Grace and peace to you Beloved. Let’s read our passage for this morning, Mark 14:32-42. But let’s pick up at verse 22 to get a little bit of context.  Read. Now please join with me as we go to our heavenly Father and seek His blessing. Pray.

The introduction.

Everyone loves a party. And no one loves a funeral.  One may be pleasing to our flesh. But the other is beneficial for our soul. One may cheer us for this life. The other can do us good for eternal life.  If, and this is an important ‘if’, if we learn our lessons from the house of mourning. If we prepare for this day by believing in Jesus Christ.

Listen to the word of God beloved.

Ecclesiastes 3:11. (God) He has also set eternity in (our) their heart,  

Ecclesiastes 7:2.  It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting, Because that is the end of every man, And the living takes it to heart.  3 Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.  4 The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.

Beloved, here with the prayer of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane we are in the house of mourning. We are witnessing the Man of sorrows pouring out His broken heart in prayer to His heavenly Father.

The place.

V.32. Christ has just finished the last Passover Meal and the very first Lord’s Supper, taking place in Jerusalem in the upper room of some private residence of an unnamed person, perhaps a believer in Jesus as the Christ. Christ, the Creator and possessor of all things, owned no home.

Christ worships in a borrowed home. And He is about to be buried in a borrowed tomb.

Oh beloved, let us learn to esteem what God esteem. The world’s things are not the main things. God in Christ is the main thing – the main One. 

Christ gets up from this holy worship with eleven of His men and walks a short distance outside the city to the Garden of Gethsemane.  You remember, Satan entered the twelfth apostle Judas and Judas went off to the chief priests to sell Christ to death. (Lk.22:1-7, Jn.13:21-31) We will meet with Judas again next week when he betrays Christ with a kiss.

V.32.  They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.”

Gethsemane means ‘oil press’.  It was an olive grove. Christ regularly retired there for the evening after teaching in Jerusalem.  Foxes have holes. Birds have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. (Mt.8:19-22)  He often slept outdoors.  Though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, so that we through His poverty might become rich. (2.Co 8:9)

The Garden of Gethsemane was at the base of the Mount of Olives. A stone’s throw just east of Jerusalem. (Jn.18:1, Mt.26:30, Acts 1:9-12, Mt.24:1-51, Zech.14:4) This itself is a fulfillment of prophecy.

Jesus is just outside of the city that has killed the prophets that God had sent to them. Now at last God had sent His dear Son.  Perhaps they will listen to the Son of the Father’s love? No. They will treat Christ worse than them all. They will say, crucify, crucify, this is the Heir, let us kill Him. (Mt.27:22, 21:33-46, Ezek.24:13)

The Prince of Peace will die at the city of Peace. Actually they will take Christ just outside of the city, treating Him as an unclean thing. (Lev.14:33-45, Heb.9:22, Heb.13:11-13)  The price of our peace is the shedding of His blood. Soon to be shed. (Mt.23:27-39, Lk.18:31, Col.1:20, Heb.13:20, I Pt.1:2)

The time.

Let me point out the time of this prayer.  Beloved we are here on Thursday night in what is known as the passion week.

The Lord Jesus Christ just celebrated, as I mentioned earlier, the last Passover Meal. A meal, by the way, that pointed to Him. Christ is the Passover Lamb. Christ is the Lamb slain for the sins of His people.  By having the blood of Christ applied to us by faith, God passes over with His wrath and visits with His mercy.

Christ prays knowing that within twenty-four hours He will be crucified on a cruel cross.

The work committed to the Son by the Father is almost done. Christ is ever faithful even to the end, even to death. (Jn.8:29)  Just a few more hours and the powers of darkness will descend upon the Light of the World.  It is the will of the Father to crush the Son. The Son is the peace offering.

The justice of God says, the wages of sin is death and the soul that sins must die. The mercy of God says, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23) 

The Lamb will die. We will go free.  God is Just. And God is Love. All in Christ. Bound up in the Cross.

Christ was born for this beloved. Christ came into the world to die.  The cup of wrath is inches away from His mouth. He is just about to take it upon His holy lips and drink it to the full.  For us beloved.

This is what is occupying His heart and mind in His prayer.

This is the prayer of a dying man facing His own death. The final enemy has to be confronted. Oh beloved why do we think that our life should get easier the longer we live. Our hardest battle yet lies ahead. And we all, everyone of us, will face it. But we take cheer, know that this One Christ has defeated death and the grave for us.  (I Cor.15:52-58)

Beloved there is a time and season for everything. There is a time for levity, for rejoicing. But this is not that time. (Eccl.3:1-8)

Could there be anything more sobering. Ought we not to sit silently and witness this sad scene?  Beloved, the garden of Gethsemane is holy ground. (Exod.3:5, Acts 7:33) Our praying Savior is there.

