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Mark 14:32-72

We're going to continue in Mark chapter 14 with verse 32, that's where we left off last week.
Mark 14:32-42, "Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.' And he took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then he said to them, 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.' He went a little farther, and 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. Take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.'

Then he came and found them asleep, and said to Peter, 'Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.' Again he went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer him. Then came he 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. Rise up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.'"

When I was in college I had been a little bit athletic in high school, I had run track and field. And when I got to college I was kind of a little guy. I didn't think I was as small as I was until I got to college. I remember getting into the elevator early there in the year and thought the Anakim [a race of giant people, 7 or 8 feet tall] were still alive there from the Old Testament. But there were some big guys in my dorm that played on the football team, and I had never seen folks that big before. And it really was a humbling experience. I was intimidated moving into Boston, like, some of these guys were so big, I didn't realize people grew that big. I had never seen anybody that big. Well, a friend and I, we were both little guys, we started to weight-lift. And just to the mechanics of it, the way my arms are, I have a short upper arm which kind of helps, if you bench press--I sort of really focussed on the bench press because I was pretty good at it, I had a short upper arm. And if you do the mechanics of it, I have an advantage over other people because of that. But I did pretty well, and started to think I was kind of cool. And one day I was bench pressing, and you know you kind of "spot" [for] other people who are lifting and take turns and things, and I usually felt pretty good after I was done with some of the bigger guys--I could sort of keep up with them. But this one day this girl was weight lifting with me, and she looked pretty tough, I could tell, big legs. Turns out she had been a javelin thrower, throwing the javelin in the Olympics. And I was working with her and I was of course going to take all the weights off the bar and let her get started with just the bar, that was my mindset, but she looked up at 45 lbs., probably be enough for her. But as we started to go, this girl just kept keeping up with me. I kept stacking the weight on to do the next step, and she'd sit down to do as many reps as I was, and I was like, 'this is amazing.' And the weight just kept going higher and higher, and I had to try with every bit of my might, I didn't want to be out-done by a girl. That was my attitude, to out-do this girl. She was strong. She got up to, I bet you, 270 lbs. on the bench, or something like that. I had never seen a girl do that much before. And I was pretty amazed working out with her, intimidated and humbled by it too. And then there was this other guy the same period that was in the gym, he was from Iran, and he was also an Olympic lifter, and he was amazing. This guy could 'clean and jerk' 450 lbs., which is a lot of weight. And he'd put 4 plates on the side of that bar and a few other things, and actually right from the ground go right above his head with 450 lbs. And he wasn't that big of a guy. So I admired this guy, my friend, and we just thought he was the greatest, and I admired that type of strength. Well, because I was into that type of mentality, not that weight lifting is a bad thing, it's really a good thing. But if you get too over into it, you can get the wrong perspective, and I sort of did. I thought I was kind of cool, and one day I was working at a hotel in downtown Boston and thought I was kind of tough--and a guy came up to me who was strong out on drugs, mistook me for someone else, and he began to kind of chew me out. And because I had an attitude, I chewed him back. And what ensued in the next minutes is I ended up in the hospital with a cracked head and blood everywhere, as this guy just went to town on me real quickly. And then I think an angel stepped in and helped me. But you know I had this wrong understanding about what real strength is. If I knew what strength was, I would not have gotten in trouble at that moment, I think with that guy, because real strength would have stood there with this man strung out on drugs and just loved him, responded quietly, prayed for him, and I probably wouldn't have ended up in the hospital. I had a misunderstanding about what strength was, and it ended up getting me in trouble. You know as we look at Jesus here in Mark chapter 14, he is an example of just incredible strength, real strength, strength that now I desire in my life. I used to desire more physical strength, and today I don't focus on that at all, as you can probably tell. I see value in it, but I just in my time focus on other things and haven't had much time for that. The strength that I desire now is the true strength you see in Jesus Christ, it's just tremendous incredible strength, it's so strong to do the things that he does in these verses, it's just incredible. And you know Paul says in some of his letters, he says 'You know now as a spiritual athlete I discipline myself to grow as a spiritual athlete and to become very strong.' And the disciplines that he talks about of course are different, you're not working out with weights as much, which is fine, or running which is fine, but now the discipline is like prayer [and Bible study, and fasting], those things make you strong. Last week we talked about the secret of strength and we talked about the first phase. The first phase to really begin to comprehend and to experience strength in your life is to begin to realize you are very weak. And if we don't know that we are weak we're never going to experience true strength. Because the second step is to realize that God is strong, that he is powerful. And you'll never get there until you've got to the end of yourself, truly, and realize that you really need him. Well, today we're going to focus on the same idea, but we're going to focus on this bridge that gets you from step one to step two. Step one, I finally got to that point in my life that I'm realizing, I'm learning that I'm weak. How do I get to the second step where I begin to really learn that God is strong?