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The Resolve of Jesus Christ

Tom Pennington • Mark 10:32-34

  • 2020-05-17 AM
  • Sermons


Well I invite you to take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to Mark chapter 10. We're going to step away from our study of Romans as we prepare our hearts for the Lord's Table this morning. Mark chapter 10. Many of those in Israel in the First Century did not fully understand or know who Jesus was. At the same time, many of them did believe that He was a prophet. In Matthew 21:46 we read, "When the leaders sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet." The people thought Jesus was in fact a prophet, like the Old Testament prophets. And He was, Jesus referred to Himself as a prophet. In Matthew 13:57, Jesus said, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and in his own household." Jesus knew the future and He often told others exactly what would happen in the future. This morning as we prepare for the Lord's Table, I want us to consider a passage in which Jesus prophesied all of the key details about His impending death and resurrection.

Mark chapter 10 and I want you to read along with me beginning in verse 32.

"They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, saying, "Behold we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again."

Here in clear and precise terms Jesus prophesies about the shocking events that will unfold in His life within about a week's time. I want us to look at this prophecy and specifically this morning I want us to consider four essentials about this prophecy. Four essentials, first of all let's think about the setting of the prophecy, we see this in verse 32. Let me step back from verse 32 for a moment and give you the larger context in which these events unfold. In studying the rest of Mark's gospel and how the other gospels sync with it, we learn that it was morning. Likely it was Thursday, one week before Jesus' death on the following Friday. Jesus and His disciples had rested the night before at the home of one of His disciples in Perea, the area that was northeast of the Sea of Galilee. They were on their way to Jerusalem. They were going specifically to celebrate the Passover. Jesus and His disciples had awakened that morning with the intention of getting under way quickly and heading toward the city of Jerusalem. But their plans were altered several times that morning. We know of several that are recorded in the gospel record. Some parents on that morning brought their children for Jesus to bless, and you remember the events that unfolded as the disciples tried to prevent them from coming and Jesus insisted that He would bless those children. A rich young ruler from the local synagogue had come to ask how he could be sure he in fact had eternal life. There may have been other events that unfolded as well, but finally Jesus and His disciples were on their way. Verse 32 says, "they were on the road going up to Jerusalem." They would later that very same day, that same likely Thursday, find their way to the city of Jericho. There Jesus would heal a couple of blind men and also, they would end up spending the night there in the home of the newly converted tax collector, Zacchaeus, before resuming their journey on Friday morning.

Now notice how Mark captures Jesus' attitude on that morning as they begin their journey toward Jerusalem. Undoubtedly Mark was not a witness to these things but Peter, Mark's source was, and apparently this memory was burned into Peter's mind. Notice how he shares it, verse 32, "they were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them." In this little insight, this little detail we see the resolve of Jesus Christ. Here's how Luke puts it in his gospel, Luke chapter 9 verse 51, "When the days were approaching, He was determined to go to Jerusalem." On the day after this event that we're studying together Luke 19:28 says, when He left Jericho and was now on His way to Jerusalem, it says, "He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem." So even the next day on Friday, Jesus was leading the pack, leading the crowd on His way to Jerusalem. He was resolved. He was determined. He was relentless in His pursuit of the very purpose for which He came. Verse 32 goes on to say, "Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful."

Apparently it's the Apostles, the twelve who were amazed. The Greek word amazed means they were astonished; they were astonished because of the unwavering, resolute determination of Jesus Christ. They knew about the threats that He was living under. They knew the plan of the leaders of the nation. But Jesus was determined; in fact He had taken the lead ahead of them. William Hendriksen, the great Presbyterian commentator writes, "There must have been something about the bearing of Jesus, the look in his eyes, the manner of His walk that explains this amazement." So the twelve were amazed at His relentless resolve.

Mark describes a second group here however, he says, "those who followed were fearful." This probably refers to the other disciples of Jesus, beyond the twelve. They were fearful. Exactly what were they afraid of? Well according to John 11 verse's 55 to 57 about five weeks before this day, the Sanhedrin had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was, was to report so that He could be arrested; in fact they had already made plans to have Him killed. So Jesus struck out in the lead of this, and you have to sort of use your imagination here, a sanctified imagination, Jesus struck out in the lead of this massive band of pilgrims filled with sounds of bleating sheep and children and talking and singing and the disciples were amazed and the rest of His followers were fearful of what might happen once He arrived in Jerusalem.

