March 26, 2017 – Obedient Son, True Human
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Lent
Mark 14:32-42 (ESV)
32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he 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. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
The intense time of prayer before Jesus’ arrest (and crucifixion) shows us the depth of Jesus’ human experience – we will consider three things that are revealed:
I) Weakness Revealed
- v38 “the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 9:37-39; 14:29)
- v40 “again… their eyes were very heavy…”
II) Humanity Revealed
- v33 “he took with him Peter, James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled” (Mark 9:2/transfiguration)
- v34 “my soul is very sorrowful, even to death”
- v36 “Abba, Father… remove this cup from me”
II) Strength Revealed
- v36 “yet not what I will, but what you will” (obedience)
- v38 “watch and pray”
- seeking God’s strength in prayer – prayer that is: 1) honest 2) grounded 3) dynamic 4) in faith
Questions for Reflection
- Have you ever had an experience where you felt confident in something and then failed? What emotions did you experience? What lessons did you learn? Does that experience still effect you, and if so, how? In what ways do you try to avoid those kinds of experiences?
- People have a willingness to do good, but there is a weakness in all people preventing them from doing the things they otherwise would want to do. How do you understand this human weakness? What terms would you use to describe it, how does it effect particular people, how do people typically manage or explain it?
- Jesus was a real person, and in Mark 14:32-42 we see the depth of his struggle as he faced the fulfillment of his work to suffer for his people. Is it comforting to know Jesus was a real person who suffered as real people do? Is it hard to understand? How can this be true, even while the Bible teaches he is the Son of God who is without sin?
- How can you live with humility even when things seem to be going ok? How should you be watchful without being paranoid, how can you avoid pride without also having all sorts of negative thoughts about yourself? What does it look like to be truly humble and to depend on God for strength?
- What does wrestling with God in prayer look like, especially when you are not confident you will get what you want from God, or if you believe obedience would have you choose what you don’t want? How do you remain honest without being disrespectful to God? How do you trust God’s goodness without needing to control how God will answer your prayers? How does this kind of prayer prepare you for action?
Prayer of Confession
Abba, Father: we confess we are like the disciples. We are not watchful. We lack discernment, paying great attention to relatively unimportant things, and little attention to things that concern you. We are not prayerful. We exhaust ourselves with busyness, leaving fellowship with you and the cultivation of our souls low on our priority list. Unlike Jesus, we do not willingly submit to your will, but when things are hard, we defer to what we want, living as though our prayer is really “my will be done, not yours”. Thank you for Jesus, who is faithful, and for what he willingly suffered for us, the weak and undeserving. Wake us up, open our eyes, strengthen our spirits so that we will become more like him. Amen.