(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Mark Ch. 14 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-25) It was getting closer and closer to the Passover and the chief priests and scribes had been thinking about eliminating Jesus for a long time. They were waiting for an opportune time to act but were afraid of an uproar from the people. In the first half of today’s passage, we read about two things that both occurred while Jesus and his disciples were eating.
One time it was at Simon the leper’s house in Bethany. We see a woman who, concerned about the death of the Lord, took a flask of the best ointment of pure nard to anoint the Lord. The Lord concluded: “She has done a beautiful thing to me… She has done what she could… And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Before the second meal, the passage provides the background information that Jesus’ disciple Judas had gone to the chief priests and made a deal to hand Jesus over to them. This group of people had still been scheming and yet had no idea on how to capture Jesus. They were now thrilled that someone from the inside actually reached out to them with information!
During the meal, Jesus told his disciples: “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me… For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Then, during this last supper, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in front of his disciples.
One person willingly gave up all that she could and offered it all to the Lord. Because of what she did, she is praised till this day. Another person willingly allowed his selfish desires to materialize and committed the huge mistake of betraying the Lord. Because of what he did to the Lord, he is disgraced till this day.
We are all able to distinguish between beauty and ugliness and know what we should do and what we shouldn’t do… The crucial question is what do I think is good and am I willing to offer it to the Lord? What are some selfish desires that I should sever and am I willing to give it up for the Lord? Today, think of one thing you are willing to offer to the Lord and one thing that you are willing to give up for the Lord, and commit to living for the Lord!
(vv. 26-52) Next, the Lord and his disciples went to a place called Gethsemane (meaning: a place where oil is pressed) to pray to the Heavenly Father about the impending trial and death. Can you can feel the anguish in his heart? Jesus was fully God and fully human, as well as being perfect and without sin. In order to bear the sins of all mankind, the death he had to face was not something that he deserved. We can hear in his prayer how he openly expressed what was in his heart to the Father, and at the same time, we also see him show in his prayer that he was willing to obey completely.
Prayer isn’t just for bringing what you want before God, but is also for bringing what you don’t want to face before God. This can help you further discern God’s will and also become more willing to obey God’s authority. We should imitate Jesus such that in the midst of extreme suffering we still choose to surrender! Is there something that you have been trying to put off? In your prayer, try responding to God through obedience!
(vv. 53-72) At an unusual time – in the middle of the night, in an unusual place – in the high priest’s home, and under unusual accusations – based on conflicting testimonies, we see that the only thing that convicted Jesus was the truth that came from his mouth. This was when the high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” and Jesus answered: “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Under all the false charges, it was this that convicted Jesus. This was because everyone had already agreed on eliminating Jesus and condemning him to death, so it didn’t even matter that all the other details didn’t make sense! And Peter, who emphatically told the Lord that “If I must die with you, I will not deny you”, did exactly what the Lord said he would do – deny his relationship with Jesus not once, not twice, but three times, while even invoking a curse and swearing to not know him.
There are lessons that can be taken from Peter’s experience. While being surrounded by voices against Christianity, we must also guard against our own arrogance, lest we become prideful and lose our vigilance. Moreover, those who have already fallen should quickly get back up because Jesus has not given up on you and so you should not give up on yourself!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)