Why are our hearts troubled? Why are we anxious and depressed? This message from Mark 14 addresses how living apart from God is more than just deeply disturbing in this life.
Ten Questions Driving Home One Point
The Day Heaven and Hell Agreed
This Was No Blowout. This Was a Slow Leak.
Pure, Unadulterated Hell: Dealing with It in This Life & Avoiding It in the Next
A Tale of Three Sacrifices
Well, if darkness has ever fallen on your life, if there has ever been a shadow of cold rain that has ever gotten not just the outside but, contrary to even what that song said, gotten the soul within, then this is a great Sunday for you. When folks ask me, "Todd, what is your favorite book of the Scripture?" my response with a lot of integrity is usually, "Whatever one I'm studying."
The reason is because I'm consistently amazed when I take the time to discipline myself to be diligent over his Word, to pray, to listen, to meditate, and to read around it. I consistently see things even in very familiar texts that change my life and transform me, that just don't give me more and new information but transform this old man into something new and something more of what God intends.
I see more of who he is, more of his promise for me, more of a warning against that which destroys me and threatens my well-being, more of a hope to hold onto, and more of a grace within. If you would ask me what my favorite passage in the Scripture is, I would tell you right now it is Mark, chapter 14. I would tell you right around verses 26 to 42. That's where we're going to turn today. As you do that, let's pray.
Father, we want to look now at your Word, and we are so grateful as we do we are going to find a God there who surprises us, who doesn't fit our categories, who is outside of our box, and, in fact, the way you have represented yourself to struggle with this world and the troubles that are in it, it sometimes even makes us uncomfortable given how we've always viewed you, but I thank you that this morning you're going to shatter some paradigms.
I know there are some people here who do not believe in you, God, because they don't know who you are to believe in. They have rejected you as a distant, callous, demanding, and legalistic God who is to be feared because you're ready to scold us and smack us at every wrong turn. Lord, I thank you that is not the God I believe in nor the God I find when I read the book you have given us to teach us and to reveal to us what we could not know.
This morning, as we go to your Word (your revelation), I pray you would pull back the veil on our hearts that discourages us from you, because that veil deceives us as to who you are. Rip it this morning top to bottom and allow us to see the Holy One who is also the one who calls us to come.
I pray for those who are far from you who misunderstand you this morning that they would see you for who you are, and I pray for those of us who have known you, that we would know you more fully that we might come more boldly, hold to you more dearly, and serve you more passionately for your glory and as is consistent with your nature, therefore, our good. Teach us now, won't you? In Christ's name, amen.
We are looking at a little section of Mark that just comes right on the heels of what Jesus had told his disciples that this Passover feast that the Jews had long celebrated, this event that celebrates God's great deliverance from the oppressor that was Egypt, anticipates not just a deliverance from some political power but anticipates a deliverer from the oppressor who lives within, who messes with your psuché or your soul (we call it your psyche), who imprisons you and puts you in a place of hopelessness and despair.
"Surely, there is outward oppression sometimes from political leaders and always from those who don't know God, but there is even a greater threat to you, one who destroys you from within no matter what the landscape of the political scene and one who certainly keeps you from me, and I have come to first do war with him.
Then, I will come to do war with those who represent the Evil One, but for now, know this: the body that was broken in this Passover feast that was wrapped in white linen and hidden until later to be recovered and celebrated at its being found is my body that is broken for you. The cup of rejoicing and thanksgiving and provision and celebration is the cup we can drink now because my blood is shed instituting a new relationship between God and you.
As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do it in remembrance of me, and if you don't eat of me by faith believing my body being broken for you and if you don't by faith trust in the provision of the new covenant my blood being shed represents, then woe to you, and darkness will continue to fall, and you will drink your own cup, the cup of the wrath of God. Let me drink it for you. Come to the Table I provide as the Son of God."
He left there, and after singing a hymn, it says that he predicted his disciples would all betray him. They would leave him and go away and scatter. When the Shepherd himself was attacked the sheep would run away. Then, it says, and we pick it up in verse 32, "They went to a place called Gethsemane…"
Gethsemane is just outside the city of Jerusalem. If you're knowledgeable about the landscape of Israel, you'll know the Mount of Olives is just outside the city. It was called the Mount of Olives because there were a lot of olives on it and a lot of vineyards there. Inside a lot of these vineyards, they would often take a certain part of the vineyard and let it be a place of respite or peace. It would be a place folks could go to meditate.
There were no gardens in the city of Jerusalem because it was such a crowded, overrun city, but there were many people who owned land just outside Jerusalem on this mountain where they would have vineyards, and often inside those vineyards they would have a place of quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Apparently, Christ had a friend who had such a garden and would let him go there often, often enough that Judas knew when he wanted to betray Christ where he might find him seeking some down time or alone time. Gethsemane means oil press or press of oils. You're going to find out that like no other place on earth when God himself walked was he so challenged.
Friends, this is a great passage, because it lifts up the God of the Scripture and shows how he is distinct from all other gods that men have invented or believed in. This is no god of invention. This is the God who has revealed himself in the context of history. You can go back and look and see if what he has said to be so is, in fact, so.
It is not nonsensical. It is not that which you cannot make sense out of. It is the Word of God anchored in fact and history, date, and time. It's not the work of a great poet or a collection of great thoughts of great philosophers. This is the revealed Word of God in the context of time, and he has given it to us to show us who he is.
There's a true story of a guy who was the chaplain at Harvard University, a place that is known as quite a little think tank, a place where some intellectuals would often gather to go to school, a place I've only read about, but this guy would often be confronted by these students on campus. They would say to him, "I don't believe in God."
