My eyes were brimming with tears as I sat on an old wooden bench, full of remorse, and yet, overflowing with hope. Surrounded by fragrant flowers, ancient olive trees, and lush green grass, I was pondering on the anguish that Jesus Christ surely felt in this same place two thousand years ago. I was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and now the year was 2000. As I was tearfully meditating, I remembered His words on that very crucial night in history.
"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matt. 26:39b)
The suffering which Jesus experienced that night while praying was not because of the way he would die. He knew, of course, what the plan was. God had devised a very perfect and sacred plan. The fact that Jesus would be arrested, sentenced to death, beaten, mocked, spit upon, deserted, and denied by His disciples, and then nailed brutally to a cross, and left to die was not the sole reason He was bothered. Jesus was agonizing the fact that as he would die on that cross for the sins of all mankind, God would have to turn from Him. God, the Father, turned his face completely away from his son when He, who had no sin, was made sin (a sin offering) for us.
As I sat thinking this through and praying that day in the garden, I could feel the grief that Jesus must have felt that night, knowing that all of this would take place within hours. I also felt the desolation and the fear. At the same time, I felt very priviledged to be in the same place where He had prayed two thousand years before.
Yes, I have an abundance of hope. Jesus did rise from the dead, and I know that my Savior lives. I have the hope of finally being with Him one day.
We will never fully realize the agony and suffering that He endured for us. We will never fully appreciate His supreme sacrifice until we meet with Him face to face in that wonderful place He has prepared for us. (John 14:2) A place we call heaven. Then, and only then, will we know completely what an awesome and loving Savior He is. What a glorious time that will be!
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