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March 31, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Passion Week,” with a message titled “Jesus in the Garden,” from Mark 14:32.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit, longtime evangelist and now president of Bob Jones University will preach a four-part series on passion week the week leading up to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The main events of Christ suffering are the Last Supper, the garden of Gethsemane. The trial of Jesus before Caiaphas and the crucifixion today.
Steve will lead us in a study of the garden of Gethsemane.
I'd like to invite your attention if you turn please to the book of Mark chapter 14 verse 32 we are walking through the last week of Christ in yesterday morning we looked for a few moments at the Last Supper.
Tomorrow we will look at the trial of Jesus before Caiaphas and then the crucifixion of courses reminder, we are marching our way up to resurrection Sunday. Today were going to look at Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. To be honest with you I found that this is a very, very difficult passage of Scripture preach is not because the story is a clear but so much of it is enigmatic. It's it's hard to grasp just the simple words in the profound meaning of them.
So as we look at this passage this morning. I'd like to follow to guiding principles are two guiding ideas through the passage. The first one is one that I mentioned yesterday, and that is like to stay within the framework of the overall theme of the gospel of Mark. The writer had a purpose.
He was trying to say something and Mark was written because he is warning people to become believers in Jesus Christ, specifically, was written to the people of Rome.
He wanted them to understand that Jesus was not only God's son but he was God's suffering servant who would give his life as a ransom for our sins. But Mark's gospel is not only about Jesus but is also about his disciples and he teaches us what is involved and being a follower of Jesus.
And that is if you're going to follow Jesus. There are nonnegotiable's you have to deny yourself. You have to take up your cross and you have to follow him. But as we saw yesterday will definitely see today. The disciples were slow learners. They were slow learners because first of all, they have the wrong perception about Jesus and secondly they have the wrong perception about themselves and so were to stay within that framework second second guiding idea is we want to follow Mark's style or his approach in writing this passage in yesterday.
For example, we look at a Mark's sandwich and I mentioned there's about 11 passages in his gospel account, but today is a little bit different today.
His style is more similar to like a TV show or a movie where there's a main character with the main plot.
But as you're watching along other scenes are inserted and you can move from one scene to another in the hall and in it kinda carries you through the main story and develops the plot line in further detail. We call that enter collation and so actually this passage in Gethsemane is clearly an enter collation because here it's about Jesus's experience in the garden of Gethsemane. But what does he do he inserts the disciples and they come into the picture and why is Mark doing this because he's making a contrast. The contrast is between the willingness of Jesus to follow his heavenly father.
Whatever the cost, and is contrasted with the disciples and their increasing unwillingness to follow Jesus and even pay the smallest price. So this morning let's look at the garden of Gethsemane and really three simple things were going to see this morning the first thing is the place itself. Notice what it says in verse 32 anything and they came to a place which was named Gethsemane and he said to his disciples, sit ye here where I want.
While I shall pray the location where Jesus took his disciples was a place that they knew well.
It was a place that they would go to and pray. It was called Gethsemane what was Gethsemane. It was and it was an orchard of olive trees that sat at the base of the Mount of olives. If I could take you to the holy land on a tour. We would deftly go to the garden of Gethsemane because it's still there today.
The word Gethsemane in the Greek means oil press and there at the garden of Gethsemane. There was an olive oil press and olive oil was a main staple for the people that lived in the Mediterranean region, the olives would be picked they would be put into the press.
The press would use a set of heavy weighted stones is leveraged to press down the olives and from the very first pressing would come the best oil and that oil was devoted to God. It was used in the service of God in the temple. That's what we call today virgin olive oil.
So what does this say to us God's best. The sign in whom the Father delights enters into the garden under the weight and the burden and the crushing pressure of being the world's sin bearer. That's what we see here in the garden of Gethsemane.
So what was Jesus intention of going there. He tells us he says to his disciples sit here while I while I shall pray. Jesus came to the garden to pray. So why prayer but I think the question is a core importance for both Jesus and his disciples. You see, in the gospel of Mark. There are three main references to Jesus prayer life and by the way. Throughout these messages listen. How many times the idea of three comes up the first time is in Mark chapter 1 verse 35 that was in the beginning of his ministry. The second time, his prayer life is mentioned is in chapter 6 and verse 46 that's in the middle of his ministry.
