Summary: Sixth in a 12 part series examining THE most important week in all of history: The Passion Week, when Jesus fulfilled Mark 10:45. The Servant Arrives: He Is Forsaken. Our Lord's agony - the context, severity, source, purpose & our response to His agony.
The Passion Week of Christ: A Study from the Book of Mark
Week 6: The Servant Suffers - He Is Forsaken
A. We're continuing in our Passion Week series. We last found Jesus and His disciples in the Upper Room partaking of an Unforgettable Passover meal during which Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. As the Ultimate Passover Lamb, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world," Jesus would soon give His body and blood to accomplish just that. But what was actually involved in the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world?
B. To get us thinking about that, I want to ask you two questions:
#1 What is the most disgusting thing you've ever drunk intentionally or unintentionally? #1 on FB post = spit cups! Youth? Blend-O-Rama!
#2 What is the most agonizing thing either physically or spiritually you've ever been through? HNP, kids, my own sin, leaving Liberty. As agonizing as those are, none left us at the point of death, right?!
C. So what do those 2 questions have to do with this AM's message? They tell us what was involved in the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world. It involved Jesus drinking something SO vile, SO disgusting, in fact terrorizing that He was sweating not bullets, but blood! To drink it required the Father to turn His back on His own Son and forsake Him. It had Jesus in such distress that the Bible records He literally thought He was going to die! In fact, Dr. Luke struggles even to find the words to adequately express Jesus' distress so he uses a hapax legomenon (word found only once). The word? Agonia, from which we get agony. It's a solitary word for a solitary experience. So, what in the world was it that Jesus was about to have to drink that had Him in such physical and spiritual agony that He literally was at the point of death?
D. To answer that, we must stand on some very holy ground. We must accompany our Lord to a place of great pressure - the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane literally means "oil press," and on this cold April night, our Lord, would be pressed to the point that, had it not been for divine, supernatural intervention, He would have lost His very life right there! As we examine our Lord's agony, we will explore the Context, the Severity, the Source, and the Purpose of His Agony as well as Our Response to His Agony.
II. Scripture Reading & Prayer
A. Stand with me to honor the reading of God's Word. Read Mark 14:32-42.
B. Pray - Father, I ask that you would make this passage come alive for us like never before. Do this that we may truly see the agony Your Son, our Passover Lamb, went through that April night as He took away the sins of the world.
III. The Context of His Agony – Read Mark 14:32a.
A. A lot of the talk the past week between Jesus and the disciples had not exactly been Happy, Happy, Happy. In fact it was death, death, death. Three times on the way to Jerusalem - read Mark 10:33-34. And then again 2 days before the Passover (cf. Matt. 26:1-2). Now, during the Passover meal, it's intensified. Jesus had an extensive discussion with His disciples – which John records for us in John 13-17. He's told them one of you will betray me, Peter you will deny me, I’m going somewhere you can’t come in fact I’m going to die, the world will soon hate and persecute you, you'll be thrown out of the synagogues and worse people will kill you and think they are offering service to God!!! The mood in that Upper Room after Jesus’ “pep talk” is summarized in John 16:6 – read John 16:6. This word “filled” in the Greek literally means “crammed full." Now, Scripture doesn’t record for us what the elements were like that Thursday night in Jerusalem – foggy, misting rain, windy. We can only guess. But, we do know that after Jesus and His disciples finished the Passover meal, they sang a hymn and somewhere between 8pm and midnight stepped out into the cold April night, crossed the brook Kidron and entered the Garden of Gethsemane. At that very moment, Judas is out betraying Jesus; by midnight, Jesus will be arrested. By 9am He will be crucified and by 3pm He will be dead. The only thing heavier than the cold, April, air that Thursday night in Jerusalem were the hearts of Jesus and His disciples which were literally crammed full of sorrow!
IV. The Severity of His Agony
A. Evidenced by His Disciples: Read Mark 14:37-40. When most of us read this we would probably conclude as William Burkitt once well said, “Good God! Could they possibly sleep at such a time as this? When Christ’s soul was exceedingly sorrowful, could their eyes be heavy?” These disciples JUST DON’T GET IT! #1 Remember the context we just talked about and the dark, depressing mood that Jesus and the Disciples were already feeling. #2 They had just eaten a large meal, it’s late at night, and they’re in a cool, dark, quiet Garden! What would YOU have been doing? This in part is why Jesus said “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” His humanity well understood how tempting it was to sleep in this situation. #3 When Jesus needed human companionship & intercession the most, His disciples were so grief stricken they couldn't stay awake as much as they desired to do so. Mark hints at their grief – their eyes were very heavy – "bareo," meaning “burdened, weighed down.” Luke in his parallel account says they were “exhausted from sorrow.” Albert Barnes says: “It is frequently supposed that this was proof of wonderful stupidity, and indifference to their Lord‘s sufferings. The truth is, however, that it was just the reverse; it was proof of their great attachment, and their deep sympathy in his sorrows. Multitudes of facts might be brought to show that this is in accordance with the regular effects of grief. Dr. Rush says: ‘There is another symptom of grief, which is not often noticed, and that is profound sleep.’ Have you ever had a time in your life that you were so overwhelmed with grief or sorrow that you slept & slept? #4 If their bodies were literally exhausted from sorrow, what must our Lord have been feeling?