--and that the bridge to that second step is prayer. In prayer I begin to experience the strength of God. And we're going to see that in Jesus' life. I know in my life, many probably here would agree, the days that I start off in a solid time of prayer, those mornings, I go into that day and I have this sense to me, I have this peace to me, there's less anxiety, and I seem to go through the day a little smoother, I feel more prepared for the day. The day that I don't start in solid prayer, or those periods that I don't, you know I seem a little spacey, I seem less confident in the day. My head seems to spin a little easier, I get a little more confused about things. And what happens is I mess up more. I get to the end of the day and I have regret about things that I've said to someone, or things that I've done. But I seem more guarded and strong in the days that I really spend in the morning on my knees before the Lord, and just calling upon him and just finding his strength. And when I do that I really see the impact in my day. Maybe you've had those experiences and are seeing the same thing in your life. David said in Psalm 27, he says, "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord" (Psalm 27:14). [Read the whole Psalm.] He says, wait on the Lord, and he will strengthen your heart. Wait on the Lord and be of good courage. That's such a beautiful verse. And that waiting on the Lord obviously is in prayer and being in the Word, as you wait in the Lord and you seek him and you talk to him and he talks to you--you begin to get strong, you begin to get confident and encouraged, encouraged to him. When I wait on the Lord in prayer, I find the fears that are in my life begin to subside, I find the anxiety begins to just fade away. I beget this courage and this strength, my spirit is renewed, I find strength for the day ahead. When I don't wait on the Lord I find that I'm more susceptible to temptation as the day continues. But as I start my day with prayer, then throughout the day I find times of prayer, I find strength. Isaiah declared, he said, "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). He says those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they're going to mount up with wings like eagles. I tell you, as you read these verses, you see something to the man's eye, 'This is real weakness', but now in Christ I look, what incredible strength, there's an eagle just soaring through this passage, as I look upon Jesus, I see strength that is so supernatural. Last week again we saw "we need to learn our weakness", step two, we need to learn that Christ is the strength. He is, God is power. But today we're going to focus on that bridge, the bridge from one to the other is prayer. That's how we tap into that strength.

Let's begin by reading verse 32. "Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.'" You know, if we were with Jesus at this moment, we've seen him at different times, we've seen as we get near to Jerusalem this heaviness to him. This sense to him, that even the disciples are beginning to wonder and even begin to have fear at times coming into their hearts as they've been with Jesus. Jesus knows where he's going, there's absolutely no doubt as they come to this garden, that we read in Luke that they would go to at other times. It means Olive Press, interestingly, the word translated, Gethsemane. But as they've come to this point, the city of Jerusalem is right there before them, it's only hours away from his betrayal. There's no doubt, and you can tell in these verses, there's a tremendous heaviness upon Jesus. And you would certainly be able to sense it. You would see it in his eyes, tremendous burden, anguish of heart. You could hear it in the shortness of his breath. I don't know whether you've ever had that experience where you know something is coming that's causing you to just have this sense to you. 'I know I have to encounter this,' sometimes maybe a meeting with an individual that you know is not going to go well and you're speech begins to change. And there's this heaviness there. There's no doubt, there at this point his disciples are really sensing something going on that's very heavy here with Jesus. And at this most difficult hour, what do you find Jesus doing here? You find him praying. He goes away, takes the disciples, he says, 'I'm going to go and pray, you guys come with me, but you sit here and I'm going to go and pray.' You know there's many other methods and things that we can turn to as people when the going gets tough, but here we find Jesus in this most difficult hour, praying, calling out to the Lord, as you read, calling out to God the Father. And as you read you clearly see the result of that. As you watch him pray you also find him growing in strength, even in the midst of it. Jesus was very much man, very much God but very much man. And here as a man he calls out to the Father, and in that finds tremendous renewal of strength. This is a great lesson for the disciples. The disciples watching this as they go on here in the years ahead and endure some of the things they're going to endure. They can think back to Jesus here at this very difficult hour, understanding that Jesus knew he was going to be betrayed, and they can see him on his knees, and see the importance of prayer and where Jesus found his strength ultimately. Where and how do you find strength in your life? How do you do it? If you believe you find your strength in God, then it would be reflected in your life of prayer, because you're going to find strength from God as you pray. That's how you tap into him, because you're with him and you find that strength. If there is not a lot of prayer-time in your life, I think it could be argued from the Scriptures there's probably not a lot of power of God in your life. Because prayer is that bridge that gets me from "I can't do it Lord", to "I begin to call on him and seek him, and suddenly I find this courage, suddenly I find this tremendous supernatural strength of God.' Maybe still your aren't quite comprehending the vastness, the difference between your weakness and the strength of God. And it's so different what you can do and what he can do. Don't be fooled in thinking that any of whatever avenue or method could adequately renew you with strength and give you victorious life, and also don't believe a lie that maybe the situation you're in, that there's nothing that you can do to find strength and victory. David said "Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart." Isaiah said "Wait on the Lord and you're going to soar on wings as eagles", as you do that. Learn, you and I need to learn the new discipline, the true strength, and that's prayer. And as we pray, man, we cross that bridge, and we experience tremendous power.
