Monday after Judica
Scripture: St. Mark 14:32-72 (NKJV)
14:32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
43 And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45 As soon as He had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46 Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47 And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled.
51 Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, 52 and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.
53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. 54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire.
55 Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. 56 For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.
57 Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, 58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.'” 59 But not even then did their testimony agree.
60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 61 But He kept silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”
And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. 65 Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.
66 Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came.
67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.”
68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed.
69 And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again.
And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.”
71 Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!”
72 A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.
In today’s reading, we’re confronted with events that are often overlooked. With the days of Good Friday and Easter just ahead, Maundy Thursday is sometimes relegated to being just a “prelude.” But in fact, without Jesus passing through the agony of Gethsemane, there would be no Good Friday and no Easter. Perhaps the greatest test Jesus underwent were those awful hours of Thursday evening.
It’s an interesting setting, this garden. For Jesus doesn’t confront other people, but His own humanity. The God who is also one hundred percent man is faced with the final countdown to crucifixion—a death He’d been dreading His whole life. This garden would not serve as gardens normally do, as a place of respite, but as a haunting quiet that allowed Satan to do his worst. The dread of Gethsemane’s garden would be the ironic opposite of the pleasure of Eden. As we near the end of our Savior’s journey, Jesus must finish the task of undoing the sins committed in that other garden.
Knowing the vulnerability of His human nature, Jesus asks His three closest disciples to accompany Him, while He prays to the Father: “He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will'” (vs. 35-36). While the disciples fail Him, the Father does not. Jesus leaves the Garden with firm resolution: “Rise, let us be going!” (v. 42).
Prayer: “Go to dark Gethsemane,
Ye that feel the Tempter’s pow’r;
Your Redeemer’s conflicts see,
Watch with Him one bitter hour;
Turn not from His griefs away,
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.” (TLH 159:1)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.