Today we are reading from Mark 14: 32-36:
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34 And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”
Mark has been the Gospel reading suggested these last few weeks, and within Mark, we are drawing close to cross. In today’s passage, we see Jesus praying in the Garden before His arrest. There are a lot of things that we could look at in this passage. If had kept reading, we would have seen Peter, James, and John fall asleep while Jesus was praying, and Jesus telling them that the Spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.
I’ve always been drawn to Jesus’ prayer, though, because I think it’s a powerful moment and a powerful example. We see, in this moment, the full humanity of Jesus. He knows that He is to go to the cross. He knows that is His mission and purpose. He is fully aware of it. And, in the end, He submits to the will of His Father. He does exactly what He was going to do.
But notice what the text says – “if it were possible, the hour may pass him. . . remove this cup from me. . . “ Jesus didn’t get what he “wanted” at that time. He what He was called to do, at that time. He obeyed the will of His Father, even when it was hard.
We have this mistaken idea that as a Christian, life will always be easy. God will always save us from the troubles of the world, things will always work out just as we want them. That belief doesn’t match up with scripture. Jesus, who was perfect, who lived out His life perfect, who was perfectly obedient to HIs Father, who was everything that it isn’t possible for us to be, here, in this moment prayed, take this cup from me. Take this. I don’t want it. It’s too much. Remove this.
He prayed this prayer. And what did His Father say?
No. The cup was not removed. The hour did not pass. The will of the Father was accomplished.
Following Jesus will not remove pain and suffering and loss. In fact, when we read the Bible, we find just the opposite. Following Jesus may bring suffering and pain, and even some loss. But it will also bring life. Life now and life eternal. Following Jesus is the only path to life.
Submitting our life to the will of that Father will not always be easy. It wasn’t easy for Jesus, why do we think it will be easy for us. But it is life. It is life. It is life. Let us follow our Saviour, even when it is hard.
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