Saturday, 7 July 2012
Mark 14:32-42 - Suffering for suffering
Jesus is fully human and fully God. The Bible says that 'in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form' (Colossians 2:9). We call it the 'incarnation'. God took on flesh and became a human being in Jesus. He's called 'Immanuel', which means 'God with us' (Matthew 1:23). In this section of Mark's account, we see just how human Jesus is at his lowest point and yet he doesn't sin. His soul is 'overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death' and he asks for another way but he remains faithful to God the Father and determined to trust and obey him whatever needs to happen.
How does Jesus manage to struggle and not sin? Is it because he's God and it's no real problem at all? No. He's not cheating! Jesus is fully God but he's laid aside certain rights to become genuinely human (Philippians 2:6-8). This is Jesus truly struggling. Struggling but not sinning. And he manages it be cause he prays. He gets his friends to pray too, but they let him down. When we struggle or face temptation we have two options: run towards God or run away from him. In the garden in Genesis, the story tells us Adam and Eve sinned and ran and hid from God (Genesis 3:8-10). In this garden, Jesus runs towards God in prayer and he shows us that full reliance on our heavenly Father in our darkest moments is our only hope.
Jesus is struggling and suffering for the world's struggling and suffering. He knows his imminent death on the cross and separation from God the Father will ultimately bring peace, forgiveness, friendship with God, life to the full and life forever to those who trust and follow him. Jesus knows he will pay a high price for the world's rebellion against God so that people who respond in faith may be free and have a certain hope that outlasts the suffering of this world. He knows this part of the plan is necessary to offer rescue to the people he loves and that by going through with it, he will ensure that for those who trust and follow him, the suffering they face in this world will be as bad as it gets. No-one will have to face absolute separation from God unless they stubbornly choose it.