THE GOSPEL OF MARK – THE BATTLE TO PRESERVE UNITY

THE BATTLE TO PRESERVE UNITY

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He 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.”
35 Going 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.”
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer Mark 14:32-42

Jesus’ hour was very near. He began to feel the weight of the ordeal He was entering. Gethsemane was the olive grove where olives were grown and processed for their oil. How appropriate that it was here that Jesus prayed and fought His greatest battle. Gethsemane means “press”, the place of the press, the name that is forever connected to Jesus and His prayer, “Not what I want but what you want.”

The gospels record two of Jesus’ great personal battles, one at the beginning of His public ministry and the other at the end. They represent the reversal of Adam’s failure in the Garden of Eden. Adam was lured into mistrusting God’s love and stepping out of his ECHAD with God by believing that being like God was being free to make his own rules.

Satan tried the same trick on Jesus but with no success because Jesus knew the meaning and value of being one with the Father. The devil tried to lure Him into independence and disobedience in the wilderness with no success, and now here in the olive grove He was pressed with the weight of the world’s sin to the extent that He wanted out.

What was at the heart of the struggle? To remain one with the Father in spite of the cost to Himself. This was not about reluctant submission or resignation to the inevitable. This was about willingly embracing the Father’s will so that they could go through the whole process of His death as an atoning sacrifice together. It was through the eternal Spirit that He offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God.

In this war to maintain ECHAD with God, we have a three-fold enemy: the world, the flesh and the devil. Each of these has one end in view – to break our ECHAD with God and lure us into acting independently of Him. Obedience to God’s will is the tangible evidence of the oneness we have with him. Like Jesus, our greatest battle is to preserve that unity through trust and obedience.

Luella Campbell


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