God in His infinite mercy allows us to be privy to Jesus Christ’s heart and prayers before His crucifixion. We can see the distress of our Savior as He looked forward to His death upon the cross. He anticipated it with dread even though He knew this cruel death to be the only means to secure salvation for believers and also knew that He would ultimately triumph over death by rising from the dead. Here is what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane hours before Jesus’s death.
32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” 35 He went a little farther, and 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. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” 43 And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45 As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46 Then they laid hands on Him and took Him. 47 Then one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled. Mark 14:32-50
What a precise depiction of the utter inability of sinful man to honor and obey their Creator. From the disciples to the religious leaders to the betrayer and the mob we see without relief the utter depravity of all of mankind. Jesus told three of His disciples, Peter, James and John, of His soul’s tribulation, desiring their support, but they couldn’t even watch with Him for one hour. Their grief and their sorrow cast them into sleep. The bravado expressed by Peter earlier was utterly undone by his inability to be there for his Lord and Savior during His time of distress before His arrest, unjust condemnation and execution. Jesus gently chided Peter and then warned Peter to pray so he would not enter into temptation. Peter’s misplaced zeal caused him to attack the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. In the end, their fear of man and self-preservation caused the disciples to flee their beloved Lord in this time of greatest need. Many may believe they are disciples of Christ but refuse to follow Him in His service because they are still in the flesh and haven’t been empowered from on High.
All of the religious leaders were party to this clandestine attack upon the sinless Son of God. The chief priests, elders and scribes sent this multitude to arrest Jesus, glad for the one who was leading them to their perceived enemy. Yes, they were religious, but they were not godly. They had no fear or love for God and preferred their man made doctrines to the pristine truth of the Holy Scriptures. They were egged on in their depravity by their envy of Christ and fear that He would supplant their esteem in the eyes of the Jewish people and that the Romans would, because of Christ, destroy the temple and the nation. The religious always have their eyes upon themselves and pretend love for God and/or others for their own aggrandizement and gain.
Judas, the betrayer, was motivated by love of money. We are told by John in his gospel, that Judas had charge of the money box and used to pilfer it. It was Judas who complained when Mary broke her alabaster jar and poured the precious fragrance upon the head of Jesus for His burial. He feigned concern for the poor, but wanted the money he could have gotten for himself from selling the jar with fragrance. Judas continued his clever disguise by kissing Jesus as a signal to the crowd that He was the One to be arrested and when Jesus was taken into custody Judas wanted Him to be taken away safely. He knew what the chief priests and elders intended to do with the Lord. Only after Christ’s crucifixion did Judas understand the enormity of his betrayal and he then committed suicide. Many within the church today fake love for the Savior but are led away by their various lusts and so betray Jesus for the sake of the few crumbly paltry baubles of this world and its demonic system.
What is most important from this passage, however, isn’t the clear-eyed rendition of the estrangement of mankind from their Creator, but rather the indisputable truth that there is only one way for that enmity to be rectified. Jesus Christ, our glorious Lord and Savior, made this perfectly clear as He prayed to His Father, our Father, in Heaven.
35 He went a little farther, and 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. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:35-36
Dear reader, please understand that Jesus Christ, Who is God the Son of God, stated without equivocation that all things are possible for God the Father in Heaven. If there were any other way for mankind to be rescued from sin, Satan, and eternal damnation, God would have provided that way. But there isn’t. There is only one way for this universal treachery to be assuaged and that is through the Blood of the Lamb of God as prophesied and taught in the Scriptures.
Jesus Christ by His death upon the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead for our justification is the only One who can bring and reconcile us to God the Father. His arrest, false conviction and subsequent execution all occurred in fulfillment of the Scriptures so that those who repent and believe the gospel message that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead can be saved from eternal damnation, be reconciled to God the Father, receive the Holy Spirit and have eternal life. Have your repented of your sins and believed in the Only begotten Son of God? Have you trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Have you received the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and been filled with the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel? Don’t make the perilous mistake of adding anything to simple repentant faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. Realize there is nothing you can do to make yourself right with God, only God’s precious Son can save you from your resolute rebellion against the Lord God Almighty, and consequential eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire. Only Jesus Christ can make you His beloved child delivered from sin and given over to obedience.
Lord Jesus Christ, lead the lost to Yourself through the proclamation of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit, and may You equip Your people to work in the fields for they are white for harvest. Amen Lord Jesus Christ, please do a mighty work!
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17