The witnesses.

Jesus takes with Him three eyewitnesses of this account, Peter, James and John. Peter was a fisherman and so were James and John. James and John were the sons of Zebedee. Jesus called these fellows, sons of thunder. They wanted to call fire down from heaven like Elijah on the Samaritans that did not receive Jesus into their town. (Mk.3:17, 2 Kg.1:1-18)

Oh beloved what lessons here about ministers and the church.  Ministers do not save. The church does not save. Ministers still have the flesh as we clearly see. Lord, they do not believe in You? Let’s kill them!  The church has shed oceans of blood forgetting their true calling. Beloved never forget, it was the (visible) church that killed Christ. They just got the world to do their wicked bidding.

Our flesh is a wolf. Christ has come to die to make us lambs. We are not to shed blood. We are called to shed our blood.  In imitation of our Savior.

Oh beloved let us learn of Christ.  

Let me say another word about these three witnesses. Jesus took these men out from the other nine men to be His special witnesses of certain special events in the life of Christ.

At the transfiguration of Christ we see Christ’s glory.  Life after death. (Mt.17:1-3)

At Christ raising the daughter of Jairus from the dead we see Christ’s power over death.  He is the life giver. (Mk.5:35-43)  At the Garden of Gethsemane we see Christ submitting to death, to purchase our life. (Mk.14:32-42)  They witness and so they say for us to believe, Jesus is the Christ. Believe in Him. And be saved.

We will revisit these witnesses at the end of the sermon. 

The prayer.

Christ prays.

Now let’s consider some particulars of Christ’s prayer.  (Jn.17:1-26)

Christ’s heart.

V.33.  And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled.

V.34.  And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; (Jn.1:1-18)

Emotional grief.

The Holy Spirit has recorded the inner turmoil of our Jesus.  This is here for our instruction. To teach us about Christ. About His work for the Father to save us.  This is our Mediator, God come in the flesh.  Jesus is really and truly and fully God.

But He is also really and truly and fully man. Christ has a real human body.  A body that can suffer and die. A body that can sweat drops of blood, a body that can weep bitter tears. Christ has a real human soul. He has real human emotions.  Jesus is grieving. His heart is breaking. He is in emotional anguish.

Oh Beloved, Christ is a man of sorrows. Christ is a man acquainted with grief. Christ’s entire life was a valley of tears, living in the valley of the shadow of death. Christ’s whole life was a passion week. Because of sin. (Isa.53:1-12) Beloved, why do we think our life should be easier than our Savior’s?

He came to His own and His own knew Him not. And He grieved. They would die in their sin.

Beloved, Christ came to seek and to save lost sinners. Christ did not come for righteous people. There are no righteous people. (Lk.5:32, Mt.9:13, Mk.2:17, Rom.3:10-24)

Physical death.

Now beloved some come here, and they conclude, oh of course Christ is grieving, He knows that He is going to die. And to die on a cross at that. So, they conclude that this is a man terrified to die.

Let me say a few words about that. This is not the reason. Or should I say, not the main reason. But I have no doubt that Christ recoiled from death. Death is awful.

Christ is a real man. And death for Christ is a real death. Physical death is a separation of the soul from the body. Physical death is when the animating spirit that gives life to the body leaves the body. Contrary to popular thought, physical death is not natural. God did not create man originally to die. In fact, in one sense, God created man to be eternal. I do not mean the way God has essential uncreated eternality in His own blessed being.

But God created man with a body and a soul that will exist for eternity.  Either in God’s reconciled presence. Or with God’s offended presence.

Remember physical death was inflicted by God upon man for Adam’s sin. Death is an element of the curse of God. The Bible calls death an enemy, the final enemy. (I Cor.15:26, Heb.2:14-18)

Judicial death.

The grief that was crushing Christ almost to death even before His death was the thought of become accursed by the Father of His love. Christ the Holy One grieved to be accounted a sinner, to have the sins of His people imputed to Him.

Galatians 3:13. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE “—

2 Corinthians 5:20. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Matthew 27:45.  Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”

There is a sense out of our love for Jesus that we do not really like to think what sins were really reckoned to Him. We recoil to really think our Holy Jesus would really take our unholy sin upon Himself – as if He did it.  That is after all beloved what imputation means.  He pays for what we did as if He did it. The Just One dies for the unjust ones.

It would be a helpful, albeit a painful, exercise to consider the kinds of sin placed upon Christ for which God required the death penalty.

I Corinthians 6:9. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  (Rev.21:8)

Galatians 5:19.  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,  20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,  21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

There is something here, beloved, that we may miss. Please take note of Christ’s emotional response to sin and having it be attributed to Him even by legal imputation.  He recoils. He retches as it were.

