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Friday, March 16, 2012

The need for a perspective adjustment


Tim Keller makes the case in King's Cross that there is nothing like the incident of Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in either history or literature. The scene is familiar to many. That familiarity may make it easy to miss the stunning vision of the one through whom the worlds were made crumpled in grief and crying out to God the Father in that Garden. Looking closely at Jesus in that garden as he ponders the prospect of going to the cross has the power to show us something of the real seriousness of our own sin and why the good news of Jesus is really good news!

Here is the outline for this Sunday's message at Bethany Place. You can listen to or download the audio of the message here.

Altered Perspective
Mark 14:32-42

Experiencing Jesus’ agonizing prayer is the key to unlocking for you why the cross was necessary for you and for me.

See that Jesus’ grief reveals the seriousness of your sin
Mark 14:32–35 (ESV) 32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.

See that Jesus’ prayer shows he understands your pain (and how to deal with it)
Mark 14:35–36 (ESV) 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

See that Jesus’ determination provides for your greatest need
Mark 14:37–42 (ESV)
37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Questions for individuals, groups, or families
How do you explain that Jesus had always known just what to say and do, yet in this scene he seems undone?
What stories do you know of how Christian martyr's faced their deaths? How do those stories compare with Jesus' response? 
What do you see are the implications of Jesus' grief?
What do you think Jesus means by watch and pray? What does it mean to enter into temptation? 
Discuss what we should learn and follow from Jesus example and teaching about prayer in this instance? 
How would you describe the change in Jesus' tone from the beginning of this scene to the end? What accounts for this change?
About what grief in your life do you need to wrestle with God in prayer?

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