Will you Leave Jesus? | Mark 14:43-52

January 12, 2014

Topic: Passion Week

Book: Mark

Scripture: Mark 14:43-52


Attrition among Christians is a common problem faced by several pastors and missionaries.

For instance, according to Pew Research Center, in 2007, 78% of American adults in the US considered themselves as Christians.

But just 7 years later, in 2014, only 71% of the American adults in the US said that they were Christians.

While doing my doctoral studies at SAIACS, we had a course named, ‘Anthropological Insights for Missiological Issues,’ in which we learned that there is alarming attrition among new believers.

For example, according to some estimates, 30-35% of Adivasis (members of any of the aboriginal peoples of India) move out of the church.

When I look back at more than 12 years of my pastoral ministry, I can think of several Christians who claimed to be saved, got baptized, and later left the church and even left Christ.

The question is, “Will you also end up as a Christ-less and a church-less person?”

Don’t say that it will never happen to you.

If we are not careful, we can backslide and live a Christ-less life.

In today’s passage, we read that the disciples of Christ, who were extremely close to Jesus left him and fled.

Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to MARK 14:43-52 (READ)?

I have entitled today’s sermon as: “WILL YOU LEAVE JESUS?”

Mark 14 & 15 describe the betrayal, abandonment, arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Christ, which is referred to as “passion” (which is the Latin word for “suffer”).

The theme of chapter 14, which is the longest chapter in Mark, is the abandonment of Jesus.

In the passage that we read today, we see that:

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE TEXT: As Jesus is seized by his opponents, his disciples leave him and flee.

Mark 14:43-72 consists of A-B-A’ pattern.

A: Judas betrays Jesus and the disciples betray him (14:43-52).

B: The trial of Jesus (14:53-65).

A’: Peter denies Jesus (14:66-72).

FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already dealt with.

THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To exhort the members of EAGC to remain faithful to Jesus and cling to him when they face opposition.

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: I have used inductive proposition for this sermon.


Mark 14:43-47.

A. Judas comes with a ‘crowd’ to get Jesus arrested.

Read Mark 14:43.

As I mentioned earlier, the word ‘immediately’ is used several times throughout Mark’s gospel.

From here on, several events happen swiftly.

While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve came with a “crowd.”

Mark highlights the treachery of Judas by mentioning that he was “one of the twelve.”

The same phrase is used in Mark 14:10, 17, and 20.

This “crowd” carried “swords and clubs.”

This “crowd” was sent by “the chief priests and the scribes and the elders,” who were part of the Sanhedrin, who opposed Jesus throughout his ministry (cf. 8:31; 11:27; 14:53; 15:1; also 10:33; 11:18; 14:1, 55).

Based on John 18:12, scholars say that even Roman soldiers were involved in Jesus’ arrest.

Based on the description in the Gospels, some scholars say that as many as 200 armed men came to arrest Jesus.

These men were prepared to act against any resistance that would come their way, which did come in verse 47.

B. Judas gives them a sign and kisses Jesus.

Read Mark 14:44.

Judas gave them a sign because it must have been dark in Gethsemane.

Also, the “crowd” may not be familiar with Jesus.

Judas tells the crowd to “seize” Jesus “and lead him away under guard.”

The word “seize” appears in verses 44, 46, 49, and 51.

Read Mark 14:45.

Judas went to Jesus “at once” or “immediately” and refers to Jesus as “Rabbi!” and kisses him, which was a customary greeting (1 Sam. 10:1; 2 Sam. 19:39; Luke 7:45; Rom. 16:16; 1 Pet. 5:14).

The word, kataphileo¯ means to “kiss earnestly.”

This same word is used in Luke 15:20, where Luke mentions that the Father ran towards his prodigal son, embraced him, and “kissed him.”

Judas exaggerated the kiss so that the crowd could identify Jesus and seize him.

Judas’ kiss emphasizes his betrayal.

In 2 Samuel 20:9-10 (read), we read that Joab killed Amasa by pretending to kiss him.

Judas did something similar to Jesus.

Judas mocks Jesus by greeting him through a kiss.

The theme of Jesus being mocked can be found again in chapter 15.

