< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: The Glory of His Submission

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Glory of His Submission

Pastor Kurt was back to preaching on The Gospel of Mark this morning!

Mark 14:32-42 32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

The upper room was in the western part of Jerusalem. The disciples had been enjoying a holiday dinner with Jesus; a time of great fellowship. But they were also confused and concerned. Jesus had told them He was the sacrificial lamb and He was leaving them.

Passover always takes place during a full moon, so they would have been able to see pretty well. But it was late and they were cold and tired. They probably assumed they were headed back to Bethany south of the city where they were staying. As they were walking east across Jerusalem Jesus stopped at one point and prayed. That prayer is in John 17. It’s a prayer for His glorification, for His disciples and for all believers. After that they passed the Temple and went into the Kidron Valley, but instead of going south to Bethany Jesus turned north to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had prayed here many times before, but he usually went alone.

This wasn’t a landscaped pretty garden. It was really a walled off olive grove, maybe a few acres in size. Jesus left eight of the disciples at the wall and took Peter, James and John with Him farther in. He told the three to stay and keep watch.

Jesus was going to pray to His Father. Really He was going to wrestle with Him and then yield His life to save us. This passage gives us three things to think about: the greatness of Christ, the glory of submission and the failure of humanity.

Jesus told them His soul was very sorrowful, even to death. He had prepared from before the beginning of the world for this moment, but here He was and he was overwhelmed at the pain He was feeling. Not just what He would be physically going through the next day, He knew all of that, but that He would have to take on all of our sins and feel the complete wrath of God. And for awhile He would be separate for the first time from His Father. I heard a minister say that it wasn’t the nails or the flogging or the spear that killed Jesus; it was a broken heart after God turned away from Him.

Jesus knows everything we suffer through. He knows every worry in our head. There is not a hurt or sorrow He doesn’t understand.

Hebrews 2: 17-18 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

And Hebrews 2:16 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.

He gives help! He knows what we are going through and He is willing and able to help us. But we have to trust in Him and lean on Him. Rely on His way of helping! It might be in a different way then we would expect.

When you are sorrowful and filled with dread; crying out to God, remember the Garden of Gethsemane. He gets it! Even though He prayed asking if it could be taken away He said, “but not my will but Thine.” He said yes because He knew it would save people and it would glorify His Father. This is the glory of His submission.

Our sin is an eternal offense toward God. A death payment must be made to atone for this. God is willing to forgive us if we put our trust in Christ’s work. Here’s a warning:

If you don’t trust in Christ’s payment you will pay it yourself forever!

Jesus showed us how to submit and we need to follow His example.

John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

John 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.

The first way we glorify God is by trusting Him! Anything we do we should ask ourselves, “Is this God’s will?” If it is we are called to submit. And then enjoy the ride!

The disciples were told to stay awake and pray, but they couldn’t. The Gospel of Luke says they fell asleep because they were very sorrowful. They kind of gave up instead of turning to God. Jesus had told them to pray, not so much for Him, but for themselves – He knew it would focus them on what would get them through the experience. We try by ourselves, but we need God!

Another thing we should remember about this story.  God’s answer to Jesus was “no.” God the Father said no to His precious, perfect Son so He could say yes to us! Our response should be thanksgiving and praise!

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