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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on May 28, 2017 under 2017 |

Preached Sunday, May 28, 2017 from Mark 14:43-50

Theme: The experience in the garden teaches us about keeping alert and watchful in our Lord’s call upon our lives.

(Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version; copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

This morning, we continue our study in Mark 14—and of the very holy story of the events that concerned our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane just before He went to the cross.

I would like to begin by reminding you of what we studied last week. We read, in Mark 14:23-42, of how our Lord led His disciples with Himself into that garden—a place that He frequented with them on many occasions; and of how He began to be troubled and distressed before them; and of how, in prayer, He there submitted Himself to the Father to be our atoning sacrifice for sin. We considered how, three times that night, He went away alone and prayed in the words of verse 36;

Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36).

We considered how this act of submission on our Lord’s part was the pivotal moment in the salvation of fallen humanity. We also thought about how He was facing the prospect of bearing—as the sinless Son of God in human flesh—the burden of guilt for the sin of all of us upon Himself on the cross, and of paying the debt for our sins on our behalf in His own person. And we suggested that the thing that He was tempted to shrink back from most of all was the prospect of suffering a separation—for the first and only time in all of eternity—from His heavenly Father; because while He bore our sins on the cross, the holy heavenly Father could not look upon Him. As He prayed in the garden, the sinless Son of God looked ahead—with a dread that we cannot possibly imagine—to that time when He would be crying out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

And considering who our Lord was, and given what it was that He was about to face, I suggest to you that—in the garden that night—He was looking ahead to a level of suffering that would have been the greatest level of suffering that this created universe had ever seen. For Him to have been tempted to shrink back from it would be understandable. And yet, for Him to have nevertheless yielded Himself to it in obedience to the Father would have to be the greatest act of obedience that heaven or earth has ever known.

I believe we need to keep all of that in mind as we come to our passage this morning—and to its description of the events that happened next. He had just returned for the third time to His disciples after His prayer of submission—rebuking them for having repeatedly fallen asleep, and telling them that the time had come and that the betrayer approached. And in verses 43-50, we read:

And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then they all forsook Him and fled (vv. 43-50).

I believe that the dominant theme of this passage is our Lord’s obedient and loving sacrifice for us. But the thing that I want to particularly highlight to your attention this morning is His affirmation in verse 49: “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” That was His unshakable stand. No matter what it may cost Him, no matter how much He may have to suffer in obedience to the Father, no matter what else may happen, there could be no compromise.

For Him, the Scriptures absolutely must be fulfilled.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ; I ask that we think carefully about our Lord’s words in terms of our own situation.

We live in a day when the opposite of Jesus’ great affirmation is constantly being pressed upon us. The whole set of values and priorities that characterize the fallen and rebellious world around us is at odds with what the Bible declares. Very often, the attitude of this world is that the Scriptures must be set aside as no longer true, and no longer relevant, and no longer to be obeyed. And if you or I make it our aim to follow our Lord and Master in the path that He has set before us, and if we purpose to walk in obedience to the Scriptures as He did, then it wont take very long before we will be made to suffer for it. We will be heading the opposite direction of this world; and it will be something that will cost us dearly. As far as this world is concerned, we will be in the way. That is already proving to be true in our day; and it is likely to be proven more so in the months and years to come.

But let’s remember that it is impossible that we will ever pay a greater price in this world for following our Lord in the path of obedience to the Father’s will than He Himself paid for us. And that means that this morning’s passage not only presents Jesus to us as our atoning sacrifice, but it is also lifts Him up to us as our example.

We can sum it up like this: If we would be His followers, then in everyday life and in the individual choices and decisions we make, we must be committed as He was to keep true to the will of God in the Scriptures just as He did—no matter how much it may cost us.

* * * * * * * * * *

Now; let’s go back through this passage and consider the things we’re told in it. As we do, let’s consider how our Lord submitted Himself willingly to the promises of the word of God—and demonstrated with His own life that the Scriptures must be fulfilled.

We see this first in how …


Verse 43 tells us that He had come back from prayer to His disciples. “And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.”

Do you notice how Mark points out to us that Judas Iscariot was “one of the twelve”? This is something that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke also point out to us. But why would it be necessary to say it? Wouldn’t it have already been established that Judas was one of the twelve? Well; I believe that the Holy Spirit led Mark and the other writers to say this in order to bring emphasis to the fact. This wasn’t some hostile outsider who did this. It wasn’t even merely an acquaintance. It was one of the twelve—one of those that Jesus chose for Himself, and to whom He gave the great privilege of being one of His apostles. It was one who had been given the inestimable honor of being close to Jesus during His three-and-a-half years of ministry on earth, and of hearing His teaching first hand, and of seeing His miracles up close. It was someone that Jesus loved, and whose feet Jesus washed, and whom Jesus called a friend.