Verse 32 goes on to say, "And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him." Still in the lead, still in advance Jesus called the twelve up to Him and then He spoke to them aside. The key word here in verse 32 is that word again. This wasn't the first time that Jesus had shared this information with them. In fact from the start of His ministry He had hinted at the coming reality of both His death and His resurrection. You remember in John chapter 2 He made the comment, destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. They thought He was talking about the physical temple there in Jerusalem, but He was referring to His body. That was at the very beginning of His earthly ministry. But Mark here, says again because on two other occasions Jesus had explicitly, clearly predicted both His death and His resurrection. Let me remind you of them. Turn back to Mark chapter 8 verse 31, this was the first time that Jesus had explicitly told His disciples what was going to happen. Mark chapter 8 verse 31,

"And He began to teach them that the Son of Man" (notice this word) "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 was stating the matter plainly. And peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."

Here Jesus predicts His coming death and resurrection. This unfolded near Cessarea Philippi, immediately after Peter's great confession of Jesus as the Messiah, about twelve months before the cross. On this occasion in Mark 8, Jesus stresses the necessity of His death and resurrection, 'He must suffer.' This was imperative.

The second time Jesus explicitly told His disciples what would happen to Him was in Mark chapter 9 verse 30 through verse 32.

"From there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it. For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later." But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him."

This second episode, this second prediction of His death and resurrection clearly, to the twelve occurs just after the transfiguration. It's less than six months now before the crucifixion, and in this prophecy He stresses the certainty of His coming death and resurrection. He is to be delivered, it's going to happen, it's a certain reality.

Now we come back to Mark chapter 10, and here in Mark chapter 10, it's just one week before these events will unfold. And He makes a third clear prophecy and this one is the most explicit of them all. And here the emphasis is not on the necessity, it's not on the certainty, but rather it's on the details of the prophecy. He unfolds several things that He has not yet told His disciples. Let's look at the details of the prophecy together in verse's 33 to 34. Notice how verse 33 begins, He said, "Behold." That is, look, pay attention, I have something important I want you to be aware of. And then He gives them several specific details about these events. First of all regarding His death. He explains where this is going to happen. Verse 33, "We are going up to Jerusalem," all of these things are going to unfold they're going to happen to Him in Jerusalem. When is it going to happen? Well, we're going up to Jerusalem and understood here is we're going up for the Passover. So Jesus is telling His disciples this is going to happen now, not at some point out in the future, but within just a few days, at Passover, in Jerusalem.

He also answers the question, who? Jesus identified several key players that would be involved in what would happen to Him. First of all the initiator, verse 33. "And the Son of Man will be delivered." Stop there, "the Son of Man will be delivered." The Greek word translated 'to be delivered' means to hand over. It's the idea of total abandonment, it's handing someone over and walking away and washing your hands entirely of them. Throughout the gospel, this expression delivered over has been used of those human beings behind Jesus' death. It's used of the Sanhedrin, it's used of Pilate in chapter 15, it's used especially of Judas beginning all the way back in chapter 3 verse 19 and working its way throughout the narrative of the crucifixion, and the betrayal and crucifixion itself in chapter 14. It's possible here that Jesus was alluding primarily to those human actors; to the Sanhedrin and especially to Judas. But I think Jesus means more and that's because in the second prophecy, the second prediction of His death, He says something most unusual, back in chapter 9 verse 31, Jesus adds this, "He will be delivered into the hands of men." Now just think about that for a moment. He'll be delivered into the hands of men, that implies that someone supernatural was handing Jesus over into the hands of men. You see this is the heart of the shocking plan behind the cross. In the end, the initiator of the suffering of Jesus, of His violent death, and of His resurrection isn't Judas, it isn't Pilate, it isn't the Sanhedrin, it's God the Father. This was clear even in the Old Testament, in Isaiah chapter 53, verse 10, "The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief." It becomes even clearer in the New Testament, in fact turn to Acts chapter 2 and notice verse 23. Here in the sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter says, this Man speaking of Jesus, "This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God," there's the initiator "you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." Go over to chapter 4, verse 27 you see the same point in their prayer here the early disciples prayer. "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel," This is Acts 4:28, "to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur." So ultimately the initiator of all of this wasn't Judas, it wasn't the Sanhedrin, it wasn't Pilate, it was God the Father and we could even say more generally, it was the Trinity in its eternal council that determined this was the only way for man to be redeemed.

Back to our text in Mark chapter 10, we've seen the initiator, notice the facilitator's, verse 33, to, they'll be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes. "He will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes." The chief priests included the current high priest, in this case Caiaphas, along with the former ones, we know that Annas, Caiaphas' father-in-law was still living, there were a couple of others actually as well who were still living, former high priests. As well as the leaders of each of the 24 courses of priests. Together these men were Israel's most influential leaders. They were the aristocracy, they were political blue bloods and they were mostly Sadducees. The scribes were the interpreters and teachers as well as copiers of God's Law. And they were mostly Pharisees. Together these groups made up the Sanhedrin, the ruling government of the nation under the Romans. Verse 33, "and they will condemn Him to death." It is really impossible to overemphasis what Jesus has just said. Because He has just told the twelve that the spiritual and political leaders of the nation of Israel will hold a formal trial and they will reject their Messiah. Ironically they had already decided the outcome of that trial, weeks before they had already decided to kill Jesus, John 11:53 says, "and from that day" shortly after the raising of Lazarus from the dead "they planned together to kill Jesus." And now we learn that they intend to carry out their plan by finding Jesus guilty of a crime that deserves the death penalty. They're the facilitators. But notice the executioners, once the Jewish leaders had formally found Jesus guilty of a crime deserving death, they would Jesus says, do the unthinkable. Verse 33, "They will hand Him over to the Gentiles." That of course could only mean the Romans in First Century Israel. Only the Roman governor Pilate had the authority to execute the death penalty. So Jesus is saying that the leaders of the nation of Israel would betray their Messiah to the Gentiles, specifically to the Romans.

Notice here that intentionally all of humanity is indicted in the death of God's Son, both the Jews and the Gentiles. There's nobody else, those are the only categories, there're no other category. So that's every human being, ultimately is responsible for the death of the Son of God. He goes on as He describes His death to describe the what? Exactly what's going to happen to Him, verse 34, and they, that is the Gentiles, the Romans, "will mock Him, and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him." There's one last question that isn't answered here in Mark's gospel but is answered in Matthew's gospel and that's how. How? Matthew tells us that Jesus told the Twelve exactly how He would be killed. Matthew 20 verse 19 says, "they will crucify Him." Of course that made sense, if Jesus was going to be handed over to the Romans this would be the one penalty that would make sense. So that's Jesus' amazing prophecy regarding His coming death.

But He goes on as well to make a prophecy regarding His resurrection in verse 34. Notice first of all when He will be raised, verse 34 says, "and three days later." This expression could mean three full days had to pass between His death and resurrection, and there are some who take an expression like this and say Jesus couldn't have been crucified on Friday because there had to be three full days. However Matthew and Mark are explicit in this prophecy in saying that Jesus specifically said, "on the third day." Now I think you understand how ordinal numbers like first, second and third are used. On the third day can only mean that He was in the grave on day one, and day two and that He would rise sometime during day three. So He died on Friday, He was in the grave on Friday and on Saturday and He was raised on Sunday morning, that's the third day. What exactly is going to happen? Again notice verse 34, "He will rise again." He would be killed, in other words He would truly die by crucifixion. He didn't swoon, He didn't go into a coma like state, He would really truly die. Think of it this way, He would experience death exactly like the people whom you have known have experienced death. It would be no different than that. But out of that state of death, He would rise to life again. How exactly would this be accomplished? Well Mark and Luke have it that He will rise, Jesus will rise. That implies that Jesus had the power to raise Himself from the dead. And of course He said that didn't He? He said 'no man has the power to take My life from Me, I lay it down and I have authority and power to take it up again.' Matthew 20 verse 19 has it this way, "He will be raised up." That implies that someone else would raise Him, specifically the Father would raise Him from the dead. According to the New Testament in multiple places both of these are in fact true. He would raise Himself from the dead and the Father would raise Him from the dead and He would come to life. What an amazing prophecy.

