Notes On Mark’s Gospel (122)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Garden of Darkness (Chapter 14 V 32-42)

The seclusion of Gethsemane’s olive grove, provides the quietness Jesus seeks in order to pray (v32). And once again the three disciples Peter, James and John are selected to accompany him (v33). To witness his distress. The strength of the words used by Mark here are not conveyed in English, Jesus was totally distressed, stressed out. It is as though all his power has gone, he is crushed, wiped out, and the only recourse left was his Father, through prayer. I recall some years ago a preacher, seeking to eulogize his Saviour’s courage, he said his Saviour never knew what it was to be afraid. Well he was wrong. He was right in that Jesus was a very courageous, the most courageous man ever, no doubt, but, he knew the emotion of fear. Here it is here. But are not you glad? I am! Because in so many ways Jesus identifies with me, he not only knew what it was like to be afraid, he knew the agony of bereavement (John 11.35), the opposition of his own family to all he was doing (John 7.1-3), he knew what it was like to have people deserting him (John 6.60-71). He knows the emotion of fear too. What ever you are going through just now, your Saviour, Jesus, has been there before you, in everything that is, except sin (Hebrews 2.18; 4.15).

His distress erupts in words (v34). His soul is so overwhelmed that he is on a precipice, the very edge of death, because of what looms large before him. The Cross, and all that entails. The disciples he took with him were in terms of his humanity to be a comfort to him, but alas, he is even denied that. There are some things in life we have to do alone, no one can do them for us. For Jesus this is something that only he can overcome, a battle he must fight and win. He must resolve himself to give up his life (John 10.17-18), for the many (Mark 10.45; Matthew 20.28), he must take the curse of sin upon himself, for us (2Corinthians 5.21; Galatians 3.13). To this pure mind, this Son of God, gazing upon the sin of the world, the pollution of generations of believers, this curse, this awful damnable curse he is about to be plunged into, fills his lovely mind with horror. He can hear the footsteps of Judas coming through the garden. What will Jesus do? Will he go on? Is there a way out of this nightmare?

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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