As I read Mark 14:32-41, I need to imagine myself being there with Jesus and try to feel what was happening. Otherwise, I could easily miss an opportunity to increase my hope. And there is an outstanding offer of hope in that passage.
To discover the hope, we must identify the very powerful emotions taking place in this text.
These are the key words in the verses that carry the message, coupled with an amplified translation that will let you enjoy the “match-up” work.
Sore amazed (Grk. Ekthambeo) astonished by intense fright; surprised by the strong fear.
Very heavy (Grk. Ademoneo) to be distressed of mind.
Soul (Grk. Psuche) breath, (by implication) spirit.
Exceedingly sorrowful (Grk. Perilupos) intensely, totally grieved, causing physical and spiritual suffering.
Death (Grk. Thanatos) being deadly, death.
Wist (Grk. Eido) to know, understand, identify with.
Answer (Grk. Apokrinomai) answer or respond to.
Verse 32: Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to a place for prayer.
33: He began to be astonished by his own intense fright (surprised at his strong fear), and to be distressed of mind.
34: Jesus told the disciples that his spirit was intensely, totally grieved, causing physical and spiritual suffering… to the point He felt it would produce death…asking His disciples to please “be there” for Him.
35-37: After what seemed to be Jesus’ most intense, agonizing time of prayer, He returned to find His closest companions asleep! Apparently they were not impacted by the depth of emotional stress He was experiencing.
Evidently Peter was awakened at Jesus’ return. After questioning Peter, Jesus warned him of treacherous times ahead, and then he returned to pray some more.
In verse 40, Jesus returned to find His disciples asleep a second time. Some comments must have been made by Jesus because the disciples “did not know, understand or identify” with Jesus enough to even know how to “answer or respond to Him!”
By now you may be asking, “Why does Ken see so much hope in this passage?”
The answer is that even the disciples of Jesus spent three years with the Master Teacher and still did not know how to identify with the emotions of His spirit! They still had difficulty feeling or sensing the overwhelmed, excruciating condition of His spirit! They were not bothered in His behalf. Notice that their friend’s agony did not even keep them from falling asleep!
After spending years trying to learn, I, too, have trouble emotionally identifying with the spirit of others. There is still much that relationships have to teach me.
And so I pray, “Thank you, God, for giving me hope through this example. Because you’ve let me see that even after three years of special training, those men selected by Jesus to carry on your work still needed to improve their capacity to relate spirit to spirit. And you loved them, and me, in spite of our spiritual immaturity. You’ve even sent your Holy Spirit to patiently continue perfecting that which you’ve begun. Amen.”
Too often we seem to lose sight of the fact that discipleship is an on-going, in-depth and lengthy process. Instead, be glad that God will perfect the work he has begun in you!