This wise man would say to them, "Tell me what kind of God you don't believe in. I probably don't much believe in him either. Do you not believe in a God who is distant and out there, a God who is calloused, a great clock-maker who has wound this earth and now leaves it alone for us to make our way, a God who demands from you the best effort you can provide so that at the end of your life he may provide some philanthropic entry or you might show some tithe of work for life so that eventually you might be at peace enough that your imperfection would satisfy him?
If you don't do that, he's looking to scold you and punish you all the ways he possibly could along the way. A God that is appeased by ritual and religion and efforts of men… I don't much believe in that kind of God either." It's not the way God has revealed himself in the Scriptures. Did you know one of the most amazing things about the way God has revealed himself is that our God knows what it's like to not be a God?
Our God knows what it's like to have to trust himself. Our God knows what it's like to be pressed, to have the very strength of your flesh squeezed out of you, and this is the text that proves it. This is what it says. It says that they came to a place called oil press or a press of oils (Gethsemane). "…and Jesus said to his disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.'"
"Sit here until I have gone and sought the face of my Father and until I have prayed." "He took Peter, James and John along with him…" You might ask yourself, "Why did he take those three?" Well, let me make a little effort to tell you. First, because these are the three who among all of the Twelve were the most outspoken that they would be most faithful to him.
Peter, in this passage we just got through passing through and we'll look at more next week, said, "Even if all betray you, I will not!" Jesus said, "Okay. We'll see about that." James and John asked him at one particular point, "Jesus, can we sit at your right and at your left?" Jesus said, "That's not mine to give, but let me ask you a question. Those seats are reserved for those who walk with the Father the way I walk with the Father, accepting the call on their lives that I have accepted on my life. Can you drink the cup of wrath or the cup I'm about to drink?"
James and John said, "Sure, we'll belly up to that bar. We can drink it." He said, "You'll get to drink that cup. We'll just see if you belly up well enough to get the seats." He's going to take these three who were most vocal in their confidence and in their flesh that they could forever cling to God. He let them come a little near to him during this moment of great travail and trial, and you're going to see that those three who were most confident in their flesh were the first three to fail in their flesh.
Let me make a quick observation here. What this text and what this passage is going to show us among many other things is that no matter how devoted you are in your friendship, in your passion, or in your love toward God or man, you do not have it in yourself to stay where you want to stay relationally.
This is why it always concerns me a great deal when I ask somebody how they know they have found the love of their life who they want to take a covenant oath with, and they say, "You don't know! I love her so much!" I mean, they're Romeo and Juliet amateurs. "We are just over the top in love. No one has ever loved each other the way we love each other anymore, and we will never lose this undying passion to serve and love one another."
My careful, compassionate, pastoral response is, "Do you want to bet? If you don't come to the place where you are aware of the fact that you will tire of this woman, that this thing of great beauty will eventually sag, and your eyes might be prone to go to another… If you don't get your arms around that and see your desperate need to understand what real love looks like so that you might then be yielded to that true love through which you might be a vessel through which you will love and serve her, it's just a matter of time before you're through."
It always concerns me when people come off of a Promise Keepers event or a Watermark worship service or a great retreat or a great tape or a great book and they say, "I'm telling you I am ready to go for Jesus!" When they come out of some service that is all hyped with a lot of motivational speaking and encouragement, and we all say, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Your love is amazing, and I'm ready to go serve you," and we charge out of there full of religious bravado, that concerns me.
Whenever we start to think in our flesh that we can be all God wants us to be, what you're going to find out from this text is that God does not look to transform us through emotion or through a worked-up frenzy but through watching, waiting, and prayer. That's what makes someone strong. That's what makes us endure till the end.
Peter, James, and John, the ones who loved Jesus the most and who were clearly the most passionate and outspoken of all of the disciples, were the first to fail as an illustration that all men will fail no matter how devoted and how passionate they think they are to religious ideals if they do not walk by faith and dependence on the Father. Jesus would say, "Apart from me, you can do nothing," and this is an illustration of it.
Jesus says, "You wait here while I go and pray." Now, I'm about to tell you about something that will disturb you. Do you know that Jesus Christ was depressed? Do you know that God was so deeply troubled that the words used right here in this text almost throw us right out of the categories?
In fact, Jesus never looks more human than he does right here. Our Scriptures teach that Jesus is God. He always has been and always will be. He is the Creator just like the Father. We believe God has revealed himself. The word Trinity never appears in our Bibles, but the idea that God who was one who exists in three persons and those three persons relate to each other in a submissive and subordinate way where they glorify the Godhead and accomplish the purposes of the God who is one, who is eternal, who always will be and always was, and who is holy…
Those three persons (the Father who is not the Son, the Son who is not the Spirit, and the Spirit who not the Father but Jesus who is God, the Spirit who is God, and the Father who is God) collectively decreed that one would become not just like he always has been but would take on another nature. Without ever denying his nature as God, he would become as a man.
This is what the Bible has taught, that Jesus is fully God and yet fully man. The Scripture says that he did not regard his equality with God a thing to be grasped or held onto. The word used there is where we get the word prehensile from, like a prehensile tail. If you ever go down to the Dallas Zoo, you will see monkeys with prehensile tails. That is a little tail that can wrap itself around a bar so it can grab onto it and hang there.
That's the word we get in Philippians where it says that Jesus did not regard his being God as something to be hung onto for his own personal comfort and exaltation, but it says, he emptied himself of that. In other words, he no longer allowed himself to default to his being God for his own personal comfort and glorification, but so he might identify with you and me, he emptied himself and took on the form of a bondservant. Being found in the likeness of a man and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself even to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Welcome to Mark 14! What you're going to find is this God who was the perfect man who always clung to God the Father knows what it's like, people. He understands what it's like to go through dark days when God seems absent and distant. He knows what it's like to wonder if the God you've been trusting in is a God worthy of trust. He knows what it's like to have death looming over his shoulder and wondering if God would be faithful in the midst of this. He knows what it's like to suffer hurt and loss and to have to wait, and he understands your discouragement and your trouble in this world.
