MARK 14:37



In this part of Mark chapter 14 we are just a matter of hours from the crucifixion of Christ. Jesus and His disciples are in the garden of Gethsemane. Soon will be the time of great trial. Now is the time of gathering strength through prayer to the Father. The Bible says in Mark 14:37-38, “And he comes, and finds them sleeping, and says unto Peter, Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready but the flesh is weak.” Earlier in this chapter we remember that Peter boasted that he would die with the Lord. We noted that when we boast of what “we” will do for the Lord, we are bound to fail. We can only do what He gives us the grace to do.


In this scene in the garden of Gethsemane we see another reason that Peter failed. He was not properly prepared spiritually for the trials that would soon come. He had no idea of the storm of trial that was just around the corner. It takes some time for a person to realize that every day is a spiritual battle, and to develop a consistency in being prepared for that battle. God uses a prepared person for a prepared place. If you are not properly prepared, you will fail and not be used by God. That’s why a person who is chosen by a congregation to be a pastor must not be “a novice,” according to First Timothy 3:6. A novice is someone who is new to the spiritual battles of life. This is God’s work we are attempting to do. In order to do it we must be connected to God, walking with God, relying upon God, and talking to God. You are not relying upon God, if you are not talking to Him.


In Mark 14:37 Jesus called Peter, “Simon.” Remember that Simon was Peter’s original name before he met Jesus. The name “Simon” represented the life that Peter lived before he started following the Christ. Generally speaking, unbelievers do not pray. Of course, they do not have a meaningful prayer life. And if you do not have a meaningful prayer life, then you are living just like people in this world who do not believe. That ought not to be. Peter’s prayer life was not much different than before he was saved. It’s no wonder he failed.


Jesus said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Like most things in true Christianity, there is both a practical side and a spiritual side to avoid falling into temptation. The spiritual side is relying upon God through prayer. The practical side is found in the word “watch.” In other words, watch out: be on your guard. Don’t be naive. The world is a spiritually dangerous place. “The devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Why is that people fail spiritually? One reason is because they do not pray when they should. Another reason is because they do not watch out: they do not beware of the danger that is lurking there in their lives.


Notice that Jesus said, “Lest you enter into temptation.” Sometimes the way to avoiding spiritual failure will not be because of how strong you are, but how effective you are at staying out of the place of temptation. The world and the flesh and the devil are much too tempting and enticing for you to always be stronger than them in every conceivable situation. If you want to ensure that you do not fall, then stay out of the places of temptation. There are places and situations where the temptations will be greater for you than other places and situations, depending upon who you are and what your weaknesses are. If you are a wise person, then you will organize your life such that you will avoid situations that have more temptations. Of course, do not rely totally upon yourself to avoid entering into temptation. You do your part, but you also rely upon God to lead you “in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake,” as the Psalmist said in the 23rd Psalm. That was one of the things that Jesus told us to pray about in the Sermon on the Mount in the Lord’s prayer. He said to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”


In spite of the provision that is always made for us to avoid falling into temptation, God is still merciful towards us when we do fail. There is no man who doeth good and sinneth not. God is always merciful because of what Jesus did for us on the cross; and he is also merciful because he knows the weakness of our flesh. Jesus said, “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” God knows how weak we are. Psalm 103:13-14 says, “Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear him. For he knows our frame: he remembers that we are dust.” If He did not, we would have no hope. Those who walk in fellowship with God do so because of the mercy of God through Christ and not because of their own goodness.


In this incident the flesh conquered the spirit in the life of Peter. But God is merciful. He used Peter’s failure to show Peter later on how merciful He was, and to teach Peter so that Peter would do better the next time. Eventually Peter would give his life for Christ, but not now. Now was the time for Jesus to die alone for the sins of the world.


Concerning the praying of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane the Bible says in Mark 14:39-42, “And again he went away, and prayed, and spoke the same words, And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither knew they what to answer him. And he came the third time, and said unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrays me is at hand.”


