Scripture: Mark 14:1-72
Observation: From the last supper to Peter denying Christ to Jesus’ betrayal and arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, this chapter outlines Jesus’s final moments before he stands trial and is sentenced to death.
Application: Growing up, I went to Catholic school, so every Friday afternoon during Lent, bellies full of pizza or fish filets (no meat on Fridays!), we’d put on our coats and take the short walk to the church next door. We’d shuffle into pews, someone would hand us these little booklets, and we’d begin Stations of the Cross. During Stations, we'd walk through the 14 different scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion, and the very first one was this scene in Chapter 14 where Jesus goes to Gethsemane.
To be honest, I dreaded Stations of the Cross. The only thing that made it bearable was that we got out of class for an hour. Maybe it was the monotonous reading, maybe it was the fact that I was only 12, or maybe it was because I didn’t really know Jesus himself – but Stations never moved me.
But right now, reading through this chapter, I can’t even get through the first one without literally tearing up. This part of Jesus’s story feels like too much to handle. The emotion, the betrayal, the desertion – it brings me to tears, knowing that the Son of Man, the one sent for this very purpose, shows such depth of human emotion.
Knowing what’s about to happen, Jesus takes three of his closest friends, Peter, James, and John, with him as he goes off to pray and confides in them.
“He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’” (verse 34)
His soul, crushed with grief – for me. For you. For all of us.
And then Jesus prays – but it’s his prayers that grip my heart. His prayers are more than prayers; they’re pleas, they’re cries to the Father himself, begging him to take the cup of suffering away.
The cup of suffering he endures – for me. For you. For all of us.
In that moment, he sat with full knowledge of what was about to happen. He knew the physical pain that stood before him, the cross that awaited him, the painful death that wasn’t far away.
The pain, the cross, the death – it was for me. For you. For all of us.
And as he started to face the suffering that was in front of him, his closest friends deserted him. Peter, arguably his best friend, denied knowing him, not once, not twice, but three times. Another disciple betrayed him.
He was doing this all for them, for me, for you, for all of us.
We all know the story doesn’t end here, and thank goodness for that. In the coming days, we’ll get to celebrate as Jesus conquers the grave. But for today, let’s remember what it took to overcome the grave. Let’s remember the pain, the betrayal, the hurt, and let’s thank our Jesus for enduring it all for us.
It was his rejection that led to the resurrection, his tears that led to his triumph.
And he did it all for me, for you, for all of us.
Prayer: Jesus, it is so painful to read about your deep suffering, the pain that you endured leading up to the cross. I praise you for each moment; I thank you that you went through it all so that I could be saved, so that I could live, so that I could walk around with your power in me. Amen.