Read: Mark 14:1-72
Centering Verse: He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” (Mark 14:36)
- What is your reaction to the woman’s act of anointing Jesus for burial?
- Put yourself in the setting of this final Passover meal between Jesus and his disciples. How do you feel?
- Jesus called God, Abba – a loving term for a father. In what ways do you experience and express closeness with God?
- Reread verse 28. In what ways does this word of assurance demonstrate an act of grace by Jesus for his disciples?
The prayer that Jesus prays in this passage is perhaps the most heart-wrenching, honest prayer ever prayed. It reveals to us the humanity of Jesus and his identification with our deepest sufferings and despair. His struggle is our struggle. Jesus is facing humanity’s lifelong existential crisis of mortality. But his angst is multiplied by the fact that he is facing not one person’s existential struggle, but the compounded existential struggle of all humankind. How do you bear such a burden for all persons past, present, and future? By trusting in your Abba. Though we will never face the scale of suffering and struggle Jesus faced, we will know suffering and struggles that threaten to overwhelm us. Our response can be the same as Jesus’s response. Admit to God that you are struggling and trust in God’s wisdom. God will never abandon us, even when we suffer. Notice that the psalmist didn’t say that the LORD weaves a path around the valley of the shadow of death for us so that we will avoid it; no, the LORD walks with us through the valley (Psalm 23). We will make it through, for God is with us. And we will come through stronger, for God’s “power is made perfect in [our] weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). We might want to avoid difficulty because it will be easier. But what God wants is to purify us and bring us into the fullness of the kingdom of God. Sometimes, the only way there is through the garden and the cross.
LORD God, who delivered us all through the suffering of your Son, Jesus Christ, give us the strength to endure difficulty and struggle. May we desire what you desire, eve when the way is hard. Amen.