GETHSEMANE

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photo by Christina Retief

Matthew 26:39: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will.”

Many of us have experienced that sense of dread or depression that overtakes us before we have to face a particular trial or crisis. But no one alive has ever experienced what Jesus experienced in Gethsemane, the garden on the Mount of Olives, just before he was arrested.

Notice the words used in Matthew 26:37: “He began to be sorrowful and troubled.” Then in v 38 he says: “My soul is overwhelmed within me ….”. What is this about? Was Jesus simply afraid of the terrible physical ordeal which awaited him? It could not be so because thousands before him had experienced crucifixion, some with great bravery and defiance of their Roman executioners.

No! Something far more serious was happening here. The trouble is what was happening was happening within him, in his soul, where no one could see it. He was in the process of taking upon himself the guilt of the world. He was bearing our burden and was about to offer himself up as a substitution to His Father’s wrath. Sin must be punished. God is just, not unkind. But justice must be done as far as sin is concerned. And His Son was about to bear the punishment due to us for our sins. He was facing the judgement instead of us.

But what did this judgement involve? It involved nothing less than that He should be banished from His Father’s presence. How can we ever even begin to imagine what this must have been to the Second Person of the Trinity – who was forever in the presence of the Father. However, the main thing for you to know is that all this was for you. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 9:8)

Never doubt God’s love for you. Never think you are too unworthy for God to be bothered about you. Remember Gethsemane. There He took your burden and prepared to face your punishment. Why? Because He loved you before you were even born.

Be humbled. Be amazed. Be overwhelmed. But never be discouraged. Never doubt His love.

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father

I am overwhelmed. I feel that in some way reading about Gethsemane is Holy Ground. I am indeed unworthy. But thank you that you did not consider me worthless. You sent your Son to die for me. Such love. I bow before you. Amen”

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