Bible reading for Feb 11: Genesis 44; Mark 14.
"For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, 'If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.' Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers." (Gen 44:32-33)
Judah steps in (Gen 44). Another crisis arises, and Judah takes responsibility to be Benjamin's surety, as he promised his father. We see here not only Judah's care for his younger brother, but also his love for his father. He is concerned for the overwhelming sadness that Jacob would face at the loss of another son (44:31). Read yesterday's post here.
"And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." (Mark 14:26)
Money reveals hearts (14:1-11). There is a contrast between the woman who spared no expense to lavishly pour out her savings by anointing Jesus, and the disciples who are upset by this apparent waste of money. At this time Judas decides to cash in his interest in Christ with an unspeakable act of betrayal. The woman values Jesus above all riches, and Judas valued riches above Jesus. Likely, he had been viewing Jesus as a ticket to power and prestige in the coming kingdom, and now he's seeing that his definition of the kingdom was at dramatic odds with Jesus' definition of the kingdom. Judas felt it was time to cash in his chips.
The last supper (14:12-26). Like the donkey miracle (Mark 11:1-6), the room prepared for the Passover meal shows that God is overseeing all these events. At the last supper Jesus says, "...after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee" (14:28). He knows that after he suffers, his Father will raise him up bodily and imperishably. But this does not mean Jesus was emotionally detached during this time. In the garden of Gethsemane, he says, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch" (14:34). He knows his disciples will fail him, deny him, and flee. He knows that the dark powers will soon have their hour of injustice and brutality.
God's providence. The providence of God means that he provides for his creation. This includes every blessing we have (Psalm 104; Acts 14:17), but also includes the unfolding of history (Isa 41:4; Eph 1:11). God is working in and through all things to fulfill his good plan. It does not mean that all things are good in themselves. The evil choices people make are still their evil choices. After Jesus rises and ascends to heaven, the Apostle Peter will preach to the people of Jerusalem, "...this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." (Acts 2:23) Note that both are mentioned, the sovereignty of God ("the definite plan"), AND human responsibility ("you crucified and killed"). Not either-or, but both-and. From Genesis we read similar words from Joseph: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." (Gen 50:20)
We can sing with Jesus (14:26). Just hours before his arrest, Jesus sings a hymn of worship with his disciples. Ultimately, even the evil that men do, the Lord will use for his glory, either in redemption or in judgment. God rules and overrules in human affairs: "God's government will never fail in any part of the world, in any event of life, or in any tumult of the nations" (William S. Plumer). This is what is meant by the providence of God, and it is centrally and supremely seen at the cross. Even at the darkest hour of the cross, there was no panic in heaven. Followers of Jesus may sing with tears, but we do not sing with despair.
Image credit: Above, the Mount of Olives today from Seetheholyland.net.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. A PDF copy is available here.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.