Oh beloved, how does natural man respond to sin?  You know the answer. Unconverted man eats and drinks sin like their milk and meat. Unconverted man lives, moves, and exists in sin. Apart from Christ we are sin. And we love it.  Natural man does not come to the holy light of Christ because his deeds are evil. Listen to our speech. Unclean lips dwelling among a people of unclean lips. Watch the news. Watch the television.  Murder. Fornication. Blasphemy. Idolatry.

Even if you can succeed in getting a person to speak about the concept of sin, unless God gives them justifying faith in Jesus, they will never hold God’s view on sin.  Man’s view on sin is horribly corrupted and deficient.  Man thinks sin is a small thing. A character defect or something like that. Plus, they think, well even if there is a God and we sin against God, it is not great matter. God just winks. Then He is ok with our sin.

Oh beloved, never forget the retching heart of Christ in regards to sin. Herein is God’s view of sin. Sin is the evil of evils. Sin, all sin, the smallest of sin, provokes God to the fiercest holy anger and offense. God’s justice demands that the soul that sins MUST die. Not might die. Not maybe die. Not wink. Die.

Christians need to recapture Christ’s view of sin. We need to recapture Christ’s view of our own sin.  Are we not all very good at excusing our own sin?  In fact, we are very good at not even recognizing our sin.  And even when we recognize it, how often is our acknowledgement just mere words. Oh, let me write a paper on sin.  No. That is not what I am talking about.  Christ has an emotional response. He grieves. He throws Himself on the ground.

What would we be like spiritually if for each of our sins we grieved?  If we actually wept over them? And considered, this sin cost the death of my holy Redeemer.  I can tell you one thing that would happen.

We would pray.  And we would pray with feeling, with heart. And this is the only kind of prayer that God hears.  Heartless prayers are faithless prayers. And without faith it is impossible to please God.

Christ’s words.

Christ’s response to the anguish of His soul is to pray to His heavenly Father. 

Matthew 26:39.  And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed,

V.35.  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.

V.36.  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.”

V.39. Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words.

Christ as God is the proper object of prayers.  Jesus says, I and the Father are one.  (Jn.10:30-38)

What we see here is Jesus Christ as God in the Flesh. God became Immanuel to become our Mediator.  Hence, we see Christ as our real human Mediator praying to God.  Here we think of Christ’s statement, and the Father is greater than I. (Jn.14:28) As our Mediator Savior Christ places Himself under the Father to do the Father’s will, which is to die for the sins of His people.

Christ’s comfort in His grief came from God the Father.  His Father.

Christ takes His grief to God.

Beloved, this was Christ’s real comfort.  Christ goes to God His Father. No man can help him.  There is no other place to go.

Oh beloved, what lessons are here for us.

How many times do we forget this? I teach this to others all the time. But I forget to do it myself all the time!  And when we don’t take our grief to God we do one of two things. We keep it to ourselves.  And we have no answers. Or we take it to mere men. And they often make it worse.  And so we stew and fret. And gripe and moan. And worry, worry, worry. And all that anxiety breeds anger and harsh words and every other bad fruit.

Listen to the words of a hymn. 

What a friend we have in Jesus,  All our sins and griefs to bear!  What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!  Oh, what peace we often forfeit,  Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry  Everything to God in prayer!

Let’s learn to take our troubles to God in prayer. Take them to our Christ, our sympathetic high priest. (James 5:13, Heb.2:14-18, Heb.4:13-16) He knows. He understands. 

Christ submits His will to God.

Christ in His prayer to His Father submits His will to God the Father’s will. The Son submits Himself to the Father.  A voluntary death. A necessary death.

He lays His request before God. If it is possible to purchase your people another way than for Me to become accursed for sin, then please Father make a way.  But if not. Then Thy will we done. And not My will. Oh beloved, what a Savior.

God reveals His will to us in two ways. In providence. In what happens in our life.  And He reveals His will for our salvation in His word. We submit to His providential government by accepting and not pining.  We submit to His decretive government by believing, loving, and obeying.

God sustained His beloved Son Christ Jesus to submit to His will. God answered Christ’s prayer. There is no other way to purchase sinners but by Christ’s death. God sustained Christ to be faithful unto death.

It was Christ’s love of the Father that bound Him to His duty.  For the glory of God. It was Christ’s love of the Bride that bound Him to His duty. For the salvation of sinners.

When our path of duty is clear. Jesus is teaching us to hate sin and resist sin at all costs and to do the will of God at all costs even if it involves our death.  The Puritans would say, it is better to suffer than to sin.

The charge.

V.32-42.  Last week Jesus told the men, the Bible says that you will all flee away from Me, that they would forsake Jesus in the hour of His need. To a man they said, never Lord. We will all go to prison with You, for You. We will all die with You, for You.

