Mark 14:32-38. They came to Gethsemane For an explanation of these verses see the notes on Matthew 26:36-39. And began to be sore amazed Greek, εκθαμβεισθαι , to be in a consternation. The word implies the most shocking mixture of terror and amazement: the next word, αδημονειν , which we render, to be very heavy, signifies to be quite depressed, and almost overwhelmed with the load: and the word περιλυπος , in the next verse, which we translate exceeding sorrowful, implies, that he was surrounded with sorrow on every side, breaking in upon him with such violence, that, humanly speaking, there was no way to escape. Dr. Doddridge paraphrases the passage thus: “He began to be in very great amazement and anguish of mind, on account of some painful and dreadful sensations, which were then impressed on his soul by the immediate hand of God. Then, turning to his three disciples, he says, My soul is surrounded on all sides with an extremity of anguish and sorrow, which tortures me even almost to death; and I know that the infirmity of human nature must quickly sink under it without some extraordinary relief from God. While, therefore, I apply to him, do you continue here and watch.” Dr. Whitby supposes, that these agonies of our Lord did not arise from the immediate hand of God upon him, but from a deep apprehension of the malignity of sin, and the misery brought on the world by it. But, considering how much the mind of Christ was wounded and broken with what he now endured, so as to give some greater external signs of distress than in any other circumstance of his sufferings, there is reason to conclude, there was something extraordinary in the degree of the impression; which in all probability was from the Father’s immediate agency, laying on him the chastisement of our peace, or making his soul an offering for our sins. See Isaiah 53:5; Isaiah 53:10. He went forward a little Luke says, about a stone’s cast, and fell on the ground Matthew, fell on his face, and prayed that the hour might pass from him That dreadful season of sorrow, with which he was then almost overwhelmed, and which did pass from him soon after. And he said, Abba, Father That is, Father, Father: or, perhaps, the word Father is added by Mark, by way of interpreting the Syriac word, Abba. All things are possible unto thee All things proper to be done. Take away this cup from me This cup of bitter distress. Nothing is more common than to express a portion of comfort or distress by a cup, alluding to the custom of the father of a family, or master of a feast, sending to his children or guests a cup of such liquor as he designed for them. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt As if he had said, If thou seest it necessary to continue it, or to add yet more grievous ingredients to it, I am here ready to receive it in submission to thy will; for though nature cannot but shrink back from these sufferings, it is my determinate purpose to bear whatsoever thine infinite wisdom shall see fit to appoint. And he cometh, &c. Rising up from the ground, on which he had lain prostrate: he returns to the three disciples; and findeth them sleeping Notwithstanding the deep distress he was in, and the solemn injunction he had given them to watch; and saith unto Peter The zealous, the confident Peter! Simon, sleepest thou? Dost thou sleep at such a time as this, and after thou hast just declared thy resolution to die with me? dost thou so soon forget thy promise to stand by me, as not so much as to keep awake and watch one hour? Hast thou strength to die with me, who canst not watch so little awhile with me? Watch ye and pray Ye also, who were so ready to join with Peter in the same profession; lest ye enter into temptation Lest ye fall by the grievous trial which is now at hand, and of which I have repeatedly warned you. Observe, reader, watching and praying are means absolutely necessary to be used, if we wish to stand in the hour of trial. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak I know your mind and will are well inclined to obey me, but your experience may convince you, that your nature is very weak, and your resolutions, however sincere and strong, easily borne down and broken. Every one is apt to flatter himself, when he is out of danger, that he can easily withstand temptations; but without prayer and particular watchfulness the passions are wont to prevail over reason, and the flesh to counteract the motions of the Spirit. It is justly observed by Archbishop Tillotson, ( Sermons, vol. 2. p. 435,) that “so gentle a rebuke, and so kind an apology as we here read, were the more remarkable, as our Lord’s mind was now discomposed with sorrow, so that he must have had the deeper and tenderer sense of the unkindness of his friends. And, alas! how apt are we, in general, to think affliction an excuse for peevishness, and how unlike are we to Christ in that thought, and how unkind to ourselves, as well as our friends, to whom, in such circumstances, with our best temper, we must be more troublesome than we could wish.”
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