Believers spend a great deal of time reading and receiving Biblical blessings, and little time understanding how those blessings became available. Jesus was the living example of God’s Word. Through His actions, one witnessed the Grace and compassion of God. His hands were the extension of God’s love. Lives were changed. Hope was established. Broken hearts were mended. Captives set free. Health restored. Eternal life offered. All these actions were predicated on Jesus’ action on Calvary and His resurrection. To get to that point, Jesus had to deal with His humanism. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus would face the greatest challenge in His ministry. Jesus had beaten Satan in the battle of the Wilderness three years earlier, but Satan did not take the defeat lying down. For the next three years, Satan used the religious community to oppose anything Jesus attempted to do. With the help of the Roman authorities, the Jewish authorities secured an execution order against Jesus. One would think that would suffice Satan, but Satan knew the Scriptures that talked about His crucifixion and consequent resurrection. The only way Satan could defeat Jesus was through Jesus’ disobedience to God’s word. So on that night before His crucifixion, Satan unleashed an attack centered on Jesus’ mental capacity. Jesus knew that the cross would be the ultimate in physical suffering, but getting to the cross would take every ounce of strength that He had. Satan realized that man’s mind was vulnerable to reason. If he could get Jesus’ mind to override His spirit, victory would be in his grasp. That night in Gethsemane, man’s salvation hung in the balance.
Arriving at the garden, Jesus left eight of His men at the entrance and took Peter, James, and John deeper into the garden to face the greatest challenge of His earthly life. The Bible says that Jesus began to be “sorrowful and very heavy.” The Amplified Bible says that He began to “show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed.” (Matthew 26:37) He told the disciples that His “soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” He urged them to be conscious of what He was going through; in other words, be there for Him. He went further into the garden and then threw Himself upon the ground and cried out to God. He pleaded with His Heavenly Father if there might be another way to achieve His purpose. Crying out with tears flowing from His eyes, He petitioned God in such agony that drops of blood mingled with sweat as it fell from His face. Angels rushed to His aid to strengthen Him. (Luke 22:43, 44) Jesus had gotten up three times and returned to His disciples hoping for encouragement, but found them sleeping. In the middle of His petitions, Jesus had reached deep within and cried out each time, “NEVERTHELESS NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE, BE DONE.” (Luke 22:42) Rising from the ground the last time, He tells the disciples to “Rise, let us be going… ” (Matthew 26:46) Jesus broke through to the victory and was ready to complete the mission that God had given Him.
There is so much to unpack in the Gethsemane encounter, but what I wanted to center on is what Jesus went through because of the love that God had/has for people. I think so many take Calvary for granted. Jesus died for the sins of mankind and rose again and ascended back to Heaven. But I wonder if we really understand what it took for Jesus to get to Calvary and the point of our salvation. Let not a day go by that Believers do not pause and remember what Jesus went through in that garden called Gethsemane!
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