SURRENDER | Mark 14:32-42
This passage takes us to Gethsemane; a place where olives were pressed and now a place where our Savior’s own soul was pressed. Here, our Suffering Servant experienced pressing anguish and overwhelming sorrow “to the point of death” (v. 34). Can words convey a deeper anguish and distress?
The heaviness is palatable, weighty.
Jesus taught through the way He lived. All throughout His ministry, Jesus showed His disciples what it looked like to walk with the Father as a beloved Son, in complete trust and obedience. In this passage, as Jesus draws away to the garden with His disciples, He specifically takes Peter, James, and John from among them and goes further into the garden as He encounters overwhelming sorrow. In this weak and vulnerable state, He brings them in, and allows them to witness this humble encounter.
Jesus is experiencing urgent and pressing sorrow. He knows His mission and what the Father has called Him to do for the redemption of mankind. But what exactly is the cause of this overwhelming sorrow that Jesus is facing?
Jesus prays, “Abba, Father, take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (v. 36). The “cup” that Jesus is referring to here is a metaphor for the wrath of God. It is the reality of God’s judgment and wrath against sin, and ultimately alienation from God because of sin. At the cross, Jesus will take on this judgment and separation from His Father. He will ultimately become the object of God’s wrath as He takes on the sins of whole world. This overwhelms His soul.
“Gethsemane presents us with a uniquely human interplay between the heart of the Son and the will of the Father… The plea of Jesus suggests that He is genuinely tempted to forsake the role of the suffering servant. Nevertheless, His will to obey the Father is stronger than His desire to serve Himself. Throughout His ministry He has disavowed every exit ramp from the pathway of suffering servanthood… His will conforms to His knowledge of God’s will to undergo the “baptism” (Mark 10:38), to accept the “cup” (Mark 14:36), to meet the “hour” (Mark 14:35). In words reminiscent of the prayer He earlier taught the disciples (Matt 6:10), ‘Not what I will, but what you will.’ “
– From “The Gospel According to Mark,” by James R. Edwards.
As the atoning sacrifice for our sins, in laying His life down for us, His blood satisfied the full wrath of God. In receiving the cup of God’s wrath for us, He now pours out purification and righteousness for us.
Because of Christ and His obedience in suffering, we can experience the favor of God instead of the wrath of God.
Yet it was because of sin, my sin, our sin, that Jesus was here in the first place.
We have a Savior because we need a Savior. You and I need saving and rescuing from all that is broken, evil, and against God in our hearts. And I am convicted. How do I view sin in my life? How do I respond to the sin in my own life?
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” Colossians 1:21
We see in this passage the pressing urgency of Jesus, contrasted with the sleepiness and indifference of the disciples. Jesus tells His disciples, “Watch and pray so that you may not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (v. 38). Is this not what Jesus Himself was doing at this time, watching and praying, bringing His fears, sorrow and temptation to Abba Father?
It is humbling, for the instruction of Jesus to the disciples is also for you and I. It reveals that we are not naturally prone to trusting and obeying God, but instead prone to temptations and spiritual indifference. So what do we do in the face of fear and sorrow or indifference and apathy?
We pray. We confess. We surrender. We rest. We bring all we are to the nail pierced feet of the one who took upon Himself the full measure of God’s wrath so we can receive God’s pleasure. Let us not grow apathetic with sin or allow fear and unbelief to keep us from the throne of grace.
This season of Lent is meant to be heavy and weighty because the reality of sin are those things. However, just as Lent is a season of engaging the winter in our hearts, it does so with the full hope of the renewal of spring. The word “lent” actually means spring!
Through His Spirit’s counsel, we engage what is cold and dead, indifferent and against God in our own hearts in order to receive the renewal of abundant life, hope, and healing through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Lent is a time for us to open our hearts to God’s refining grace in the places of our hearts that need it most, places where we have given in to temptations and sin.
So we come to Abba and we pray and confess;
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
We surrender, trust and obey, as we rest in our identity in Christ as beloved children, sons and daughters. May we know and experience the love of Christ and may that compel us to lay aside the sins that so easily entangle us.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2