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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 351-400 (Seven - The Cries)

F.E. Marsh :: 392. The Agony in Gethsemane

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MARK 14:32-42

“IT has been said by a great poet that great characters and great souls are like mountains-they always attract storms; upon their heads break the thunders, and around their bare tops flash the lightnings and the seeming wrath of God. Nevertheless, they form a shelter for the plains beneath them. This marvellous saying finds an illustration in the lowliest, saddest soul the world has ever had living in it-the Lord Jesus Christ. Higher than all men, around His head seemed to beat the very storms of sin; yet beneath the shelter of His great, consoling, sustaining spirit, what lowly people, what humble souls, what poor babes as to wisdom, what sucklings as to the world’s truth, have gained their life in this world and eternal rest in God.” It is because Christ has passed through the valley of the shadow of death and the vale of suffering that He is able to succour and comfort His own in similar circumstances (Psalm 23:4; Heb. 2:10). There are some spots on earth which are memorable because of the scenes that have been enacted upon them, or because of some personal association with them. Bethel was a place that was dear to Jacob, for it was there that God revealed Himself to him. In like manner Gethsemane is a spot that is ever green in the memory of the child of God, for there the Saviour poured out His soul in strong crying and tears (Heb. 5:7), and sweat, in intense agony, great drops of blood (Luke 22:44).

  1. The Praying Man (Mark 14:32). One aspect of the life of Christ is, that His life was a life of prayer. From His first appearance in public at His baptism (Luke 3:21) till the end of His career on the cross (Luke 23:46) He was a Man of Prayer. It is a profitable study to mark in the Gospel according to Luke how often Christ is found in the act of praying.
  2. The Amazed Redeemer (Mark 14:33). Mark alone tells us that Christ was “sore amazed.” The same term is rendered “greatly amazed” in referring to the people who came running to Christ when He came down from the mount of transfiguration (Mark 9:15), and the word is translated “affrighted” in speaking of the women’s fright at the sepulchre when they saw the young man in a white garment inside (Mark 16:5-6). What was the sight that affrighted Christ? Could it be that He had a sight of the evil of sin, the baseness of iniquity, and the awful punishment man’s disobedience merited? Or did He see the “cup” He was to drink (Psalm 75:8), the “sin” that He was to be made (2 Cor. 5:21), the “curse” He was to be accounted (Gal. 3:13), the “sword” that was to pierce Him (Zech. 13:7), the “horrible pit” into which He was to be cast (Psalm 40:2), the “iniquities” which were to be laid upon Him (Isaiah 53:6), and the “stripes” He was to receive? (Isaiah 53:5).
  3. The Sorrowful Christ (Mark 14:34). Matthew says, He “began to be sorrowful” (Matt. 26:37); Luke says He was in “an agony” (Luke 22:44); and Mark says He was “sore amazed,” (“very heavy,” and “exceeding sorrowful unto death.” The pangs of hell got hold of Him, and the sorrows of death compassed Him.
  4. The Persistent Pleader (Mark 14:35-39). Christ used the “same words” in His importunate pleading. It was no mere repetition with Him, but a holy clinging to His Father to be released, if possible, from the fiery ordeal through which He was about to pass.
  5. The Acquiescing Son (Mark 14:36). “Not what I will” was the key-note of the life of Christ (John 4:34).

If we would please God, and have untold and uninterrupted blessings, like Christ, we must acquiesce in the will of God. Payson was asked, when under great bodily suffering, if he could see any particular reason for the dispensation. “No,” he replied, “but I am as well satisfied as if I could see ten thousand; God’s will is the very perfection of all reason.” Young McCall, of the Livingstone Congo Mission, when struck down in the midst of his work, said, as his last words, “Lord, I gave myself to Thee, body, mind, and soul. I consecrated my whole life and being to Thy service; and now, if it please Thee to take myself, instead of the work which I would do for Thee, what is that to me? ‘Thy will be done.’”


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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