Lesson 81

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

14:32 They came to a place which was named Gethsemane. He said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I pray." 14:33 He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be greatly alarmed and distressed. 14:34 He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch."

14:35 He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him. 14:36 He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Please remove this cup from me. However, not what I desire, but what you desire."

14:37 He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn't you watch one hour? 14:38 Watch and pray, that you not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

14:39 Again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words. 14:40 Again he returned, and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they didn't know what to answer him. 14:41 He came the third time, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest. It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 14:42 Arise, let us be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand."

Today's Lesson

Jesus had come to Jerusalem to eat the Passover meal with His disciples in the Holy City. After the meal, they had gone out to the Mount of Olives. There was a garden on the lower slope of the Mount that was named Gethsemane. In this garden unfolds one of the most poignant scenes in scripture. Jesus goes out in the late night and prays before God. He pours out His heart in anguish. Through the work of the Spirit on the gospel writer, we are given a glimpse into the heart of Christ.


Jesus had the disciples wait for Him and He went a little farther into the garden and fell down onto the ground and prayed. He prayed that the cup of sorrow might be taken away from Him. But, He also tempered that prayer with another. "However, not what I desire, but what you desire." Jesus opens His heart and confesses His anxiety to God. But even at the uttermost of His anguish, His primary thought is obedience to the Father. Not my will, oh God, but yours.


After praying, He went back to the disciples and found them sleeping. Even though it was late, they were not sleeping just because they were tired. They fell asleep because they did not believe. Jesus had told them that He would soon be betrayed. If they had really believed Him, they would have been in anguish even as He was. But He returns to find them sleeping as though nothing were about to occur. Not once, but twice. Twice He went out to pray and twice He returned to find them sleeping.


With the weight of the entire world on His shoulders, Jesus went out into the garden to pray. The men who had sworn that they would die with Him fall asleep instead of watching over Him. The ignominy of the cross lay ahead. The pressure and temptation that He bore would have been beyond any of us. But Jesus prayed, "Not my will, but Thine oh Lord."


The hour has come. Now is the day of your temptation. It is not as much as Jesus had to bear, but the choice is yours to make just as it was His. Whose will are you going to do today? God's? Or your own?


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