THE GOSPEL OF MARK – PRESSED TO DEATH

PRESSED TO DEATH

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

At this moment, Jesus and His disciples were functioning in two different worlds. Somehow these men, companions of Jesus though they were, seemed oblivious of what was going on in His soul. They acted like disinterested spectators, sitting idly by while the greatest drama in history was unfolding. Over and over again Jesus pleaded with them, “Keep watch with me.” Surely, if they loved Him and even if they did not understand what was going on, they could have stayed awake to “sit shiva” with Him.

Was Jesus wrestling with the injustice and sense of outrage at having to pay for the sin of the world? Something rises up from deep within, something inside protests loudly when we are unfairly treated, when we are rejected, ridiculed or punished for something we have not done. How much more Jesus who was innocent of any sin of His own, let alone the terrible weight of the world’s sin, beginning with Adam.

What was this cup from which He was turning with such vehement distaste? Was it the cup of God’s burning anger against sin? Was it the full weight of the broken law that He would bear? Was the physical agony He was about to endure only a fraction of the cup He had been asked to drink?

To Jesus, the cup was both a cup and a baptism. This symbolised something that had to happen both inside and outside. He who was holy, a God who hated and abhorred sin, had to endure both drinking and being immersed in its filth and its consequences until His body and His heart could no longer endure its weight. Sin literally squeezed the life from Him until He relinquished His spirit to the Father.

The human Jesus had been so identified and so saturated in the sin of the world that it was impossible for Him to remain alive in that condition. He was willingly reduced to nothing, a lifeless shell that could only be shut away in a tomb to rot and return to dust.

Luella Campbell


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