Verses 35-36, "And he took Peter, James and John with him, and he began to be troubled and deeply distressed. And he said to them, 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even to death. Stay here and watch.' He went a little farther and 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. Take this cup away from me, nevertheless, not what I will but what you will.'"
Man there is an eagle, there's wings to soar through this passage. The strength is just tremendous that you see there. Jesus leaves eight of the disciples, Judas has left him, not with him at this moment. He takes the inner circle, those three guys, privileged guys, Peter, James and John, they just had incredible privileges with Jesus--able to see him in ways no other person, from a vantage point that others never had that privilege. And here they have another privilege of going even further into the garden with Jesus, and able to see him right there as he just cries out to the Father. Mark tells us here that Jesus, in verse 33, begins to be very troubled, very distressed. And then he turns in verse 34, to the disciples, and confesses that he is very heavy. In fact, you read, he says "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death." You ever been that sorrowful before?--even to death?-- Just that low, emotionally? You know, you look at the Greek tense of these words, you learn a little bit more. In those Greek words for "exceedingly sorrowful" or whatever your translation has before you, those Greek words suggest an element of surprise, an element of terror, an element of just sudden surprise like being stunned. Jesus, when he's experienced this, so much emotion has come upon him, part of this spiritual battle, I'm sure the enemy had something to do with it, but as he knows what he's just about to do, the emotion is so great that he is almost stunned, just alarmed by all the emotion. And he turns to the disciples and says "I am so heavy, I'm exceedingly sorrowful, even to the point of death." It's clear in verse 35 that Jesus is very human. And with all that, he goes a little bit further, he falls on the ground and he prays, and he says, 'If it's your will, Lord, if it's possible may, may this hour pass.'--'You know, this is not going to be easy, and if I don't have to do this, I don't want to do this.' You see very much Jesus is a man, he doesn't want to suffer, I mean, this is heavy, he knows what's coming. Obviously it's the physical suffering, physical suffering on a cross. You've heard the stories, just the tremendous punishment that would go on, it was so tremendous. And we'll go into that later, what it means to be crucified, and all the things that will lead up to that. But even more so that's what he's going to endure because of our sin, because of your sin, because of my sin. All the hideous sin that man has done he's going to take that on, and then experience the wrath of God that goes with that--all the more he knows, beginning to just sense what that means. And there's just a tremendous emotion that goes with that. If you question the love of God towards you, I mean you just have to read the Bible and that begins to go away. The enemy's a liar. But if you question the love of God just consider Jesus right here. And realize that he continues on, for you, from this point. He says 'I'm going to do it because I love you.' God demonstrates for you "That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus asked in verse 36, he says "Abba, Father.", you know in a beautiful way, because of him you and I can say that same thing, we read in Romans. He says 'Abba, Father, all things are possible to you, take this cup away from me. Take it, take it, nevertheless, not what I will--but your will Lord, your will Father.' This cup is such a dreadful cup, filled with all the sin that we have and then filled with the intensity of the wrath of God. But Jesus incredibly, in tremendous power and strength I've never seen in another person, he says "not my will, Father, but yours." I was reading in Foxes Book of Martyrs recently again, and there's a story where a man is going to be burned at the stake. [I hate gruesome true stories like this, but it does show the power of God just entering into a person, superhuman strength.] If you have ever read that book, if you haven't, read it, tremendous book about folks that have endured tremendous things because of their love for Christ. One particular story, a man is going to be burned at the stake, simply because back in Europe in the days of Bloody Mary he's not going to accept certain doctrine, he believes in Jesus and Jesus only [for salvation--true to the gospel of Christ found in the book of Romans]. And for that reason he's