Online Bible Commentary
When Things Don’t Make Sense
Mark 14:32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch. 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” (NIV)
Jesus knew what His mission was on earth. He knew that He was to die for the sins of the world. He even knew that the time was rapidly approaching. He takes the disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane. Then He prays for God to “take this cup from me”, not once but three times.
Jesus is overwhelmed, “deeply distressed and troubled.” This whole situation has become a tragedy for Him. He asks God three times to spare Him.
The passage does not tell us all the reasons for His sorrow. Perhaps, part of the reason was knowing how painful the coming hours would be. Perhaps, He was worried about leaving His mission in the hands of the disciples. The cream of the crop, His top three disciples Peter, John, and James, could not even stay awake and pray during this crucial time.
It seems that even though He knew this was God’s plan for Him that it just wasn’t making sense. However, Jesus finished each prayer with “yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus knew that God knew what was best for Him and put His trust in His Heavenly Father.
In the same way, God knows what is best for us. Through tragedy, God works for the greater good. Jesus did great things on earth, but it was even better that He leave so that The Holy Spirit could come and expand the mission throughout the world for thousands of years.
Jesus and his band of disciples could have never accomplished what was accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit could cover much more of the world through his indwelling of believers.
So, while it would have been good for Jesus to stay a while longer to develop the disciples and grow their numbers, God knew better. His timing was perfect, and always is perfect. It was a greater good for Jesus to go than to stay. The greater good was for the Holy Spirit to come, which he did within ten days of Jesus’ ascension to Heaven.
When things don’t make sense we should react by putting our trust in God, knowing that He knows what He is doing and that a greater good will come from our troubles. We should draw nearer to God instead of letting troubles push us away from Him.