TITLE: Alone In Gethsemane
By Nadine Riggs
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Alone In Gethsemane
Close your eyes and drift back with me through time to the days when Jesus walked upon the earth in human form. We have read the wonderful stories of his ministry and I admit that would be something to see. To be in attendance during “The Sermon On The Mount,” and hear His voice as He listed each beatitude. To watch Him heal a blind man who had never once seen the wonders of this world, or listen as He lovingly explained the never-ending grace of the Father, God. OH, to hear Him speak of God’s wonderful plan for the salvation of all mankind. All of these events would be wonderful to attend, but I want you to witness with me something even more amazing than all of these. I want you to follow Jesus into Gethsemane. I want you to truly experience the time He spent there in solemn prayer for it is important that you feel what He felt, then maybe you will understand how much He and the Father truly love you.
It is a quiet star filled night; the moon is shining brightly as they enter the garden for prayer. At the gate He instructs eight of His disciples to remain and keep watch while He, Peter, James, and John go in to pray. Jesus stopped inside the garden and turned to His three disciples saying, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with me.” Matthew writes he continued on a little farther and fell prostrate on his face and began to pray to his Father in heaven. It is not the words I want you to experience but the emotion behind them. Just look at his posture as he lay upon the ground trembling, touch your hand to his moistened, anguished brow. Can you feel it, the intensity of his sorrow? For he knew what was to come on the morrow. I have often heard that the anticipation is the worst, yet in this particular case I am not sure that was true. For, we already know of the physical torture that awaited him. Jesus was divine this is true, but he was also as human as you or I, and his human world was about to come to a horrific end.
He had already been betrayed by one of his very own disciples, and the others would scatter upon his arrest, that is except for John. The disciple whom he loved was faithful to the end. Is it a wonder Jesus entrusted his loving mother to him? Mark described his state of mind as deeply troubled, yet I think that was putting it mildly. For his tortured soul wanted desperately to run as far away as he could. Put yourself in his place for a while, then you will truly understand his deep emotional pain, for his world was about to come crashing down. Yes, this was why he had been sent to the earth for he was the perfect sacrifice, the unblemished “Lamb of God.” No one else could qualify for this job. There was never any doubt that he would fulfill his destiny, yet his human body cried out painfully to the Father asking, “If it is your will take this cup from me, nevertheless not my will, but Yours be done.” The ever faithful loving Son of Man. Think about people you know, do you think they would sacrifice themselves for you? I can not think of a soul who would be as faithful, and loving to me. Now look at Jesus again as he lay upon the ground praying torturously, can you see how much he loves you?
Luke describes him rising and checking on the three disciples who were in the garden with him. Twice he returned only to find them asleep. The first time he sternly told Simon Peter to awaken and keep watch, and pray that their souls would not enter into temptation. How amazing is that? He was still concerned about the souls of his disciples even in his time of deep despair. Each time he returns to pray in solitude, and each time his fear engulfs and threatens his very soul. Imagine his Father’s pain, watching His only begotten son cry out in anguish to Him, you know He wanted desperately to take away his son’s pain. Yet they both knew Jesus was mankind’s only hope. Jesus knew what he had to do and why, as did the Father, but that did not help to soothe his tortured soul. As he returned in solitude to pray the events to come threatened to overwhelm him. God felt it as well, and He wanted to take away Jesus’ torment, just to take him into His loving arms for a moment and smooth back his moist hair, whispering in his ear that it would all be alright. I am quite sure were you to look upon God’s glorious face, you would have observed many emotions at play, anger at the evil nature of man, yet somehow still He loved His creation, and this was why Jesus had to follow the plan to the very end.
Yet, the Father’s heart was still breaking as he watched His only son suffer alone. He sent an angel to comfort Jesus, and wipe away his tears. His emotions so intense that his face dripped blood instead of the normal human sweat. Can you feel the intensity of his pain, the depth of his love? When you overlook the human emotions of your Lord; and Savior, Jesus Christ, you fail to understand how much he sacrificed to free you from the bondage of sin. As for me, all I have to say is forgive me Jesus for never understanding your intense emotional, pain. I saw the glory of your resurrection only, for this was what you were born to do, to ransom mankind‘s souls. I never before paused to experience your very human emotional pain, for I to knew where it all would lead. You were after-all God the son, the only divine human being to walk upon this earth, and you were the perfect sacrifice. Once again I pray forgive me Jesus, I love you with my entire heart and soul, and I can not wait to thank you for loving me as faithfully as you do. Amen.
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