32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
39Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Doing the Right Thing
Sometimes doing the right thing is just so difficult. It may be asking someone for forgiveness because we have wronged them, or paying the consequences when we have done something wrong. It can be refusing to lash out at others who insult you or gossip about you. But whatever it is, it seems nearly impossible for us to do the right thing at that moment. Sure, Jesus went through with the cross, but it was easy for him because he was God, right?
No, not really. We’ve journeyed with Jesus through the gospel of Mark, and up to this point, have we read anything close to what we have read here?:
“He began to be deeply distressed and troubled.”
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”
“He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.”
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.”
Does this sound like it was easy for Christ to follow his path to the cross, that his identity as God made it impossible for him to feel fear or pain? No, Christ felt every second, every emotion of those dark moments, and yet, despite his full awareness of the terrible events to follow…he carries it through.
I hope we can take some encouragement from this, if or when we find ourselves in our own Gethsemanes of life, we can know that even Jesus felt terrified and heavy-hearted, that it’s okay and natural to feel this way at times. But nonetheless, he summoned up the courage and faith to do the right thing in order to attain a much better thing. And if Jesus could do this when faced with the cross, surely we can do the same when faced with the situations of our lives.
1. Have you ever had a moment like this, where you were faced with a situation or decision that made you sick to your stomach? What did you find yourself thinking about in that moment?
2. How does the fact that Jesus felt the terror of those moments change or expand your understanding of the crucifixion?
3. What part of the Good Friday narrative so far sticks out most for you?