Just When We Think We’ve Got it all Together – Mark 14:27-42

Hey everybody.  First off, I want to mention that Sabet Kuj called me yesterday to thank our church for praying for Suzy and he.  In case you don’t know, they are missionaries to the Sudan that we have been supporting as a church, and who stayed in our area and hung out with our church for a year.  She had filed for citizenship in the U.S. (Suzy is from the U.K.), and last week she received it.  The whole family will be united in Sudan by September.  God is good.

Our text this week is going to be Mark 14:27-42 – read it here.

Verse 26 provided the larger context of the events recorded in this part of chapter 14.  Even though we have the account of Jesus praying in the garden, that event is surrounded by accounts of self confidence and failure.

Have you ever made a commitment to something verbally, but failed to follow through because it was more difficult than you thought?  How did it make you feel?  What did you learn from something like that?

In all the gospel accounts, Peter is always quick with his tongue…and his own account (if that’s what Mark is) is no different.  He makes bold claims and promises, but later on in the chapter, we’ll find out just how he keeps those promises.

As Jesus goes off to pray, what do the disciples do?  In His humanity, as best we can tell, Jesus had the same struggles with surrendering His will to survive.  This is, in part, what is making Him “exceedingly sorrowful to death…”  It is in the context of laying aside His own will that Jesus utters the rally cry the church has echoed for 2,000 years – “not what I will, but what YOU will.”.

When He gets back to His disciples, he awakens them.  What do you make of that?  How would you apply that to your life as a disciple now?  His warning is about the weakness of our flesh when it comes to fulfiling our spiritual desires and goals.  Obviously, this has application to prayer, because that’s the immediate context, but what do we learn from His warning as we try to apply it to other areas of our spiritual journey.

In v 40, we’re given a reason why the disciples were sleeping.  In your own times of struggle or heart pain, when you just don’t know what to do, what has been your response?  Escaping is a natural human tendency.  What things do we try to escape to, instead of resolving to entrust our situations to God?

This whole scene gets repeated three times.  As you read it, how do you imagine Jesus’ facial expressions?  How do you imagine His tone of voice?  Does Jesus give up on them?  What is His final word to them in V 42?  What does that mean to your life? 

Well…I hope that sparks some good conversation.  Thanks for reading this, and being willing to dig a little during the week.  This is time WELL SPENT.  See yer’ Sundee!

 

5 comments

  1. I am an expert on escaping, in fact that should be what is on my sign, E. I started escaping from life’s pressures in my teenage years by using drugs and alcohol but Jesus has healed me from my addiction.

  2. Aaahhh, the good stuff (the Word)!!! One of the most popular Gospel stories (Peter’s Denial) & One of the most powerful moments of the whole Bible, Jesus in the garden. Jesus knew that Peter and anyone else who was hangin’ with him would deny him to ‘save’ their skins. Forget that it had been predicted (Zech. 13:7). Forget that it’s hard wired into our DNA. Jesus knew that his friends, these guys, were only men. We are all Peters. We are all human or Homo Sapiens. When push comes to shove and we feel threatened, how human it is to “flee”. Dis our saviour and run away. Deny even knowing him or ever having known him. It happens, we are weak. Contrast this with Jesus in the Garden. He was man amongst us for 30+ years and now he is becoming God. This cup of death is mine to drink if it is your will.
    Bruce Springsteen wrote and recorded a little known song, “Jesus Was An Only Son”, back in 2005 on his cd, “Devils And Dust”. The song is wonderful and the words amazing;

    In the garden at Gethsemane
    He prayed for the life he’d never live,
    He beseeched his Heavenly Father to remove
    The cup of death from his lips

    Now there’s a loss that can never be replaced
    A destination that can never be reached,
    A light you’ll never find in another’s face,
    A Sea whose distance cannot be breached

    Well Jesus kissed his mother’s hands
    whispered. “Mother, still your tears,
    for remember the soul of the universe
    willed a world and it appeared.”

    The soul of the Universe willed a world and it appeared….Amen

  3. I love how human the disciples are. Wouldn’t it just be terrible if they were actually good at being followers of Christ? I know it would make me feel pretty hopeless about the whole deal.

    So often, whether it’s when we first come to Christ or we are just picking ourselves back up, we feel strong, invincible even. We’ve finally learned how to do things right and would die before we betrayed our savior (again). But, we are frail and weak. We will eventually do what we swore we would never; in one way or another.

    Notice how Jesus doesn’t tell Peter that it was better that he had never been born though. He betrayed Jesus, maybe not to the extreme of Judas, but just like Judas he forsook Jesus. But, I think the difference was in their hearts. Peter in his heart longed to step up and be that man of God, but his flesh wasn’t strong enough. It all comes down to our hearts.

    I am thankful that God is big enough to know what we are made of and loving enough to forgive us. We will get stronger, like Peter later on, but we’ll never be perfect. It’s also important for us to remember what we’re made of. So, when we don’t live up to the expectations we’ve set for ourselves we don’t fall into the trap of giving up entirely. We’ll make mistakes, but as long as our heart always longs to do what God desires we’ll make it through, one stumbling step at a time.

  4. Wow. I think this study has caused more introspection than most. How many times have I (pre & post Christian) relied on my own ability and confidence. I mean, come on let’s face it, we KNOW what we are physically and mentally capable of accomplishing through our experiences in life. We study; we learn. We practice; we perfect (sort of)…you get the point. But what I’ve learned in my walk with God is my silliness in THINKING it was ever MY ability to begin with. It is His imparted to me by grace. I believe I’ve been allowed to fail a time or dozen to remind me whose strength I live in. Jesus knew this. He knew that as a human he could not stay committed to nor endure the days ahead without his Father’s help. He also knew the frailty of the flesh. Verse 35 says Jesus ‘fell to the ground’ and prayed. My understanding is this was a posture used by one in utmost perplexity. It signifies to me how low Jesus’ spirit was in anguish and distress. Oh, what comfort we can now take in those moments of our lives knowing Jesus KNOWS first hand the sorrows we experience in this fallen world. His response to was to get alone w/God in prayer- beautiful example of what our first response should be.

    I love that Jesus ‘awakens’ his disciples. He doesn’t leave them in their weakness (sleep/off-guard); venerable to the enemy. Instead he warns them (us) of impending danger…falling into temptation because of weakness (flesh). [I think it is interesting that Jesus calls Peter by his first name ‘Simon’ (v37). Reminds me of how my mother would use my full name when she really wanted my attention.] And like a loving parent, Jesus gives disciples ample warning to watch and pray, but he also ‘puts his foot down’. Kind of says ‘disciples, grow up’, ‘get with the program’. “Enough!” There comes a time we must make the choice to be ‘active’ in this walk. Not just stand on the side lines and watch what happens. Comes a time to crack open the Word of God and let Him speak it into our hearts. Let the Holy Spirit lead and prompt us to be the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus here on earth. Little fruit will we bear w/o prayer. It is not I who make things happen (lest I boast) – it is God who allows and provides, and gives me the privilege to be a part of His amazing story.

    Bet you’re glad I don’t blog very often :-\

    Peace.

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