“21For 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” (Mark 14:21).
“If God were really in control, he wouldn’t let this bad thing happen.” This statement or one like it has come from the lips of many people and passed through the minds of many more. Why does a good God let bad things happen to people? Is he not in control? Can’t he spare us?
Mark 14:12-21 answers these last two questions with “He is and he can.” He is in control and he can spare us. But the rub of these verses is that he is also very much in control when he doesn’t spare us. He was very much in control as events unfolded which led to Jesus’ crucifixion. Consider this with me.
In Mark 14:12 Jesus’ impending death is connected to the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. He had already predicted his death on three separate occasions. Now it is looming and it just so happens to coincide with a yearly sacrifice of remembrance. The people of Israel were brought out of slavery after the death of the Passover lamb. So too, Jesus’s death will bring a second exodus from the slavery of sin. Verse 12 tells us that God is very much in control even when wickedness is in play.
Or consider Jesus’ prediction and the events in Mark 14:13-16. Maybe Jesus scouted things out ahead of time and make arrangements for the Passover, but that wouldn’t ensure that they run into a man carrying a jar of water. In the flow of this section, it shows Jesus being very much in control of even the smallest details.
Or consider Jesus’ prediction of his own betrayal. He knows what is going to happen and who will be involved. In Mark 14:21, he connects this moment to the overarching plan of the sovereign God, “the Son of Man goes as it is written of him.” It was God’s plan not to spare Jesus. It was God’s plan to spare others, to save others, by not sparing his own Son. As tensions rise to a fever pitch in the verses ahead, know this: Everything happening is according to God’s plan.
Does that comfort you? Does that breath fresh perspective into the trials that you face? The fact that we would never choose trials does not mean that God is unwise for allowing them. The fact that we would never want to see someone else suffer does not mean that God must be powerless if he fails to restrain it. May we rejoice in our sovereign God rest in the fact that he is working all things together for the good of those who love him.