This is what it says in verse 33, when it says he was distressed. The word there means he was stuck in terror. Isn't that descriptive? Amazed at his circumstances, terrified, and just frozen in his boots. That's the word distressed. It says he was troubled. That word for troubled is adēmoneō, which is not a big deal for you, but let me just tell you that word in the Greek is a compound of two Greek words. One is akratos which simply means…
I tell you very rarely do I do this, but there are a couple of times I'm going to do it today because it's significant to the point. When he said that he was troubled, he's taking two Greek words, and it has made a different Greek word (adēmoneō). The two Greek words are akratos, which means without mixture, and akratos is combined with the word hades, which you know what that means (hell).
There are three words used in the Greek language that are translated as depressed. This is the strongest of the words. Adēmoneō is a combination of two Greek words (without mixture and hell), which is to say pure, unadulterated hell. It says right here that Jesus was stuck. He was frozen in a place, and he was in pure, unadulterated hell.
We use the word depressed to translate that often. Isn't that a great definition of depression? You are living in a place where you go, "This is just hell! I don't want to get out of bed. I don't want to eat. I don't want to move. I don't want to go forward. I am troubled to the point of being frozen and without the ability to function in life."
That is depression, people! It is a place where you know you are apart from the God who has said, "I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly." You go, "Wait a minute! How could Jesus who is the perfect man, because he is fully God and fully man and as a man he always yielded to the God who cares for him and loves him, be separated from God and in pure, unadulterated hell?"
The answer is, "Because of you and because of me." He understood the hour…he also uses the term cup…that was about to be upon him, was going to put him in a place where he would physically experience pure, unadulterated hell, which is to say the absence of good and the absence of God.
Watch this. Jesus says, "I am distressed and troubled." He said to them, "My soul…"Psuché is the Greek word which we get the English word psyche from. When your soul is troubled, you are not to go see a psychologist. God tells you he understands what it's like to have soul trouble, and the answer to soul trouble, Gethsemane teaches us, is not a psychologist and should not be by default a psychiatrist. It should be one who has created the soul and who alone can restore it to a place of joy and a place of peace.
You'll hear me say this. The reason we have soul trouble and the reason our psyche is whacked out is not because we have experienced some envy as a child or some absence as a child or were abused in potty-training as a child or because of some other event as a child, but it's because we live apart from God in a faith relationship as he intended. Folks, that will put you in a place apart from God that can only be defined as pure, unadulterated, godless hell, and it will mess with your soul.
What Jesus is going to show folks right here is, if you want your soul to be well, then you come to see the maker of your soul. Your soul needs a Savior not a psychologist. If somebody has the word psychologist labeled on their wall, I wouldn't necessarily run away from them just because of that.
But you'd better make sure, even though they've gone through these little hoops the world has told them they need to go through so they can be a psychologist, they take that with a grain of salt and their confidence that they have the ability to help you is because they are one who knows that soul trouble is a sign of godlessness and separation from him, and their counsel will be that you run to the Savior of your soul and not the philosophies and psychologies. See also hope apart from God that man has created.
Your psuché, your soul, your psyche can be healed by one, and Jesus models for us where to go to get that thing healed. You go seek godly men and women who know this book and know the God who wrote this book and you let them minister to you and explain to you where in your life things have become as they should not have been that you might return to him and have that trouble in your heart find hope.
"And He said to them, 'My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death…'" Those two words basically mean the same thing. It's as if Jesus is saying, "My soul is grieved. It's so overwhelmed and it is so exceedingly sorrowful that it's sorrow to the point of experiencing death to the point of death." That's what he says. He almost repeats himself in the original language. He said, "Guys, listen to me. My life is so troubled it's like I'm going to die to the point of dying," which is just a very passionate way of saying, "This hurts!" He says,
"'…remain here and keep watch.' And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, '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 said to Peter, 'Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'"
I know you want to love your wife. I know you want to be devoted, but when you keep trying to do that based on your own human effort it will always fail. I know you want to be a pure young man. I know you want to be a virgin until you marry. I know you don't want to look at pornography again. I know you don't want to take a drink again. Your spirit is so willing, but your flesh is so weak, and your problem, guys, is that you're sleeping instead of laboring with God who alone will give you the ability to face the hour that is going to come.
Anybody who is going to try to become pure and righteous and refrain from sin and not fall to temptation by just motivating themselves with religious bravado is going to fail. That is essentially what Jesus is teaching right here. The secret to godly living is a life toward God in humility and surrender and brokenness.
Jesus says, "Guys, apart from your relationship with the Father, apart from the relationship I have with the Father that I'm going to give you through me, you can't do anything. You can't make it for even one hour." Have you had that experience? You leave here. You're so committed to loving your family and doing it differently, or you're so committed to be kind to other people like you never have been before.
Then, you end up swallowing words, as you get ready to cuss your waitress because the line was too long or somebody got out in front in the parking lot a little bit quicker than you did or your wife said something to you that frustrated you. You can't even make it an hour! That's why the Scripture tells us to pray at all times in the Spirit, to be humble people who go, "It's not my flesh that's going to make this thing work, but it's the Spirit of God."
Not by might and not by power but by his Spirit, says the Lord. He goes back again in verse 39. "Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words." Then, verse 40: "And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him."
Have any of you been like that before? You have just gone back again to that same trough, that same habitual sin that has kicked your tail for years or for months. You're there on your knees. The Enemy has told you, "You can't look him in the eye, and you can't go there, so you may as well try to fix it on your own or go to some psychologist."
The Enemy wants to keep you from the one place you can get help. You're finally going to go, and in fear and trembling, you get back on your knees. What do you say? You're just speechless. You don't even know what to say. You can't explain why you did it again. You don't know just like these guys. Well, I'm going to tell you. Now, you can know.
