Introduction: Today, we begin our Easter series, Questions from Calvary.
We will examine questions asked by Jesus leading up to and during His crucifixion.
- What He asked revealed what He was thinking and feeling—and it does in us also.
- The title to today’s message is A Convicting Question.
- Theme verse: Mark 14:37b (NLT)—… He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep?...”
- We want to understand more about the relational and emotional nature of our Savior.
- John Calvin (1509-1564) wrote, “Christ has put on our feelings along with our flesh.”
- We will reflect on Jesus during His struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus… (Mark 14:32-42)[816-817]
#1 - Sought support. (Mark 14:32-34; C/R: Luke 22:43-44; John 11:33-36; 15:15; Hebrews 2:14,17)
- Mark 14:32 (NLT)—32 They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said [to disciples], “Sit here [garden entrance] while I go and pray.”
- Gethsemane means “oil press,” it refers to a private garden area in an olive grove, likely walled, at the base of the Mount of Olives, across a valley from the city of Jerusalem.
- Apparently, Jesus had been given permission to enter the garden for rest, escape and prayer, which He often did when in the city. (Luke 22:39; John18:2)
- Mark 14:33 (NLT)—33 He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He became deeply troubled and distressed.
- Jesus took the three disciples who were closest to Him into the Garden of Gethsemane for comfort and support as He talked to His Father in heaven about His looming terror.
- Jesus possessed human emotions; in this time of anguish, He wanted His closest friends nearby. (John 15:15; 13:23)
- Mark 14:34a(NLT)—He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.”
- Jesus felt overwhelming sorrow, deep sadness, because He is just like us.
-  Hebrews 2:14,17 (NLT)—14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. …17 Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be made in every respect like us,…
- He said to them, at Mark 14:3b (NLT)—“Stay here and keep watch with Me.”
- The word translated watch means “to have the alertness of a guard at night,” in other words, be alert, aware, vigilant, observe what is going on around you.
- Jesus wanted His friends to be aware of the time and circumstances—that the event leading to His death had begun—and their presence, their love, offered Him support.
- A personal relationship with Jesus is more than admission into heaven, more than receiving instruction from Him on earth—it means sharing concerns, knowing what is in each other’s minds and on each other’s hearts—concerns, desires, joys, and sorrows.
- : In this time of fear over our physical, as well as our financial survival, have we asked Jesus what are His concerns and desires for the world and for us individually, during the lifespan of this disease?
In the garden, Jesus…
#2 - Surrendered to suffering. (Mark 14:35-36; C/R: Psalm 75:8; John 6:38; 14:31; Hebrews 10:5-7)
- Mark 14:35 (NLT)—35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour [time period] awaiting Him might pass Him by.
- Jesus laid with His face to the ground and called on His Father.
- Mark 14:36a (NLT)—“Abba [term of endearment and intimacy], Father,” He cried out, “everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. …”
- Translators added of suffering to NLT—and the long night ahead of false accusation and abuse, culminating in crucifixion early the next morning, would certainly cause great suffering—but I don’t think that is the most accurate meaning of cup.
- In Scripture, cup represents God’s wrath poured out as an expression of judgment, in particular, judgment against sin. [Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 49:12; Revelation 14:10]
- Jesus’ anguish was not an expression of fear of death, or even the extreme pain caused by crucifixion, because thousands of people were crucified.
- His grief was caused by the horrifying recognition that He would become the bearer of sin and the recipient of divine wrath. (John 18:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24)
- Jesus asked if He could avoid drinking the cup of His Father’s wrath.
- He wasn’t requesting God to change His plan, but He was questioning whether redemption could be achieved through some other means. [We can always ask God!)
- This was not an expression of weakness or fear; it was the honest expression of a pure, sinless, Person who was about to experience unimaginable evil (proving His holiness).
- Mark 14:36b (NLT)—“Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.”
- Jesus was not resisting God’s will, He was yielding Himself, acquiescing, to it.
- Though He asked to avoid the cup, Jesus was surrendered to the will of His Father—and at that moment, the Father showed compassion on His much-loved Son.
