It was now only two days before the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and teachers of the law were trying to find a way to arrest Jesus without the people seeing it. Then they could kill him. They said, "But we cannot arrest Jesus during the festival. We don't want the people to become angry and cause a riot."
— Mark 14:1-2
Jesus' enemies were determined to kill him. However, they knew that Jesus was popular with the people. With Jerusalem flooded with yearly visitors for Passover, a time that was very volatile, they worried that to go after Jesus during this time could backfire. Mark wants us to see that their murder of Jesus on the Cross was calculated and premeditated. They were not looking for justice or truth; they were out for blood. Little did they know that the blood they shed would be the atoning blood of the new covenant that would bring our salvation. What they meant for the worst kind of harm, God used for unbelievable good—our good!
O Father, I cannot understand how you withheld your power and allowed the schemes of wicked men to murder your Son, especially wicked men who claimed to honor you. I am sorry that we can be so misguided and wrong as people. Please forgive us. Please forgive me. I want to believe that I would have followed Jesus and welcomed him, but part of me fears that I might have been as misguided as they were. Purify my heart and give me wisdom to know and follow your truth always. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
It was now only two days before the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and teachers of the law were trying to find a way to arrest Jesus without the people seeing it. Then they could kill him. They said, "But we cannot arrest Jesus during the festival. We don't want the people to become angry and cause a riot." Jesus was in Bethany. He was eating in the house of Simon the leper. While Jesus was there a woman came to him. The woman had an alabaster jar filled with very expensive perfume. This perfume was made of pure nard. The woman opened the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head. Some of the followers there saw this. They became upset and complained to each other. They said, "Why waste that perfume? That perfume was worth a full year's work. It could be sold and the money could be given to poor people." And they criticized the woman strongly. Jesus said, "Don't bother the woman. Why are you troubling her? She did a very good thing for me. You will always have poor people with you. You can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. This woman did the only thing she could do for me. She poured perfume on my body. She did this before I die to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth. The Good News will be told to people in all the world. And in every place where the Good News is told, the story of what this woman did will also be told. The thing she has done will be told and people will remember her." Then one of the twelve apostles went to talk to the leading priests. This was the follower named Judas Iscariot. Judas wanted to give Jesus to them. The leading priests were very happy about this. They promised to pay Judas for doing this. So Judas waited for the best time to give Jesus to them.
Related Scripture Readings
Some Pharisees came to Jesus. They tried to make Jesus say something wrong. They asked Jesus, "Is it right for a man to divorce his wife?"
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue. In the synagogue there was a man with a crippled hand. Some Jews there were watching Jesus closely. They were waiting to see if he would heal the man on a Sabbath day. They wanted to see Jesus do something wrong so that they could accuse him. Jesus said to the man with the crippled hand, "Stand up here so that all the people can see you." Then Jesus asked the people, "Which thing is right to do on the Sabbath day: to do good, or to do evil? Is it right to save a life or to destroy one?" The people said nothing to answer Jesus. Jesus looked at the people. He was angry. But he felt very sad because they were stubborn. Jesus said to the man, "Let me see your hand." The man put his hand out for Jesus, and it was healed. Then the Pharisees left and made plans with the Herodians about a way to kill Jesus.
Then Jesus began to teach his followers that the Son of Man must suffer many things. Jesus taught that the Son of Man would not be accepted by the older Jewish leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law. Jesus taught that the Son of Man must be killed and then rise from death after three days.