By David Busker
MARK 14:27-52 (Use 32-41)
This lenten series that pastor Rom is doing is from Adam Hamilton’s book “24” which is a takeoff on fox tv’s show called “24” in which each season is a 24 hour period in the life of terrorist hunter, Jack Bauer.
Adam Hamilton’s book is about the last 24 hours of Jesus from the upper room to the cross.
The show “24” is filled with edge of your seat excitement and you can hardly wait to see what comes next.
This series is also filled with excitement as we follow Jesus to the cross.
One of the most famous paintings in the world is that of Heinrich Hofman and his work entitled Christ in Gethsemane 1890. I have a picture on the screen. Jesus is kneeling and resting on a rock as he prays looking up.
The 12 were with him through the last supper. Judas left to do his evil deed and the rest of the group moved out into the night through the Kidron Valley toward the garden of Gethsemane. It was probably around 11pm.
The Kidron Valley is also called the Valley of Jehoshaphat and in Joel 3:12 is the site of the last judgment when all the nations will be judged. Today there is a church there called the church of all nations.
Jesus often went to this garden to pray so the disciples did not think it a special occasion.
Gethsemane means oil press in Aramaic. Oil was used to anoint god’s prophets of old and that Jesus was the Christ – the anointed one.
You can imagine the musty odor, the weird noises of the gnarled olive trees. The moonlight casting shifting shadows throughout the garden. Great drama is about to take place.
During that walk Jesus tells them that all of them are going to run away from him in a little while, even though they all denied they would. Jesus knew he was about to be betrayed, deserted and denied by his closest friends.
I am glad the bible included the failures of Jesus’ closest friends. The very fact that they failed Jesus helps me understand there is hope for me and for you when we deny, desert and betray Jesus in our lives.
The good news is that Jesus also knew that all of them except Judas would return to him. That means when you and i mess up we can know that Jesus will love us and care for us and forgive us and welcome us back.
Jesus tells eight of the disciples to wait at the entrance and then he takes Peter, James, and John with him into the garden and then he tells them that he is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
Hey now – how would you react when someone you cared for and loved – maybe your bestest friend in the whole wildest world told you they were so sad they thought they were going to die?
Would you just blow it off? Not if you’re any kind of a compassionate human being, that’s for sure. Your own heart would break and you’d be wondering what you could do to help.
Jesus was troubled. He said his soul was sorrowful. His heart was breaking. That was no moment of weakness but a time of realizing the suffering that lay before him.
Jesus did not expect the three disciples to go through the experience with him. He wanted their company, their support and their encouragement. He didn’t need their advice but their support.
Jesus told the three to stay awake and pray while he went a little further to pray.
He wanted them to realize what was happening and his need for their support as he prayed. He prayed that he would not have to go through the suffering and death that was coming.
Jesus went back to the three and found them asleep. By the time they get to Gethsemane, it’s late in the evening and maybe even early morning. They are beat.
I think most of us can understand, at least little bit, what it’s like to be under that kind of exhaustion.
Someone wrote that exhaustion is: the feeling that if i had to do it all over again, i’d be too tired. The disciples are exhausted here.
And Jesus told the disciples that this was the time to keep alert and pray, because very soon they would face difficult temptations – including the temptation to fall asleep.
Remember, they had earlier boasted that they would never leave him. In their hearts, they believed that would be the case. They had the “spirit is willing” part down.
But their human inadequacies, with all their fears and failures, made it hard to carry out those good intentions.
They fell asleep, and in a just a little while, they would run away from him.
In spite of the opportunity handed to them to talk to the father on Jesus’ behalf – and their own, that they would be able to stand with Jesus, they fell asleep.
And again, i’m not sure i could have done any better. How about you?
We need to be awake to the needs of the people around us and be willing to spend time in prayer for them.
When Jesus asked them to watch and pray, i doubt that any of them said, “you know what, Jesus? I’m just too tired for that, so why don’t you just go on without me.”