C. The “crowd” seizes Jesus.

Read Mark 14:46.

After Judas identifies Jesus, the “crowd” seizes Jesus.

The swiftness with which the “crowd” seizes Jesus shows their extreme hostility towards him.

D. The high priest’s servant is wounded.

Read Mark 14:47.

Several events were happening at the Garden of Gethsemane in quick succession.

It seems that many of these events happened without much thought.

John 18:10 tells us that it was Peter who struck the high priest’s servant.

He probably aimed at his head and struck his ear.

John 18:10 also tells us that the servant’s name was Malchus.

In Matthew 26:52, Jesus condemns his disciple and says, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Luke 22:51 tells that Jesus healed the servant’s ear.

So, Jesus is seized by his opponents.


Mark 14:48-49.

The Greek word for “robber” is lestes, which means a thief, bandit, or revolutionary.

This word is used in Mark 15:27 to refer to the two men who were crucified along with Jesus.

John 18:40 refers to Barabbas with the same word.

Since Jesus claimed that he was bringing “the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:15), people probably saw him as a revolutionary.

Jesus rebukes the crowd because although Jesus taught in the temple “day after day,” they never arrested him.

Jesus taught in their home turf, but they never touched him.

They were afraid to arrest Jesus because he was popular among people (11:18; 12:12, 37).

The “crowd” came at night to arrest Jesus because they feared that arresting him during the day would result in a riot (14:2).

Generally, the police or military arrest criminals during the night as the victims would be confused and will not be able to react or resist the arrest.

For instance, Osama Bin Laden was killed in the middle of the night by the US Navy SEALs.

However, Jesus is not a criminal nor a revolutionary.

Though the “crowd” were afraid to arrest Jesus during the day time, Jesus boldly confronts and rebukes the crowd because he prepared himself in Gethsemane to face the cross.

Jesus’ words, “But let the Scriptures be fulfilled” emphasizes that God is in complete control of what’s happening.

Jesus probably alluded to Isaiah 53:12 (read) (“and was numbered with the transgressors;” cf. Luke 22:37) and Zechariah 13:7 (cf. Mark 14:27).

All the prophecies regarding the first coming of Jesus were fulfilled.

God has been faithful to his promises.

Similarly, God will fulfill his promises regarding Christ’s second coming.


Mark 14:50-52.

A. “All” the disciples left Jesus and fled.

Read Mark 14:50.

In Mark 14:27, Jesus had already predicted that his disciples would be scattered.

The word “all” recalls 14:27 as well as 14:23, 29, and 31.

All” drank the cup (Mark 14:23), “all” claimed that they will die with him (Mark 14:31), but now “all” the disciples left Jesus (Mark 14:50).

In a way, one can understand how fearful the disciples might have been and fled from the “crowd.”

At one point of time, Jesus’ disciples left their families to follow Jesus (Mark 1:18, 20; 10:28-29), but now the disciples leave Jesus.

Later, Peter and John would come back and remain at a distance.

However, this is not the end of the story.

Jesus will restore them (Mark 16:7) and the disciples will be transformed into witnesses who would be faithful unto death.

B. A young man also “ran away naked.”

Read Mark 14:51.

Probably this young man, who was probably from a rich family (he wore “a linen cloth”) dressed hastily in order to follow Jesus.

The “crowd” seized this young man.

Read Mark 14:52.

Even this young man left the linen cloth and ran away.

This young man chose shame over standing for Jesus and being faithful to him.

This is probably an allusion to Amos 2:16 (read): “and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day.”

Some scholars say that it was probably, Mark, the author of this gospel.

Mark deliberately left this young man unnamed as he probably wants us to keep ourselves in the shoes of this young man and reflect on how we would respond in times of persecution.

This young man resisted his capture, while Jesus voluntarily surrendered to the “crowd” in order to be crucified.

Jesus’ desertion was now complete.

Everyone left him.


CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: When we face opposition, we must remain faithful to Jesus and cling to him.

As disciples of Christ, we will face opposition.

We will face trials and temptations.

We will face sickness and death.

But in the face of opposition, what will you do?

Will you leave Jesus or will you remain faithful?

James 1:12: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Be faithful to Christ!

Cling to Christ all the days of your life!