The Rest of the Story –

Story 26. The Hour of Darkness

Luke 20:1-19
Mark 13:1-27, 32
Matthew 25:14-30
John 16:16-33
Matthew 26:31-46
Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 21: Matthew 26:36-44; Luke 22:43-44; Matt. 26:45-46, Agony in the Garden

More of The Rest of the Story

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Luke 20:1-19 (3/18/13)

The Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke cover the same period of time in Jesus’ life, with much of the same material. However, usually we don’t read the first bits of all three, and then the middle bits of all three, and finally the last bits of all three. Instead, we read all of one, then all of another, and finally all of the third.

What this does in my mind is to really mess up the time schedule! This is especially true for the parables. The early parables of Jesus tend to be cheerful stories about the kingdom of heaven and how to live your life. The late parables, however, tend to be grim. Some talk about end times (e.g., The Sheep and the Goats, The Dragnet, The Wheat and the Tares). Others, like the one we read today, talk about the deteriorating relationship between Jesus himself and the religious leaders. Next time you read a parable, make a mental note of where it occurs in the book and what stage Jesus’ ministry is in.

Mark 13:1-27, 32 (3/19/13)

Have I mentioned lately that you must read several verses before and after the verse someone is quoting to you to “prove” their point? Today we read one of the common “proof texts,” Mark 13:7-8. It is invariably used to show that the end is near – wars, earthquakes, and famines are occurring in the world; therefore the world is going to end on October 11, or May 21, or whatever date is given by the latest calculation. I’ve always been puzzled by this, because what it says is “do not be alarmed … the end is not yet.” The previous bit says, “See that no one leads you astray.” The next bit says that neither Jesus nor the angels know when the end will come.

Yes, the end will eventually come, and yes, you’d better be ready. But ask yourself this: if Jesus doesn’t know when it will happen (vs. 32), how should anybody else know? Read the Bible for yourself. Read in context. See that no one leads you astray.

Matthew 25:14-30 (3/20/13)

Here’s another of Jesus’ late, grim parables. I’m not too bothered about the outer darkness or the weeping and gnashing of teeth, to tell you the truth. What really pinches me the most about the parable is that the master calls the third servant “wicked.” I usually associate wickedness with sins of commission – apostasy, murder, idolatry, kidnapping, lying under oath, etc. But all this servant did was … nothing. He had a gift from the master, and he failed to put it to use. God gets just as upset about our not doing the things we should as about doing the things we should not. Be warned.

John 16:16-33 (3/21/13)

Jesus’ disciples spent close to three years with him, but finally, at the Last Supper, they seemed to understand what he was talking about. Even so, he warns them that they would all desert him the next day. Then he offers a message of great comfort: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 26:31-66 (3/22/13)

Peter, James, and John were the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples and presumably his closest friends, yet they could not support him in his worst hour. How often we fall short of God’s expectations! Every time we do, though, the response is, “Get up, let’s be going on!” Our shortcomings will never derail God’s plan.

Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 21: Matthew 26:36-44; Luke 22:43-44; Matt. 26:45-46, Agony in the Garden (3/30/15)

It’s late at night, and Jesus and his disciples have just eaten a heavy meal with several glasses of wine. The disciples have listened, but only dimly understood, as Jesus explained his ministry and its future at great length. It’s understandable that in their exhaustion and sorrow the disciples had trouble staying awake. On the other hand, Jesus knows that he has been betrayed, and he knows that the religious authorities hate him and are seeking his death. It’s understandable that in his grief and anguish he was disappointed that they couldn’t stay awake with him. How often our human frailty gets in the way of our service to Jesus! How often we should reach out to God for strength, as Jesus does in this beautiful illustration by Gustave Doré.

Previous Step. Next Step.
Agony in the Garden. Click to enlarge.
"The Agony in the Garden" by Gustave Doré,
from the Gartin family Bible,
now in the private collection of Regina Hunter.

More of The Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
Apocalyptic writings in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time

Copyright 2013, 2015, 2016 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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