And then in chapter 14 verse 32 we find Jesus at the end of his ministry. This does not mean that Jesus only pray three times what it does mean is that the number three is the number of completion. You can see it this way, that Mark is telling us that prayer was a major component of Jesus's life bit everywhere he went he pray in these three occasions he prayed when he was alone and he prayed because of a big decision that he had to make. So why pray. What is it about prayer that is so important and it is this prayer testifies that spiritual power and spiritual ability is not in ourselves but it is in God alone. Someone said that prayer is faith turn to God is reliance it is dependence on God. How did Jesus begin his prayer book in verse 436 and he said father.
All things are possible under the prayer. Someone says turns the impossible into him possible that with God with him all things are possible. So why prayer. Think of it this way. Those who serve God are characterized not by their abilities but by their inadequacies. Jesus and his disciples were called to tasks beyond their abilities and the fact that these tasks super surpass their abilities is evidence that ministry is not something that is done by man's power it can only be done by God's power.
Therefore, what is prayer. Prayer is God's kickoff to the inadequate God is saying to all of us, you, you are not capable. You can't. But God can. And so is gifted all of us with the privilege to pray. So in the garden of Gethsemane.
We see Jesus and his disciples going there to pray pray. However what Jesus did and what the disciples did were quite different.
That leads me to the second thing that is the prayer itself because that's what they came to doing Gethsemane is right here that we see Jesus inserting his three inner disciples into the story. Look at verse 3360 said, sit ye here while I shall pray and he taketh with him Peter and James and John you ever get to go to the garden of Gethsemane. Actually, there's various spots there in the garden there really cool caves. There we held services and saying there many times and basically Jesus took all of his disciples except Jesus and they went to a spot and he laughed eight of the disciples and he went a little further and he took with him.
The three disciples, Peter, James and John, and from there a little further Jesus with the pray is very interesting that in Mark's gospel. Jesus brings these three disciples. This little select group to three unique events. The first event is the raising of gyrus's daughter. In chapter 5 in verse 37 the second time these three disciples. When we Jesus is his transfiguration on the mountain in chapter 9 and verse two and the third time is here in the garden of Gethsemane. In chapter 14 in verse 32.
Each time Peter James and John go with him. They learn new things about Jesus and I think we can see this parallel in Philippians chapter 3 in verse 10 where Paul says that I might know him.
The transfiguration and the power of his resurrection gyrus's daughter and the fellowship of his sufferings, the garden of Gethsemane. However, the disciples demonstrated through each of these events. Their growing inability to grasp the significance of what was going on in Christ's life and in the garden of Gethsemane. They reach not a spiritual high point, but a spiritual low point in the garden of Gethsemane. The scene shifts back and forth the intercalation between what Jesus is doing and what the disciples are doing and the difference between the two is dramatic. What is Jesus doing in the garden and he tells us in verse 33 it says and he began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy and say offended that my soul is exceeding sorrowful on the death, the word began their refers to the starting of Christ's passion for Jesus's suffering didn't begin on the cross. It ended on the cross.
It began in the garden of Gethsemane is agony in the garden is a prelude to his agony on the cross and what was Jesus doing in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus was suffering and noticed the emotions that he experienced it says he was sore amazed and of any began to be very heavy. And he said my soul is exceeding sorrowful under death. Here we find three emotions of Jesus number one. He was shocked that the idea of the word sore amazed it means he was greatly upset.
He was distressed and secondly the Bible says he was very heavy and that means he was under stress is like was filled with anxiety with fear and with that burden, and the third is he was sorrowful in the death he was sought there was sorrow.
This is the idea that he was going through such depression that his heart was about to break. And he was about to die.
Think of it distress, stress and depression. Recently, I was at an event where they spoke about the greatest problems among college athletes and they said the number one problem is mental illness and I think of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane thought of the fact that everybody has mental illness.
All of us do to a degree we all suffer from anxiety and burdens in stress and depression and and shock in our hearts break and I think of Jesus as he goes into this garden and you and I understand as Christians that we can go to Jesus and pray to him because we understand we know that he understands everything that you have ever felt. Jesus has felt himself and at that moment he turns to his friends and what is he say to them because of the simple command he says Terry here and watch stay here and watch his request was simple watch watch what what you think they were supposed to watch where they watch out for bad guys coming. No, I think they were to watch him suffer deal.
The Bible tells us that were to watch Jesus suffering the book of Hebrews chapter 12 it says looking under Jesus, who endured the cross, consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners as a Christian, God intends for you to watch the suffering of Christ to watch means to pay attention like a soldier standing watch at night if they had paid attention. If they watch Jesus what you think they would've done. I think they would've seen. This is suffering if they watched and suffering they would be been burden for him. They would've prayed for him because watching people are always praying people, and the question is will they watch they should have been willing to watch.
