The Life of Christ – Culmination of Suffering and Triumph (2) - Wednesday, March 28th

The Life of Christ – Culmination of Suffering and Triumph (2) - Wednesday, March 28th

Please note: there was no devotional posted for Tuesday. This bumps things ahead a day so that we will conclude our week on Saturday instead of Friday. 

After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”  But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.” But Peter kept saying insistently, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all were saying the same thing also. They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. And He came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” Immediately while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now he who was betraying Him had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him and lead Him away under guard.” After coming, Judas immediately went to Him, saying, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him. They laid hands on Him and seized Him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a robber? Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.” And they all left Him and fled. A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked. Mark 14:26-52

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Let’s consider both Monday’s and today’s passage together for a moment. In doing this, we see that Jesus and his disciples went out to the Mount of Olives after sharing in the very first communion time together and singing a hymn (likely a traditional Passover song). Sounds like quite an intimate time of fellowship between the disciples and Jesus, doesn’t it? But now notice what Jesus said to his disciples just before the communion time and just after singing the hymn on the way to Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives: “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me—one who is eating with Me” and “You will all fall away, because it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’” How does all this all go together for the disciples? The bread slices of this sandwich don’t seem very conducive to the disciples enjoying what’s in between them.

It is important to remember that the occasion for all of this is the Passover observance. This night becomes a transition from an Old Testament memory to a New Testament reality. The disciples are not quite ready for Jesus becoming the Passover sacrificial lamb who will take away the sins of the world. In the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives to which they have come, one of the disciples, Judas, completes his betrayal, while the remainder of them, upon the arrest of Jesus, abandon him and leave him to face alone all that lies ahead for him. These actions are exactly what Jesus said was going to happen and they set him on a course from which there is no turning back.

Now let’s go back to what Jesus went through in the garden while keeping in mind the powerful impact of Jesus’ anticipation of his betrayal and arrest, his disciples’ abandonment, and the inescapable course of the cross: “and (Jesus) began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” With Christ’s full submission and full resolve in place, we let these words sink in: “They laid hands on Him and seized Him."

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, thank you for letting them seize you. I see that it was your suffering in the garden that prepared you for your arrest and your resulting suffering on the cross. You truly are our “Passover.” Work on my heart in such a way that I am prepared to be seized by whatever suffering is your will for me. I surrender to you, worship you, and bless you, Lord. Amen!

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