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Mark 14:27-52; Matthew 26:31-56; Luke 22:31-53; & John 17:1-18:11

11.01.2010

Mark 14:52 | After retelling the events in Gethsemane, Mark has this odd little story of a youth, never otherwise heard of, who witnessed the arrest of Christ and was almost arrested himself, but escaped by ditching his clothes and fleeing naked from the garden.  This, as you would expect, is humorous to me … because I am juvenile.  But the ESV folks said that many people consider this youth to be Mark himself, who didn’t give his name so as to avoid bringing undue attention to himself.  He’s the right age, and it explains why this otherwise random story with no consequences is told here and only here.  ‘Run, naked Mark, run!  Tell the tale of what happened here!’

Back to the story.

After the farewell discourse, Jesus and the disciples go the the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives outside of Jerusalem, which was apparently their usual place to spend the evening in prayer and fellowship.  Jesus prays here amid the impending certainty of the crucifixion. 

Luke 22:42 | It’s a request of which I didn’t realize the significance until recently.  Jesus asks for the cup to be removed from Him.  As we know from Jeremiah and numerous other Old Testament citations, the cup was a symbol of God’s wrath.  Jesus faces the reality that He will receive not just physical and emotional abuse but the wrath of God in the immediate future.  It’s not a sin or a weakness, but a manifestation of His human nature that He asks for another way, some way that He can avoid the unspeakable awfulness that is to come.  But through it all, He subordinates His will to the Father’s, saying in John 18:11 that He will drink from the cup.  To me, this is one of the most crucial moments in Jesus’ life, in the Gospel story, and in all of history.  After this, the penalty of death and wrath will still be carried out, but Jesus has faced and come through the mental anguish of deciding to go forward with what He knows will be the worst possible experience. 

John 17:20 | John goes into the most detail of any of the writers in relating Jesus’ prayers.  Perhaps he was the closest to Him, perhaps he was the lightest sleeper, or perhaps Jesus related to John later what He prayed during those moments.  But I’m still struck by the beauty that Jesus prayed for me during those moments, the most agonizing of His life.  He prayed for all future followers, that we would know His love and peace and unity with Him through the Word that we were to receive.  Emotionally, this aspect brings me into the moment more than anything else.

Andrew Peterson has a song called ‘The Silence of God.’  In it, he deals with the reality of being a follower of Christ who still faces doubts and still suffers the remnants and consequences of sin and brokenness.  He talks about the isolating feeling to approach God, looking for an answer, the answers we are promised, only to be met with silence.  The last verse of this song is a powerful shift in focus from the lonely believer to the lonely God:

There’s a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold.
He’s kneeling in the garden, silent as a stone.
All His friends are sleeping, and He’s weeping all alone.

And the Man of All Sorrows, He never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that He bought.
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God,
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not.

The aching may remain, but the breaking does not,
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God.

Even for believers, there can be pain and loneliness and doubt.  We can feel that the God in whom we believe and to whom we have committed our lives is either absent or ignoring us.  But there’s still comfort in the fact that God Himself experienced that same loneliness.  He came down and suffered, pleading for relief from a fate we can’t even imagine, and all He got was silence.  The God who does not respond knows all too well the pain in that silence, and He doesn’t take it lightly. 

And because He knew that pain and endured the suffering that followed, we can know that our pain and loneliness are merely remnants of a sin that’s been destroyed.  They cannot defeat us because they have been defeated.  The aching may remain, but the breaking does not.

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From → [minor], [music]

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