You come back to him and just say, "Let me tell you, Jesus, why I did it again. It's because I did not go where you told me to go in humility and brokenness and discipline and prayer before your Word on my knees crying out for the Father and depending on his Spirit. I defaulted to my flesh and what seemed right to me and the coping strategy I've always used, and I did not go to your Word. I did not go to your people. I did not go to prayer. I did not go in humility. That's why I'm back at that trough. That's why I'm re-eating that vomit I just purged before."
"And 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. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!'" What I want to do is walk you through this text with some application and some interpretation that will be relevant and applicable specifically to your life. I'm going to show you what the perfect God-man is trying to teach us here in Gethsemane. First of all, this is not just to give you information that you might know like trivia. This is to bring transformation in your life and in my life.
1._ Gethsemane is where Jesus once again teaches me and you how to pray_. A lot of folks have made a lot of effort trying to figure out why Jesus was so troubled and distressed and why he was living in pure, unadulterated hell, and they have tried to get inside Jesus and understand his psyche. They've tried to psychologically explain why he was so threatened. They've done it a number of different ways.
Some men said he did it because of the fear of the physical anguish that was just waiting at the bottom of the night for him. Knowing of the physical pain he was waiting for just wigged him out, kind of like you feel just before you get that shot. Just before that cavity is filled, times a thousand. You just tense up and you just wig out. You're deeply troubled because you don't like pain. Some people say that's why Jesus was where he was.
Others have said it was the embarrassment of looking like a loser at the end of his life and calling all of these people to follow him, but now he's going to get delivered over to death. He knew somebody was going to say to him, "If you're God, why don't you get down off of that cross and save yourself?" but he was still going to hang there, and that troubled him deeply.
Some would say it was because he knew his disciples were not at a place of maturity where they were going to go on and carry forward his message, and his life wasn't going to be much of a success because his successors were a bunch of idiots still, and this deeply troubled him. On and on and on, but none of these reasons are sufficient.
What he's trying to do right here is to model for us what he already taught us a number of chapters earlier, which is to go and pray and seek the face of the Father and ask him that he would not lead us into temptation and, in fact, that he would deliver us from the Evil One who was trying to tell Christ, "You don't have to go through with this. You're God, for goodness sake! Why would you allow yourself to be humiliated, rejected, scorned, beaten, and abused by your own creation? There's another way to exalt yourself."
Don't you know the Evil One, as a man, was reasoning with him and pleading with him and telling him a better way that resonated with his flesh and with every emotional fiber in him except for one, and that was the fiber of faith? What Jesus is modeling right here and what he's showing right here is that he is not a crazed martyr. He's not an unwilling pawn from God.
He is a courageous hero who does not look forward to suffering, and he doesn't easily embrace suffering, but he is under a sense of ought that, "This is my cup. This is my hour. This is what I'm called to do." When I am in a place that I have to go where I don't want to go, when I have to not partake of what I want to partake of or, in this case, when I do have to partake of what I don't want to partake of, this is how I handle it.
I go to the one who knows in an infinite way what I as a man cannot get my arms around, and I remind myself of his love, his greatness, his power, and his provision, and I wait right here with him. Let me just tell you that God is not looking for a bunch of people who give polite prayers and act like they always trust him when it's very difficult to trust him. Do you know if you're single and you're 22 and you don't want to be that God understands the frustration?
Do you know if you're like my friend Joe Stoltz who just heard this week from doctors, "You have two months to live, Joe, and if you're lucky with radical chemotherapy you might see 2004," God doesn't expect you to go, "Thank you very much, so now I know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purposes."
He neither expects that nor demands that. Let me give you a model for that. Let's go back to Psalm 13. This is a guy named David. I want you to watch these words. This is what he says. He says, "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?" This is one of those prayers that when you read that and you're next to David in this prayer circle and he starts that way, you kind of look up, slide over to your left, and the next thing you know you tiptoe away and let that brother pray like this on his own, because he is calling God to the carpet. Watch how David prays.
He says, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?""What are you doing up there?" "How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day?""Are you noticing this? I'm your king. I'm your son. I'm your anointed, and where are you? What good are you, God?"
"How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death…" Does that sound familiar? "And my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken." David is saying, "I'm not really pleased with your performance right now, and I have strung myself out. I've said, 'God, you're supposed to be there for me, and my life is a living hell. I'm your son? I'm the one you care about? Hey! Let's part the clouds. Let's get with it. Let's show up. Let's fulfill the job description. You're a lousy God right now.'"
How many of you go, "Wow"? Look at Psalm 22. You might recognize these words. "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?" Those words are in your Bible in the Aramaic. Those are the words Christ spoke on the cross. It was the language that was most familiar to him as a young boy growing up. He went right back to this most familiar expression. That's what he said. "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" **He took this Hebrew and learned it in his own language as a child, and he said,"Eloi Eloi,"** like, "God, where are you?"
Have you ever felt like that? What I want to tell you this morning is that God knows what it's like to not be God. He knows what it's like to not be God, to love God dearly, and to wonder where God is. This is one of the greatest passages of Scripture. In fact, I told you it is such a raw, naked passage that the enemies of Christ have run here to prove that he is not who he said he was.
Let me just share this with you. C.S. Lewis wrote a little book called A Grief Observed. When his wife he married knowing she had cancer died, he journaled through the death of his beloved. At one point in that book, he says, "Where is God? When things are going well, you might call to him and you might find him there, but let things turn dark…" I'm paraphrasing. "…or let them get ugly, and it is like a slamming door, a double slamming door, and then a bolting." This is C.S. Lewis, the greatest apologist and defender of the faith in the last century.
