FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
The King of Love My Shepherd Is
The King of Love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought:
Jesus was about to be exposed to the one thing in life he really feared…the indescribable experience of feeling himself to be God-forsaken. He felt he could not live—indeed, that life was not worth living—without the consciousness of his Father’s love for him. Yet the fact that he entered that darkness and experienced such grief is the source of all our comfort. It assures us that he understands our darkest hours. But more, it means that he has drawn the sting from our darkest hour for he has entered our God-forsaken condition so that we might share his God-accepted relationship to the Father! – Sinclair Ferguson
Confession of Sin:
Prayer of Confession
Father in heaven, we need to be forgiven. We have tried to work off our guilt and shame; to pile up good deeds that outweigh our sins. We have tried to change through our own efforts. When this doesn’t work, we turn to denial and distraction, leaving some of us arrogant and the rest of us anxious and depressed. Forgive us for thinking we could save ourselves rather than resting in the merits of Jesus Christ. Forgive us for our pride. Forgive us and heal us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Words of Grace
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:21-24
Confession of Faith: The Children’s Catechism Question 84-87
Q. 84. What is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Q. 85. What does the first commandment teach you?
A. To worship the true God, and him only.
Q. 86. What is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Q. 87. What does the second commandment teach you?
A. To worship God only as he commands, and not to worship God by using statues or pictures.
Sermon Text: Mark 14:12-42
12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
- The context of prayer (v. 12, 22-25, 18, 27)
- The practice of prayer (v. 35-36)
- The hope of prayer (v. 28, 25)
The back drop for this entire passage is the great work of God's salvation celebrated in the Passover meal (Ex. 12). However, this great celebration of God's saving work takes on a whole new meaning in the presence of Jesus. It no longer celebrates something in the past but something new; not the sacrifice of a passover lamb, but the substitutionary sacrifice of the Son of God, symbolized in the bread and the wine of the last supper (v. 22-24). Jesus, with the bread and the wine, is saying to us, "this is it, the sacrifice you need, the salvation you can't live without, and the destiny you long for."
However, this pivotal meal takes place in the midst of betrayal (v. 17-21), abandonment (v. 26-31), failure (v. 37-38) not by strangers but by the twelve, those closest to Jesus. As awful as that was and as awful as his suffering and death would be, what most affects Jesus is the prospect of being abandoned, forsaken by his Father on the cross. For some this is a very hard part of the Christian message to accept. How could God do that? Because only the perfect Son of God could pay the penalty for sin and secure the Father's acceptance at the same time. Theologian John Murray writes, "God loved the objects of His wrath so much that He gave His own Son to the end that He by His blood should make provision for the removal of His wrath. It was Christ's so to deal with the wrath that the loved would no longer be the objects of wrath, and love would achieve its aim of making the children of wrath the children of God's good pleasure."
Here we get an upfront and personal window into the feelings of Jesus in his darkest hours. Mark tells us he was greatly distressed and troubled, very sorrowful, even to death (v. 33-34). At the very same time we see where Jesus goes with his distress, fears, and longings...to his Father (v. 36). It is in reflecting on this moment in Jesus' life that Peter later writes, "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps." (1 Pet. 2:21) Clearly what Jesus does here is unique and unrepeatable. And at the same time, Jesus shows us how to handle our darkest most terrifying seasons of life. He teaches us how to pray. He shows us the beginning of prayer, the confidence of prayer, the need of prayer, and the obedience of prayer. Prayer begins with a relationship; knowing God to be your Father through faith in Jesus Christ. J.I. Packer in answer to the question, “What is a Christian?” writes, “the question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God for his Father.” Because God is his Father, he also prays with confidence because "all things are possible for him" according to his will. Prayer trusts in God's power, wisdom and goodness at work for the good of his children. At the same time, prayer is honest and vulnerable, freely making known the desires of our hearts..."remove this cup from me." Jesus is asking, "Isn't there another way?" Have you ever asked that question? Jesus understood what the "cup" was. It was the symbol of God's judgment against sin and to drink it meant shame before others and alienation from God. Jesus shows us it's perfectly ok to ask God to take away our suffering and anguish. And finally prayer yields to God's will at the cost of our will. "Yet not what I will, but what you will" (v. 36). Perhaps the most sobering and yet life-giving aspect of Jesus' prayer is he honestly pours out his request to his Father and the Father says, "no"...for us. Everything in Jesus longed to escape from this terrible experience. Have you ever felt that away? You are not alone. And at the very same time, everything in Jesus longed to obey his Father. Do you need help to do that? Do you even want to do that? Look to Jesus! "Never in the Gospel does the humanity of Jesus shine through more clearly; never in the gospels does his holiness appear more forcibly." (Ferguson) Jesus on the night he was betrayed in this brief prayer opens up to us the essence of what it looks like to know God as your Father and entrust yourself fully to him. Perhaps you are thinking, "I can't do that." Well...of course you can't...that's why Jesus had to for you.
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- What do you learn about prayer and following Jesus from his prayer in v. 36?
- Where do you find hope in this passage through looking to Jesus (v. 28, 25)? Try to unpack the hope you find. How does it cultivate patience in the present and longing for what will be?
Tomorrow night we will be hosting our first Gospel & Life Series meeting. These meetings are an opportunity for teaching and discussion about the Gospel and ministry covering a wide range of topics that have a bearing on our understanding of the gospel and its implications for ministry to the place God has called RMC. Tomorrow night we will spend time discussing the question, "How to build a missional community?" If you are interested in a good exposure to this topic part 6 of this book is an excellent place to start.
Songs for this week:
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name
Dearly We’re Bought
Hallelujah! What a Savior! (Man of Sorrows)
Be Thou My Vision
How Great Thou Art
Sermon passage for this week: Mark 14:43-15:15
Until next time,
The King of Love My Shepherd Is
Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And, where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.