I’m guessing that they had every intention of watching and praying with Jesus, to support him in this time of trial and anguish.
Folks, it’s not an issue of good intentions. We all have them.
We all have good intentions about things we’d like to do and see in regard to our own lives and in our relationship with Christ, and even in helping others find Christ.
But let’s be honest: how often do we let our own comfort and convenience get in the way, and we try to find some sort of spiritual excuse to rationalize it?
I can tell you from my own personal experience that it’s way too often!
Jesus went back and prayed again. The torment, the agony and the inner turmoil drove Jesus to his knees. He prayed so hard he shed great drops of sweat like blood and in agony he cries out, "take this cup from me."
Jesus knew he had to die. He knew it from the beginning.
But the anguish of carrying the burden of your sins and mine was almost too much for him to bear, it was so great.and so he cried out –
“My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.”
Who would want to go through what Jesus was about to experience?
But here’s the difference between lip-service and real courage.
Jesus, not wanting to go through with it, wishing instead that the cup of suffering would be taken away, followed through on what he knew he had to do.
In the movie, the passion of the Christ, during the scene in Gethsemane, the devil comes to Jesus and tries to persuade him to walk away from the mission because it’s too much for one man to bear.
The scripture doesn’t say that satan was there with Jesus in the garden, but i’m willing to believe he was, tempting him to walk away.
And i’m willing to believe that that temptation was at least as great, if not much greater, than what he had faced as he began his public ministry 3 ½ years earlier, when satan came to him on three occasions to throw him off the task.
But Jesus knew what the mission was. He had known from the beginning. And he knew that he was the only one who could accomplish it.
So he said, “not my will, but yours be done.”
And Jesus knew who he would be dying for. You with your sins and weakness. Me with mine.
And he still said, “not my will, but yours be done.”
Jesus was willing in spite of the fact that there would be countless people who were Christian in name only, and not really lovers and followers of his.
Two main responses we should have to the fact that Jesus yielded to the father’s will on our behalf:
1. Deep-seated and heartfelt gratitude.
2. Out of that gratitude, adopt the willingness to do the same in our own lives
Are you willing to say, “not my will, but yours be done,” no matter what the circumstances, no matter what god is calling you to do, whether big or small?
When you’re living the life god created you to live, you find the joy, you find the peace, you find the fulfillment, you find the significance in living, and you find meaning.
Jesus may not take away the cup of suffering, but Jesus is there with you to walk you through it. Are you willing to say to Jesus, “not my will, but yours be done?”
Many Christians aren’t really any different than those who don’t claim to be Christians.
They put themselves ahead of their neighbors instead of loving them as they should, because they don’t first love god with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
We need see that Jesus is real, and that he really lives in the lives of those who love and follow him.
Jesus prayed a third time and i am sure he asked that god would guide him and give him the strength to go through the suffering that was before him.
Jesus woke Peter, James and John and told them it was time to go. He had to complete the plan that god had set before him.
It was time for action. He had prayed and received the strength he needed and now it was time to face life- to face people at their worst.
That is what prayer is for. We kneel before god so we cam stand strong before people. Today, Gethsemane is still there, waiting for men and women who are willing to follow the one who suffered for us.
Charles Russell Wakeley wrote a poem called "Gethsemane."
There is a way which people have trod
For lo, these thronging, countless years;
It is the way of life, of god;
It is the way of night, of tears;
Its winding we may not forsee;
It is the way- Gethsemane.
It is the way whereby we know
Life’s larger meanings and its claims,
The fellowship of human woe;
Our partnership with other’s pains.
It is the way which seems to be
Life’s only way- Gethsemane.
“24” is an exciting event each week as we follow the adventures of Jack Bauer.
But the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life helps us to understand the meaning of life itself.
I pray god will be with you in this lenten season as you talk about what Jesus has done for you.