Having just been betrayed and seized in the middle of the night Jesus was led away from the Garden of Gethsemane to the high priest and the rest of the Sanhedrin to be put on "trial". The "trial" or "trials," however, were in violation of nearly every major Jewish law of jurisprudence. The point of the trials seems to be to give a sense of legitimacy to Jewish leader's determination to put Jesus to death. This week in Mark we'll see the first three of Jesus six "trials," the absolute injustice of the Jewish leaders, and Jesus' crystal clear claim as to his true nature.
This is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. Even unbelievers may be able to quote the entirety of this chapter. As Christians we can skim through passages like these because of their familiarity and miss the depths of God that are there. We will be taking a close look at this chapter, sentence by sentence, and see what we can learn about who God is for us as the Good Shepherd and how this passage relates to Christmas.
The events of Mark 14:43-52 likely took place after midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning. After celebrating the Passover/Lord's Supper together earlier on Thursday, Jesus and his disciples (minus Judas) made their way out of Jerusalem to a garden in the Mount of Olives called Gethsemane. There Jesus prayed to the Father in unimaginable grief at the thought of becoming sin on behalf of all of God's people. While still in the garden Judas betrayed Jesus by leading the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers right to Jesus. In our passage for this morning we see Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss, the ignorant zeal of the disciples and Jews, a naked man running away from the scene, and the divine authorship of all these events. Please pray with me that God would allow us to properly marvel at the fulfillment of the Scriptures in Jesus' betrayal, suffering, death, and resurrection.
Our passage for this week (Mark 14:32-42) may be the darkest passage in the entire bible. In it Jesus slipped away to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, knowing that his betrayal, torture, and crucifixion were imminent. He "began to be greatly distressed and troubled" (33). His soul, Jesus said, was "very sorrowful, even to death" (34). He feel to the ground in desperation (35). He asked his sovereign Father to let the hour pass from him, pleading, "remove this cup!" (35-36). Of this time Luke recorded (22:44), "…Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." And finally, after submitting himself again to the will of the Father, Jesus led his disciples out of the garden and to his betrayal. Let's pray that God would grant us all that we need to get from this passage all that we need.