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The Anguish at Gethsemane April 14, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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Mark 14:32-42
Easter 2010 has past. Most of us have packed away our decorations and are looking intently toward summer. Summer brings with it the promise of vacations and time with all the family together. The kids are out of school, etc. We move so quickly from one season to the next. Before you know it Walmart will be filled with Christmas decorations.
The passage for today is not one I typically refer to often. But, the devotional book I am using as a guide covers this text and if nothing other than to stay on course I will cover it. I do not usually cover this text because of its gut wrenching nature. I refer to it within the context of a sermon or teaching event, but seldom will I address it exclusively. Why?
The accounts given to us by the gospel writers are most compelling tales. They are full of betrayal and forgiveness. That in itself is confusing. We can grasp betrayal and intrigue. We can rationalize betrayal and vengeance. We can even see a villain’s perspective of betrayal and jealousy if we try real hard. But we have a very difficult time with betrayal and forgiveness.
My greatest difficulty in this passage is not the confused, conflicting emotions associated with it. My hang up is in the character. I cannot for the life of me grasp the concept of my Savior in anguish. But it was exactly for the “life in me” that He endured this anguish. I cannot accept my Jesus suffering for what I did. For who I was. For the sins I committed. For my iniquity. For my transgressions. I did this. This is my mess. Why must the innocent die for the guilty? Jars of Clay has it right in their song lyrics that are, “did you really have to die for me?” The answer is “yes.” We could not pay the penalty for ourselves. There was and is no sacrifice that is perfect enough. You cannot give enough. You cannot serve enough. You could commit yourself to the flames for a cause, but it is not enough. Without Jesus, our righteousness is as filthy rags. As good as anyone could possibly be, it is not good enough to obtain heaven. No one is righteous… My sins were as scarlet. Only Jesus can wash them away and make me white as snow.
Some contend that our spiritual certainty hung in the balance as Jesus hung upon the Cross. Suspended between earth below and heaven above, Jesus could have called on legions of angels to rescue him. The people mocked Him with this. And, He could have. But He didn’t. The decision was made. It was certain. The uncertainty came in the garden called Gethsemane. Gethsemane is the point of decision. The garden was the tipping point. Jesus gave into the Father’s plan there.
After supper, Jesus went out to pray with His disciples. He invited some to go a little further. Then He went a bit further again. Here, in anguish, He called out to the Father. And what was His prayer? If it were possible. It wasn’t. Jesus came for such a time as this. To set the captives free. The Bible says angels attended Him, but His friends fell asleep. They failed Him. We fail Him. He never fails us. His sweat was as drops of blood. That is anguish so severe. Then, as the accusers drew near, the decision was made. He already knew. But somehow… If there was a way… But there wasn’t. The remainder of the story is betrayal lived out. Abandonment. Abuse. Mockery. Pain. Death. Sacrifice. For you and me.



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