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Mark 14:32-42 Gethsemane

by Dr. D ~ December 23rd, 2006

     Vs. 32-34  Following the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples travel to the Mount of Olives to spend the night, then on to the garden or orchard of Gethsemane on the lower slopes of the Mount.  This was one of Jesus’ favorite places to go, particularly for prayer and meditation.     

Jesus left eight of the apostles at the entrance to ‘watch’ and took Peter, James, and John with him to stand and support him in prayer.  As we shall see, the three were really quite tired and not very supportive in his time of need.  Jesus knew what was ahead of him and the torture and death that he would soon be facing and was quite sorrowful and actually in agony over it. 

We know Jesus as the Divine Son of God and sometimes we forget that he was also human.  He got hungry, tired, and he felt physical pain.  Also, rejection by others would have bothered him like anyone else.  Soon he was facing the ultimate rejection by his own people, and incredible amounts of physical torture and pain.  Like anyone else, he would have liked to avoid such treatment if possible.

     Vs. 35  It was usual for folk in those days to pray standing with hands raised, notice that he is so distressed that he just falls down to the ground.  The account in Luke (22:39-46) tells us that he prayed in such great agony that The Father sent an angel to support and strengthen him.

     Vs. 36  Notice that he addresses God as “Abba, Father”.  ‘Abba’ (Aramaic) was what little children called their dads in those days.  It was equivalent to our ‘Daddy’.  Jesus asked his dad to change the plan if it was possible, so that he would not have to face what was ahead.  If this seems to be a moment of weakness or vulnerability, it is proven not to be the case by what he says next:  “Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Jesus says this in spite of the certainty and knowledge that soon he would face torture and cruel death.

     Vs. 37-41a  Three times, Jesus came back to his disciples and found them sleeping.  They were not exactly giving him the prayer support that he was hoping for.  Notice in vs. 37-38 that he singles out Peter: 

“Simon, are you asleep?  Could you not watch one hour?  Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 

There are lots of times in my own personal prayer life when I can’t seem to stay awake and I am reminded of this verse: “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  How true, at least in my experience.  Jesus not only singled out Peter because he was one of the key leaders, but also because he knew that Peter would soon be facing his own temptation.

     Vs. 41b-42  That was it, the time had come and Jesus knew that Judas would arrive any minute with the soldiers and betray him.  Jesus knows what is coming, yet he goes straight ahead to face his capture, trial, torture and death.  Praise God for his Son Jesus who came into the world to free us all and was willing to endure everything for our sake.

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