Monday, March 13, 2017

Jesus Prays In The Garden

Mark 14:27-41

“And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.  But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.

And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all. ” (Mark 14:27-31)

After eating the Passover and the Communion. Jesus warned his disciples that some things would be happening that night that would leave them feeling betrayed and lost, because according to the scriptures they would lose their leader.  When that happened, they were to understand he would meet them back home in Galilee.    Though he had warned them repeatedly, they still didn’t understand about his crucifixion and resurrection.   They knew about the Jewish efforts to arrest him, of course, but they did not realize how serious the threat was.  Peter was convinced there was nothing that could weaken his commitment to Christ. 

When Jesus told Peter, that he would be so disheartened that he would deny the Lord three times before the rooster crowed the second time the next morning, Peter insisted there was no way anything could shake his faith that quickly.  The other disciples were equally convinced although less vocal about their commitment. 

“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.  And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.   And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:32-36)

Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen the following day, and as a human being, could not help but be concerned just as anyone else facing execution would be.  When thy came to the place where they usually camped out for the night, he told them he was feeling really upset and asked them to stay alert and pray while he went a little farther and prayed privately.  He then prayed that if it was possible, God would provide another way so he didn’t have to go through the suffering.  As Hebrews 5:1 explains, even he feared the pain he would face.  When he asked the disciples to watch and pray, he was not asking them to pray to stop the things from happening, but that they would be ready to deal with what happened, as we see in the text of his prayers in John 17. 

“And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?  Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.  And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. “ (Mark 14:37-39)

Because they didn’t understand the urgency and seriousness of what was about to happen, the disciples quickly fell asleep.  When Jesus returned after praying for a while he woke them up and asked them to pray again.  Still tense and upset, he went back out to pray alone again.  He understood how complete their commitment was, but also that the human body was more concerned with its rest than with his concerns.

“And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.  And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (Mark 14:40-41)

When Jesus returned the second time, he didn’t wake them up, saying they should rest as much as they could because nothing was going to prevent his betrayal at that time.  He knew they probably wouldn’t sleep very well for the next few days.  

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