The Father at Work | Mark 14:1-16


How many of you believe that the Father is at work?

Probably you are sitting here anxious about your tomorrow, or maybe you have a legal battle, fear of exams, fear about your future, health and etc. I am here to tell you that if your life is in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you do not have to worry about anything as the Father who is at work will take care of you.

So, today I would like to entitle my message as “The Father at work!” where we are going to see how God the Father was in control over everything about Jesus Christ and is still at work among us.

Let’s open our Bibles to Mark 14. This passage ends with the cross in Mark 15. Mark here moves us into the biggest theme of the scripture – The death of the Lord Jesus Christ. So we are going to look at the cream theme of the Bible – God visiting Calvary, the Father at work.

Therefore, we cannot ignore the fact that to have Jesus on the cross there is a role played by the Jewish leaders; Mary who anoints Jesus than Judas who betrays Jesus and even His disciples. But there is someone who isn’t mentioned here who is the main player. Certainly, it was God the Father who was at work, who was orchestrating every detail of the death of Christ. And who is even at work today, yes Our God is a Big God who is able.

Acts 2:23

This man (Jesus), delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put him to the cross.

Revelation 13:8

The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. The plan for the death of Christ was pre-creation.

Many times the enemy tried to kill Jesus, but they were never able to kill Him. Herod wanted to kill Jesus while He was still an infant but he could not. Even more, very early in His ministry in Nazareth, in Luke 4; Then He even went into the synagogue to preach. And also the people in His own hometown tried to throw Him off a cliff. But He passed out of their midst and they didn’t even realize it.

On another occasion, recorded in John 5, He went to the pool of Bethesda near Jerusalem and He healed a crippled man, also He did it on the Sabbath which infuriated the leaders. The Jewish leaders sought to kill Him because He was breaking the Sabbath, but they were unable. Jesus even got a title: John 7:25 Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?

John 10:18

No one takes it (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from the Father. You see, God is directing everything, the Father at work.

People the Father used for the Cross.

So, now let’s just meet the first little group through whom we understand that the Father was at work.

1. The Father at work through the Chief Priests and the scribes.

The Father was at work through the chief priests and the scribes:

Mark 14:1-2 

1Now the Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread were only two days away, (This shows that it is Wednesday. It was the will of God that in AD 30 Passover at the very hour when the lambs were slain that Jesus would die.) and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 

2“But not during the Feast, “they said. God’s purpose was to have the Lord Jesus eat the Passover with His disciples on Thursday night. The plan was to have Jesus arrested very early in the morning, tried and sentenced in the morning, crucified and die at three Friday afternoon and be in the grave before six cause He had to be three days in the grave and then rise again Sunday. What an amazing timetable! If you got all these people together and try to organize that, you couldn’t pull it off, that kind of precision timetable.

In the meantime the leaders were seeking how to seize Him and kill Him, for they were saying not during the festival, otherwise, there might be a riot of the people. So what’s the one time they didn’t want to kill Him? During the Passover, during this period. Why? because Jerusalem had swelled with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who had all come for this most attended feast of the year. The leaders planned to kill Jesus but they don’t want to do it during this week.

Do you still believe that the Father was at work? let’s continue …

Matthew 26:3-5

 3Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5“But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” By the way, they overestimated the loyalty of the fickle-minded people.

The meeting minutes are recorded in John 11:47-50 47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” 49Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

John 11:53

So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

They did not want to arrest Jesus in public, so they wanted to hold Him over until the Unleavened Bread Feast is over and the crowds have gone. But God the Father was at work that He moved them so fast; As a result, they arrested Him on Thursday night and crucified Him on Friday noon.

Now let’s move on from His enemies to His friends:

2. The Father at work through Mary, the sister of Lazarus.

The Father at work through Mary:

Mark 14:3-9 

3While he was still in Bethany, reclining at the table of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 

6“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

True Worshiper

First of all pouring perfume on people was a routine kind of thing and it was a precursor to the modern use of deodorant. which was common courtesy and was necessary in a world of heat and perspiration therefore perfume was kept around for such purposes.

Here is a woman who is a true worshiper of Christ. God the Father who is at work here gave her a role in Christ’s death by anointing Jesus for His burial, even before His death. John 12:3 tells us this is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

Luke 7:36-50

As a footnote, Luke 7:36-50 has a story about another woman in another place on another occasion anointing Jesus’ feet. That event occurred in the house, interestingly enough, of a Pharisee also by the name of Simon. This was a sinful woman. The Simon there was a Pharisee. That is a different story on a different occasion.