been scheduled to be burned at the stake. This was in the 1600s. And some other folks, other believers are friends of his, and they want to come to him the night before. He's in a similar place, in the garden, in this book, night before, knowing he's going to be burnt at the stake. Friends come to him and they say "You know, listen, we're in fear of this. You know, we love Jesus, and it's a good chance we're going where you are. Can you just show us somewhere, somehow, that while you're there in the fire that we can also endure the fire." So he says, "You know, if it's possible I'll raise my hands in the fire." I've told this story before. Well the next day they tie him to this post, put the wood underneath him, they light the fire, as you can only imagine, the flames came up and began to consume his body, and he stood there and the flames consumed him to the degree where his arms began to burn off, the hands were gone, and it took a little while to die in the fire, as you read Foxes Book of Martyrs, it took a little while for some of the folks to die. But at the point before his torso collapses in the flames he reached, lifted up his arms, he just had stubs, and he stood there. And just a praise went through the crowd, because crowds would gather, as everyone understood what that meant. And even in that moment he said "you can endure this, man, with the power of God." Now Jesus has the same thing before him, but even more so, that doesn't even compare. He's going to take on my sin, and endure the wrath of God on top of that. And yet, yet there in the garden he says "Lord, Father, your will be done, your will be done"--tremendous, incredible strength. And verse 37, after he says that, we read in Luke chapter 22, verse 43, that an angel then appears to him from heaven, and it says specifically, the angels comes and strengthens him. If you and I are people of prayer, man those angels come and strengthen us. And as Jesus is praying, Luke says specifically right after that the angel comes and ministers to him and renews him, gives him strength to carry on. Luke says as he prays even further, he now has the strength to pray so earnestly that he prays so incredibly that the sweat becomes like drops of blood. Evidently, blood began to come out of his pores, he was in such anguish, considering, yet able to endure that as he prayed and found strength. What a picture of strength. You know, it's not so much the gym like I used to think so, that's fine, but it's the strength within, man, that's power, tremendous power. Jesus found incredible strength to overcome the deepest of emotions. Jesus found incredible strength to overcome the greatest of fears. Jesus found incredible strength to overcome the greatest of temptations. He wanted to go out. If you and I were there, we'd be like, "Out of here! I ain't staying in this garden thing, I ain't going to continue on this road, I'm outa here!" But he found strength to endure that. And we see that he accomplishes that, as he communes with the Father through prayer, through waiting on the Father, as he waits on the Father he's renewed in strength, and the wings come out and he just soars, soars so beautiful, soars on the wings of eagles. The Hebrew writer declares, Hebrews chapter 5, "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to him who is able to save him from death and was heard because of his godly fear." But the writer of Hebrews just says 'he cried out vehement cries in the garden and he was heard.' And then the angel came and just strengthened him, finding strength in prayer. How are you going to overcome times of great racing emotions that do come upon us at times with things that happen in our lives, those emotions come and sometimes you can lose it because you don't have the strength. How are you going to do it? How are you going to overcome those times of great fear that do come into life? How are you going to overcome those times of great temptation? By crossing the bridge from your weakness to the power of God, and that bridge is prayer. As you pray you find strength, you are renewed in strength. Not only does God answer your prayers, he begins to strengthen your inner man with power and might.
Verses 37-42, "Then he came and found them sleeping and said to Peter, 'Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.' Again he went away and prayed and spoke the same words, and when he returned he found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy and they did not know what to answer him. Then he came the third time and said to them, 'Sleep on now, and take your rest, it is enough, the hour is come. Behold the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See my betrayer is at hand.'"