Now Jesus says, sit over here while I go over there and pray.  You watch and you pray.

Bear My sorrow with Me. Weep with those that weep. Have sympathy with Me.

But Christ would get none.  God alone was His support. Oh, beloved what sorry comforters we can be. But God is always near to the broken hearted.

Pray for yourselves and pray for Me. But pray while I pray.  And beloved, what do they do? They fall asleep on duty. 😊   (Lk.22:39-46, Rom.7:7-25, James 4:1-10, I Pt.2:11-12, Gal.5:17)

What needy people we are. What a loving Savior we have. Beloved, I do want to point out something. After the death and resurrection of Christ these men were confirmed in their faith.

By God’s grace they went on to preach this Christ even unto their own death.  Oh beloved, one sin, ten sins, two failures, a thousand failures, do not stop you. They cannot stop you following Christ. Your faith gets the victory. Because your Christ gets the victory. He died. He rose. He lives. We will die. We will rise. We will live – in Christ.

Amen

Study Questions.

  1. What lessons can the house of mourning teach us? Why is the house of mourning beneficial for the wise? Why do fools spend their time in the house of feasting? (Eccles.3:11, 7:2-4, 12:12-14, Gen.3:17-24, I Jn.2:15-17, James 4:1-10, Heb.9:27, I Cor.7:29-31, Rom.5:12-15, Lk.12:1-31, Ps.90:1-17, I Pt.1:24, Isa.40:6, Lk.17:26-30, Lk.14:16-26)
  1. What does Gethsemane mean? This garden was situated on the Mount of Olives, how does this relate to prophecy? (2 Sam 15:30, Zech 14:1-4, Matt 21:1, Matt 24:3, Matt 26:30, Mark 11:1, Mark 13:3, Mark 14:26, Luke 19:37, Luke 22:39 and John 8:1)
  1. What lessons about Christ’s estate of humiliation do we learn by His regular use of this garden? (Lk.22:39, Jn.8:1-2/Jn.18:1, Mt.8:19-22, 2.Cor. 8:9)
  1. What lessons do we learn about the Bible by Christ dying at Jerusalem? About God? About Man? About Man in the visible (church) household of faith (i.e. Israel)? About Christ?(Mt.27:22, 21:33-46, Ezek.24:13, Lev.14:33-45, Heb.9:22, Heb.13:11-13, Mt.23:27-39, Lk.18:31, Col.1:20, Heb.13:20, I Pt.1:2, Jn.1:9-13, Rom.9:6-16, Dan.9:1-27, Rev.11:8)
  1. What day of the week does Christ pray in the Garden of Gethsemane? What are some things that are going to happen to Christ in the next twenty-four hours from this prayer? What do we learn about Christ by this? About His disciples? About Man? About salvation?
  1. Who are the three witnesses that Christ takes with Him into the garden? Who are the sons of thunder? What are some lessons these three disciples teach us? What three special events in Christ’s ministry do these men witness?  What is the significance of what they witnessed? (Mt.4:14-25, I Cor.1:17-31, Mt.10:32-44, Mk.3:17, 2 Kg.1:1-18, Mt.17:1-3, Mk.5:35-43)
  1. Why is Christ so grieved in His prayer? What are some things He says or does that express His grief? What does this teach us about Christ? About Man? Who caused this grief? (Lk.22:39-46, Jn.18:1-14, Isa.53:1-12, Lk.5:32, Mt.9:13, Mk.2:17, Rom.3:10-24, Gal.3:13, 2 Cor.5:20, Mt.27:45-46, I Cor.6:9-10, Rev.21:8, Gal.5:19-21,I Cor.15:26, Heb.2:14-18)
  1. What do we learn by Christ praying during His Father during His time of grief? About Christ? About us? (James 5:13, Heb.2:14-18, Heb.4:13-16)
  1. What lessons do we learn by Christ submitting His will to the will of His Father? About Christ? About us? (Mt.6:10, Mt.26:39, Mk.14:36, Lk.22:42, Jn.6:38, Jn.10:11-18, Heb.5:4-10, Mt.4:4, I Cor.6:19-20)
  1. What are some lessons we learn by all the disciples falling asleep? By their not obeying Christ’s words? By not praying? And by why they fell asleep? Were they saved men? Did Christ still use them after their sin and failure? What lessons do we learn by this? (Mk.14:32-42, Lk.22:39-46, Rom.7:7-25, James 4:1-10, I Pt.2:11-12, Gal.5:17)
  1. Do you pray? Daily? If married, with your spouse? If you have children in the home, with your children? Interact with this hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in prayer!  Oh, what peace we often forfeit,  Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry  Everything to God in prayer!

 

 

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