Vincent Taylor, author of the Gospel of Mark (1963), surveys several interpreters for the verses in Mark 14 that states in the NIV, “He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’ he said to them. ‘Stay here and keep watch.’ ”
Here are the various interpretations Taylor found.
“The Greek words depict the utmost degree of unbounded horror and suffering” in this biblical passage
“Suggestive of shuddering awe”
“His [Jesus] first feeling was one of terrified surprise … the distress that follows a great shock”
Jesus is “appalled … agitated”
“It [the biblical passage] describes the confused, restless, half-distracted state which is produced by physical derangement, or by mental distress, a grief, shame, disappointment, etc.”
Jesus faces his destiny with abject terror, like any human being in His place would do.
Much like we do, when in fear, we go to those closest to us to comfort us, to help us get through the fear. Seeing that “Abba” (Father) was not going to take away this cup from Him, Jesus goes to his inner circle of disciples leaders and finds them asleep! Even they couldn’t stay awake long enough to pray for and with Jesus. Three times Jesus finds them asleep.
Peter who boasted of never denying Jesus, John and James who wanted to be on the right and left of Jesus on the throne, none of them could last one night without sleep.
Yet Jesus, even in fear for his life, returns again and again to God. He handles His terror with prayer, in the very presence of God.
Let us remember to do as much when we feel scared or lack courage. Prayer helps us not be unafraid but to have courage in the face of fear. Much like it did for Jesus.
Dear God, even in our fear, help us to see Your protection and love around us at all times. Despite what we may be feeling, help us know that You have called us to a purpose to be fulfilled and You are with us every step of the way. Amen.