Here we see already, these disciples, moments before, Peter and the guys going 'Jesus, you say we're going to stumble. We believe your word is perfect, but in this particular time you've missed it because we will not stumble.' Peter said 'I will not go down. You're telling me I will, I won't. I can stand, I can do it.' But you know, it's just a little time later and what is Jesus coming over to Peter about, and he's napping on him, he can't even stay awake. He's expressing how strong he is, he doesn't even understand how incredibly weak he is. Now he can't even stay awake and pray, when Jesus needs him there, and desires him to be right there and watch and to pray. Unable to overcome the flesh at the most critical moment, yet Jesus comes and shares with him the secret again in finding strength at this hour, he says, "Watch and pray, lest ye fall into temptation", watch, pray. If you watch and pray, the opposite of this would say 'You will not fall into temptation.' These guys don't know what's coming, they're not praying, they're not going to be prepared and ready for the hour that's ready to come upon them. But how are you? Is there much time of prayer in your life? Is it a significant part of your spiritual being and life and experience? Are you a person of prayer? If you're not a person of prayer, how are you going to be ready? How are you going to be prepared when temptation comes? Maybe you already see that pattern in your life, because the spirit is willing, as a person I'm willing, I want to be like Jesus. Yes, I just desire to be like him. But man, that flesh thing just comes out all the time, it gets the upper hand every time.' The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. So he says "Watch and pray" and you'll be ready. You'll find the strength to stand when the temptation comes. Is prayer a significant part, a significant concern to you? I hope it is. You know I'm thankful, we began to pray more as a church a year ago. We prayed before, we had prayer meetings, and then something stirred in us and we said "We're going to pray more. We're going to get serious about this prayer thing." It's beautiful to see what happens on one of these Wednesday nights here, and sometimes in the early mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But you know, I believe we've seen the result. Talking to Joe Coleman in Vermont, he says, "You know, we recently began to focus all the more on prayer.and we're having a lot of fun for a change." But I think that's been our experience. It hasn't been perfect, obviously, but more than ever there's this freedom in this ministry as we pray corporately and as we pray individually. Jesus says, "Watch and pray, lest you fall into temptation." That tells us a lot. How are you going to endure trial and temptation? Watching and praying. [To learn more on the subject of prayer, log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/prayer/
. This whole section is full of good material on the subject of prayer.]

Verse 37, Jesus calls Peter, Simon. That interesting, his name's changed but he goes back to the old one, because he's being too much like Simon. Jesus says 'You're going to be Peter, the rock, but you're not right now, we'll get there. Right now you're Simon.' And that happens, doesn't it?--the old man, the old ways. Well, he says "watch and pray," he goes away and just begins to pray and speak the same words, "Oh Lord, Oh Father, if it's possible take this cup. Not my will but your will." He prays the same types of things. And returns and what does he find? They are snoozing again. So weak, so feeble, faltering, his best buddies around him. That's hard, too. When you're having a hard time..It says in verse 40 that they did not even know what to say, "And when he returned, he found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer him." That just says they are ashamed. They failed, the spirit is willing, 'OK Jesus, we love you, we know something's going on. We want to sit right here and pray with you.' And you know, before you know it, they're snoring and sleeping again. And he comes to them and wakes them up, there he is standing before them again, and they don't even know what to say. They're just ashamed, 'Ah, we're so weak.' They can't even get through this prayer thing. You have to learn the discipline of prayer. It's a discipline, it's running that race. I'm going to learn it, I'm going to discipline myself. I get up in the morning and I start to zone out, I used to have that struggle a lot, I still do. But it used to be a ton. You know I'd be like 'Why get up if I'm going to just fall asleep on the couch? I might as well just stay in bed.' That was my logic, I'd get up, I'd go on the couch, get praying and fall asleep. I was like, 'Well I'd just as soon sleep on my bed.' But you know, you begin to discipline yourself. I think God's been gracious with me, he's brought other guys into my life that are really early morning people that have helped me, and they're kind of like a chisel, and I began to discipline myself more in prayer. And it's a blessing as we do that.
Verse 41, he says he came to them a third time, and there they are sleeping again. He says, 'Are you still sleeping? It is enough, the hour is come. The Son of man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.' Oh, I bet the disciples thought back to this and like 'Oh man, oh we weren't even there with him at this critical hour.' And they loved him very much. I'm sure they thought back and were just ashamed. And he says, "Arise and let us be going. See my betrayer is at hand." What does the next hour hold? You read that, the question comes 'What does the next hour for your life hold? What does the next hour hold for this church?' Only God ultimately knows. But are we going to be ready for that next hour? Are we going to be prepared? The way we're ready, Jesus says, is to 'Watch and pray' that you're prepared, you're ready, you're not going to enter into temptation.
Verses 43-50, "And immediately, while he was still speaking Judas, one of the twelve, with a multitude with swords and clubs came from the chief priests and scribes and elders. Now his betrayer had given them a signal, saying, 'Whomever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him and lead him away safely.' As soon as he had come immediately he went up to him and said to him 'Rabbi, Rabbi', and kissed him. And they laid their hands on him and took him. And one of those who stood by drew a sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said to them 'Have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But the Scripture must be fulfilled.' Then they forsook him and fled."
