For the Joy Set Before Him...

He has stood in the howling Gale and prevailed; where we could not.
Heb 2:10       For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
Phil 2:8   Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
1 Cor 1:18     For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Heb 1:3   And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
The revelation of Jesus Christ – A Recap for those who weren’t listening!
In the last few months we have been looking at mark’s Gospel and how Mark shows us the unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ to world around us. This slow steady and awesome unfolding revelation of who this man is.
The desert- Through the temptation, Jesus reveals His Quality
The baptism- God endorses His Character- This is my Son
We see the physical manifestation of power over nature & over sickness
We see the authority of Jesus demonstrated in his power over demons
We see the revelation of divinity in the transfiguration. He was changed in front of their eyes. Metamorphosed.
We see the acceptance of Jesus as messiah-
1. By Disciples- Peter’s confession
2. By the Jerusalem gathered people –The cry of Hosanna as he entered the City
For us too there is that continued revelation of who He is for us
The author & perfector of our faith
So now we reach the closing Chapters of Mark’s Gospel. In these chapters we see a different and contrasting sequence an unfolding sense of Isolation for Jesus- One that many can identify with –But for Jesus He faced this in addition to the cruel physical agony of the crucifixion.
1. The foretaste of isolation
At Supper       14:18 
“I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
In the garden.             a. You will desert me Mark 14:27
                                    b. Overwhelmed with sorrow Mark 14:34
He knows
a. The human condition
b. The consequence of taking on sin for us- isolation from God
2. The isolation begins
Planned isolation
Mk 14:45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him.
Motivations for rejection/isolation
Was it the money?
Was it the hope to provoke uprising?
Was it his own sense of being on the edge- they don’t accept me,
We don’t know but Judas had a free will choice and chose to isolate himself from Jesus with dreadful consequences.
Judas kissed Jesus -a prolonged kiss to ensure the guards did not get the wrong man.
Reactionary Isolation
“Strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered,”
Mk 14:50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.
Face the music or fly-
A certain young man
For the first and only time a Young man called Mark features in the account.
Why do I believe its Mark- How else do we get what Jesus prayed?
John did the same hid himself nameless, Acts 12
But he fled too.. no one, not even John, stayed.
What would we have done?- We might claim yes we would stand with Him. But we only have to see our mediocre efforts to stand for Him now to question that resolve. I think we would have run.
Isolation from the law
Before the Sanhedrin he was left alone no-one stood up for him. A member of the Jewish ruling council- Nicodemus did not stand up for him either- We do not know how Nicodemus responded to the teaching in John 3. But he was either not at the night time trial or he did not speak out. There was only one record of someone who opposed and that was Joseph of Arimethea and we do not know if he spoke out openly at the trial.
Yes it was physically abusive- but as Jesus said to them in John’s account.
Jn 18:20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.
Jn 18:21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”
It would have been that sense of isolation. This was the academic elite those at the head of the nation
Isolation from a friend- Peter’s Denial
He was cornered and he had a choice. But he could also see the outcome.
Mk 14:71 He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
Mk 14:72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
Isolation from the crowd
We have to accept that Jesus would never have courted the approval of men. He would however have felt the sense of isolation from those mentioned so far. It is unlikely that he would have sensed isolation from Pilate or the Romans. Except in that it added to a sense of isolation from all humanity to whom he had come.
But the crowd at the trial trampled on their hosannas of just a week ago
Mk 15:12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
Mk 15:13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.
Mk 15:14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
Mk 15:15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified
As John records in 1:11
Jn 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
Jn 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
The isolation of mockery
The soldiers then mocked Jesus by making fun of the very title He had by every right. It was a cruel reminder to Jesus of that moment three years earlier when Satan had said
Mt 4:9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
The mockery of a crowd is a sharp sword
And we see now all the way to the cross the mockery of the crowd even of those crucified with Jesus.
The final isolation
My God My God why have you forsaken me
In taking on the sin of all the world- He was even isolated from His father
Holiness and sin unable to occupy the same space.
BUT BUT BUT that is NOT the end
Mk 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
Mk 16:2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb
Mk 16:3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
Mk 16:4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
Mk 16:5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
Mk 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
Mk 16:7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
The victory over isolation.
I have said several times before that I believe that it is one of Satan’s main strategies to isolate us from each other and most of all from God.
We have seen this demonstrated in the account of the Crucifixion.
I have not even mentioned the physical agony of the flogging and crucifixion. Any of you who have seen “The passion of the Christ”  know all too well what that is like.
But along with the physical pain comes another. The sense of isolation. The same isolation that women speak of who have endured rape. 
But the same isolation any of us can feel at any time we allow ourselves to believe it.
We see this played out for the first time in the garden in Genesis 3
Look at verse 4
Ge 3:4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
Ge 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan put in Eve’s mind a sense that God was hiding something from them.
Isolating them.
That has been the trick ever since.
  • You are not with them.
  • You are different
  • You are on your own
  • You don’t fit in
  • You are not worthy
  • You don’t qualify for this
  • She will not understand
  • She will reject you
The consequence is separation, isolation, the robbery of intimacy.
If you don’t qualify None of us do. She is as afraid of opening up to you as you are to her. It is all INTENDED to keep us apart.
Satan knows that by dividing just one man from another, he has power. 
Yes Satan has other tricks up His sleeves He knows us very well, but this is one of his most common.
The purpose of the cross was clear
Heb 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb 12:3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Who for the JOY set before Him.
What was the joy?
Could it be;
A place at His fathers side- He already had that
The approval of His father- He already had that
An eternity of intimacy with His Father- He already had that.
The Joy was –you- You were the joy set before Him
That you might have that same place, approval and intimacy, with God and with each other.
What was the prayer Jesus prayed for us
Jn 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
Jn 17:21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
He has stood in the howling Gale and prevailed; where we could not.
Tim Blake February 2008


Tim Blake, 11/02/2008