The Dark Night

The Gospel of Mark – Part 48

The Dark Night – Mark 14:26-52

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Aug. 23rd, 2020


  • This is Jesus’ last night before He would be crucified. He and the 12 had participated in the Passover; Judas had left to join the Priests to lead them in betraying Jesus. This was all happening as scripture had foretold and Jesus had proclaimed. The word had been spoken, the trap had been set, the dark night had come. 
  • Jesus came so that we may have life, and life to the full. In order to gain that life, there is a walk through the valley of the shadow of death and all the while Jesus continued to follow the will and the word of His Father. We all have a choice in how we respond to the will and word of the Lord. How you respond matters in this life and the life to come.  

The Word and the warrior  

Mark 14:26-28 ESV

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 

  • Jesus gave His disciples the bottom line, “You will all fall away.” He told them what they would do, and He supported this conclusion by quoting a passage in the Old Testament from the Prophet Zechariah.

Zech 13:7 ESV

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the Lord of hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered;

  • Notice who the principle actor is in this passage: “the Lord of hosts.” He is the one who called for the sword to strike the shepherd. It was His will and His word to do this. Why was this so? 

Isa 53:10-11 ESV

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief;  when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

  • This was done to make many to be accounted righteous. There was a greater good and a bigger story that was in play. This was a one-time act that would have results and reward for all time. This was a temporary moment for an eternal reward. Jesus was then going to be raised up and go before them in Galilee. But when He was struck, the sheep were scattered, and they would fall away. But Peter would have none of it.  

Mark 14:29-31 ESV

Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

  • Now you would think that by this point they would take Jesus for His word. Everything He said happened. And yet Peter still resisted and rose up against the word of the Lord. Why? He did not want to believe the truth about himself. He thought that his strength was enough to overcome the will of the Lord. He wanted his plan over the plan of the Father. Because of his failure to submit himself to the word of the Lord, his pride had to be poured out in order for him to be used.   
  • These things keep us and all people from resisting the word and will of God. People can’t hear it because they don’t want to hear it because they don’t want to believe the truth about themselves and give themselves over to the word and will of God, which is always right and always good. But that does not mean that it is without cost.  
  • The right response to the difficult word of God should have been out of submission and sorrow and prayer and petition. I want you to compare now how Peter and the disciples responded to the word and will of God vs. how Jesus responded to the word and will of the Father.  

The Word and the willing

Mark 14:32-36 ESV

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. 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.” 

  • Do you see how different Jesus responded to the difficult will of God? He knew what the will of the Father was, and He knew how very difficult it was going to be. Jesus responded by taking His closest friends and going away to pray. He responded with great distress. He was troubled, and His soul was “very sorrowful, even to death.” Luke records, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44 ESV).  In continual submission to the word of God and the will of His Father, He prayed that the hour might pass from Him and that He did not have to drink this cup, if there was another way. There was no other way. The will of God was to make His glory known, and for His Glory to be known His goodness was to be seen in His willing sacrifice of Himself for ransom of many (see Mark 10:45). For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross (Heb. 12:2), but this cup He was to drink was supremely difficult.  
  • Jesus is The Way. And we are to walk as Jesus walked. In order to do this we must fully give ourselves over in submission to the will of God, even if and especially when it requires suffering.  And often our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak.    

The Word and the weakness

Mark 14:37-42 ESV

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.” 

  • When the time of temptation is upon us, we are to be people who are watching and praying. So, what were they and what are we to “watch for”? We are to watch and be awake for the time of temptation when we will need to choose between following the way of the word or following the way of our will. Your spirit (and God’s Spirit within you) is willing, but your flesh is weak. Your sinful nature is weak, and it does not want to follow the will of the Father. It wants to do what it wants to do. We are to do like Jesus did and like He taught us.

Mark 8:34-35 ESV

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

  • We deny ourselves and lose ourselves for the sake of Jesus and the sake of the gospel. Because we follow Christ, we are willing to follow the way and will of the Father and it may require sacrifice and suffering at times. But in doing so, we prove that we are in Jesus and He is in us. Because we lose our life for Him and in Him, our lives will be saved.  
  • At the heart of temptation is a choice to do our will or the will of the Father. So be on guard against this and pray that the will of God will be done in your life. Choose to trust God and walk in His way.
  • If we choose to walk in our will and not the will of God, we will cause woundedness that is outside the will of God. Notice how one of the disciples responds when Jesus is betrayed and seized. 

The Word and the wound

Mark 14:43-47 ESV

And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” 45 And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 

  • We don’t know who drew his sword and struck this guy, but my money is on Peter. I don’t know what he was aiming for, but my guess is that it was not his ear. And do you see what happens when you choose to follow your own will instead of submitting to the word of God?  Someone gets hurt. Luke records how Jesus responded to this. 

Luke 22:51-52 ESV

But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 

  • This disciple was then sharply rebuked by Jesus and then Jesus touched his ear and healed him.  If you want to be reprimanded by Jesus, go ahead and do what He does not want you to do. God does discipline His children (See Heb. 12). The pain he inflicted was real pain and Jesus stepped in and corrected the situation, He even healed this man – one of the men who were coming to kill Him. Evil is overcome by good, every single time. Jesus healed this man and also told them the truth about what they were doing and why He was letting this happen. 

Mark 14:48-50 ESV

And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled.

  • They were treating Him like He was a robber coming in at night and trying to take something from them. The truth was that what Jesus did He did publicly during the day and out in the open. The ones who were the real robbers were those who came to do their will by force in the dark.   
  • What Jesus said would happen, indeed did happen just as Jesus told them it would. “They all left him and fled.” You can choose how you will respond to the word and will of the Lord, but in the end, His word and His will will prevail.  

The Word and the wardrobe

Mark 14:51-52 ESV

And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

  • There was also a young man who followed Jesus who must have been known to be a follower of Christ because the crowd tried to seize him as well. We don’t know for sure who this was. Some speculate that it could have been John Mark (the writer of this Gospel) himself. This man did not try to fight those coming to get Jesus, however, in his passive resistance, the word of the Lord came crashing upon his life and he was shamefully exposed for who He was. 
  • Whether you forcefully fight the will of the Lord, or passively resist it, the will and word of God will be done.   


  • Submit yourself to the will of the Lord, regardless of how difficult and dangerous it is. Trust in God’s good plan knowing that the sacrifice will always be worth it in the end. In resisting His word, we will cause harm to others and humiliation of ourselves.  
  • Prayer