He's saying, "At the moment of truth, God wasn't there for me. My wife died, and he's a lousy God, and I'm not sure he's worth serving." Now, that's pages 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of his journal, but you have to read all the way to page 90, and you'll find out what Lewis does is what David did and what Jesus does. That is, you must persevere and endure with the one that is concerned with the way he's performing.
My buddy, Kip, who runs our service every Sunday, does a great job. How would he have felt if last week when that projector wasn't there had I just walked back to him and said, "Kip, what's the deal? You know there are a lot of folks who can't see over there. We've worked very hard. We've spent thousands of dollars to get two projectors. It's your job to make sure both of those projectors are working.
It's your job to make sure we do all that we can when we show videos that the colors are right, because Paul puts a lot of effort with his media team and his drama team to make these things work. I don't know what's wrong with you, but I do my job throughout the week, and all I ask is that you plug in a few little wires and you get the picture to go up there so we can see it on Sunday and people's fruits can be observed. I don't know why you can't do that," and I turned around and walked away.
What would you think about that conversation? First of all, you'd go, "Todd, drink decaf." That's probably the first thing you'd say. The second thing you'd say is, "That doesn't exactly fit the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 when it describes how an elder should handle conflict." Lastly, what you should say is, "You know, the worst thing you did, Todd? Naturally, you were distressed and troubled about this very small, stupid, and silly example.
Todd, the worst thing you did was that you didn't even ask Kip a question. You showed up. All you did was give a litany of questions, and as soon as you were done, you sucked in some air and used it to walk away. He had a perfectly good explanation had you just sat there with him and let him comfort you with information that you in your finite foolishness did not know," which is that somebody, after they set it up, just decided to appropriate it for themselves.
"It was stolen, Todd. After the doors were locked and the people were gone, it was set up and the wires were plugged in, and I did labor and I did have my team here, just like I was supposed to, but I couldn't be here all night." Luckily, I didn't go through this and do this actually, but the point is some of us deal with God like this. We do what David did. We do what Jesus did. We say, "My God, my God, what is wrong with you? Why don't you show up?"
Then, we just go, "I'm out of here!" We don't sit with him. Jesus, three different times… We know the first time for sure for over an hour didn't have very much to pray about. He kept saying the same thing. "My God, this is not the way I want it to go, and if there is any way for this to work out a different way, let's work it out a different way, because it feels to me like you don't care about me. You're not there. We're not integrating, and we're not syncing on this, and it doesn't look like you care for me or are present in my life."
What did Jesus do? Exactly what David did, if you read the end of Psalm 13, and exactly what the psalmist did in Psalm 22, and exactly what C.S. Lewis did there, and that is, he waited at his feet. Then, you see it. There's a little abbreviation after verse 4. In verse 5, it picks up. "But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness…"
"I waited there after I told you, 'God, I'm not really happy with the way you're performing.'" "…My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.""I don't see it right now, God, but I know you've always been there, you've always shown up for me, you've always been my provider, and you've always gotten me out of this."
" I will sing to the Lord[even in the midst of this dark hour], Because He has dealt bountifully with me." That only comes with much laboring and much time and effort from yourself reminding yourself of the goodness of God, that in every way he has shown himself in history he has been faithful, so in this thing you cannot understand (the sickness of a child, the fracture of a relationship, the broken-heartedness of whatever your situation is) God understands it's not as it should be.
He doesn't want you to just accuse him and walk away and go find help somewhere else. He wants you to stay there with him. He wants you to call your friends to come around and pray and comfort you, not to drop verses on you so that you'll snap out of it but who will be people who will just be there and mourn with those who mourn and pray that God will comfort your soul in a way that, frankly, circumstances may never match up with. Gethsemane is once again where Jesus teaches us how to pray and how to go to him and how to turn to him and how to trust in him, but…
2._ Gethsemane is also and probably especially where Jesus labors with us to remind us that we must pray_. What do I mean by that? In fact, if you'll look closely at the text, you'll see we don't find a lot of focus put on the prayer of Christ. There is more content given to Christ's conversation with Peter, James, and John than there is with Christ's conversation with the Father. Why is that?
Because one of the main points of this passage is that he wants to show us if we don't do what he's doing we'll never be able to live as he lived. Specifically, what we've got going on right here is an illustration of why they failed. If you'll go back and look closely, it says that he said to Peter… Then, it goes, "Simon…" This is Jesus talking. Why did he call him Simon?
If you'll go back and look, you'll notice Peter has not been called Simon since the moment he professed faith in Christ to follow him. This is the first time the name Simon shows back up. He was always called Peter. It says in Mark, chapter 3, that he called the disciples to himself. He lists the names.
He says, "You are Simon who I will call Peter," which means, "You will be a rock. Peter, as you follow me and as you walk in my ways and as you trust as I trust and as you learn from me, you will be a rock. You will not be as you were (some strong, brave, very powerful, self-providing fisherman). You will be something much more secure and stable, not the biggest stud man in the group, but you will be a rock because the Lord will strengthen you."
What was Peter doing here? What Peter was doing was he was trusting in his flesh. This is what Christ is teaching us here. He's going to labor with us to remind us that we must pray. Why? Because no matter how strong we are as Simons, Simons sleep, Simons fail, and Simons fall away. Peters don't. Who are Peters? Peters are those who follow Christ, follow in his steps, and follow in his way.
His point here is not that we should see the practices and humanness of Jesus Christ in how he resorts to pray, but the point is our guaranteed failure if we rely on our human flesh. It's guaranteed. In other words, what Jesus is saying is, "Your weak flesh cannot do battle with the strong man and win." The strong man is a metaphor for Satan in the Scripture.
That's why Jesus said, "You want to know how I cast that demon out of that guy? You know there's a strong man inside of him. It's kicking his tail, and he's running around naked all through the city. All of a sudden he's clothed and in his right mind." It's a picture of you and me when we come to Christ.