Now I want you to consider with me the purposes for the prophecy. The purposes, because scripture identifies several purposes or several reasons that Jesus made this prophecy before these events actually would unfold a week later. Think about these with me. First of all this prophecy was an apologetic for Jesus' claims. From the beginning of His ministry Jesus staked everything that He did and everything that He taught on the truth about His resurrection, His death and resurrection. They were the foundation of His whole life and ministry. You remember in John 2, I quoted it earlier He said 'destroy this temple and in three days I'll raise it again.' That was in answer to a question by what authority do You do these things? And Jesus said, you want to know the confirmation of My authority? It's based on My death and resurrection. If I die and I am raised again from the dead then you know that I have the authority to make the claims I make, I have the authority to teach what I teach, to say what I say, to demand of you what I demand of you. On the other hand, if I don't die and don't rise out of death into life then you'll know that I'm not to be believed, I'm not to be trusted, that My claims are not trustworthy, that My teachings is suspect. When Jesus made that prediction in John 2, His disciples of course as they consistently did, didn't understand it. But His enemies understood it. In fact you remember after Jesus' death in Matthew 27 verse 63, the religious leaders said to Pilate, this would have been on Saturday between the crucifixion and resurrection, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive, that deceiver said, "After three days I am to rise again." And they insist that a guard be placed.

Now this like so many things has become so familiar to us that it doesn't make the impact that it should. And it doesn't lie in my power to make that impact on you, only the Holy Spirit can, but think about it like this with me. What if I told you this morning, I want you to really think about this, what if I were to tell you this morning that three and a half years from now I would be killed. Then about one year before those events unfold, one year before it happened, I told you again. And then one week before my death I told you when it would happen, where it would happen, how it would happen and by whom I would die. And it all happened exactly that way. You would say there's no way a mere human could do that. But what if I added to all of that that after my death, I would rise from the dead on the third day and it all actually happened exactly as I had told you. What I want you to see is that is exactly what happened with Jesus Christ our Lord. And the prophecy and its perfect fulfillment proved that He was in fact everything He claimed and that all that He taught could be trusted as from God, His death and resurrection were the seal of those realities. And the fact that it was predicted beforehand on several occasions only further confirms it. It's an apologetic. Listen, there's plenty of proof for you to believe in who Jesus claimed to be and what He claimed to accomplish.

There's a second purpose for the prophecy and that is it turns the spotlight on the priority of Jesus' life. If Jesus' death and resurrection were the reason that He came, if in fact they were the priority of His life then you would expect them to play a prominent role in the records of His life and specifically in Mark's record of His life. Well, think about this. Mark devotes absolutely zero verses to the first 30 years of Jesus' life. He devotes 10 chapters, chapters 1 to 10 to Jesus' three and a half year ministry. And then he devotes six chapters, chapters 11 to 16 to one week of Jesus' life – the Passion Week. This was the priority of His life. He came to die and to give Himself as a sacrifice for sins and to be raised from the dead to conquer sin and death on behalf of those whom He loved. Listen Jesus' death and resurrection was the center point of His life and ministry and it should be of your life Christian as well. Jesus death and resurrection should be central in your faith and in your worship and in your thoughts.

There's a third purpose for this prophecy, it was intended to strengthen the faith of the twelve and our faith as well. Jesus told the disciples this would come in order that after it unfolded it would only strengthen and confirm their faith. You remember that the disciples didn't get it when Jesus told them these things, but after Jesus passion they did remember. John 2 verse 22 says, "When He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken." Listen Jesus intended this prophecy to strengthen their faith and to strengthen your faith as well.

There's a fourth purpose and that is this prophecy provides clear evidence that Jesus' death was sovereignly determined and was completely intentional. Luke 18 verse 31 says, "He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem," and listen to what He said. "And all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished." Jesus said nothing is going to happen to Me in Jerusalem at Passover but what Scripture said would happen. It started back in Genesis 3:15 when He Himself told Adam and Eve and the serpent that a unique human being would come who would crush sin, who would deal with sin and bruise Satan's head and ultimately destroy him. And we just saw in Acts 2 and Acts 4, this was God's plan.

