Religion is quite capable of trying to get somebody else out of your way in order to get what you want. That's religion, by itself, aided by fallen human nature.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, it’s your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m back again with you to look at the 14th chapter of the Gospel of Mark. Coming down to the end of this wonderful book and some very precious passages lie just ahead of us. So stick with me and let’s enjoy them together. You like this study? Well, if you do, perhaps you ought to gossip about it a little and tell some of your friends, have you thought to do that? Call up somebody and say, “Hey, you thought to listen to Cook in the morning?” Or whenever it is this broadcast is aired in your area. Gossip a little about it and we could easily double the number of people who listen to the broadcast. Thank you.
Well, Mark 14, verse one, “After two days was the feast of the Passover and of unleavened bread.” Now, you remember what that was, that was an occasion where a whole nation remembered reverently the deliverance from Egypt. They had become, over 400 years, a nation of slaves. Jacob and his family moved down to Egypt after Joseph had become prime minister and they were ensconced in the land of Goshen. They were herdsmen for the most part, flocks and herds and shepherds. But they prospered and they multiplied. Well, Joseph, of course, passed away finally and it said, “There arose another Pharaoh that knew not Joseph.” And he said, “These people are too numerous, they’re not Egyptians, and they keep on multiplying and they do keep on prospering, “because the gods…, ” he would’ve said, because they had multiple gods, “the gods have blessed them.” We know of course that it was Jehovah God who was blessing His chosen people. But anyhow, this new ruler that didn’t know about Joseph and the way God had led and all of that, said, “We have to subjugate these people. We have to keep them under control.”
So, they made them slaves, made them work as slaves, made them make bricks and mortar and engage in building projects and all of that. Life was hard for them. And finally then, under the leadership of Moses, God brought His people out. And after the nine different plagues had passed, there came this 10th plague, where the death angel went over all the land of Egypt and struck every first born in every Egyptian family. But because of the application of the blood of the sacrificial lamb over the door of each dwelling of God’s chosen people, they were spared. Because the promise had been, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” And so that then became known as the Passover time. Because the death angel passed over those homes where the blood of the sacrificial lamb, a fore glimpse of Lord Jesus, our Passover, was applied.
Now that is what they were remembering, the Passover and unleavened bread. That was a sacred feast remembering how God delivered a whole nation from slavery and sent them on their way into the Land of Canaan, the promised land. They’re remembering all of this with gratitude and reverence and worship and prayer, and that was coming. Now, who was in charge of all this? Well, the priests, and the scribes, and the elders, they took the lead in all of these things. Although each household was to observe Passover in each home and still is true in these days, when a Jewish home will have what they call their Seder, that’s the sacred Passover meal, where they have the lamb, and the egg, and the bitter herbs, and the empty chair, and so on. Ah yes, my friend, a sacred and wonderful time it was then and is now for those who follow that faith.
Now, look at this first verse in Mark 14:1. “After two days was the feast of the Passover.” I’ve explained to you what it is, “And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him, as the Lord Jesus, by craft and put him to death.” But they said, “Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.” We’ve got to do it cleverly, we’ve got to do it privately, but we’re gonna do it. We’ve got to get rid of this man. Religion by itself, religion by itself, is quite capable of hatred and murder. You see, the danger in being just religious is that you do not bring anything but your old sinful human nature to the practice of that particular religious ritual. And because you bring your old sinful human nature to the practice of that religious ritual, you tend therefore to do the old sinful human things under the guise of religion.
Religious persecution, oh, the history of the human race is full of it, isn’t it? A favorite ploy of those who wish to oppose the gospel is to remind a gospel preacher of the things that have been done in the name of religion, the persecution of God’s chosen people, the Jews, the crusades, the inquisition, where people were tortured for their faith. Religion is quite capable of murder. So you don’t wanna be satisfied just with being religious, beloved, because, as I said, you only bring your own sinful human nature to your religious practices. Unless the power of Almighty God is in your life, there won’t be anything but a projection of human sinful nature. What is that? Paul in writing to Titus said, “We, ourselves, were also sinful.” Let me read that for you. You can hear me turning the pages of the Bible. I’ve got it now. “We ourselves also were at one time foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving different lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hate-filled and hating one another. But after the kindness and love of God, our Savior, toward man appeared not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy. He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
See, living in malice and envy, hate-filled and hating one another, that, beloved, is the kind of attitude that human nature brings to its religious practices. Years ago, I suppose now it would have been back in the ’50s, so that’s a long time ago, isn’t it? I was in Minneapolis walking down the long hallway of the Curtis Hotel. Any of you remember the old Curtis Hotel? I don’t know if it’s still standing up there or not. But anyhow, there was a long hallway that led from the main building over to another building. And I was walking down this long hallway behind two Bishops of a certain denomination and they were important people. I knew them to be highly placed in the denomination. Now, my dear friend, you know I never eavesdrop [chuckle], but boy can I overhear. So I was busy overhearing, you understand me? As they walked along and I walked behind them, they were speaking in tones loud enough to be heard at a distance of five or six feet.
And one of them said to the other, “Well, what is your future?” And the other one said, mentioning a certain highly placed official in that denomination, “Well, I can’t get anywhere until he dies. I just wish he’d die and get done with it.” [chuckle] Religion is quite capable of wishing that somebody else would die to get outta your way. Yeah. Why? Because human nature is that way. You, at some time or other in your life have been angry enough to wish that somebody else was dead, now haven’t you? Oh, just beware of practicing religion without the power of the Holy Spirit of God. That’s all I’m saying. The spirit of the living God makes the difference. When a person is born from above and indwelt by the Holy Spirit and the word of God becomes alive and powerful in your life, then you have an entirely different attitude toward things and people because God is working in you. Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Religion is quite capable of trying to get somebody else out of your way in order to get what you want. That’s religion, by itself, aided by fallen human nature. The Lord Jesus Christ living in you, that is something entirely different.
Well, they’re planning. And later on we’ll get down to verse 10 where Judas Iscariot went to the chief priest to betray Him and they promised to give him money, and he sought how he might conveniently betray Him. The conspiracy was on. Well, now, going back to verse three, we won’t get through this part of the story because time is running out, but we’ll start. It says, “Being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious. She broke the box and poured it on His head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, ‘Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than 300 pence… ‘”, that’s a year’s wages, “‘And have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, ‘Let her alone. Why trouble ye her. She hath wrought a good work on me.'” It’s quite a story and we’ll get into it the next time we get together. Just this thought before we go off the air today. It says, “In Bethany in the house of Simon, the leper.” Now Jesus had undoubtedly healed him and his leprosy was gone, but the memory was there. We’ll talk about how Christ can sanctify memories, the next time we meet, alright?
Dear Father today, may our hearts be filled with the Holy Spirit of God so that we bring to the business of living thy love and thy power not our own sinfulness, in Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing!
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