Mark: Gethsemane

Read: Mark 14:32-42

It’s almost Christmas and here I am writing about the trials and tribulations surrounding Jesus’ last days walking around in skin. Sure, I know how the story ends, goodness, but it’s still a challenge thinking about the disciples and those that surely knew Jesus of Nazareth well. At this point in His earthly ministry, literally hundreds of people knew Jesus and I’m confident that many knew Him well — even if they didn’t quite get what He was up to.

Supper is over. The traitor departed the group, though John Mark chooses to let that detail slip for now. Jesus takes His disciples to His favorite place to pray. He’s not in the temple courts, that alone should have garnered some attention. No, His prayer spot is a garden in Gethsemane.

Let your mind imagine the scene. Just earlier in the day, Jesus dispatched a few to make arrangements for the Passover meal, exclusively for Jesus + 12. At the meal, He announces someone will betray Him, that Peter would deny Him three times, and that His body and blood are to be remembered from now on when they eat and drink. This is one heck of a day.

Now they’re in the garden and Jesus invites the inner circle, including the one who will deny Him, to keep watch, because He is troubled.

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Mark 14:34

If Jesus is overwhelmed with sorrow, how did they feel? This is the Messiah. Peter made the proclamation and the others agreed. How is it the Messiah could ever be overwhelmed with sorrow? Something is not right with this scene.

Jesus demonstrates obedience:

Yet not what I will, but what you will. Mark 14:36

Ultimately, we all come to the fork in the road where we are allowed to decide: my will or the Father’s. For our benefit, Jesus comes to this place where He is presented with an eternal decision, one that has the weight of the world in the balance. His humanity in check, He chooses to take the hardest of routes, the darkest of paths, the one with the most pain and suffering.

What is your choice today? What is mine? Hard or easy? Challenging or routine? I know it’s not really that simple. There are many factors that weigh in on the decisions, but here’s the thought: with eternity in mind, choose wisely. In the end, we win, so choose wisely. When all is said and done, Jesus returns and claims those who were faithful. My prayer is that we lean on the Father’s will and as a result, we invite many, many others to join in communion with Jesus.

Sigh.

The long day is heavy upon these mere mortals. From the high of anticipation for the Passover meal to the low of considering who would be the traitor and the confusion of the new communion. They can’t stay awake all night. It’s just too much.

Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Mark 14:41-42

 

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