-  Luke 22:43 (NLT)—43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him.
- Jesus’ anguish—and His humanity is evident in what happened next. (Hebrews 2:1,17)
-  Luke 22:44 (NLT)—44 He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. [Hematidrosis is when intense stress causes capillaries to dilate and burst, mixing sweat with blood.]
- : Would we obey God’s will if it caused us suffering? Or even inconvenience?
#3 - Solicited concern. (Mark 14:37-40; C/R: John 2:25; 2 Corinthians 1:5; 1 Peter 4:13; 5:8)
- Mark 14:37 (NLT)—37 Then He returned and found the disciples asleep. …
- In the midst of His agonizing struggle, Jesus returned and found His friends asleep.
- Were they unaware of, or indifferent to, Jesus’ suffering?
- No, Luke 22:45 (NLT) says they were exhausted from grief.
- Realizing their Lord was about to die, and having been told that they would all abandon Him, they were overcome by grief and worry.
- In this hour of need, He was concerned about them, understood them (John 2:25), but He also desired their concern for Him.
- Mark 14:37b (NLT)—…He said to Peter [awakening him], “Simon [former name, not new name, Peter, the rock], are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? [time praying]
- Imagine how Peter felt when awakened by the One he was supposed to be offering support. Embarrassed? Ashamed? Certainly they were convicted about their failing.
- Jesus was not scolding or shaming these men He loved, but He wanted their support, concern, prayers, and presence, which is why He brought them into the garden.
- Was He disappointed, even hurt, by His disciple’s inability to stay awake?
- I think so, because His emotions were human; He wasn’t angry or resentful toward His sleeping friends because His relationship with them was based in truth, not tainted by wounds, lies, or insecurity.
- He loved them, but He wasn’t co-dependent on them; He didn’t need them. (John 2:24-25)
- Then Jesus said, Mark 14:38a (NLT)—Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. …”
- He exhorted them to stay alert and pray continually (Romans 13:11-13), remaining vigilant to recognize and resist spiritual attack. (1 Peter 5:8)
- Mark 14:38b (NLT)—“…For the spirit [human] is willing, but the body is weak.”
- The English word body is actually the Greek word, sarx, literally meaning,
- Jesus warned them (and us) that, because of our unredeemed, unsanctified, flesh, we are too easily distracted and enticed by physical needs and desires, so we will give in to temptation if we don’t stay alert and stay connected to God in prayer.
- Mark 14:39-40 (NLT)—39 Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. 40 When He returned to them again, He found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And [after He awakened them] they didn’t know what to say.
- These men were disappointed in themselves, but were speechless, offering no excuse.
- : Can God trust us to keep watch and pray over our church, community, country, and world, especially now, as a virus ravages our world, or are we spiritually asleep?
- We share in the suffering of Christ when we struggle in prayer, interceding in situations where God’s intervention in essential. (Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 1:5; 1 Peter 4:13)
#4 - Submitted to God’s plan. (Mark 14:41-42; C/R: Psalm 41:9; Luke 9:22; 22:53; John 18:11)
- Mark 14:41-42 (NLT)— 41 When He returned to them the third time, He said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Up, let’s be going. Look, My betrayer is here!” [Psalm 41:9]
- Jesus yielded Himself fully to His Father’s plan, so when Judas, His betrayer, arrived with Roman soldiers and Jewish temple police to arrest Him, He didn’t resist.
- Judas did not understand Jesus’ calling or he would have known that soldiers weren’t needed, because Jesus was fulfilling His Father’s plan. (Luke 9:22; John 18:11)
- Jesus exhibited no fear in the face of death.
- He held the cup of God’s wrathful judgment, but He no longer trembled.
- He had submitted to God’s plan, so He moved toward the cross with settled confidence.
- : Has God given you direction that you are resisting? If so, you’re in Gethsemane.
- In this unsettled time when many are fearful—and some are panicked, we have been called to trust God, believing that He will work even in control this disease.
- Many of us have wanted to have more time to seek God, now you have it, so use it!
- Let’s pray!