Formations lesson for April 6: Honesty and Pain
March 13 2003 by David Stratton , Mark 14:32-42

Formations lesson for April 6: Honesty and Pain | Friday, March 14, 2003

Friday, March 14, 2003

Formations lesson for April 6: Honesty and Pain

By David Stratton Mark 14:32-42

"God will give you a peace about ... whatever you're going through whenever you are following the path He provides for you. If you need direction, ask God, seek God about it. He will give you direction and you will get a peace about it."

The minister who spoke these words was describing what would determine whether or not he would undergo surgery. His testimony indicated that "peace," for him, was a good feeling about the course he would choose.

Not all Christians who prayerfully seek "peace" about a decision equate that peace with a good feeling. Yet those who do should remember Jesus in Gethsemane. Mark 14:32-42 reveals that Jesus certainly had feelings about going to the cross. But those feelings were anything but good ones.

Struggling with the call The disciples accompanied Jesus as He went to Gethsemane to pray. He knew that His betrayal, suffering and death were at hand. The passage describes Jesus as being distressed and troubled (v. 33). Jesus Himself stated that He was so deeply grieved that He felt as if He was about to die (v. 34).

As Jesus experienced this torment of His soul He wanted His disciples, His friends, with Him. For their part the disciples seemed to have struggled with how to comfort Jesus. They did not know what to say to Him (v. 40).

Jesus earnestly prayed to get out of the terrible calling the Father had laid upon His heart. He acknowledged that He would do the will of the Father no matter what that would entail. Yet, Jesus reminded the Father that all things were possible with Him and three times He pleaded for the Father to let Him out of the suffering He faced.

Jesus' feelings of anguish, His desire to be comforted by the presence of His friends, and His repeated prayer to escape the agony before Him exposed His monumental struggle with His calling.

Answering the call anyway In the end the Father did not grant Jesus' request to be excused from the agony ahead.

As the passage concludes Jesus acknowledged that the "hour" He had prayed to be taken away from Him had in fact arrived (vss. 35 and 41). He had prayed to escape the suffering to come, but the answer was no. So Jesus accepted the call that brought torture to His soul.

Faithful like Jesus Certainly Jesus was perfectly faithful. This being the case, Mark's account of Gethsemane reveals some surprising lessons on faithfulness. In this passage the faithfulness of Jesus involved a prayer request denied, feelings of grief and obedience.

Sometimes the heavenly Father does not grant the desires expressed in the prayers of the faithful. Jesus affirmed His willingness to accept the will of the Father, but His prayer expressed the ardent desire that He be excused from His hour of suffering. Jesus was faithful as He made His request, yet the Father did not grant it. In the same way the Father does not always grant our prayerful desires.

Faithfulness does not necessarily mean that we feel good about what we are called to do. As Jesus did not feel good about going to the cross, so we may not feel good about all the Father calls us to do. Joy belongs to the heart of salvation. Even so our faithful service may lead us, like Jesus, to be so deeply grieved that we feel like we are about to die.

Faithfulness means being obedient even when our prayers are not answered in the way we had hoped, and even when obeying does not feel good to us.

Jesus prayed that His hour of suffering would be taken from Him but it was not. He felt grief to the point of death over the task assigned to Him by the Father. Even so He remained obedient to His calling.

Following our Lord's example means that we must be obedient to the heavenly Father's call, even when our prayers are not answered as we had wanted and even though we may not feel good about what we are called to do.

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3/13/2003 11:00:00 PM by David Stratton , Mark 14:32-42 | with 0 comments
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