What a horribly painful thing Judas’ act of betrayal must have been to our Lord. And yet, did you know that, scripturally speaking, it was necessary? It had been promised long ago in the Old Testament. King David—our Lord’s royal ancestor according to the flesh—also suffered an occasion of betrayal; and he wrote prophetically of the experience of our Lord in Psalm 55:12-14 when he said;

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;

Then I could bear it.

Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;

Then I could hide from him.

But it was you, a man my equal,

My companion and my acquaintance.

We took sweet counsel together,

And walked to the house of God in the throng (Psalm 55:12-14).

Do you suppose those words would have come to our Lord’s mind when He prayed so intensely in the garden? I certainly believe so. I believe the actions of Judas would have come very much to His mind; and that He would have remembered what David said in verses 20-21;

He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him;

He has broken his covenant.

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,

But war was in his heart;

His words were softer than oil,

Yet they were drawn swords (vv. 20-21).

And as Jesus prayed about these things—and as He thought with absolutely perfect foreknowledge about what Judas was about to do—He could have fled from it all. But He didn’t.

And why? It was because the Scriptures must be fulfilled.

* * * * * * * * * *

Consider further what else we’re told in verse 43; where we’re told of how …


Mark tells us that Judas “with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.” The Gospel of John even makes clear that there was a detachment of troops along with them.

Dear brothers and sisters; you probably know from experience how hard it is to be confronted by just one hostile person. And you may even know how much harder it is to have to be confronted by two or three hostile persons who are united against you. But what must it have been like for Jesus—the Prince of peace—to be confronted by a hostile multitude intent on bringing about His death!—armed with such threatening weapons as swords and clubs!—along with a detachment of soldiers!—and all sent by the leading governmental, religious, and intellectual authorities of His own people!—and all while He was knowingly facing a greater emotional, physical and spiritual trauma that anyone else has ever faced!

Wouldn’t you have understood if anyone else other than Jesus had fled from such a situation? But even though He might have been tempted to do so, our Lord didn’t flee. And why? It was because this hostile confrontation was promised in the Scriptures. King David again spoke prophetically of our Lord at the beginning of Psalm 3 when he wrote;

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!

Many are they who rise up against me (Psalm 3:1).

King David also perhaps hinted at this occasion of our Lord in the garden—but most certainly of His dying on the cross—when he wrote Psalm 22 and said;

Many bulls have surrounded Me;

Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.

They gape at Me with their mouths,

Like a raging and roaring lion (Psalm 22:12-13).

Our Lord had the ability to flee. There were other situations in the Bible, in fact, when He did slipped away from hostile crowds. But in those other occasions, He slipped away because—as He Himself said—it was not yet His time. Now, however, His time had come; and He stayed in the garden in order to be confronted by this murderous multitude.

And why? It was because of His commitment that the Scriptures must be fulfilled.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Or think of what Mark goes on from there to tell us. He tells us of something that must have been one of the most painful acts of all—and that is of how …


Mark tells us that Judas had already made arrangements for this moment. In verse 44, he tells us, “Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.’”

A kiss like this would not have been considered unusual. It would have been the typical way a disciple greeted a respected teacher or a rabbi. But on this occasion, this was not an act of respect. Rather, this was Judas’ identifying signal to those into whose hands he was betraying the Lord. Mark tells us in verse 45, “As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.” And what’s interesting is that, in the original language, this kiss from Judas is described as being particularly intense. Perhaps it was held for a long time—along with the very obvious and vocal greeting of honor—so that those who came to apprehend Jesus could clearly see it and know who it was that should be taken.

Could it be that, in the darkness of that night—and mingled as He was amidst the other disciples—the hostile multitude might not have known which person was Jesus? Only a close friend would identify Him for certain. And that’s what makes Judas’ act so dreadful—and so grievous to our Lord. Those very lips, through which—not long before—the bread of fellowship at the Passover meal went from the hand of our Lord, now kissed our Lord in betrayal.

And couldn’t our Lord have fled from such a heartbreak? Yes, He surely could have. But He didn’t. He stayed and faced that heartbreak obediently. And again, the reason for it is the same. It was because it was promised in Scriptures that it absolutely must be this way. It was King David who wrote in Psalm 41:

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,

Who ate my bread,

Has lifted up his heel against me (Psalm 41:9).

It’s put even more clearly in the sayings of King David’s royal son Solomon, in Proverbs 27:6;

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,

But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Proverbs 27:6).