They had already been told that they were going to deny Jesus they'd already vowed that they would be committed to his death. They would they already already gone through that experience.
They should've had a sense of urgency they should listen. They should've watch they should been on the edge of their seat, but is that what happens will notice what verse 35 says this is Jesus goes a little distance away to pray is as he went for a little and he fell on the ground and he prayed somebody said nothing and all the Bible compares to Jesus is agony and anguish in the in Gethsemane. Neither the elements of the Psalms to the broken heart of Abraham as he prepared to sacrifice his son, or David's grief at the death of his son Absalom. Jesus was under the greatest strain in the greatest weight he felt the weight in the burden of the cross.
Luke tells us that when Jesus prayed, sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood was Jesus close enough for the disciples to see him and hear him. Yes, the book of Hebrews tells us is listening. Hebrews 5 in verse seven it says in the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears to him who is able to save him from death, folks.
He wasn't that far away. It's not any more than the distance from here to the back wall probably lesson that is about as far as you could throw a stone. It's not that far away. If somebody falls to the ground if there weeping in there crying.
You could hear them and what did Jesus pray Jesus made a request for possibility. Any use two images he asked for an hour to pass and he asked for cup to be taken away. He said if it were possible. The hour my pants from him.
He said Abba father. All things are possible under the take away this cup from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt. The hour was the purpose for Jesus is coming, why did Jesus come to be a ransom for many. He came to be a lamb slain, he came to fulfill the Old Testament pictures and prophecies. The spoke of one who would come at the right time in human history to be wounded for our transgressions, and to bear our iniquities. The hour had come. It was starting in the garden of Gethsemane.
He was asking that he would not go through this hour that bother you a little bit. The Jesus would pray that Willimantic question. Have you ever struggled with God's will. Have you ever prayed Lord I'm willing to do that but I really don't want to do that I take great comfort in the fact that the son of God struggled with his own father's will and all of us as a Christian find our victory before the Lord in prayer as we surrender ourselves to God's will, he prayed for the hour to pass. He also pray for the cup to be taken away the workup refers to experiencing something to remember when James and John wanted to sit on the right and left hand of Jesus and Jesus said to them, can you drink of the cop that I drink of the garden of Gethsemane was Jesus experiencing. He was experiencing the suffering that is caused by sin. Just think of the sorrow, the suffering and the shame of the New Testament characters think of what they went through.
Think of the mentally distressed maniac of good there. The brokenhearted Senate dog ruler gyrus in his dying daughter.
Think of desperate blind Bart Emmaus who lived in darkness. Think of the lonely and the isolated leper who wanted to be cleansed. Think of the confused and helpless father with a demon possessed son and nobody can help him. When Jesus drank the bitter cup he was drinking. Our suffering folks.
There is nothing that you've experienced in your life. There's no abuse you've ever been through. There's no shock in your life that you've ever gone through that Jesus has not drunk that cup for you, but even more than that. The Bible says he tasted death for every man, because he drank the cup of God's wrath all the full weight of sin of the world, starting with Adam all the way up to the day Jesus Christ suffered, and bled and died for us.
That's what he began to experience in the garden of Gethsemane.
The weight of the hour and the taste of the cup came on Jesus in the garden and no wonder. He said if there's another way God if there's a different plan. Would you please let me go that way.
And yet what a DG.
What did Jesus do. Jesus was willing to obey is his desire to obey his father was stronger than his desire to avoid suffering and throughout his ministry, Jesus embrace the pathway of suffering and at this point, we see the real irony beginning the scene now changes and we can back to the disciples. Here he is suffering here he is saying God if it be possible, let this cup pass from me and we see the disciples in verse 37 and water the disciples to or do what are they doing Jesus was suffering, but the disciples were sleeping any, any find them sleeping when I read that passage number one. A reading in my devotions on going what I mean is not good there just sitting there, there, sleeping there snow users their losers because here Christ is crying he's on the ground any sweating blood and is asking God to deliver him from the hour and here they are there asleep and look at verse 37 becomes a Peter and he says Simon sleep is that it is not that watch for one hour.
I mean Jesus at prayed about an hour.
That's not that long is about the length of a television show and then he said to them, watching them pray less you enter into temptation. The spiritually is ready but the flesh is weak. Does it irritate you that they slept. How can they asleep.do they care about Jesus what the Bible says that she really did care for the Scripture says the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. These were not unwilling men they had vowed to die for Jesus, but they were inexperienced men.
