“…My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death…” ~ Mark 14:34b
Jesus Christ did not approach the cross lightly. It was for Him a massive undertaking, which brought Him intense sorrow. The anticipation of what He soon had to face, was almost overwhelming.
To get the enormity of the sacrifice on the cross to purchase our redemption, consider this:
Jesus Christ is the one which holds the universe together,
“And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” ~ Colossians 1:17
And the universe was created by Him and for Him:
“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:” ~ Colossians 1:16
Bearing our sins on the Cross was such a burden that the Creator and Sustainer of the entire (physical AND spiritual) universe was almost overwhelmed.
Grace is NOT cheap. Therefore, hollow Believism denigrates the great sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:20
Belief is nothing, unless that belief also transforms our hearts and minds and, thereby, our actions.
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” ~ James 2:19
The price Jesus paid to redeem us is too great for salvation to be limited to a mindless agreement without a conscious commitment.
“…tarry ye here, and watch.”~ Mark 14:34c
This clearly exemplifies Jesus’ humanity. In His “hour of need”, at this very low point in His life, He sought human support: He wanted His closest friends to be there with Him. He was not self-sufficient as Deity, He was “needy” as humanity. Jesus shows us that He had emotional needs just like we do.
“So they sat down with [Job] upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” ~ Job 2:13
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:15-16
Next time you feel down, saddened and stressed by the pressures of life. Remember Jesus felt it too… and He “tarry” with you, He will stay with you, He will comfort you through your gloom into His light.
“…nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt” ~ Mark 14:36b
This is the attitude to which we must all aspire: The attitude of “The Son” who sought not His own will but the will of His Father.
This is, likely, the major stumbling block for many Believers. We are often so consumed with fulfilling our own wills that we are quite unaware, even unconcerned, about the Father’s will.
Conversely, Jesus Christ, from the beginning to the end, subjected His will to The Father’s will. He woke up with His Father’s will on His mind and fell asleep with it on His mind. For Him, to live was to walk in The Father’s perfect will and not in His own will.
“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” ~ John 5:30
We, Believers, are also challenged to be about our Father’s business rather than our own business:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 7:21
“Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” ~ Mark 14:38
Succinctly, Jesus Christ illustrates that the flesh is the Believer’s constant challenge. He declared that, spiritually, His disciples were fine: “ready”. The hindrance they faced was not their spirit; it was their flesh.
Because of the flesh, the disciples missed out on one of Jesus’ greatest triumphs: His triumph over His own will in order to yield to the Father’s will. They missed out on the perfect example of how Jesus, in His humanity, could still triumph over sin (i.e., rejection of God’s will), even when facing great agony.
It is our flesh that so often denies us our spiritual triumphs.
We simply fall asleep when it is time to watch. We get distracted by physical needs even in the middle of spiritual battles.
If we were to watch and pray as we ought, how many more battles would we have won over the flesh/sin?
To gain victory over us, the flesh itself (or through satan’s influence) lulls us to sleep before luring us away: just like drugging the guards of a city before then overtaking and capturing it.
Nevertheless, God’s will was accomplished in spite of the fleshly weakness of Jesus’ disciples. And that is a great comfort, not to encourage our weakness, but that Jesus Christ does not hold our weaknesses against us. Always, encouraging us to join Him on the battlefield, despite the numerous times we have fallen down/asleep on it.
We must though accept the challenge to “watch and pray”: to have mastery over our flesh so that we don’t stumble so much.
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:27
“Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.” ~ Mark 14:42
Ultimately, we must get up and join the “fight”, we must step into the arena. We must join the battle against “principalities and powers”. We must face the enemy.
And Jesus made sure His disciples were prepared, that they got up (awakened) before the enemy came upon them.
Like the disciple must wake up and face the betrayer(s): those who would take Christ captive and seek to banish Him from view. To expunge His influence, to erase His message.
And the enemy often comes in the form of a “brother”, just like Judas. The enemy greets us with a kiss of “friendship” while scheming to put us in bondage to the world and its priests of the profane.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Jude 1:4
We, “the church” must resist the temptation to fall asleep, and then to sleep so soundly that we become unresponsive to Jesus’ prodding to “Rise up…”.