Read: Mark 14:1-2
Following the Olivet Discourse in chapter 13, John Mark begins the chapter by pointing out the fact that the leadership is actively looking for a way to eliminate Jesus, to kill Him.
Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.” Mark 14:1-2
Jesus was too well known to simply disappear. Their plans would have to wait a bit, catch the people off guard, in order to be successful…at least in their minds. Then Judas Iscariot enters the scene (in a bit) to change their timeline. We’ll get to that later.
One of the contextual thoughts in the NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC) is the fact that during this festive time, Jerusalem probably doubled or even tripled in population. Thousands of pilgrims are flocking to the Holy city to pay their respects. From a very practical sense, the Roman police force would have been bolstered to ensure a peaceful demonstration. Their additional presence, the augmentees to use a military term, help to provide a fertile environment for the Jewish leaders.
In a day and age when killing another human was completely acceptable, something that’s hard to wrap my mind around, we see a surplus of soldiers standing by for orders. I know it’s deplorable, reprehensible to consider, but I can imagine there is a certain amount of honor given to the soldiers with the most kills under his sword. A disgusting thought, though I don’t think I’m far from truth.
If we get nothing else from Christianity, we should get that human life is supremely valuable to our Creator. War will happen, death will be inflicted, but this is much different than premeditated murder. Our thoughts matter. When thoughts are evil and opportunities arise, the results are consistently horrible. Depressing at the very best.
The leaders are only concerned with saving face as they continued to meet and discuss ways to kill Jesus. They have no idea they are playing into history. Ironic since they are the ones who teach about the coming Messiah, yet they completely miss the signs.
Lord, in the rather somber two verses, my heart is heavy. I know the rest of the story, but I feel for those who think the way these leaders demonstrated. This is very real today. Many are so self-absorbed, without any concern for others, that they cause grievous harm to innocent people. Help us, dear Lord, to maintain a sense of compassion for those who are so far from Christ. May we be wise a serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16) as we go out into this crazy world!