Monday, April 01, 2024

Mark 14:32-51; Weekday Lent Service One; February 21, 2024;

Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Grand Marais, MN;
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 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.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 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. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” And they all left him and fled. And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him,” (Mark 14:32–51, ESV)
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ;

Total depravity. The disciples display it in spades. That is that sin has corrupted the entire person. Sin holds sway even in dire circumstances. Oh sure, their bellies were full, and they had plenty of wine with the meal. But Jesus gives them a simple task.

“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”

It couldn’t be clearer. “Something bad is going to happen. Watch with me.” They promptly fall asleep.

The nature of Jesus in on full display. Jesus is the God-man. Fully God and fully man, joined into one person. God come to earth in human form to bear the sins of the whole world. His humanity shows through very surely. He is “greatly distressed and troubled.” You can see it. He “fell on the ground and prayed.”
St. Ambrose of Milan (c.339-c.379) says of this moment:
“He has taken upon Him the substance of man, and therewith its affections.… Not as God, then, but as man, speaks He, for could God be ignorant of the possibility or impossibility of aught?” (NPNF 2 10:228)
What he is saying is that at this moment Jesus is hiding his divine nature and displaying his full humanity. He is dreading what is coming, the suffering, the pain, the death. You can see it in his posture as he falls to the ground and prays. He asks the Father to take it all from him. That there would be another way to save the world.
“Remove this cup from me.”
He shows actual fear and dread. To say that Jesus knows whatever you are going through is an understatement. Fear, pain, suffering, dread and even death he experienced them all.

This is the reason Jesus must be completely man. He shows it here. To be a substitute he must be of the same kind. To be subject to the very same things we are. What good would a superman be? Jesus, as completely man, is just that completely man. All that he suffers here in the garden is fully suffered. All that he suffers while he is on trial is fully suffered. All that he suffered on the cross is fully suffered. And in death all that is suffered is fully suffered.

Ok, so Jesus suffered. He knows what you are going through when you suffer. But what good is it that a man suffered and knows what you are going through? Even though it is good to sit beside those who are suffering, you can’t really do anything about it. You can emphasize, you can comfort and that is good. Jesus emphasizes and comforts because he knows what you are going through. And that would be all if he were only a man. But he isn’t. He is also God.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4–5, ESV)
There is much more to it than just a man suffering. Every thing Jesus does he does as God and man. It isn’t only that a man suffered and died. All men die. When they die there is nothing they can do for you. Jesus is much different. Jesus suffered for you as God, himself. In his suffering he took the punishment for your sin into death. He died for you! There is no punishment left for you to bear. And, in fact, he didn’t just die for you, he rose again from death. He conquered death. He is now, and always will be alive. So, when you pray, “God, I am suffering!” Jesus answers and comes along side you to be with you in your suffering.

Isaiah said,
He was pierced for your transgressions; he was crushed for your iniquities.
That means that no matter what your suffering is, not only does Jesus sympathize, but he has taken away your sin. That means that your suffering is not because of your sin. Jesus holds your hand and says to you, “My child, I know you are suffering. I have a plan for you in this. It isn’t for nothing. You will be drawn closer to me through it.” That’s the peace that Isaiah is talking about. You have peace with God. He isn’t your enemy. He doesn’t punish you for your sin by making you suffer. He only allows you to suffer for your benefit.

“That’s all fine and good, pastor, but I am still suffering, and have been for a long time. What does Jesus have to say about that?”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3–9, ESV)
St. Peter by inspiration of the Holy Spirt speaks those words to you. In terms of “forever” you only suffer a “little while”. If Jesus doesn’t heal you, it is because he wants your faith to show strongly. He wants to show himself through you. He will end your suffering. It may be quick, or it may be lengthy. It may even be in death. But he promises it will end. Nonetheless, according to St. Peter it will be only “a little while”.

All of this is because you have something even better to look forward to.
you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
For you, death doesn’t end in nothingness, it doesn’t end in hell, it is an end to all suffering. Because your sins are forgiven, death means the beginning of new life with Christ. Where there will be no more weeping, no more sorrow, and mostly no more suffering. And you will look forward to the resurrection of the dead. When this flesh, this body will be raised. And amazingly without suffering! We can’t imagine what it will be like to have a body that isn’t racked with suffering. But just think, no more suffering, no more knee pain; heart attacks; surgery of any kind; toenail fungus; broken relationships; divorce; hang nails; missing or broken limbs; mental illness; misunderstandings; war; and the list goes on and on.

That is what Jesus has done for you. That is what he suffered for you. Everything that is the result of sin in this beautiful but broken world. It is why he was willing to suffer under Pontius Pilate and why he allowed himself to be hung on a cross. It is why he died and was buried and most of all why he rose from the dead. Jesus did it to make all things new. You and your body perfect without sin. The world perfect without sin. Amen.

The peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

No comments: