Garden - Mark 14:32-42

After Jesus observed the Passover with His disciples, and also instituted the Lord’s Supper, He went to the garden of Gethsemane. This garden was on a hill outside of the walls of Jerusalem. From this garden Jesus and His disciples could have seen the temple and the whole walled city of Jerusalem, as well as the hill where He would soon die about 3/4 of a mile away.

Notice that Jesus did not go alone. He brought His three closest disciples (and friends) with Him (v. 33). He tells them to pray and to be alert. Why? Because His soul is “deeply grieved” (vs. 32, 34). Think about this – Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, was deeply grieved and asked His disciples to pray for Him. Wow!

Jesus left them in one area of the garden to pray and He went a little ways away to pray. Jesus did not kneel down and fold His hands together and recite a prayer. No! Jesus threw Himself on the ground (v. 35). Take a moment to think about the emotion, the immense stress that Jesus was under to throw Himself on the ground to beseech His Father for help. This is our God. Our God, in the 2nd person of the Trinity, was in such anguish that He threw Himself on the ground in agony because He knew what was to come. He begged – petitioned – that the Father would take away the “cup” (the coming pain) from Him (v. 36).

To be honest, I struggle with this. It confuses me that Jesus (who is God) begged God the Father to stop the crucifixion. Jesus knew that His death would not be the end. He knew He would be resurrected – He had taught His disciples that (Matt. 16:2, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22). Jesus was not afraid of dying; He knew His death was temporary. Jesus was in agony because of the suffering He knew He was about to endure. As we study the rest of this week, we will be reminded of how much suffering Jesus did endure. His agony in the garden over His imminent suffering should remind us that while Jesus is fully God and He knew the future, He was also fully human and His suffering was extreme.

After praying for some time, Jesus went back to His disciples…they were sleeping. Jesus, their Savior, was in deep agony and they slept (vs. 37-38). Jesus admonished them. They gave into their fleshly desires instead of doing what Jesus asked. Jesus again went to pray (v. 39). And again, His disciples fell asleep (v. 40). The disciples finally woke up when Jesus told them that His betrayer was approaching (v. 41).

Thoughts to Ponder
From our vantage point, 2000+ years after this event, we might be tempted to ridicule the disciples for falling asleep during such an important moment. But we should not do so. They fell asleep when Jesus was physically a short distance away. How often do we “fall asleep” when we have the Holy Spirit living within us?

May we never forget what Jesus endured. He knew – before it happened – how much pain and suffering was coming. Yet, He still went through with it because He was submissive to the Father’s will and because He knew redemption was needed.