Seems like this occurred at Simon the leper’s home who probably is the former leper healed by Jesus, and now probably who is with his family and had planned this meal knowing that Jesus was coming to Bethany. So there would have been Mr. Simon, Mrs. Simon, and all the little Simon’s there. There would have been the Twelve and it would have been Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, so anywhere from 15 people.

So it is a typical evening meal, reclining is the posture. And at that meal, came Mary. It was a common custom at a meal to wash feet. In John 13 we see Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. So this was a normal thing, even putting perfume on feet was somewhat of a tradition or custom.

Father at work

However, we see the Father at work even in this tradition or custom, you know God can use any situation and so, He does that;

So in this case, this act by Mary is way beyond common courtesy or custom because what she does is lavish. She has an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard. This marble bottle typically would have a long neck and perhaps some kind of a plug from which small drops of perfume could be poured out, sprinkled and it lasted a long time. It is said here that the value of it was three hundred denarii. Which was a year’s wages?

By the way, Nard is a plant from India and pure nard means its undiluted. So she doesn’t drop a dropout but rather she breaks the neck of this vial and it says poured it over his head. John also adds, “Then anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair.” She has dumped a year’s value of perfume on His head and on His feet. John even adds, “The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” You can understand that. Just imagine you spray a little on you and you can smell it through the house. This dousing of a year’s worth of perfume all over Jesus would have dominated the environment. This is lavish, profound, sacrificial affection.

The response is interesting. Some were indignant and so they remarked to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted?” It was Judas Iscariot who objected. Now, is the Father still at work? Come with me to 

John 12:4-6

 4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 

This reveals what motivated Judas…money. He was a thief and stole out of God’s money bag, who wanted the money in the box because he stole it. He wants all the money he can get and he is thinking, “We could have sold that and put it in the box and I could have stolen it.”

The Father who is at work is kind therefore He doesn’t expose Judas at the moment. 

Mark 14:6-7

6“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her?” She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.

Did you get that? Giving to the poor has a place. And that’s a priority. But the ultimate priority is to worship Christ. Caring for the poor is important, worshiping the Lord is even more.

So she had her priorities right. certainly, this is a very devoted lady. Do you remember the story in Luke chapter 10 when Jesus went to the house of Mary and Martha? What was Martha doing?, she was serving, serving, busy, busy, busy and meanwhile what was Mary doing?, Sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning, hanging on every single word He said. She sat at His feet.

Certainly, Mary understood things and that’s exactly what Jesus say in 

Mark 14:8 

She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.

Mary had a firsthand resurrection experience living in her house every single day, and She just had the recent experience of anointing her brother for his death and burial but he was raised from the dead by Jesus.

Probably she must have thought, “What can I do? What can I do for my Lord from whom I’ve learned so much and raised my brother from dead?” She said, “I could anoint Him,” and that’s what she did. She knew that He would die but she also believed that He would rise. But she did what she could do. What could she do? She couldn’t stop Jesus’ death but she could show her love in a lavish anointing for the burial and that was an expression of her love. Jesus said, “She did what she could do.” and in all of it, the Father is at work.

Mark 14:9 

Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. Two thousand years have gone by, the testimony of her adoring, sacrificial, selfless worship, her gesture is a memorial. Her act stands as a tribute to love.

So this is a gesture, not by a sinful woman, but by a devout woman. so even though the enemies of Jesus have their preparation, as they seek a way to arrest Him and kill Him. Here is a worshiper of Jesus who provides preparation for His death and burial in her own way.

3. The Father at work through Judas Iscariot.

The next person we need to look at is the betrayer: Despite whom the Father was at work.

Mark 14:10-11

 10Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Judas is one of the Twelve but due to his selfish, materialistic reasons he joined the group, And when that Kingdom dream, that dream of having a literal kingdom, glory, and goods began to collapse, he wanted out but not without compensation for three wasted years. Hence he wanted a Kingdom, not across. So, he went off to the Chief Priests in order to betray Him to them.

And here again, the Father works despite of it. For our God, the Father is always able to turn around things for good. now come with me to:

Luke 22:6

He consented and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. He too was fearful like the leaders that it wouldn’t be a good idea to do it in the crowds. So while Jesus is going through the week, Judas is looking for the best way to hand Him over to the Sanhedrin for money without any public interference.

Matthew 26:15

Judas asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. He knew that when Jesus was arrested, the disciples would be in disarray and chaos and he would have the money and he would disappear while the rest scattered in fear. So, for one whole week, he looked for his moment. 

