“THE HOUR HAS COME” (Mark 14:32-42)
November 4, 2018 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S “SPECIAL”: A Big Fall Dance Funny
It was approaching the big Fall Dance at John’s school. He decided that he wanted to try his luck and ask out the most popular girl in his school. So he got in line to ask her, and he waited, and he waited, and he waited. When he finally got to the front of the line, he was amazed because the girl said yes! She also handed him a long list of criteria he would have to meet for her to go with him.
The first criterion was a limousine. So he went to the limousine shop and, as it was near the time of the dance, he waited and waited and waited to get to the front of the line and hired a limousine. The second criterion was a suit from the most prestigious clothes maker in the city. So John went to that shop and waited and waited and waited to be fitted. Once he got his suit he looked at the list and chased up the next criteria on the list (roses, tickets, chauffeur, etc.) and at each one he had to wait for a very long line.
Finally it was the night of the Fall Dance! John went and picked up the girl in his limousine, had the chauffeur drive them to the dance, picked up his roses, and arrived at the dance venue. To get in to the dance they waited and waited to get in. When they finally got to their seats, John’s girl asked him to get her a glass of punch.
When John got to the punch table, he was surprised, because there was no punch line.
Sometimes personal illustrations are helpful; often not. So let me take a try: when you were growing up, did you know what you wanted to be in life, what you wanted to do with your life? My one brother was sure he was going to be a doctor – and he did become one. My middle brother didn’t know until his senior year in college that he had a strong desire to become a lawyer – and he did become one. Their youngest brother, at age 5, wrote in the class essay, “when I grow up I want to be a copper”. And 26 years later, he was one – with a catch. His desire was fulfilled by being a non-gun toting parking enforcement officer. And they paid him for writing parking tickets. Wow.
Our text is fascinating. It relates that the Savior knew His calling in life, even from before He came to earth! And what was that calling? PRAYER
MARK 14 (& 15): THE FULFILLMENT OF THE SAVIOR’S MISSION!
This chapter is loaded, and I encourage you to read chapter 14 coupled with chapter 15 which give the entire passion of the Christ unfurled. In the scene before us this morning, the disciples (minus Judas, who has left to get a “gang” to arrest Jesus) went to a familiar spot. The spot was very familiar to Judas, and he knew to go there. With one last lesson, as it were, the Savior takes Peter, James, and John with Him to a place of prayer. They, of course, did not so much praying as they did sleeping, overwhelmed with the thinking that they were coming here to die themselves!
In this passage are at least two classic lines which even the world uses at times. The first is found in v. 36, “not what I will, but what You will” (or as in our KJV, “not My will but Thy will be done.”). This simple line shows us two profound truths. First, we must ask ourselves: was the Savior “chickening out”? He had just asked the Father, “everything is possible for You – please take this cup from Me.” What? The Savior relinquishing what He came to earth to do? Yet here we have, not a cowardice, but an identity. He was identifying with the human spirit. The book of Hebrews emphasizes over and over that “though He was weak, He became strong”. He became weak for us – so that He could identify with us. So when He encourages us to come to Him just as we are, we can – because He really does know how we feel. Great empathy. Great line for the ages.
But the second is as powerful as the first. He returns to the disciples three times – and each time finds them sleeping. They are overwhelmed. And what does He say here? V. 38 says, “the spirit is willing, but the body (flesh/KJV) is weak.” The world uses this line all the time! And so should we, for it identifies us with our disciple friends who were right there. Just when we can say, “well, if I were there, I’d be really strong”, the Savior and the disciples know that is not so. Their spirit was indeed willing – in fact, they said they were willing to die for their Savior. Of course, at this time, they had not grasped by faith that His mission was not to start His kingdom on earth. Rather, His mission was to die for the sins of the world. The flesh, the body was weak. And yet Paul reminds us, “when I am weak, then I am strong.” We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us! When we are weak, we need to see our weakness in light of the strength of the One standing before the disciples. That’s quite a line, “the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
But note please the 3 times that the word “hour” is used in a few passages. V. 35 our Savior prayed that “the hour” might pass from Him. This is the hour of surrender of the will, the resignation to His Father’s eternal plan. The Father answered that prayer. The hour passed with His line, “not My will but Thine.”
But the second usage is also interesting! In verse 37, He returns and sees His disciples not praying but sleeping. What were His choice words? “Could you not keep watch for one hour?” Isn’t that something? The Savior, Who is eternal, has limited Himself to human time! And because of that limitation, so that He could be one of us, He knew that our world is measured by units of time – and here, one hour. One hour is probably figurative for “a few moments”. But the point is huge! He understood His limitation. And He understood and grieved for their hurt and weakness.
And the last usage is found in v. 41, “the hour has come”. Note, it wasn’t intended to be a series of 60 minutes put together in one unit of time. No, no! It was His purpose, His mission, which, according to Revelation 13:8, was decided before the foundation of the earth! In eternity past, the Savior knew His mission: the cross, to die for the sins of the whole world for all eternity!
But the hour was more than that. It was a fulfillment of all those moments that were not “the hour”. Seven times in the Gospel of John the Lord Jesus uses this words, “My hour has not yet come.” To His own mother at Cana, before He changed the water to wine, His words perhaps reminded her very abruptly of those words He said at age 12 in the temple, “don’t you know I must be about My Father’s business?”. She knew! And so she responds, “whatever He says, do it.”
And in John 12:23,27, 13:1, and 17:1 – all passages surrounding Gethsemane – the Savior reminds those that were there, as well as His Father, in essence, that “for this very hour I have come to earth.”
In that John 17:1 verse, believed to be the very passage He prayed at Gethsemane, the Lord Jesus prays, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.”
All this is before one blow is struck, one thorn is piercing His brow, one broken chard is whipped into His back, one nail is pierced into His hands and feet. His hour has come.
And in that hour, He was condemned to death for blasphemy by His Jewish peers. Next week, we’ll see the Roman condemnation that allowed Him to go to the cross.
I don’t think it would be belittling the theme of the cross to make another application. We, too, who love the Lord Jesus as Savior have our own “hour”. Perhaps we have many hours!
* The hour of decision to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives.
* The hour when we hungered to read His word and pray on a daily basis
* The hour when we realize His calling upon our lives.
* The hour when we prayed with our Savior, “not my will but Thine be done.”
* The hour when He called us Home to Himself, and we hear those words, “well done, My good and faithful servant.”
Have you surrendered to the cross? Have you surrendered to His hour in your life?
Close in prayer