Jesus said, "I didn't just cast out the strong man by a demon, because if Satan is in that guy, no demon can tell his boss where to go. I'll tell you how I got rid of that demon. A stronger man than that strong man got in there and reclaimed that flesh, but if that flesh doesn't continue to resort by faith for provision and trust in the stronger man, Jesus Christ, he's going to get his tail kicked again by the strong man."
This is why John said later, "Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world." The point is he who is in the world is greater than you. A lot of us have not learned that in this room. We haven't learned what it means to live the spiritual life and not be motivated by teaching or motivated by some tape or motivated by some book or motivated by some conference, "So I'm going to go live for Christ." No. He says, "You trust in me, and apart from me you can do nothing."
Look what happens. Because these men did not do as he said, when he said, "Get up, and let's get going," they went in every direction but the way he called and modeled and led them to go. They got up, but they scattered because they had not done what Jesus had done. They were Simons and not Peters.
That's why a nameless woman had to anoint him, a bystander had to carry his cross, and a pagan, Roman leader had to pronounce publicly that this was the Son of God. Some distant disciple had to claim the body off of the cross and put him in a grave. A bunch of women stood there and watched him die. Then, they went to the grave.
Why? Because the disciples who trusted in their flesh had long bailed out on him. They were long gone. They criticized __________ (41:23) adoration of him. They slept while he shuddered in horror. They betrayed him when he was questioned. They fled for their lives when he was confronted by the enemy. They denied him when he was being contended to death.
That's what you and I will do if we don't get a different spirit, a spirit that is not so timid (the Spirit that God has given us of power, love, and discipline). Jesus was showing them. "Guys, the hour is coming, and if you don't go to the Father and if you resort to your flesh, your flesh is weak and weary, and you're going to lose it." We look next week how that happened in spades.
Let me tell you a beautiful thing Jesus taught us when he prayed, and this is one of the most exciting things for me. We all need a God Father. What do I mean by that? All of us need a God who is Father who is protector and provider and who is wise, but sometimes we need a God Daddy.
You're going, "What's he saying up there?" This, to me, gang… I pray this ministers to you the way it ministered to me. The word in Mark here where Jesus cried out, "Abba! Father…" What he's doing right there is an onomatopoeia. Does anybody want to know what onomatopoeia is? You know what the word buzz is or hiss is.
They are onomatopoeias, which is a compound. Onomatopoeia is a Greek word. It's a transliteration. It's made up again of two Greek words. One is to make. It's the verb and a name. An onomatopoeia is a combination of two words that mean to make a name. What does a bee sound like? I go, "Buzz." What does a snake sound like? I go, "Hiss." We spell it B-U-Z-Z and H-I-S-S. They are onomatopoeias. Abba, what Jesus cried out when he said, "Abba! Father!" is an onomatopoeia in the Aramaic.
In our family, we've had five children born, all of which Alex obviously has carried for 40-plus weeks. They've made her hip go numb. They've made blood vessels stick out of her legs. They have made her sleep uncomfortably. They've made her sense of smell heightened to the point where things bother her. They've stolen her body for 40 weeks.
This, by the way, is why God gave mothers the privilege of childbearing. If that kid did that to me, the second I got a piece of it, I'd spank it. It would breathe all right, but not my wife. She's up all night nourishing them. I'm sleeping like a log. She's changing diapers 10 to 1 to me. I'm like, "I have to go to work, sweetie! There are people lost!"
All five of our kids… Guess what the very first word they said was. "Dada. Dada." Because they're English kids and that's the way we express in our language as males who want to define things. We say, "He's saying, 'Daddy,' right there." In Aramaic, when a kid says, "Abba," which is a little deal when he looks at Daddy, let's make Abba mean Daddy.
That's what that means, which is to say, when I have a kid in my family who is hurting and struggling and overwhelmed with pain, they come to a place where there's only one thing they want. They don't want like those kids in the Disney flick Mary Poppins to say, "Father! Father!" and run to him, their distant father who was a great provider and protector who was wise but who was absent and who wasn't there, so they had to run to some Mary Poppins to give them joy and life and comfort.
That's what we do. We don't go to God because he's, "Father! Father!" He's a great God, and he's a provider, and he's there, but we look for some Mary Poppins, something present to give us joy, something to get us through the moment, and give us hope. That's not the way God intended it. He doesn't want to just be a Father. He wants to be a Daddy. The only thing that brings my kids comfort sometimes is… They don't come looking for father. They come looking for Daddy.
When they get smacked or when something happens when they're in one of those times they're crying and then they unload, they're looking for Daddy not father. What Jesus does here was blasphemous to the Jew. A good Jew wouldn't speak his name. They had three different names for God: one they wouldn't speak, one they'd only speak in prayer, and another one called Adonai, which is just the name. They wouldn't even say it, but the name, and Jesus says, "Let me just tell you, 'Daddy.'" That was rather earth-shattering.
Philip Yancey, in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, talks about how radical this was. When you were a Jew and you always heard of who God was and the way he revealed himself in the book of Leviticus, if you'd walk into the Holy of Holies wrong, he was going to zap you like a bug on a zapper. If you don't carry the ark of the covenant right, you're going down. If you don't sacrifice at the right time on the right day, lightning is coming. The earth is going to crack and swallow you up if you curse his prophet.
When you read the book of Leviticus, it's like a manual for how to handle radioactive material. You don't jack with God! All of a sudden, Jesus is on the scene saying, "Let me just tell you something. You can go to God this way saying, 'Daddy, I'm glad you are wise. I'm glad you are a protector and provider, but right now what I need is your arms around me comforting me while I get my wind back.'"