Mark 14:11

They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

By the way, Judas didn’t operate alone. Luke 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas. Not just demon-possessed, Satan possessed. John 13:27 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered into him.

Now, what is Satan trying to accomplish here? What’s he after? Some people have said, “Well, you know, Satan wants to kill Jesus.” Really? but that’s the opposite of what he wanted to do. Satan didn’t want to put Jesus on the cross because Satan knew what the cross meant. Do you remember back in Matthew 16 Jesus when Jesus said, “I’m going to die.” 

Matthew 16:22-23 

22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!

Satan wanted to keep Christ from the cross. Halt the plan of God. He knew Jesus was going to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He understood all the Old Testament prophecies. Yes. It was God the Father who wanted Jesus dead for good but it was Satan who wanted to stop it.

Then the question is: Why does satan move on Judas to betray Jesus? The answer is pretty simple. If he can get Judas to betray Jesus and he can get the Sanhedrin to move fast and arrest Jesus, then the crowd will rise up and stop the crucifixion. And that’s what Judas feared, also that’s what the leaders feared. And also that’s what Satan wanted. he had no desire to see Jesus on the cross and wants to create the scenario which will halt the direction of Christ to the cross. So he moves into Judas.

The saddest thing about Judas is: 

Mark 14:10

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve. Is that not sad? 24/7 with Jesus for three years and he turned out like this. After walking and talking with the living God every day Judas betrayed Jesus. The sin of Judas has no equal. But the closest parallel to the sin of Judas is the sin of Adam because Adam walked and talked with God.

It’s so hard to imagine a betrayer among the Twelve. But in spite of that, God was in complete control, that’s why we believe the Father was at work see, the betrayer was fulfilling Scripture.

4. Father at work through the Disciples.

Finally, the Father at work works through one more group: The disciples. 

Mark 14:12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

There has to be a Passover on Thursday night where Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper. Certainly, Jerusalem is crowded and they need a private room where twelve of them, plus Jesus, can go. I think this is something Judas excitedly anticipated because this would be a perfect place to have Jesus arrested. Why? because It’s at night and it’s only the twelve, furthermore no one in the streets late that night.

Why all the secrecy? Why not just say, “Hey guys, we’re all going to meet over on at 5th Cross HBR Layout, Bangalore. Jesus can’t do that. Why? Because Judas will know and Judas is hungry for the money even though he’s trying to avoid the crowds, even more, this is a perfect place away from the crowd and the leaders can capture Jesus who will be alone with His disciples.

Mark 14:13

So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. First of all, carrying a pitcher of water was women’s work. They needed a sign that was unusual, go and find a man carrying a pitcher of water. He sends His two confidants, Peter and John.

Mark 14:14-16

14Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. This tells us that our Lord had prearranged this. Now, this is a believer, the Teacher. It has to have been someone who knew Him, loved Him, believed in Him.

By the way, Peter and John never came back to Bethany. They went and prepared the Passover and Jesus and the rest of the disciples went to the house on Thursday. They didn’t know where they were going until they got there. And by the time they got there, Judas couldn’t leave. He couldn’t go and report where they were or he would have been revealed. The Lord covers every single detail because of the urgency and importance of His time with His own.

But during the Passover Jesus talks about the betrayer. He is aware that the Father is at work.

Mark 14:18 

While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

There actually were two different evenings when the Passover was celebrated. The northern people in Galilee celebrated it on Thursday evening while the Judeans the people in the south celebrated it on Friday evening. This is perfect so that Jesus could celebrate the Passover with His friends in Galilee when they celebrated it on Thursday and still die as the Passover lamb on Friday at the time when the Judeans were slaughtering their lambs for their Passover.


Jesus died in God’s perfect timetable and even though people were against him, God turned it around for his advantage. All these people doing what they’re doing, and the Father at work moving inexorably to the cross as He directs everything. Hence, Jesus Christ as planned died on Friday noon, was buried, and he rose again on the third day. Above all God, the Father was in absolute control over every detail of Jesus’ life. Who is the same God the Father in control of everything even today over our lives?

Some observations:

1. The Father has a plan for your life.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

2. The Father is always absolute in control.

Psalm 47:8 God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.

Isaiah 41:10-11 10So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11“All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.

3. The Father uses people and situations for our good.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called

according to his purpose.

4. Our future will always be glorious, for our Father is at work.

Job 8:7 Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.