Our Savior willingly remained in the garden and suffered the shame and indignity and heartbreak of the deceitful kisses of a friend who was betraying Him to death. And He did it because the Scriptures must be fulfilled.

* * * * * * * * * *

Now, our Lord—while in the garden—demonstrated how powerful He was. Do you remember how the Gospel of John tells us about it? When they came to take Him, Jesus—knowing, as John tells us, all that would come upon Him—asked them, “Whom are you seeking?” And when they answered, “Jesus of Nazareth”, Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And then, we’re told that when He spoke those words, they all drew back and fell to the ground.

Now I ask you; if He could do that, don’t you think He could have done much more? There may have been a multitude with swords and clubs and soldiers; but He—as the Son of God—definitely had the upper-hand! And that makes it all the more amazing when we read next of how …


Consider how this is told to us. Mark tells us in verse 46-47 that, after Judas had kissed Him, “Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.”

As we read the Gospel of John, we find that this ‘one who stood by’ was Peter. Remember how he had previously boasted that he would die for our Lord? Well; apparently, he would have also killed for our Lord … if it weren’t for the fact that he was a far better fisherman than a swordsman. In the Gospel of Luke—the Gospel written by a doctor, by the way—we’re told that the Lord graciously healed the servant’s ear. And this was a grace not only to the servant, but also to Peter; for such an act would most certainly have otherwise cost Peter his life! And it’s very important to note that Matthew in his Gospel tells us that Jesus told Peter,

Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26:52-54).

How powerful our Lord was in this situation! And that makes it all the more remarkable that, in obedience to the Scriptures, He meekly and innocently yielded Himself into their wicked and murderous hands. Mark tells us in verses 48-49;

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me” (vv. 48-49a).

There was absolutely no need for all this aggression. If our Lord had not wanted to be taken by them, He could have stopped them. But He did not do so. And why? He tells us in verse 49:

But the Scriptures must be fulfilled” (v. 49b).

What Scriptures would that be? Isaiah 50:5-6 speaks in the words of the promised Messiah and says;

The Lord God has opened My ear;

And I was not rebellious,

Nor did I turn away.

I gave My back to those who struck Me,

And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;

I did not hide My face from shame and spitting (Isaiah 50:5-6).

Similarly, Isaiah 53—the great prophetic promise of the suffering Messiah—says;

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He opened not His mouth;

He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,

And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

So He opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53:7).

And in verse 9 it says;

And they made His grave with the wicked—

But with the rich at His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was any deceit in His mouth (v. 9).

All of these things had been promised in Scripture. And our Lord did not flee from any of it, because He had an immutable commitment that the Scriptures must be fulfilled.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Finally, we see it in the brief words of verse 50; and of how …


We’re told that, after speaking those words in the hearing of His apostles, “Then they all forsook Him and fled.” And even though He had told them on the way to the garden that this would happen, how painful it still must have been.

But as it was promised in Isaiah 53 about Him;

He is despised and rejected by men,

A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him (Isaiah 53:3).

And even while He had walked with these disciples to the garden a short time before, He quoted Zechariah 13:7 to them; which says,

Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,

Against the Man who is My Companion,”

Says the Lord of hosts.

“Strike the Shepherd,

And the sheep will be scattered …” (Zechariah 13:7).

Jesus faced even the heartache of watching all His disciples—even those who had boasted that they were devoted to Him—flee from Him and abandon Him to die alone in the end.

But He didn’t flee from even this; because, as He said, the Scriptures must be fulfilled.

* * * * * * * * * *

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ; our situation cannot help but be different from our Lord’s on that night. He faced for us something that we could never face. And what’s more, His obedience was a matter of the fulfillment of specific prophecy; while ours is an act of general, day-to-day obedience in thankful response to what He did for us.

Nevertheless, like Him, we often face situations in which we must make a choice. Will we keep true to God’s word—even if it costs us greatly? Or will we turn away from obedience to the Scripture—fearing what obedience what it might cost us in this fallen world? Our Lord’s example teaches us that if we would truly be His followers, then we must have the commitment of obedience that He had. We must say—as He did; and no matter what it may cost—that “the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

And what’s more, His example also teaches us that such obedience is the pathway to life and victory. The apostle Paul wrote about this in Romans 5. He wrote of how Adam’s sin brought ruin upon us; but that Jesus’ obedience on that dark night in the garden—as our second ‘Adam’—brought life to us:

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Romans 5:18-19).

May we, like our Lord, grow increasingly to say that insomuch as it concerns us, “The Scriptures must be fulfilled”; and as a result, may we find the commitment of obedience to God’s word to be the pathway to victorious life!

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