It is so hard to endure betrayal. That's got to be one of the hardest things in life, especially to someone close to you, Judas, with Jesus for three and a half years. It's hard to endure. It's especially hard to endure in a godly manner. Usually, I would say in my life, or our lives, when betrayal times come, we don't do very well. You know, the boxing gloves come out. You know what Jesus says here to Judas, as you read in the other gospels? He says, "friend", he calls him "friend", even at this moment, knowing what he's come to do. Judas comes up to him and kisses him. The Greek says that word is a passionate kiss, it's like you kissing someone you love. That's how Judas, that's the Judas--that's that poisonous kiss that comes up in a tender kiss, and kisses him and betrays him. Yet Jesus, knowing all that, understanding all that, says "friend" to him, says "friend, what have you come here for?" 'What is your purpose?' And then he says "Are you betraying the Son of man with a kiss?" 'Is that what you're doing?' Incredible strength, incredible strength, incredible power. It takes the strength of Jesus in my life, I cannot do what is written here unless I do it with him, when these types of days come. You see there Judas comes with a multitude, swords and clubs, come from the chief priests and scribes, and he betrays him with this Judas kiss. Then they take Jesus, verse 46, and they take him away, and as they're doing that, here's Peter--we don't read it here, but in another gospel--a guy who hasn't been in prayer, a guy who's not ready for this hour, he does exactly what you do when you're not ready--he pulls his sword out and he lops off a guys' ear. And that's what you do when you're not ready for the hour, your reach for the sword, you fight back. You do things that you later regret. By God's grace, Jesus picks up the ear and goes to this servant and puts the ear back on [by a miracle, probably the last physical miracle he performs]. I'm thankful for God's grace in my life, because I've done that, not being ready, I pull out the sword and whack, whack, whack, I'm like 'What did I do to that person? I wasn't ready for that, that was a hard thing to happen at that moment and I wasn't ready.' 'I didn't do it in the manner God desired me to do it, to handle that, and I didn't do it in the strength of God.' But I'm thankful for his grace, and you can be thankful too if there's some ears lying around you. Just know that God is gracious. But learn the secret to strength, learn, learn from that, that mistake. I was in college, my first semester, I was doing this class, I thought I was doing well. It was physics. I thought I was doing pretty well. Most of my friends dropped out, it was a tougher class. We just were getting used to this college thing. But I thought I was doing pretty well, my grades weren't too bad. But when I went to the door of my professor at the end of the class to see my grade, I'm glad it was my social security number and not my name, I saw a nice "F" on the door. I said "F?" "How'd I get an F? I thought I was doing well." I did well in everything else. But I went to a little teachers aid, it wasn't the professor, but somebody who worked for him and I said "I just want to know, why did I fail that class?" She said, "You did OK on your homework, you did OK on your midterm," She says, "Oh, you got a 2 on the final." I said, "I got a 2 out of 100?" It was a test that I thought I did well on, but I actually got a 2. You know, figure that out. I was pretty humbled. I got a 2? I'm glad I didn't have a big group with me, it was just me and this lady. I got a 2, I'm glad it was my social security number on the door and not my name. But I got a 2 and I failed the class. That was a real bummer, that was a real humbling experience, just getting started in college, but I had to take that class over, and I aced it the next time. And physics, in the degree I was, was a basic course. And a lot of courses stacked on top of that. And I did well in those courses, because I had a good basis, I had a second time at it, and I really learned it the second time around. And you through seasons, you mess up in the Christian experience--I'm not doing this right--but you can learn. You can learn through that. And it can become a great strength for you later. I think I learn mainly through my mistakes, through those times of stumbling, that's when I learn the most, for some reason. I wish I'd do it the other way, but that's how I learn. But you get stronger in that area after you've really goofed up.
Verse 50, "Then they all forsook him and fled." The disciples aren't ready for the hour and they leave him, forsake him. They were so confident, but they didn't even understand their weakness, and they forsook him because they weren't ready.
Verses 51-52, "Now a certain young man followed him having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked." This would be like my worst nightmare. I hope this guy didn't live too far from here, because he's only got his birthday suit on, and he's got to get home somehow. I can only imagine when you think that through, what is this guy going to do? You know, thankfully it's night time, you can do the Adam and Eve thing and get some leaves, you know, and make a little thing and run I guess. But this young man is only referred to here in Mark, is believed by many commentators that it is Mark. That's why Mark is putting his own little note in here, of when he ran through the streets with no clothes, at this moment. But he was following Jesus. He was an eye-witness evidently. Younger guy, grew up in a godly family, and he throws this point in, that he was there, around Jesus, and he had to bolt, and all he got away with was his body, he didn't have any clothing. Obviously, that is presumed. We don't know for sure, but you know, only Mark mentions this guy, and it's an odd little thing to put in there. And it's believed by many, if you read a lot of commentators, that this is Mark.
