God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Mark 14:32-72: Jesus goes to pray in Gethsemane (an area on a lower slope of the Mount of Olives), and the disciples fall asleep. Jesus is arrested and brought before the Council of chief priests, elders, and teachers of the Law, where he is put on trial.
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
(Matthew 26.36-46; Luke 22.39-46)
32They came to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took Peter, James, and John with him. Distress and anguish came over him, 34and he said to them, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch.”
35He went a little farther on, threw himself on the ground, and prayed that, if possible, he might not have to go through that time of suffering. 36“Father,” he prayed, “my Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet not what I want, but what you want.”
37Then he returned and found the three disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Weren’t you able to stay awake for even one hour?” 38And he said to them, “Keep watch, and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39He went away once more and prayed, saying the same words. 40Then he came back to the disciples and found them asleep; they could not keep their eyes open. And they did not know what to say to him.
41When he came back the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come! Look, the Son of Man is now being handed over to the power of sinners. 42Get up, let us go. Look, here is the man who is betraying me!”
The Arrest of Jesus
(Matthew 26.47-56; Luke 22.47-53; John 18.3-12)
43Jesus was still speaking when Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs and sent by the chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the elders. 44The traitor had given the crowd a signal: “The man I kiss is the one you want. Arrest him and take him away under guard.”
45As soon as Judas arrived, he went up to Jesus and said, “Teacher!” and kissed him. 46So they arrested Jesus and held him tight. 47But one of those standing there drew his sword and struck at the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his ear. 48Then Jesus spoke up and said to them, “Did you have to come with swords and clubs to capture me, as though I were an outlaw? 49 Day after day I was with you teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must come true.”
50Then all the disciples left him and ran away.
51A certain young man, dressed only in a linen cloth, was following Jesus. They tried to arrest him, 52but he ran away naked, leaving the cloth behind.
Jesus before the Council
(Matthew 26.57-68; Luke 22.54,55,63-71; John 18.13,14,19-24)
53Then Jesus was taken to the High Priest’s house, where all the chief priests, the elders, and the teachers of the Law were gathering. 54Peter followed from a distance and went into the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. There he sat down with the guards, keeping himself warm by the fire. 55The chief priests and the whole Council tried to find some evidence against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they could not find any. 56Many witnesses told lies against Jesus, but their stories did not agree.
57Then some men stood up and told this lie against Jesus: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will tear down this Temple which men have made, and after three days I will build one that is not made by men.’” 59Not even they, however, could make their stories agree.
60The High Priest stood up in front of them all and questioned Jesus, “Have you no answer to the accusation they bring against you?”
61But Jesus kept quiet and would not say a word. Again the High Priest questioned him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God?”
62 “I am,” answered Jesus, “and you will all see the Son of Man seated at the right side of the Almighty and coming with the clouds of heaven!”
63The High Priest tore his robes and said, “We don’t need any more witnesses! 64 You heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?”
They all voted against him: he was guilty and should be put to death.
65Some of them began to spit on Jesus, and they blindfolded him and hit him. “Guess who hit you!” they said. And the guards took him and slapped him.
Peter Denies Jesus
(Matthew 26.69-75; Luke 22.56-62; John 18.15-18,25-27)
66Peter was still down in the courtyard when one of the High Priest’s servant women came by. 67When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked straight at him and said, “You, too, were with Jesus of Nazareth.”
68But he denied it. “I don’t know … I don’t understand what you are talking about,” he answered, and went out into the passageway. Just then a rooster crowed.
69The servant woman saw him there and began to repeat to the bystanders, “He is one of them!” 70But Peter denied it again.
A little while later the bystanders accused Peter again, “You can’t deny that you are one of them, because you, too, are from Galilee.”
71Then Peter said, “I swear that I am telling the truth! May God punish me if I am not! I do not know the man you are talking about!”
72Just then a rooster crowed a second time, and Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows two times, you will say three times that you do not know me.” And he broke down and cried.
Today’s Key Verse: Mark 14:36
“Father,” he prayed, “my Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet not what I want, but what you want.”
How did Judas identify Jesus to the crowd armed with swords and clubs? What did the other disciples do? Why? Recall Jesus’s words from yesterday’s reading (Mark 14:27): “God will kill the shepherd, and the sheep will all be scattered.” Describe Jesus’s trial before the Council. What accusations were made against him? Do you recall Peter’s promise and words from yesterday’s reading (Mark 14:29, 31)? What did he do after Jesus was arrested? Have you ever been in a situation where you were uncomfortable expressing your faith? Explain.
Almighty God, teach me to do, not what I want, but what you want. Keep me faithful and obedient to your will. Amen.
Mark 15:1-41: Jesus is crucified.