Mark 14:1-2  The Plot to Kill Jesus

So we’ve finally finished our look at the Olivet Discourse, where Jesus predicts God’s judgment on Israel with the destruction of the Temple. Just prior to that we saw Jesus take on essentially every religious group in Jerusalem in the Temple courts (the Chief Priests, Scribes & Elders, the Pharisees & Herodians, the Sadducees, and a scribe). But, to tell the truth, Jesus has been getting Himself in trouble with the religious leaders since early on in Mark’s account of the good news, with the Pharisees seeking “how to destroy him” (Mark 3:6). So we should not be surprised at the chief priests and scribes plot to kill Him here (v. 1).

Jesus’ conflicts with the Jerusalem authorities summarized above took place earlier in the passion week. But now we are just “two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread” (v. 1). The chief priests and the scribes are fed up with Him now and they are ready to do away with Him by any means necessary. Their reservations to not kill Him “during the feast” (v. 2) are not lofty based on moral objection or reverence for the Passover (R. Alan Cole, TNTC). No, they simply understand Jesus popularity, and want to avoid a riot during the festival which would be a threat to their position of power as puppets of Rome (David E. Garland, NIVAC).

Note that it is not the ordinary citizens of Jerusalem who plot to kill Jesus, it is not the low-lifes, the  sinners and tax collectors! No, it is the high and mighty, official religious leaders of Judaism! And their motivation is power, jealousy.

The applications to the church of today are clear. Beware of power. Power corrupts!

“The church tends to look for threats from without and to ignore the threats from within. Those who hold the reins of power may honestly believe that what they are doing is in the best interests of God’s cause on earth. They may convince themselves that the end justifies the means. They may never see that self-interest motivates their words and actions and that it leads them into their greatest guilt.” – David E. Garland

Check your motives carefully and constantly. And always remember that Jesus greatest enemies here on earth were well respected religious people!

So what is a follower of Jesus to do? Well for one thing remember that, whether you are a church leader or the church’s newest member, if you follow (imitate) Jesus too closely, people aren’t going to like you and they might try to kill you. Yes, persecution is a very real part of following our King.

“If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” – Jesus (John 15:20)

If they tried to kill Him, they might try to kill you. Check your heart. Following Jesus means doing the right thing (doing what Jesus would do, following His teachings) even when it’s hard, especially when its hard! Following Jesus means swimming upstream, going against the grain. And yes, people in your church might not like it. Especially when “it” is radically loving people who don’t deserve it.

Until next time, follow Jesus…No matter what!!