Verses 53-65, "And they led Jesus away to the high priests and the elders and the scribes. But Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with his servants and warmed himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and all the counsel sought testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimonies did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against him saying, 'We heard him say, I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.' But not even then did their testimony agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus saying, 'Do you answer nothing? What is it these men testify against you?' But he kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him saying, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?' And Jesus said 'I am. And you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.' Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, 'What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard this blasphemy. What do you think?' And they all condemned him to be deserving of death. And some began to spit on him, and to blindfold him and to beat him, and to say to him, 'Prophesy!' And the officers struck him with the palms of their hands." Wow, just strength, incredible strength. Now they've taken him, in the hands of the enemy. These religious folks, that think they're so religious, sometimes the hardest persecution comes right in there at the hand of the religious. And they take him, Peter does follow. Peter has some courage left. He is a strong man. And he follows into the courtyard and sits there with the servants and warms himself. And you read in verse 55 that the priests and the counsel, they seek testimony to put him to death, that's the whole purpose. False witnesses stand up, they do not agree. Then some others stand up finally towards the end of this witnessing, they said they heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another made without hands.' If you remember the Scripture, they've actually twisted his words. That's not what he said. He didn't say 'I will destroy the temple.' He said, "Destroy the temple and I will rebuild it in three days", and they're trying to say this guy is going to try to destroy the temple. They've twisted his words, maybe you've had that happen, and these types of things, when they start going around, suddenly your statements come back to you and you're like "I did not say that." You're missing a few key words there that make it into a very different statement than what I actually did say. But Jesus kept silent, and he answered nothing. Just the strength to be there and be accused, to be there and be falsely accused, there's no one there to stand in his defense. This is an illegal trial. There should be witnesses on his end, there isn't. It's at night and that's also illegal. A lot of things they do.this is completely a set-up. And they have obviously very evil intent in doing it. But all this goes on and Jesus just sits there quietly. And I wish I could do that. I believe it's glorious when you can do that. You have folks that are just ripping you to shreds, that you can stand there in the power of God and just be quiet, and come back in love, turn the other cheek. I don't do very well at it, I guess I don't pray enough, and I'm not watching enough. When people take a poke at me I usually poke pretty well back. But Jesus just sits there. That is such tremendous strength. James says, "No man can tame the tongue. It's an unruly evil full of deadly poison" (James 3:8). That takes power, to control that tongue. It's not the guy lifting all the weights, it's the guy that can hold that little rudder and control that little rudder (read all of James 3 to see what this pastor's talking about). And Jesus just sits there, and does not say anything, and it's tremendous supernatural power to do that. I wish all the more for that strength in my life. Then he's asked a question, and he gives a very straight answer. He's asked 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?' He's not trying to hide anything, he's just going to say the truth, "I am, and you will see the Son of man at the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven." He just says, 'This is the truth.' He's not going to deny it. 'I am the Messiah and I'm coming back and you're going to know it.' Right there in the midst of all of his enemies, all these people, he's alone yet so strong, such incredible strength. Well the high priest tears his clothes and he says 'What else do you need to hear, man?' Of course that's what they're looking for. So they condemn him to death. Then folks begin to spit on him. Man that is degrading to have someone spit in your face. They then begin to blindfold him and they begin to hit him and say 'prophesy', and they evidently had a misunderstanding. There is a rabbinical teaching at that time that said the Messiah would be able to determine things even by his ability of sense, he would be able to smell and determine truth without even seeing [based on Isaiah 11:3-4]. They misunderstood a prophecy in the Old Testament, and evidently maybe that's what they're trying to show, 'You're not the Messiah', 'Can you smell who this is?' Evidently is what they're doing, and they just strike him. But so wonderfully he stands strong.
Verses 66-72, "Now as Peter was below in the courtyard one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself she looked at him and said, 'You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.' But he denied it, saying, 'I neither know nor understand what you are saying.' And he went out on the porch and a rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him again and began to say to them that stood by, 'This is one of them.' But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, 'Surely, you are one of them, for you're a Galilean, and your speech shows it.' Then he began to curse and swear, 'I do not know this man of whom you speak!' A second time the rooster crowed, and Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows twice, you'll deny me three times.' And when he thought about it he wept."