Jesus introduces us here to the heart of God who is your Father, who is holy beyond anything I could describe, but this God who wants you to know him. This is why one of the great passages of Scripture is in Hebrews, chapter 4. Listen to what it says. "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession." We have one who goes before us who is mediator before God who has been not just in the picture of heaven but in the very Holy of Holies in heaven itself.
Verse 15 says, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." He knows what it's like to have death impending. He knows what it's like for a loved one to die. He knows what it's like to be betrayed and to be lonely. He knows what it's like for God to seem like he hasn't got a clue about what you need, so he's not going to mock you when you feel that way. He knows what it's like to not be God.
Verse 16 says, "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Then, in a verse that almost seems blasphemous, if you go down to verse 7 in chapter 5, it talks about how this Jesus, "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears…" See also Mark 14.
"…to the One able to save Him from death…" It says he was heard because he labored there. He stayed. He didn't just accuse and run. Watch this. " Although He was a Son…" **Although he was the perfect Son, although he was God,"…He learned…"** Did you guys catch that? This is a verse that's so difficult theologians have always tried to explain it away by confusing people more.
Let me just tell you what this means. This means God learned something. What did God learn? God learned what it is like to be you and me. You wonder why he isn't just kicking it in when you rub that little genie lamp, when you hit your knees, when you fast, when you pray, when you cry out, when you're losing your little loved one. He knows what it's like, and he doesn't mock you.
You need a God Father. I need a God Father. We need a God Daddy. I'm going to tell you something. You have one! The reason most of us continue to have soul trouble is because we don't go to our God Father. We don't go to our God Daddy and say, "Daddy, hold me. My soul is jacked. It is pure hell because of the way I've been living. My knees are scraped because I've been promiscuous.
Because you're my Father, I'm so scared to tell you. I am so scared to tell you because I don't want to disappoint you, and I know how holy you are, and I know your life is nothing like this, but you wouldn't believe what I have done! If I don't come to you, I'm going to kill myself, because I am deeply, unmitigatedly in hell."
If you don't have a Daddy, you'll never go to Father. Some of you in this room have never told God of your junk because all he is to you is a Father. Jesus is saying, "You don't understand. He is a daddy, and he has been there." You know why I'm a great daddy? I'm a great daddy because I know what it's like to in junior high have your friends turn on you. I know what it's like to have peer pressure overwhelm you.
I know what it's like to weigh 90 pounds when everybody else weighs 150. I know what it's like to be bucktooth with acne. I know what it's like to be lonely. I know what it's like to not have a girlfriend. I know what it's like to have your heart broken. I know what it's like to be in seventh, eighth, or ninth grade. I know what it's like to be in third grade. I know what it's like to not do well in school.
I want to tell you, "Come to me, and let me hold you. Let me love you. Let me speak words of encouragement to you. Let me tell you you're going to make it through. Let me tell you it's not worth it when you cave in. Let me tell you that there is hope." I am a great daddy because I have been their age, and your God has been alone, and he is so desperate for you to come.
He knows what it's like, and some of us have just left him as a Father. We think we have to go find Mary Poppins to fix it or to go over here to the psychologist's office, he'll fix it. No. You come to him, and he will hold your psuché. He will hold your soul. He "...learned obedience from the things which He suffered."
Listen to this. There is nothing we should fear and nothing that should horrify us like the prospect of being separated from God. In all of God's life, in all of Jesus' life on earth, he saw a ton of stuff. He was betrayed like nobody was ever betrayed. He went through physical anguish like you and I will never even dream of experiencing and emotional anguish like we'll never know, but the one thing he asked that would pass, the one thing he prayed would change, was this idea that he would be separated from God, because that is hell.
We have such a warped view of what hell is like. We think hell is a Grateful Dead concert where all of the Deadheads get together and smoke dope and have sex with each other and listen to good music. That's hell. All of the bad people are going to be in hell, but at least I'll be there with Garcia and the boys at a big Deadhead concert forever.
You need to know something. Music is a great thing. Sex I highly recommend in the right context. Music, like I said, and experiences of enraptured delight are things God has given us to enjoy, and hell is a place where there is nothing that will even remind you of that which is good, so whatever your view of hell is, you'd better not involve anything that brings you any sense of delight or hope in this world, because hell doesn't have any of those things.
When we are depressed, do you know why we are depressed? We are depressed because we are separated from God. We have made choices and decisions that have left us apart from who God has designed us to be. Jesus said, "That is the scariest possible place to be." He knew he was about to drink of the cup in this hour where he bore our sins on a tree and where he who knew no sin became sin on our behalf, and when we become sin, the Scripture says, it's our sin that separates us from God.
God is the one who gives us life and gives it to us abundantly, so when our souls are troubled, guess why it's troubled? Because we have made choices to go where God is not. This is why the wisest man who ever lived said, "God, I'm only going to ask you for two things." Proverbs 30 spells it out. He says, "** Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me…"**
What does he mean by that? "That I would not be tempted to go somewhere where you are not, that I wouldn't be seduced to a coping technique or strategy that's a Mary Poppins' place to go away from my Father who is my Daddy. Keep those who would deceive my flesh and make me think life is somewhere else far from you, because I am prone to temptation."
Secondly, he says, "Give me neither poverty nor riches…" Why? "Because if I am too prosperous and if I have more than the food that is my portion, I might not need you. I might be full and deny you." What is Solomon saying? "If I deny you, I'm going where you are not, and I could be as prosperous as the world has ever known, and if you're not there, God, it is pure, unadulterated hell." Solomon knew that. Jesus knew that. Do you know why your heart is troubled today? Because you don't know that. Gethsemane shows us that.
Gethsemane shows us the one place we want to avoid above everything else is the place that separates us from God. It's called sin. Some of you all are wondering why your life is the way it is, and I'm going to tell you it's because you have soul trouble, and you have to come home. You have to come home.
