Summary: The moment I faced my complete lack of control, was the moment where I found total freedom in our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the LORD Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.”
So Zechariah predicts of Jesus and his disciples in the book of Zechariah 13:7 . And here in Mark Chapter 14 we see these predicted events playing out. This is the calm before the storm, a brief time of respite before the passion of Jesus Christ explodes with an act of breath taking betrayal. Jesus is the shepherd, the disciples the sheep – Jesus will be stricken, the disciples…they will, as Jesus says, all will fall away.
We see Jesus, who is fully aware of the events at hand, in command of the situation and we see the disciples who though they are in the midst of the events, though they are fully conscious, it is like they are in a stupor: They experience the events, but they cannot comprehend their meaning; They see it happening right before their eyes, yet they are oblivious to the deeper meaning of the occasion. It is almost as if they are groggy and need a double shot latte’ to just stay alert.
We have all experienced this. We experience an event in our lives that only later, upon reflection, do we understand the full impact it has had on our lives. What I am saying is, that in the moment that such an event happens in our lives, we are aware of the material and psychological impact – but we are unaware of the spiritual impact.
When I was a Sophomore in college I was taking a shortcut on a country road to avoid heavy traffic on the freeway. I was traveling at about fifty miles an hour or so. This road was a beautiful drive meandering through vineyards, orchards and ranches, it ambled over rolling hills, twisting this way and that….and suddenly, as I was entering a curve, a pickup truck filled up my windshield coming at me, head on, in my lane.
Then in super slow motion, I swerved off the road missing the truck, spinning on the shoulder. I was able to pull the car out of the spin, but that put me through a barb wire fence and barreling into a farmer’s field. There was so much dust, that I had no idea what was left or right or even up or down. Then bam! My car came to a stop. My car was smoking like crazy, so I unhooked my seatbelt, and jumped out of my car…..into four feet of muddy, foul, slimy - water, and stood chest deep looking face to face with this huge steer.
After walking back to the road and gathering myself together, the Highway Patrolman who was called to the accident pointed out the amazing route my car had taken. He said to me, “You are lucky to be alive kid. You missed that telephone pole over there by just a couple of inches. You drove through an entire herd of cattle, missing every single one, and you missed that huge oak tree by less than a foot. Young man, someone is watching over you.”
I stood there and realized that what had just happened to me was more than a series of events. I realized that, not once, not twice, but three times God had intervened on my behalf. What I had experienced was more than an accident, it was more than a material event and more than an emotional event – it was a powerful spiritual event that I couldn’t see until I stepped away from the incident.
Here, in this passage, we see the disciples going through this kind of thing – They experience what is happening in the garden, but are not fully able to process it until later. Only later do they see the spiritual significance of the events that night in the garden of Gethsemane.
As we look at this passage this morning I want us to keep in mind to things: First Jesus is not only fully aware of the unfolding of the events, but he is the one who is in control of the events; Second, Jesus doesn’t expect his disciples to help him – in fact, astonishingly, even at the time of his greatest trial, Jesus is concerned for the welfare of his disciples. I want us to keep these two things in mind because in our own lives, we need to know that in spite of any, and I mean, any, circumstances that we find ourselves in, Jesus is not only there helping us through, but he is completely, and totally in control.
Let’s start right at the beginning, in verse 27 – 29, if you don’t have your bibles open, now is the time to turn to our passage to follow along and see exactly what is going on. This is one of those passages that on the first read it appears that Jesus is complaining about the disciples not being there for him, when in fact it is the flip opposite – Jesus isn’t complaining, Jesus doesn’t need help, he is God incarnate, he can handle what ever is thrown at him – it is us, we who are human who need the help, and Jesus is there to provide help. OK. Is everyone there at the passage? Let’s go.