What the Holy Spirit Saw
Text: Mark 14: 41-53
Proposition: What the Holy Spirit saw is partly recorded in what Matthew, Mark, Luke and John saw and then more as the Holy Spirit saw Jesus direct its outcome.
Introduction: Have you ever been arrested? What if you were arrested and it was in a foreign country? What if all the due process that you were familiar with and believed you were entitled to was taken away? There are many accounts of people who experienced just that, a loss of freedom followed by a loss of property followed by a loss of dignity followed by a loss of life. This morning we are going to look at the most famous arrest in the history of mankind, the arrest of Jesus Christ. I want to invite you this morning to see this through the eyes of the Holy Spirit who saw way more than the people that were present. Turn with me to Mark 14:41-53.
I. The Holy Spirit Saw Jesus Prepare His Disciples Before Anything Happens.
We know this is what the Holy Spirit saw because it’s what He inspired the various Gospel writers to record yet each records from a slightly different view point. The whole view and more is what the Holy Spirit saw that night, especially the things that the disciples didn’t see. If you look at verse 38 you see Jesus coming to the sleeping disciples just before the arrest and He says this, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Was it just a general call to pray so as to avoid temptation or was it specific, was there a temptation about to take place that the disciples had no awareness of? Perhaps the temptation to anger, to revenge, to fear, to unforgiveness. The call to them to pray was for their sakes more than for Jesus. He directs them ahead of the arrest to guard themselves against what they are about to see and experience. Before the officers and priests and Judas are even known by the disciples Jesus knows their presence. In verse 41 He knows who it is that is coming, in verse 42 He rouses them to get up and walk towards what they can’t even see yet, “Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” I believe the Holy Spirit saw Jesus direct the encounter with Judas, knowing it is coming. He moves towards it as something that not only He knows is going to happen but is also something that needs to happen. He guides the process of His own arrest.
Arrested means to be taken into custody with the purpose of being brought before the Judge to answer for breaking the law and then receiving justice for your crime. Jesus had broken no human laws, no earthly judge could convict Him, there was no justice to be administered from a human point of view that was just. But from God’s position man has broken the Law because of our sin nature. The Judge on this is God the Father and the justice of God against sin is that it demands the penalty of death. The wonder of God is that His own Son is willing to pay that debt of sin for us. For the wages of sin are death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. That’s what Jesus was preparing the disciples to see and receive.
II. The Holy Spirit Saw That They Didn’t Know Jesus or What He Would Do.
In Mark, Matthew and Luke we are told that Judas was going to identify Jesus by going up to Him and kissing Him on both cheeks. It was meant to indicate who Jesus was because in the darkness they couldn’t see who He was. Perhaps many of them wouldn’t even have known who He was in broad daylight as there was a large company of Roman soldiers in the group. So what was apparent to the Holy Spirit is that these people couldn’t tell Jesus apart from any of the others, they didn’t know Him. But the Holy Spirit also saw that Jesus knew that many didn’t know Him. Look at the parallel account of this in John’s gospel, (Jn.18:4) “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They not only don’t know Jesus they don’t know what He would do. This is best seen in the size of the group that came to arrest Him. John 18:3 describes it like this, “Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.” It would seem that they either expected a fight or more likely they expected to launch a manhunt in the dark because they thought He would run. Either way they didn’t know Jesus nor what He would do.
What the Holy Spirit saw that night was that Jesus moved towards the danger, He moved towards it and by doing so He directed the outcome. Intentionally Jesus presented Himself such that it becomes apparent that they didn’t take Him or His life but He laid it down. He moves towards them that it would be Him and Him alone who is arrested. The principle becomes clear that most people don’t know who Jesus is nor what He intends to do. In fact what he intends to do is the opposite of what they might expect. He does not move away or withdraw, He moves towards them. He presents Himself to them and they encounter Him. He asks this crowd, “Whom are you seeking?” They reply, “Jesus of Nazareth.” John is the only one who records what happened when they encountered not just Jesus of Nazareth but Jesus Christ the Son of God. Jesus says, “I am He.”. John 18:6 says, “Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” Judas was standing with them and we would imagine that he fell backwards, the whole troop undone, in disgrace laying before the omnipotent Son of God. Augustine once said of this, “What will Jesus do when He shall come to judge, seeing Jesus did this when He came to be judged?” Amazingly, they remain unrepentant, amazingly Judas does not confess his sin, amazingly the Son of God stands and waits for them.
Do you know who Jesus is, do you know Him? Do you know what He longs to do as He moves towards you, as He offers to take your place at the table of the accused? Whom are you seeking?
III. What the Holy Spirit Saw Was Jesus Yielding To The Word of God.
We know that in Genesis 1 God spoke things into existence, things like the solar system, things like the oceans and dry land. The phrase that is used to describe how God created these is ExNihlo, out of nothing, simply by the power of God in His spoken word. We see that but we tend to make a distinction when it comes to the written Word of God. We tend to discount the power, the creative wonder in the written Word that describes Jesus. The apostle John began his gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John used the term Word to refer to the person of Jesus Christ and to the way that He has come to reveal Who God is. At the arrest of Jesus the Holy Spirit saw Jesus yield to the written Word of God, to Scriptures that had been inspired by the Holy Spirit hundreds of years earlier. These had been Scriptures that declared what would occur in days yet future. Have a look in Mark 14:49 at what Jesus says to the arresting party as they begin to approach Him, “I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Scriptures like Psalm 41:9 "Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me." Scriptures like Psalm 27:2 "When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall." Scriptures like Zechariah 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd. Against the Man who is My Companion,” says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.” The striking of the Shepherd refers to the striking or arrest, trial and execution of Jesus Christ. What shocks us is that this is God the Father Who strikes the Shepherd. The Father lays the cost of breaking the Law of Moses, the cost of the sin of mankind upon the body and blood of His Son Jesus Christ. The effect of striking the Shepherd will be to scatter the sheep, the disciples of Christ. Jesus says that this MUST be fulfilled. Why? Because the Father has no other way to reconcile mankind to Himself other than for One who is perfect to take the sin of all and bear it to death that all who believe in Him would be paid for by His blood. Jesus yields to this Scripture, to the certainty of it, to the perfect intent in it. Tucked into the record of Mark’s Gospel alone is this strange detail. Verses 51, 52 say, “Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.” Some believe this young man was Mark. It’s thought that Mark heard the soldiers come the house where the last supper was to arrest Jesus around midnight but discovered He had already left. Judas then directed them to Gethsemane and young Mark quickly got up wrapped a sheet around himself and ran to warn Jesus. That may or may not be true but what the Holy Spirit saw was a young man there in a last minute kind of way with nothing but a linen sheet covering him. He raced to get there and then when the Shepherd was struck, he ran naked into the night. Perhaps you too are coming to Jesus in a ‘last minute’ kind of way’. Don’t be ashamed of Him that He would not be ashamed of you in the day of judgment. The Holy Spirit saw Jesus knowingly move towards the arrest, directing the way the arrest, trials, humiliation and crucifixion would fulfill more than 100 prophecies that speak about God’s intention to rescue you by the cross of Jesu Christ. That’s what the Holy Spirit saw and it’s what He wants you to see.