broken, yet they treated Him as a robber. And the one who was really a thief was standing in their midst, and his name was Judas. In the remaining hours of Jesus life—I want you to feel the weight of this—every person will desert Him. Every one of them will leave Him. At this point the disciples will turn on Him and run. Judas has betrayed Him. Peter has denied Him and the Lord is left alone.
I think it’s a great encouragement for us, it’s a great reminder for us, that we have to purpose in our heart how will we respond in the midst of a trial and a temptation. Will we stand up for the Lord, or will we turn our back on Him? When times get tough do you sell out Christ or do you stand by His side. Will we choose the will of God or will we choose our own will. Will we stand no matter what the circumstances or will we abandon Him, betray Him or misunderstand Him or misconstrue His mission to fit ours?
I guess the better question for us is this: do you know Jesus? See, because if you truly know Jesus, then you understand why He came and who He was. I want to ask you. Do you know Jesus? Do you know that He came to redeem your sins? He came to rescue you from the domain of darkness to transfer you into the kingdom of His beloved Son. God had given Jesus the right to come, to allow us to have access to God through repentance and faith. I know in a group this size there could be some who have not done that. Have you repented of your sins? Have you put your complete faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ not trusting your own desire like Judas, not trusting your own plan like Peter? Trusting completely in the Lord Jesus Christ, that Jesus is the captain of the ship, Jesus is the one in control of your life. Have you done that? See the cool thing is it’s not something we do just at the moment of salvation. It’s something we must do every single day.