A Lenten Reflection for Wednesday of Holy Week from Mark 14:32-42

The Agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

Mark 14: 32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,[a] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Consider who Jesus was, the preexistent second person of the Trinity eternally in sweet communion with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. He was sinless, as God, and when incarnate overcame all temptation, being like us yet without sin. He created the worlds. Yet, He had come conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, to be with us and to save us from our sins, and to announce, inaugurate and reclaim His Kingdom.

And now the hour had come for Him to take upon Himself the sins of the whole world from Adam and Eve committing the original sin to the sins of six billions of people that live today and all the sin of the future until he comes again in glory to judge the, quick and the dead. All vile wickedness of the sins of all time was about to be imputed to Him. He had never known sin in his person and He sorrowed dreadfully.

He knew how frightfully God the Father would bring down judgment upon Him on our behalf and it made Him sorrowed, agonizing almost to the point of death. He knew that not only would he be beaten beyond recognition as the prophet Isaiah foretold, but also that he would descend into hell – the place of the dead and suffer. For this is the Lamb of God, slain from before the foundation of the world about to have the sins of the world imputed to Him even as the scapegoat in the ceremonies of the OT. He was about to fulfill forever that which had been long foreshadowed. No wonder “He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” He seemed to ask if there could be any other way, so horrible was the prospect of taking into his being sin and suffering the judgment of God. Yet, He willingly fulfilled His calling, known from before time to suffer and die vicariously as He came to do in due time.

And He sorrowed. Do you, do we, sorrow for our sins, to agonize for our sins and for the affects of sin on the created order and their deep offensiveness to God. No, we cannot sorrow as deeply a Christ who sorrowed so deeply it seemed He would die. And yet we do sorrow a sorrow that is unto repentance. And He sweetens our sorrow with the knowledge that He became sin for us, was judged for us and we find forgiveness in repentance at the foot of the cross. Yes, He took upon Himself the curse, that we could be freed from the curse. Therefore we anticipate His passion, and rejoice at the knowledge of the resurrection.

Let us pray.

And now as our Lord taught us to pray together, “Our Father…”

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