Summary: In preparing our hearts to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, this sermon takes us to the Garden of Gethsemane and shows us the anguish of Jesus as He prays to the Father. But in doing that, it also shows us the amazing grace and love of our God
Text: Mark 14:32 – 42
Alright, let’s open our Bibles up to the Gospel of Mark. This morning we’re looking at one of the most troubling portions (at least to me), of the Passion Week… And the reason I say that, is because this story of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane really messes with me. Because I read this, and I see the anguish our Lord is going through, and I realize it’s because of me.
This is an amazing story that showcases Jesus’ humanity, but also His steadfast love for us, and His love and obedience to the Father.
So… if you’re in Mark, follow along as I read to you Mark 14:32 – 42 (READ).
Now we know from both Luke and John that during this final week of Jesus’ life, Jesus and the disciples had been coming into the city of Jerusalem and then going back out to the little town of Bethany nearby… and it had sort of become the pattern for Jesus, on His way out of town, back to Bethany to stop in the Garden of Gethsemane and pray. And no doubt Judas realized that, and by the time we get to our text here, he’s already gone out, and was making the final arrangements with the Sanhedrin on where, when, and how they were to take Jesus.
Now as far as Jesus and the disciples go… they had just come out of the upper room… They’ve had the Last Supper and Jesus has just washed their feet. It was a time of comradery and fellowship, and then they head out, and Jesus tells all the disciples except for Peter, James, and John to stop at a certain place while He goes ahead and prays… they go a little further into the garden and Jesus looks to Peter, James, and John and tells them to wait, and He goes on about 30 more yards or so, and Mark tells us He falls to the ground. Mark also tells us that Jesus was “Greatly distressed and troubled,” and Jesus has told Peter, James, and John that His soul was VERY SORROWFUL. So something major has happened from the time they’ve left the upper room to now, and Jesus is greatly distressed and troubled, and sorrowful. And He drops to the ground and prays.
Now we need to understand this… Jesus really was praying. And what is prayer really all about? I mean… why do we go to God in prayer? We want something right? Or we need something? Or we need help, right? So that’s dealing with our motivation to pray… but underneath that, we’re also saying, “God I want this, and I can’t get it unless You do something.” “God I need this, but it’s not going to happen unless You give it.” “God I need Your help.” “God I need Your strength, I need Your deliverance, I need Your guidance.” So prayer, if we’re praying correctly; is a confession of our complete dependence on God. When we pray, we’re saying we need His help, we need His strength, we need His enabling, sovereign, power to do something in our lives.
BUT THIS IS JESUS! This is the 2nd Person of the Trinity. This is the One who by Him and through Him were all things made. This is the Lord. He’s the One who walks on water. He’s the one who feeds 5000 with just a few loaves and fish. He heals the sick, He casts out demons. He raised Lazarus from the dead. But understand something – and this is a doctrinal and theological truth. Jesus is not only 100% God… He’s also 100% man. He was born of a woman. He eats food for sustenance and nourishment. He sleeps when He’s tired. He has the entire range of emotions that all human beings have. And what we’re seeing here is His humanity on display. And here He’s coming to God the Father, just like He’s done every day of His life, and He’s praying. Asking the Father to strengthen Him, and help Him, and fill Him with the Holy Spirit. And He needs this… because of what’s going to take place over the next 24 hours.
In the next 24 hours He’s going to be railroaded in a kangaroo court, falsely accused. He’s going to be kept awake and mocked. He’s going to be beaten to a bloody pulp and mocked, and spit on. He’s going to be whipped until His back looks like ground hamburger. He’s going to be hit in the face with a rod… a stick. He’s going to have a crown of thorns shoved down onto His head. He’s going to be forced the carry a heavy cross down a road where crowds are again going to mock him. He’s going to be nailed to that cross and lifted up for everyone to see.