Jesus said to the disciples, “Sleep on now, and take your rest.” How much those words must have burned into their souls later after they had run away and after Jesus had been crucified. They would never have this opportunity again, but by the grace of God they would have other opportunities. Maybe this failure is one of the reasons that they accomplished all that they accomplished later on in life as the disciples of Christ. That’s one of the wonderful things about Christianity. God is merciful and He will give you the chance to learn from your mistakes. Each day can be a new day with a fresh start and a new chance to face the challenges of life. The important thing is that you repent where you need repentance and that you learn from your mistakes. That’s what the disciples did, at least that’s what eleven of them did.


Concerning the arrest of Jesus, the Bible says in Mark 14:43-52, “And immediately, while He yet spoke, came Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, whoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goes straightway to him, and says, Master, master; and kissed him. And they laid their hands on him, and took him. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are you come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily in the temple with you teaching, and you took me not; but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook him and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young man laid hold on him; And he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.


In this passage is the curious incident of one of the disciples grabbing a sword and cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. What else could be expected from a fisherman who was accustomed to casting a net or raising a sail, but not to wielding a sword. Perhaps this is why the Lord permitted them to carry a sword: to show them that they were not prepared to use such an instrument and that they should never think of using them again in the work that He had for the twelve, the preaching of the gospel. The weapons of the servants of the Lord are not carnal, but they are mighty to the tearing down of strongholds. The sword of the Lord and of Gideon is much different than a Roman sword. It’s not made of steel, but it can penetrate where steel cannot: to the heart and soul of man. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”


Perhaps the main reason for this passage was to emphasize how greatly Jesus was abandoned. Judas came, having left the twelve and having become a traitor. But the other eleven failed also. They ran away from Jesus in the hour of His trial. One of them was so desperate to get away that he ran without his clothes in order to escape the same fate that awaited Jesus. I wonder how many Christians today in the workplace or somewhere else run from the name of Jesus in order to escape the fate that awaits those who publicly proclaim His name? Many run today just like the disciples ran. Jesus died for the sins of the world and He died alone. Everyone sought his own, and no one sought the things that are Jesus Christ’s.


The Bible says in Mark 14:53-54, “And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.” Not long before Peter had boasted that he would die with Jesus. Just recently Peter had run away with the others in the garden of Gethsemane. Perhaps remembering his vow, he had come back; but we know that he did not keep his vow, and one reason is because of what is said in these two verses. While Jesus was being accused and mistreated at the hands of the high priests, Peter was warming himself at the fire in the midst of the crowd. If you get too close to the people of the world, you will end up being like them. “Come out from among them and be you separate, saith the Lord. 


The Bible says in Mark 14:56-59, “For many bear false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. But neither so did their witness agree together.” When humans are negative and accusing and condemning and when human beings are out to “get” someone, they will find a way of doing it. That’s one of the things that the trial and the condemnation of Christ shows. How horrible human nature can be sometimes. If the selfish, negative, cruel, and condemning people of the world condemned Jesus Christ, then they can condemn you and me also.


Of course, Jesus was innocent and justified in all things that He said and did. They had to twist His words in order to condemn Him. His accusers said that He would destroy the temple, but that’s not what He said about the temple. What Jesus said is recorded in Mark 13:2. He said, “There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” He said that the temple would be destroyed, but He did not say that He would destroy it. Jesus knew, just as we now know that the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. Because Jesus was innocent, His accusers had to manufacture accusations by changing the meaning to what He had said.


It gets worse. In the next incident, they did not twist what Jesus said, they simply refused to believe what He said. The Bible says in Mark 14:60-64, “And the high priest stood by in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am, and you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and said, What need we any further witness? You have heard the blasphemy: what think you? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.


These people thought they were condemning Jesus, but in reality they were condemning themselves. They thought they were judging Jesus, but they were setting themselves up for their own judgment. That’s what Jesus was warning them about when He told them that they would “see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power.” The judgment is coming, and every human being will be judged based upon their reaction to the person of Christ and to the words of Christ. You will be judged based upon what you say about Jesus. You are not saved unless you are capable of saying the right things about Jesus the Son of God. That’s why Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”


Thank God that Jesus submitted Himself to this trial and torture and death, so that we could have the chance to turn to Him and be saved.                 




Copyright; 2003 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved