“The Cross of Christ is sin’s terror, the soul’s armour”. These words were written by William Jenkyn (1613-1685) in his exposition on the book of Jude. The book of Jude has so much to say about false teaching which is associated with false living. Therefore, William Jenkyn’s words prove to be such a helpful reminder that, the true remedy for our “prone to wander hearts” is to consistently meditate on the Cross. The meditation on Christ is not just our place of refuge but our power for transformation. 2 Corinthians 3:18 connects “beholding the glory of the Lord” and “being transformed”. All of our hearts are prone to get insensitive in the Christian life. We all need the ever powerful and never disappointing contemplation of Jesus during His hour of darkness.
In Mark 14:22-25, Jesus is seen celebrating the Passover meal with His disciples. He had told them about His betrayal and later would tell them how all of the disciples would fall away for a season. This makes the meal and the new meaning given to that Passover feast so important. We are weak in and of ourselves and we can only fall back on our covenant making and keeping God. Jesus changed the 3rd cup of blessing during the Passover meal and made it as a cup of blessed remembrance. He would take on Himself all our unfaithfulness and give us a new covenant where our “sins and lawless deeds God shall remember no more”. The wonder of the incarnation is amazing and yet the wonder of wonders is that “The Word became flesh” to bear our sins in His body. Do you come to the communion table with a deep sense of gratefulness? After all, eternal wrath “passed over” you once and for all through the work of your Saviour.
In Mark 14:32-42, we see an indescribable scene: Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. The language Mark uses to try and describe what happened is as intense as it can get. Jesus had already told His disciples time and again that He was going to be caught, killed and would rise again. But as that moment grew near, a horror fell on His soul; a grief that led to Him sweating drops of blood. The Bible is not some human fabrication. Why would His followers include an account wherein their Master is seen falling on His face on the ground in great turmoil of soul? And yet God’s Spirit wants us to understand this was for us that He staggered. So that we will know the reality of what it involved in the salvation of our souls.
In the previous chapters, the Saviour was full of authority serving and healing people. People were seen falling at His feet in desperation. But that night, Jesus was stretched so much in His humanity that He pleaded many times with the Father that the cup would pass. For the first time and the last time, He would make such a request. This is because, the Son; who only knew eternal and perfect fellowship with the Father, was going to be held accountable for our innumerable sins. Can you imagine how the Father kept silent when His Beloved Son was pleading repeatedly? Can you imagine how heinous sin is and to what an extent the Triune God has loved you? Can we be grateful enough for the resolve of the Son to get up at the end of His prayers to say “let us be going”? He was going towards His enemies, not away from them.
In Mark 14:64, evil men; worthy of condemnation, sentenced Jesus to death. He had just openly declared to them that He is the Messiah, based on Scripture. He declared to them that He is the divinely appointed true judge of all the earth as He looked into the future at His triumphant return at the end of history. It was a small glimpse of things to come. He confessed openly His identity when His life was at stake. He was condemned to death for saying the only truth in His trial. One would have expected a massive retaliation to the mockery of justice he faced. Yet He did not preach a sermon like Stephen when they sentenced Him. He did not confuse them and set them against one another as Paul did. He did not ask for the 12 legions of angels. He stood there silent, yielded and willing to die our death. The big picture of the Bible reminds us that Jesus was condemned by these men so that He could condemn sin in His flesh. So that He could break the sting of death that would eternally separate us from God. He was condemned so that we might have no condemnation in Him. Indeed, the meditation on Christ in His hour of darkness is sin’s terror and the soul’s armour. May God help us to keep fighting sin and apathy in our Christian lives.