33 He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and horrified. HCSB, Mark 14:33 Bible Gateway
Somehow, I think Mark may have undersold the scene just a tad. At least, that’s what I think.
The Son of God was hours from a horrible, brutal, sadistic death and he knows what’s coming.
This is the ultimate clash of divinity and humanity in Jesus. The divinity knows what’s coming but his humanity is, well, horrified as the Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it.
Eugene Peterson puts it this way in The Message:
He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. (The Message, Mark 14:33)
What do you see and what do you feel when you look squarely into the face of certain death?
Not just death, but one that will be as brutal as the one our savior suffered.
We have our moments.
They may not be moments like this one, although some do, but we have moments when we feel the world is closing in on us, not going to let us breath and we see absolutely no way out. Where is God in that time?
We are told that Deitrich Bonhoeffer went to the gallows with great calm and certainly.
As described by the camp doctor where Bonhoeffer was hanged:
“At the place of execution, he again said a prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued in a few seconds. In the almost 50 years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” Christianity Today
I don’t contemplate this for any other reason than to say that my God has been where I have. Anything that happens to me that is bad, He knows. He really knows.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin,” the writer of Hebrews tells us (Hebrews 4:15, HCSB). Then, the writer offers some wisdom, “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. (Hebrews 4:16, HCSB)
Truth is, Gethsemane is a place where Jesus went to be with God, feel close to God. When we are in our darkest hour, hopefully, we seek God. Sometimes, I have not. It’s ironic though, that when things are their worst, we are often alone, and able to seek God’s face even more fervently.
Jesus’ future, the torture, was sanctified by God at a garden of olives, an oil press. The way he was to go, towards the cross, He was anointed by oil on that night, sanctified as the Messiah, the King, the Savior and, ultimately, the Son of God. That anointing comes from the pressure, just like with the olives, the pressure of the agony of what he was to face, and the decision to submit to God’s will for him.
Sometimes, the agony is grueling.
But, we know there is joy in our Lord!
As with Jesus, we know that there is a resurrection.