Mark 14:26-72 shows very clearly Jesus' willingness, even determination to go to the cross. That's surprising enough given what we know about Roman crucifixion, but aside from the obvious physical suffering, here are three reasons Mark gives us why Jesus had every right not to go through with it:

1. The injustice

Verses 53-65 particularly show this: Jesus' sham trial, taking place at night (illegally), full of false testimony, men judging the one who will be Judge of the whole Earth (v62), finally condemning him for the crime of saying He is the Christ, which He abundantly demonstrated to be true in ch1-8.

2. The cup

Verses 33-34 takes us by surprise. Jesus has been so composed throughout Mark's gospel, easily brushing aside any opposition, yet we see Him here close to death just at the thought of what is about to happen to him. V36 shows why: at the cross, Jesus is about to drink the cup of God's wrath (see Psalm 75:6-8, Jer 25:15-16). The agony He faces will be worse than any man has ever gone through, or ever will.

3. The disciples

Every passage in this section makes a mockery of the disciples confidence in v31 that they will not deny Jesus. In fact, in these verse the disciples fail at the two big things that Jesus had commanded the disciples to do in each of the previous two sections in Mark's gospel: 'deny yourself and follow me' (ch8-10) and 'stay awake' (ch 11-13). It's as if Mark is making the point ultra-clear: Jesus' disciples are failures. All of them. All of us. And he knows it (see v27!).

What's so remarkable is that Jesus knew all of these things clearly well in advance - the injustice, the cup of wrath, the failure of His followers. Yet he still willingly went to the cross.

Unjust. Agony. For failures like us.


Is it right to come away from this passage thinking that the application is that we should try hard not to deny Jesus like Peter? Why can't that be right?

Try to imagine these events through Jesus' eyes. How would you feel at each step of this passage?

Use these words of Charles Gabriel as fuel for prayer:

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazerene
And wonder how He could love me
A sinner condemned unclean.

For me it was in the garden,
He prayed 'Not my will but thine.'
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat-drops of blood for mine.

He took my sins and my sorrows,
And made them his very own,
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone.

When with the ransomed in glory,
His face I at last shall see,
T'will be my joy through the ages,
To sing of His love for me!

How marvellous, how wonderful,
And my song shall ever be:
How marvellous, how wonderful,
Is my saviour's love for me!