Jesus in Gethsemane – A place of EXTREME Pressure and Darkness
I’m going to save this weeks ‘update’ for the monthly email, but I do want to share about how Christ has really spoken to me with the scripture of Jesus’s prayer in the place, the garden, called Gethsemane. It seems fitting to share this with you now as we draw closer to Easter.
In the month of December, as we neared Christmas and were celebrating the holiday season; I have to admit that at the beginning of December, I was pretty much done with all of your Christmas cheer. I don’t mean to say that in a rude way, and I hope I wasn’t rude to any of you; but I was hurting. I didn’t want to celebrate and I really wanted to avoid the whole season. Now, I know that Christ knows our pain and suffering; we all know this and understand it; in our minds at least. But God took me to Jesus’s prayer and I was compelled to look at in in all the gospels; in Mark 14:36, Matthew 26:38-44 and Luke 22:42-44. How I ended up in this scripture, I really don’t know; but it was a morning of reading, praying, casting (hucking and throwing) and when I came to this passage in Matthew; it was like the Father said ‘stop here, I want to tell you something’.
I’ve read these words many times; but on this morning it really struck me how personal, how intimate Jesus prayed. ‘Abba, Father, If you are willing, take this cup from me; Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me’. Jesus was in pain, he hurt, he was in agony, he was overwhelmed with sorrow; do you think even emotionally devastated? I can hear him praying ‘Dad, isn’t there another way? I want you to succeed and your goal to be accomplished, but does it have to be like this?’ On this day as I was reading these scriptures and feeling my own pain, hurt and sorrow – NOTHING compared to what Jesus was going through, but big enough for me in my little world – it became so very real to me how intimately he knows my pain, my hurt, my sadness and grief. I no longer just knew it, in my mind; but I felt it in my heart. It was like he was sitting right there with me saying ‘I know how you feel, it does hurt, it sucks, but it’s going to be okay. Keep reading’.
It seemed to jump out at me that God; our Father, Christ’s Father, didn’t take away any of Christ’s agony. He didn’t lessen the pain. He didn’t make it easier. He did not remove the sorrow or make it better. BUT, HE STRENGTHENED HIM. God gave Christ the strength to continue. This comforts me, consoles me; knowing that God will strengthen me too, as I continue in His will.
And even though I had read it over and over, what didn’t register with me; until it was pointed out by Pastor Jeff just recently in one of his sermons; was that Jesus went back three times and prayed this same prayer. Did you hear that? THREE TIMES Jesus went back and cried out and asked for another way, if possible. How many times do we keep asking, questioning, ranting about the same thing? And again, it’s so real how human Jesus was; at the same time as he was perfect. Going into Easter, my relationship with Christ is so much deeper. He knows my sorrow, he understands my repeated casting, he wraps his arms around me and lovingly reminds me ‘that there WILL be wonderful joy ahead’.