We've been turning to Mark's gospel since back in 2006. I was in my 20s. I just turned 31 today, so I hope we'll finish Mark before I'm in my 40s. Actually, Lord-willing we'll be done by Easter.
I guess being the age Jesus was, it's sobering to think that virtually everything we know about Him happened from the time he was 30-33. I've been convicted and inspired as we've viewed these three years' of Jesus' life through the lens of Mark's gospel.
We've followed Him from the mountaintops (literally, the Mount of Transfiguration). And now we come to the valleys. Tonight we'll go with Jesus into Gethsemane. A night so dark, that even Jesus' faith is tested.
Some of you have had your faith tested. Maybe it's being tested right now. Maybe you're losing. Maybe you say, "I feel like I have more doubt than I have faith."
Peter De Vries grew up in church and went to a Christian college, but left his faith. He then wrote books about people losing their faith. In one book, he tells the story of a father who has an 11 year old girl with leukemia. Just as the bone marrow begins to respond to treatment and she starts to go into remission, an infection sweeps through the ward and kills her.
The dad who has brought in a cake with his daughter's name on it, leaves the hospital, and goes to the church where he had prayed for her healing. And there he hurls the cake at a statue of Jesus at the front of the church. The cake hits just beneath the crown of thorns and the brightly colored icing drips down Jesus' dejected face of stone.
This week I saw a picture that reminded me of this story. This a statue of Jesus crushed in the rubble of the earthquake in Haiti. And many people when they feel vulnerable, when they are devastated, begin to lose their faith. Maybe that's you.
Mark's Gospel is written to struggling, persecuted Christians. And it presents Jesus in all of His vulnerability and humanity-as Jesus the Servant, Jesus the Man. And tonight we're going to see the most vulnerable picture of Jesus yet.
But I hope that rather than undermining your faith, it will strengthen it, and show you that you can find God's comfort even when your faith is struggling. Let's look at reasons why we need God's comfort in this passage.