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Mark’s first-century biography – page 43

And they (Jesus and his disciples, c. AD 30, Jerusalem) came to a place with the name Gethsemane. And he states to his disciples, “Sit here while I may pray.” And he takes along with him Peter and James and John, and began to be terrified and to be distressed. And he states to them, “Exceedingly sorrowful is my life – until death. Remain here! And stay awake!” 
“Gethsemane” is a Hebrew word meaning ‘oil press’. Olive oil, a food, a medicine, a balm, is produced only by crushing.  

And having gone forward a little, he fell upon the ground and was praying that, if it is possible, the hour may come past from him. And he states, “Abba, Father, all possible for you. Remove this cup from me - but not what I will but what you will.” 

How very difficult it is to pray for - and to want to have - the will of the Father when that will (“this cup”) is for dreadful crushing for you, the son - to death. 

And he comes and finds them sleeping, and he states to Peter, “Simon, you are sleeping. You were not strong enough to stay awake one hour. Stay awake and pray so that you may not come into testing. The spirit indeed willing but the flesh weak.” 

A short time earlier Peter and his colleagues had assured Jesus that they would not disown him even if it meant dying with him. The “flesh” is the self-seeking dimension in humanity. It defaults towards personal ease and away from the Almighty and prayer. 

Again, having come away, he prayed, saying the same statement. And again, coming, he found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy, and they had not seen how they might have responded to him. 

Another self-orientated decision by them all. Sleep was more important than any thought of “how they might have responded to him” in his dreadful agony.

And he comes the third time and states to them, “You are sleeping the remaining time and you are resting. It is too late; the hour did come. See! The Son of Man is given away into the hands of sinners.” 

Third time. Now it’s too late. He is “given away into the hands of sinners”. But are the hands of the disciples not also “the hands of sinners” – by default?

“Rise! We may go. See! The one giving me away has drawn near.” And immediately, he himself still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, becomes near and with him a crowd with knives and stakes - from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 

Jesus calls them all into the present awful realities. One man intends to do his own right thing by “giving away” Jesus; the crowd has all the tools to do their right thing by physical force; the authorities are (as ever) doing their right thing via Judas and the crowd. The disciples have done their right thing – nothing.

Now he giving him over had given them a sign, stating, “The one to whom I may show brotherly love is him. Hold him and lead him away securely.” And he, having come, straightaway having come near him, states, “Rabbi”. He kissed him. So, they laid hands on him and held him. 

A few hours earlier Jesus had told all his disciples, including Judas, that he was to be “given away” by one of them. Despite that, the right thing of the giver-away of Jesus includes these attempts to deceive Jesus. “I do love you.”

But one of those who stood near, having drawn his knife, struck the slave of the high priest and took the ear away from him. 

Who is this bystander? His own right thing is to knife for Jesus but he does more harm than good. The “ear” of a dutiful “slave” is taken “away from him”

And Jesus, responding, said to them, “You came out as against a robber, with knives and stakes and clubs together to take me. Every day I was near you in the temple teaching, and you did not hold me. But, so that they may fulfil the Scriptures….” And they all, sending themselves away, fled from him. 

“Sending themselves away”. Doing their own right thing. 

And a certain young man was following along with him, having put a linen cloth over his nakedness. And they held him, but he, having left behind the linen cloth, fled naked.  

That was me – doing my own right thing.

Sinner Syvret

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