Preparation for Death
St. Mark XIV. to v. 26.
"I lay down My life for the sheep."
OW drawing near the end—the Cross and Passion. This is
the Saturday before Palm Sunday, when the dinner party
given in Bethany. Chief priests and Scribes, growing
more bitter, determined to kill Him. Just because He
was too good, and rebuked their wrong-doing. Wanted all
along to do it. Now especially,
since He had raised Lazarus
§ 1. Mary
Dinner party at whose house? Supposed that
Simon was husband of Martha, or father of the Bethany
family. See St. John
Was the Lord pleased? Nice to feel that somebody cared so much for Him when all were against Him. So pleased that He said something about "memorial of her." Ever see memorial pillar, or tomb, or inscription? What for? What was Mary's memorial? Just a deed of love. Was it as good as a pillar or inscription to make her remembered? Yes, to this day, through the whole world it is talked of. Beautiful deeds are the best of all memorials. (Florence Nightingale, Grace Darling, Carey the missionary, etc.)
§ 2. Judas
Awful contrast. Mary and Judas. The one
sacrificing herself for Christ, the
Which would be better for Judas's character—to take away the temptation, or to let him conquer it? So, if bag taken away, he would not steal, because he could not. But would he be any better for that? No. So with your temptations to untruth, or temper, or any sin. Temptation good for making character. It is by conquering temptations that men grow holy. Do temptations always do good? Why not? Did the temptation of Judas? What did he plan? Then they could seize Him and kill Him, and Judas would get how much for his treachery? About £4. Beggarly price for such a sin. It is but a beggarly price that we get for any sin. Almost everyone feels that when repentance sets in.
§ 3. The Last Supper
An upper room. The Lord and the Twelve sitting at the Passover, or rather reclining. (Explain the way of reclining round the table.) It is their last night together, and they are saddened and troubled. And He, too, is burdened in heart. Think of the sorrow to Him who knew all things. Knew that these twelve whom He had chosen to be His closest friends would all fail Him—Peter deny—Judas betray—all the rest run away from the danger, and leave Him. How that great love was disappointed then. And now also. But He is thinking of their sorrow, not, of His own. St. John tells us how He comforted them (St. John xiv. 1). How like Him—never to think of Himself, but only of others.
Suddenly a startling announcement. "One of you shall
betray Me." Did they suspect Judas? Or each other?
Now wine-cup passed round. Bread and bitter herbs
eaten. Now a pause. Something very solemn happening?
Imagine a dying mother saying to her children: "Do this in remembrance of me. Once every year put fresh flowers on my grave." What a shame if neglected! How it would disappoint and sadden her if she could know. But that is a common sin with careless Christians. Think of this when you see the Holy Table arranged for Communion, and let it remind you of that night in upper room, and of the many who, like the disciples, disappoint and sadden the Lord. Say, "Lord, help me not to sadden or disappoint Thee. Lord, when I am old enough to be allowed to Thy Holy Table, I will try regularly to come in remembrance of Thee."