Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Mark 14, verses 41-42.
If you drive through the American South, you see all kinds of religious billboards. Many of them implore you to know Jesus as soon as possible because we don’t know when He’s coming back. I used to see one south of Savanna, Oklahoma that said “watch and pray for we know not what hour the Son of God will return.” There are others that quote dire verses of Scripture announcing hellfire for those who reject Jesus’ open invitation to free salvation. There are still more that have sayings like “Talk with me before it’s too late. Sincerely, God.” Announcing God’s impending judgment on us isn’t necessarily regional; I suppose signs like these are everywhere. I’ve simply noticed more of them here in the Bible Belt.
Guess what? They’re all true. Today’s verses prove it.
It’s before sunrise on the morning of Good Friday. Jesus is exhausted while His Disciples have had fitful intermittent rest on the cold Gethsemene ground. After imploring them to keep watch for sin, Jesus returns to them a third time and brings them up short. The night is over; no more rest; no more interruptions. It’s time to get up because there’s work ahead today. It’s going to be the hardest day of your lives.
“Today I’m going to die.”
The Son of Man was delivered into the hands of sinners. Make no mistake about it: the temple guards who seized Jesus were sinners indeed. They were players in a staged drama predicted since the fall of man. These ‘innocent’ actors were only doing the bidding of their priestly overseers. The overseers were only doing the bidding of the chief priests. The chief priests had only initiated this arrest because Judas Iscariot came to them with news they wanted to hear. Judas Iscariot only betrayed Jesus to the priests because he was a sinful twisted man. He was sinful and twisted because he listened to Satan. Satan was evil because he reveled in sin.
So do I; so do you. We’re thick with sin and no better than Judas or the guards. The Bible tells us so. Jesus said so. All those billboards scream out the fact. Here’s the good news.
Jesus faced His betrayer. The verses and chapters of Mark after this all describe the story of how He faced His betrayer, how He loved Him anyway, and then how He went to His death as an innocent lamb to slaughter. He did this because the Disciples slept instead of kept watch for sinful temptation. He did it because Judas Iscariot, the chief priests and those temple guards were dead in their sins if He didn’t. He did it because all the sins I’ve done today and every day of my life demand more of a penalty than I can pay. He did it because the same thing can be said about you and everyone we know.
Will you face down your betrayer today? Will you face your sins and own up to them, then face Jesus and repent of them? Bibles and billboards remind us how it’s imperative that we do so.
Lord Jesus, I’m sinful through and through. Thank You for Your holy sacrifice, for facing your betrayer, for dying for us.
Read Mark 14, verses 43-52.