Gethsemane shows us we should always pray that God would deliver us from death, but we must always remember God often purposes to deliver us through death. Sometimes we think it's a chicken prayer to say, "Father, if it's your will, heal me." I've prayed for Joe and Laura Lynn all this week. I said, "Lord, if there is any way to let this cup pass from Joe and Laura Lynn, I pray they wouldn't die," but it's not a chicken prayer to say, "God, if that's not your design and if you're going to heal Joe a different way…"
I'm going to tell you something. I will pronounce to you today with all of the confidence in the world, and stone me if it's not true, that Joe Stoltz will be healed, but watch me. I might say that at his funeral, but that body is going to rise again, and it's going to rise without sickness and cancer and death in it, and it's appropriate we pray that good man doesn't die.
I can look at God and go, "God, why would you do this? This is a man who makes mentors. This is man whose wife said, 'I never knew what the love of Jesus was until I met him.' This is a kind and tender man. He's a disciple maker of others. You're telling me to call out to the Lord of the harvest that he might send more laborers, and I have one of our most faithful laborers in the kingdom right here, and you just told him this week he has two months to live. It makes no sense to me, but, Lord, if you're going to do something here that we can't get our arms around, just hold us, Daddy, while we go through this, and I thank you there is going to be a Sunday on the other day of this Friday that's coming for Joe."
All that Joe's death is and all that good health is for me is the slowest possible means by which I'm going to die, so that cup is coming for me, too. If God answered every one of our prayers, none of us would ever die or ever be sick or ever be alone or ever be poor or ever be ugly. On and on and on and on…
God says, "There is something more important than this thing working out the way you want it to work out. That's my name and my glory, and my glory is going to be accomplished sometimes in ways you don't see fit in a timetable you don't understand. Trust me." You need to see this right here as clearly as you can.
There is no name-it-and-claim-it in the Scripture. There is no faith that is a force that you can tap into any time you want to get the desired result. There is no guarantee that sickness is there because of sin. If you say that, you are unbiblical and a fool. It's not there. Jesus says, "You can pray all day long, 'Deliver me from death,'" but you have to realize that sometimes he delivers us through death. This is my last statement.
Simply, if Jesus does not drink the cup for you, you will have to drink the cup yourself. What Jesus did was come, and he took the cup, as Scripture tells us, because he loved us and wanted to provide for us that which we could never provide for ourselves. He would drink the cup of God's wrath so that he might endure what you cannot.
What does this cup look like? It's mentioned all throughout the Scriptures. In Psalm 11 you find it. It says, "Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup." **Psalm 75 says," For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs,"** which is to say, if you don't want Christ to drink that cup for you, then belly up to the bar of judgment and you drink the wrath of God on your own.
I'm going to tell you that's one shot that will not go down smooth, and it will give you indigestion that will not last the rest of your lifetime, but it will begin at the end of your lifetime like you have never in your greatest horrors imagined. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, so I call you to the Table this morning. I tell you to come, and I tell you to trust this Jesus who knows what it's like and who loved you to die on the cross for you and to drink that cup of God's wrath for you. If you don't let him drink that cup for you, it's yours to drink. Let's pray.
Father, I thank you for this little text in Gethsemane. I thank you for how in touch you are with my frailty. I thank you, Father, that you understand why I sometimes go, "Where are you? What are you doing? How could you be so absent?" I thank you for the large prosperity and blessing in my life. I have never buried a child. I know there are people in this room who have. I got married when I was 28. I know there are folks who have asked you at 38 and 42 why they're still single.
I know there are people in this room whose marriages are not a blessing, but it's a thing of torment, and they wonder, "How, Lord?" They wonder where you are or why you don't change the heart, first, of them and then of their spouse that things would change. Why don't you come and deal with that soul trouble in a way that is so miraculous the world could see it?
We don't know why Joes die. We don't know why sorrows come, but we see that you understand, and we know there's a day you're going to make it right, and you have said that you will be our Deliverer of something much more oppressive than our circumstance, that you will deliver us from the wages of our sin, which is death, because you have drank the cup of the wrath of the fury of holiness and purity and justice on the cross.
This morning, we do two things. We thank you for being that kind of God. We are overwhelmed at your goodness to us. If we have never by faith had you deal with our soul trouble by being our Savior, we this morning come and say, "Father, drink the cup of my trouble and be my Savior, be my Lord, and lead me in the way of righteousness and let me be a Peter and no longer a Simon. I'm going to come to you as a daddy, and I'm going to crawl up in your lap, and I'm going to say, 'Forgive me,' and I'm going to thank you for what Christ has drank that I might be yours."
For those of us who have done that, Father, we don't want to say in our bravado that we're going to serve you because of all of the great things you have done. We are going to watch and pray. We're going to get alone in the garden in the discipline of Scripture reading and prayer and meditation and fasting and community.
We're going to hold on, and we're going to learn from Jesus that our flesh will never make it, that the strong man will wear us out unless we wrestle with you to find strength. Father, we just pray and cry in desperation to help us to hold on during this dark day, and if we have never come, help us to hold on to the provision of Jesus Christ and his shed blood on the cross.
The most influential person in history is also the most misunderstood and misrepresented. Two thousand years after He walked the earth, Jesus of Nazareth is still a mystery to many people. Whether you admire Him, worship Him, despise him or simply don't know about him, it's difficult to deny that any other single person has had more influence on our world than Jesus has. But how do we come to understand a man who is so commonly misunderstood? In this, the last volume of the sermon series devoted to the Gospel of Mark, Todd Wagner, pastor of Watermark Community Church, looks at the final week of Christ's life and what happened next. You'll see how one man changed the entire course of human history and how He can change the course of every individual life that understands and responds to the events described in Mark 14:1-Mark 16:8.