Fifthly, the fifth purpose for this prophecy is it powerfully reminds us of the depth of His love for us. I want you to think about this for a moment. Jesus knew on the road to Jerusalem, as He struck out in front of the crowd, He knew that He would soon be betrayed by Judas. He knew that the Jewish leaders would condemn Him to death saying that He was a blasphemer. He knew that the Roman soldiers would mock Him, mistreat Him, spit on Him and scourge Him. He knew that He would die the horrible death of crucifixion. But most of all, He knew that the Father would credit Christian, your sins to Him every single one of them and would treat Him on the cross as if He had lived your life. He knew that He would endure the wrath of God. He knew He was going to die in your place and He knew that you were the one who really deserved it. And knowing all of that, He was not only willing, but He was eager.

In the garden of course, you remember He would struggle over the reality of being separated from the Father. But it's equally clear in the gospel record that He was not hesitant to carry out the plan. He was eager to give His life. John 10:11 says, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." And the reason He had to die becomes very quickly clear. In fact look in Mark chapter10 verse 45, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and" and here it is "to give His life a ransom." The Greek word is antí, instead of, in the place of many; to give His life a ransom in the place of many. William Hendriksen again writes this, "It would be inexcusable to close the treatment of this precious passage without showing what it implies with respect to the majesty of Christ's love. In the human conscientiousness of our Lord the feel of the approaching horror was little by little becoming more real. Even now the horror must have been very real and very terrifying; the Man of sorrows sees it coming toward Him. He already senses something of the mockery, the pain, and the shame which like an avalanche threatens to overwhelm Him. Yet He does not retreat of even stand still. With unflinching determination He walks right into it for He knows that this is necessary in order that His people may be saved. Having loved His own, He loved them to the uttermost."

I love the way Ephesians 5:2 puts it, "Christ loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." The pronoun you in that case is plural, but it's even more personal than that. In Galatians chapter 2 verse 20, Paul makes it very individual, he says, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God," listen to this, "who loved me and gave Himself for me." If you're in Christ or you're willing to turn from your sin and put your faith in Him, He had you in His mind when He offered Himself up, when He was on the road to Jerusalem determined, resolved, it was for your sake.

How should we respond to this amazing passage? Listen if you're not a follower of Jesus Christ this is a call to believe in Jesus Christ. This prophecy alone is sufficient evidence of who He is and why He came. Turn from your sins today, put your faith in Him and the purpose for His death and resurrection to buy forgiveness for sins will become yours. If you're already a believer then Jesus gave this prophecy to strengthen your faith in Him. He was in fact everything He claimed. You can believe everything He taught. He was in complete control even over His death. He didn't walk into an ambush; He wasn't caught up in some political intrigue. He knowingly, willingly, gladly, eagerly did it for you. Jesus was walking ahead of them to Jerusalem, because He was resolved, relentlessly determined to save you. That's what we celebrate in the Lord's Table together, take a moment and prepare your heart.

Lord Jesus, how can we ever adequately express our gratitude for such amazing love, amazing love how can it be that You my God would die for me? We thank You for the reality of the cross, we thank You for Your grace in giving us this prophecy that only strengthens our faith, that confirms and proves You are all that You claimed and the priority of Your life was Your death and resurrection. Thank You for giving us this way to remember You. Father as we prepare to take of the Lord's Table, we first ask that You would cleanse us from sin. We thank You that You have forgiven us in the courtroom of Your justice, that You've justified us, You've declared us forever right before the bar of justice. We wear the righteousness of Christ and yet we still sin, now we sin against You as a Father, those sins are already paid for before the judgment seat, but our sins are against Your goodness and Your love as the Father who has adopted us and so Lord we come now asking that You would forgive us, each of us individually in our own hearts, rehearses before You our sins. Sins of thought, and attitude, sins of speech, actions that are contrary to Your will and purpose. O, God, cleanse us, forgive us and let us take of this reminder of our Lord in a way that honors Him, we pray it in His name, Amen.