The Agony of The Cup
Mark chapter 14. We are in the history of Mark, in the Passion Week of our Lord Jesus Christ, the week of His crucifixion and resurrection. As we come to chapter 14 of Mark and verses 32 to 42, we come to a very familiar account of our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane as He wrestles with the reality of the coming cross later that day. This is set on Friday, in the middle of the night, the very day He was crucified and died.
In Isaiah chapter 53, that is a great historic prophecy, the prophet said many things about how that Christ would be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and chastised for our peace with God, that He would suffer in our place. But He also said this, in , he said, “The Messiah would be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”
In the thirty-three years of our Lord’s life in this world, as God incarnate in human flesh, He had been constantly exposed to the sorrows of life, very well aware of them as He was aware of absolutely everything not only what was visible, and what was knowable outside of Him, but what He knew because He knew what the heart of man was like, meant that He not only saw people suffer, but He felt their pain. He understood the grief and the sorrow that goes along with a fallen world, sin, disease, unbelief, ignorance, rebellion, rejection, disobedience, suffering, poverty, loss and certainly death. He saw and felt all of those exigencies of human suffering, even gave temporary relief to them, showing His compassion as He healed people, cast demons out of them, raised the dead, fed the hungry crowds. This was a kind of temporary physical reprieve from the sorrows of life, for the brief three years of His ministry. It was also a preview of His Kingdom. He will return to establish an earthly Kingdom and in that Kingdom suffering will be severely mitigated and diminished. Sorrow will be diminished with it. Life will be lengthened. Health will be increased. But that will, even at its best, only be a preview of heaven where there is no sickness, no sadness, no crying, no tears and no death.
But our Lord saw it all and felt it all. He was moved with compassion. The New Testament never says He laughed, never says He was happy. But it does say He was sad and it does say He cried. He experienced sorrow upon sorrow. He experienced the fullness of sorrow in the ways that we would never be able to, we can only feel our own pain and absorb so much of the pain that is outside us, but He absorbed all the pain that was both outside of people’s lives and inside their hearts because He saw it all and He saw it all in everybody. But as much sorrow as He had, sorrow upon sorrow upon sorrow, grief upon grief, there was no sorrow and there was no grief ever in His life like the experience recorded in these verses. This has been called His last temptation, and it is that. This is so severe, this particular experience of sorrow and grief, that it almost kills Him. It is so severe that the Bible says it evoked out of Him loud crying and tears. It is so severe that He actually sweat blood. This is a momentous experience in the life of our Lord, in the middle of the night on that Friday in which He was to die.