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03.29.18 Details and Determination Mark 14:12-26 Sermon Summary

by on April 2, 2018

I’m always impressed by detail people. They’re normally the ones who are behind the scenes making sure everything proceeds smoothly. They’re there before the scenes also, setting everything up, and after the scenes taking it all down. Some scenes just couldn’t exist without detail people.

Passover meals are quite a scene. They lots of details: The purchasing of food, cooking the meal, the elaborate ritual, and of course the cleanup.

There was a good detail team in Mark 14, and Jesus knew about it. Mark tells us about the man with the water jug who enters a certain house where the owner has the upper room already set. There two of Jesus’ disciples prepared the Passover. This is, by the way, how we know without a doubt that women were among the disciples.

Some people say Jesus’ knowledge of these details proves his divinity. “He sees the future; he must be God!” Or maybe he had worked it out in advance and just let them know at the right time. “God has to know the future,” some say, “in order to trust his providence.” But others say, “You can trust God’s providence because God is resourceful “no matter what the details.”

Either way the stage is set, and during the meal Jesus reveals he will be betrayed. Is he seeing the future? Is he stating the obvious? Is he letting them in on the plan?

I’m not sure it matters. It seems Jesus intention is that they trust God, not Jesus’ predictive powers. He interprets the Passover liturgy for the moment they are in. Yes, God delivered his people in the past, but Jesus’ message is that God will deliver Jesus and disciples presently.

Notice that in Mark there is no “Do this in remembrance” imperative. Jesus doesn’t forecast a future in which they could remember. Instead, he is totally with them in the present.

This is so hard for us to tolerate: God’s presence in the suffering. We want to run ahead, to deny the present suffering and arrive as quickly as we can at the end. Of course we readers know there IS a future, and it gets much worse before it gets better. And it is in that future, in both the bad times and the good times, that Christ’s disciples DO remember.

This including us tonight. We remember that night. we remember the details but more, we remember the determination of Christ. He was determined to trust God whether or not things go according to plan. And come Sunday those disciples will do as we do tonight, eat the meal  in the assuring presence of the risen Lord.

Let us enjoy this meal with Christ, remembering his determination. Let us invite him to be present no matter what the details of our lives. Let us place our stories in his hands and let him reinterpret them as he did the story of Passover around his death and resurrection.


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