At this point in the narrative of the Gospel of Mark we come to the point of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, and trial before the Sanhedrin.
Most of us are familiar with this account but have we really sat back and thought about all that Jesus had already been through that night and now was about to face?
When Judas comes to betray Jesus, Jesus has already been dealing with the fact that his other disciples could not even back him up in prayer. They had been sleeping and were not ready for the events that were now going to unfold. We know that Judas commits the ultimate betrayal but what about the others? They run away, Peter tries to defend Jesus and cuts off a guy’s ear in which Jesus then has to heal, and one guy getting caught up in the action runs away naked.
Yes, there is nothing as bad as betrayal by a friend as we see in the case of Jesus but how many of us have run away from friends when the going gets tough?
Judas did commit the ultimate betrayal and paid the price with his very soul but the others had to struggle with their betrayal as well. They turned their back on Jesus and ran, Mark tells us about the one young man who runs away naked, a symbol of shame not unlike Adam and Eve in the garden. When we sin, when we turn our backs on Jesus, we are not unlike this young man or Adam and Eve. We are left naked in our shame and betrayal but thankfully that is not the end of the story.
Next, we find Jesus standing before his accusers remaining quiet until they ask him the question, “Are you the Messiah or the Christ?” Then Jesus answers with a response that makes all the difference. “I am!” That I am is so powerful and upset the Sanhedrin because it refers back to the fact that Jesus is God in the flesh.
In the Old Testament when Moses asks who he should tell the Israelites has sent him, God replies “I am” Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His willingness to go to the cross and bear our sin and betrayal is the ultimate act of love. The “Great, I am” loves us that much.
No longer do I have to live in my nakedness of sin and shame, I can know the God of the universe and that changes everything. It’s amazing, isn’t it? God loves you and me that much; to accept the punishment we should have received for our betrayal.
Let us praise God for His great sacrifice and love for us. May our hearts overflow with gratitude that we can stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and know Him as our personal Savior.