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Tragic Humanity and Triumphant Christ

Mark 14:27-28

In one conversation, Jesus went from, "one of you will betray me" (Mark 14:18) to "you will all fall away".   All the disciples were implicated in the betrayal.  They were all more interested in their own skins than that of Jesus.  We know that in the end, they all left Him (Mark 14:50) and Peter spectacularly denied that he even knew Jesus (Mark 14:66-72).  Again, their falling away was their own free will reaction: but Jesus quotes the 500-year-old prophecy from Zechariah 13:7 foretelling what would happen.  And it did!

Contrasting Expectations

Mark 14:29-31

Pessimism and optimism are characteristics of sinful humanity.  The one has no confidence for the future, the other over-estimates the combination of circumstances and ability (Proverbs 27:1).  True realism demands that we know everything about every interacting person, things and event.  That is information only God holds because there is nothing He does not know about the past or the future.  In these verses, Peter overestimated his ability to remain true to Jesus, even protesting His spiritual prowess and moral courage: his optimism was a hollow shell constructed in pride (Proverbs 16:18

Watch and Pray

Mark 14:32-34

Watching and praying seem to be the two least favourite activities for most Christians.  All too often, they are replaced by doing and talking.  Yet for Jesus praying while waiting was normal.  All through His ministry He was waiting to die on the cross: all through His ministry He prayed to Father God.  His prayer that night was not a sudden reaction to an unexpected crisis: it was a part of His lifestyle (Hebrews 5:7) - because the cross was in His sights all along, and undoubtedly occupied much of His prayer time in the early mornings (Mark 1:35).

Not What I Will ...

Mark 14:35-36

Jesus had chosen to do it, but He did not want to do it.  He knew the plan and had wholeheartedly agreed to die on a cross, bearing the sins of the world and experiencing the full weight of the Father's wrath against Himself.  That 'cup of God's wrath' had already been explained in the Old Testament (Isaiah 51:17), and mentioned by Jesus in Mark 10:38-39.  There was no pleasure in the 'Holy One of Israel' (Isaiah 47:4) to 'become sin for us' (2 Corinthians 5:21).  And yet He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that Father God would not bring Him to the hour of suffering.  Why?

Spirit Willing: Flesh Weak

Mark 14:37-38

After Peter's declaration in the Upper Room (Mark 14:29) of unswerving loyalty, sleeping on duty was not a good start.  But the sleep of weariness or despair is never invigorating; it is just an anaesthetic for the hopeless heart.  Every spiritual failure starts when we stop watching the Lord - which was the error of these men, despite Jesus' human plea and Master's command.

Asleep on Duty

Mark 14:39-40

The first rebuke of Jesus to His sleepy disciples (Mark 14:37-38) should have been enough to jolt them into apology, and a determination to stay awake.  Far from it!  As Jesus returned to pray, the trusted men returned to sleep.  The Master's task was unchanged, and the disciples remained unmoved.  Although He had chosen them to be with Him, they were on different tracks.  In Bible language, "They did not know what to say", meant that they knew that they had no excuse; Jesus was right and they were in the wrong.  But Satan's lies had already been swallowed and they were paralysed. 

Get Up and Go with Jesus

Mark 14:41-42

There comes a time when God will move on, whether His people are ready or not (Genesis 6:3).  Jesus had concluded His three sessions of prayer to prepare Him to win through to the final victory: and the disciples had finished their three sessions of sleep, leaving them wide open for spiritual defeat.  There was no more time for infinite chances to choose to obey.  The dreadful hour of betrayal had come.  We may point the finger at Judas, lurking in the bushes, but what about the disciples?  They would all let down their Master.

Everything Upside Down

Mark 14:43-45

What a sad and sick scene! Jesus, who was prepared to die for the sins of the world, was confronted by pompous religious leaders and a mob.  A pathetically unprepared group of disciples stood there limply in the darkness, while their treasurer (Judas Iscariot) feigned a loyal greeting.  As the kiss was planted the trap sprung shut.  Love had been betrayed, religious authority was unmasked as being ungodly, law had been violated ... everything true has been turned on its head.  Death was now in the air.

All In The Plan

Mark 14:46-47

We should be shocked about the way that the Son of God was manhandled in His arrest, as though He would escape their puny clutches.  But He did not resist - this was completely in line with God's plan (Matthew 20:18-19).  He went willingly 'as a lamb to the slaughter' (Isaiah 53:7).  The bravado of the chief priests and their hired mob was really cowardice.  They did not dare to arrest Jesus in daylight lest He should be supported by a rioting crowd (Mark 14:1-2).  In darkness they needed to know exactly where He was and how to identify Him from so many in face-shrouded Eastern dress: the h