Man you can relate to Peter right there. You know, he actually has eye contact with Jesus at that moment, and is reminded especially with that of the words that Jesus said, that Jesus said, 'Peter, you're not understanding what strength is, you're going to stumble on account of me.' And it's exactly what Jesus says is what Peter does. He's in the courtyard, he's close, he got some courage there. But then the test really comes, the servant girl says, 'You know, you were with Jesus. I recognize you. You lopped off that guy's ear. I mean, I can tell who you are.' Peter says, 'I don't even know what you're talking about.' Completely denies it. Then a rooster crows. He should have begun to clue in right there. A servant girl comes to him again and said, 'This is one of them. This is one of them.' He denies it again. And then all of the folks that are there, sitting, said, 'You know, you've got the accent of a Galilean. You talk like a fisherman. Certainly you're one of 'em.' And he just begins to bring down curses, curse upon himself. You know, 'Cursed be me if I am lying.' 'Cursed be you if you falsely accuse me.' He just starts to bring down curses, defending himself, but completely lying. And then the rooster crows a second time, and Peter is reminded of what Jesus said, "Before the rooster crows twice you're going to deny me three times." And man is he ashamed, and he just begins to weep, just broken right there, beginning to clue in on how very weak he is, that he's not very strong. And he's ashamed. I can relate to that, been there many times. This whole 'spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.' But the more I learn, the more that I begin to clue in that I am very weak. There I begin to say, 'I am too weak, I need Jesus to help me.' And then I realize that, as I turn to Jesus in prayer, then I begin to experience incredible strength. D.L. Moody's most favorite Bible verse was Isaiah chapter 50, verse 7, really beautiful verse. This is what it reads, "For the Lord God will help me, therefore I will not be disgraced. Therefore I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be ashamed." He had that verse before him a lot. This is taken from another man's journal about Dwight Moody, about this verse Dwight Moody had before him all the time. He says that Moody was reminding himself all the time that God would help him, and in that he would not be disgraced. And in that he could set his face like flint in confidence, regardless of what happened. And in that, he would know that he wouldn't be ashamed, because God was his strength. Man, I soar like wings of eagles, I don't find myself in those situations where I look back and go "What have I done? What have I done? I can't believe I did that." I end up ashamed when I do it on my own, in my own confidence. But I stand strong, face like flint, in power when I rest in God. And I get there, 1) learning that I'm weak, 2) I get there understanding that he is strong, 3) as I begin to pray--and I watch and pray, and as a result I don't fall into temptation."
"Let's close in prayer: "Father, we are thankful for this time of Bible study. We are thankful to be able to look upon your Word, the power of your Word, and to learn these truths, to be reminded of the importance of prayer. I ask Lord that all of us grow in prayer. As we pray, we grow strong. As we pray, we are renewed in strength. And as we pray we are prepared for the hour before us, whatever it is. I do ask Father that all the more myself, as individually, as together as a body, we grow in prayer, Lord, knowing we are weak, knowing how strong you are, and then seeking you in prayer. I do pray this Father, I thank you in Jesus name. Amen."


A good quote from Emanna:

Being Examined as the Passover Lamb

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bible Verses ~~~~~~~~

John 19:6 When therefore the chief priests and the attendants saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify! Crucify! Pilate said to them, You take Him and crucify Him, for I do not find fault in Him.

Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year... (6) ...and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

~~~~~~~~~~~Words of Ministry ~~~~~~~~~
The Lord was examined in His dignity by mankind, being examined as the Passover lamb was examined. The Lord Jesus was crucified on the Passover as the Passover lamb. According to the type, before the Passover lamb was killed, it had to be examined to determine whether or not it had any blemish. The examination of Christ by mankind was the fulfillment of this type. After Pilate examined Him, he declared, "I find no fault whatever in him". There was no blemish in this Passover lamb; He was fully qualified to be the lamb for God's people. After the Lord Jesus was examined, He, the perfect One, was sentenced in man's injustice. This unjust sentence exposed the blindness of religion and the darkness of politics.

Many years ago I read an article describing how the Jews slew the lamb during the Passover. The article said that the Jews took two wooden bars and formed a cross. They put the lamb on the cross, tying two of the lamb's legs to the foot of the cross and fastening the outstretched legs to the crossbar. Then they slew the lamb so that all its blood was shed. Thus, the killing of the Passover lamb was a portrait of the crucifixion of Christ... Not long before the crucifixion of Christ, the Roman government adopted crucifixion as the method of executing criminals. This was decided under God's sovereignty that the prophecies regarding Christ's crucifixion [as the Passover lamb] might be fulfilled. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Words of Ministry taken from Witness Lee, Life-study of John

(Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Ministry, 1985), pp. 509-512
(Repeat 3/11/97)
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