Don’t Hold Back

Read This Week: Mark 14

When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 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.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?” “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” – Mark 14:17-21 NIV

When we live in a community and have relationships with other people, we will be hurt. Sometimes we will get hurt badly. Other times our hearts will be completely broken. It is one of the most unfortunate yet normative things about the human condition and life with one another. We have all felt the emptiness of separation and the sting of rejection and grief when a relationship ends. The result of these realities is deeply emotional, spiritual, and even physical pain. And pain, especially the relational kind, makes us do strange things. Things that are not logical or helpful to us or anyone else.

When rejection and betrayal happen, we tend to disconnect our lives from others, and we will often go a step further and remove our love. When hurt, we naturally seek to isolate and displace our physical selves from other people, but we also have this strong desire to withhold our love from them. Pain and the memory of relational rejection make us risk-averse in our expressions of love. This conscious withholding and refusal to give our love to someone else appeals to the worst of us in relationships. It almost seems unfeeling when we withhold love from others to whom we desperately want to give it.

We do this because we are flawed and broken. We do this because we allow the pain of denial to override the desire to honor God, the joy of being in community, the fulfillment of friendship, and the warmth of intimacy. We will choose the outcomes of pain instead of the fulfillment of loving someone and being loved in return. But as we see in Mark 14, this is where Jesus demonstrated to us the beauty and power of unconditional love, love not withheld, gifted love expressed without reciprocation.

Christ knew He would be betrayed and sold out by Judas. He knew from the start that He would face rejection most deeply from one of His followers. Yet, Jesus invited Judas into his family, involved him in His ministry, and accepted him as one of His most intimate friends. He embodied sacrifice and love by receiving someone at their worst and investing life in them despite the outcome. He did not hold back His love even though He knew it would not ultimately impact Judas’ choice. Betrayal chooses to take. Love chooses to give.

May we seek to access the love of Christ and not hold back even when we don’t feel like loving. May we reach for it with passion and determination to see it win out over the unhealthy emotional indulgences that come from our sinful nature and human limitations. Jesus demonstrated this love for us. He taught us this love. He offered His salvation through it and thus, His love wins forever. That is why it wasn’t held back by God and should never be held back by those who say they love Him.


  1. Heidi on February 27, 2022 at 8:38 am

    Mark 14:6-8 says, But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why are you bothering her and causing trouble? She has done a good and beautiful thing for Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do something good to them; but you will not always have Me. (B) She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.”

    This woman loved Jesus. She gave all she had to bless Jesus. She may have not really understood what she was doing spiritually in this scene, I know through the years people probably think why are you doing that? Why are you spending that kind of money on that person? Why are you buying that for them? Sometimes I don’t know why I do the things I do, I just know God is leading me to do it. He is leading my husband and me to do something, we may not know until we get to heaven what really took place at that moment.

    But God knows and they know it was Father God doing the blessing, preparing for what is to come, with God great things happen, memories are taking place, spiritual blessings are happening. So when you feel God leading you to do something for Him, even when it looks like it doesn’t make sense in the natural do it if God is leading you because you never know how you’re blessing them for what is to come for them. Preparing a way for them for God and for others to see a miracle happen.

    Someday we will meet the woman who anointed Jesus and that will be awesome! Thank you, Father God, for that memory and help us to continue to bless others with Your love for something that is great in Your eyes and to bless them for what is to come.

    • Jason on March 4, 2022 at 6:02 pm

      I love this practical and spiritual point that you make, Heidi, about blessing others even when it doesn’t make sense:

      So when you feel that God is leading you to do something for Him, even when it looks like it doesn’t make sense in the natural, do it if God is leading you. Because you never know how you are blessing them for what is to come.

      May we all live with that sense of freedom and obedience to love others in such a way and to seek to bless people even when it doesn’t seem like the logical or natural thing to do. As Jesus said, that’s how the world will know that we are His followers.

  2. Alma on February 28, 2022 at 1:19 am

    God gave me a song this week out of Mark 14 called “Loved by God”

    Our Lord is full of love, our Lord is full of love
    His love is forever, his tender heart always forgives.

    He brings His children hope, our Lord brings us hope
    Hope for peace, hope for success, hope for His love to send around the world.

    Our Lord is full of love, our Lord is full of love
    His love is forever. Amen.

    The love of God will never end. He will never leave you. Even when we mess up he still loves us.

    • Jason on March 4, 2022 at 5:54 pm

      Such an uplifting song, Alma! I needed that message spoken into my heart this week. I lost one of my dearest friends on Tuesday, but I know he is with God now and I grieve his loss with the hope that you wrote about. This was my favorite part:

      He brings His children hope, our Lord brings us hope
      Hope for peace, hope for success, hope for His love to send around the world.

      • Alma on March 5, 2022 at 8:10 pm

        Your welcome sending prayers for your loss. Your friend is whole again. Dancing and singing with our Lord.

        • Jason on March 13, 2022 at 10:33 am

          Thank you so much, Alma! That means a lot. Indeed he is.

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