They did not realize the state or the condition of their own weakness. They assumed that they were strong. Let me put it this way, they were out of touch with their own flesh measure question. Are you out of touch with your flesh seriously. I think some of you act like you don't even have the flesh or if you do you ignore it. The problem is that they failed to do what Jesus he commanded them he told them to watch. They watch they would pray if they pray they would've avoided temptation when you and I are not careful we don't watch our flesh.
We don't pray what is it, do it opens up to more us to more temptations and so the problem with the disciples is that they were spiritually dull and being spiritually dull is a problem. So now the scene switches back, verse 39 it says he went back away and prayed. That's the second time. You could say is take two from scene one and what is Jesus do, he prays he pray three times you know most of us when we pray we don't just pray one time for one thing, we pray for that one thing over and over, reminds me of Paul praying for something to be removed in his life three times what was that a thorn in the flesh, but when it was Jesus or Paul to pray for something to be removed. It was not God's plan to take away.
Sometimes it's not God's plan to take away her suffering.
God wants us to stay in the suffering and pray and get his strength and we learn something here I think is really important we learn to live with an open hand.
I tell everybody that works on our executive team. I say we have to live with an open hand and God can put in the hand. What he wants or you can take out of it what you want and Jesus was living with an open hand before his father. Father if it's possible let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done. The people to get God's will done in the world are those that live with open hands on open hand is a surrendered heart and so the saying goes back to the disciples, déjà vu.
Verse 40 he returned he found them sleep again for their eyes were heavy.
Neither knew they want to answer him.
They didn't have anything to say they were falling asleep. There was no answer for their impotency and then he goes back 1/3 time and he prays again the same prayer and then he comes back the third time in the disciples are sleepy now it's really getting irritating the first time I I can get it is like me preaching to students and you know what if you fall asleep in chapel.
I get it semiretired yesterday. I got home from Salt Lake City.
I was there over the weekend and my flight was delayed from Salt Lake City outpost get home at 1230 Sunday night we didn't get out of town till 830. We landed. We landed in in Atlanta Sunday night at 2 AM or Monday morning at 2 AM and I couldn't get back so I rented a car and I drove home so I got to my house at 5 o'clock in the morning yesterday, so I preached yesterday I slept about 2 1/2 hour so I was tired and you know what yesterday I had III went Joseph I would hear you say you did a great job yesterday but I have to admit, my head bobbed a little bit okay. I mean I mean I was tired so I get it I get it with some isolates but when somebody comes a chapel he sleep every day. Some days I would think a baseball and throw it at you because you are irritating me really communicating to stay awake so when you read the disciples, I mean I mean they were sleeping, not once, not twice but three times what should be clear to us that we cannot follow Jesus in our own self effort, we come to the final thing I want to say today, and that's the point is very simple. What is the point we read in verse 41 notice what is says any set of them sleep on now and take your rest. It is enough. The hours come behold the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners, rise up, let us go. He that betray of me is at hand.
Think about it. Jesus prayed three times in the disciples slept 3×3 is a number of completion.
Jesus said to them, is enough. What is he saying to them, he saying wake up. He saying get up he saying were done he saying it's time to move out. You made your choice, I've made my choice, I'm going to follow God, but in just a few moments you're going to abandon God.
I'm going to go to the cross and be broken and you're going to run away and you're going be broken. The issue is not that you guys don't care is that you guys don't realize you can't live without me, you have to be broken over your own self ability in order to become really dependent on divine ability and so what is the point. The point is that the disciples failed.
They flaunt they didn't pass the course and in just a few moments. In verse 50. The Bible says they offer sucking and flip all of the disciples are going to run away from Jesus. And when you read the rest of the book of Mark, they never show up again. They look like total failures but there's a point that has to be made and the point is this, they had to wait for the cross and they had to wait for the empty tomb because folks to live the Christian life victory is not in me victory is in Jesus, you know, the disciples needed they needed the resurrection.
You know what you and I need we need a resurrected Savior, brother. We need a Lord who is conquered sin and death and is raised and is seated in the father's right hand. You know what we need we need a Pentecost with the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us and the disciples were miserable failures in themselves, but they were glorious victors in the power of the resurrection where the garden of Gethsemane. It's not real good.
It's ugly but resurrection's coming and that's the victory that we find in Christ. Father, we thank you that looks really bad in Gethsemane but it looks really good in the empty two Lord we thank you that you risen and through your resurrection. We can live for you.
Oh God, help us to live faithfully for you.
In Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Steve Pettit from the Gospel of Mark, which is part of the study called passion week. Thanks again for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform