No Turning Back
Gracious, Loving God, You are my strength, my joy, and my song. I thank You for this day and praise You for Your goodness.
Read Matthew 26:36-46
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget thine agony, lest I forget thy love for me, lead me to Calvary” (Jennie Hussey, 1874-1958). The words of this hymn lead us straight to the heart of God revealed in Christ.
Jesus had predicted that the disciples would fall away. The contrast between their failure and his faithfulness is stark. Peter was told that he would deny Jesus three times. Three times, Peter, James and John–the inner circle of disciples–sleep, when he had asked them to watch with him. Three times, in an agony of prayer, Jesus surrendered to the Father’s will. Their and our future was won by his faithfulness. The necessity of the cross is demonstrated as much by the weakness of those who tried to follow Jesus as by the evil and deceit of those who opposed him.
Gethsemane demonstrates the depth of human need and the costliness of the divine response. Jesus prayed to his Father, who at his baptism had addressed him as “my Son, whom I love” (3:17). This love relationship between Father and Son is exhibited throughout the Gospel. The Father had committed all things to his Son (11:27). The Father did not wish for any little one to be lost (8:14). In the garden, that profound mutual love was put to the gravest possible test for us. The Son made a free choice to drink the cup of suffering (Matt. 20:22) and of judgment on our sin, which the Father gave him. As a consequence, forgiven people may drink from the Communion cup with assurance.
Gethsemane is a great mystery, better considered in awestruck silent meditation than in a Bible note. Yet at the same time it is an open book. In the cross, and in the events surrounding the cross, we have the deepest revelation of the divine nature (Phil. 2:6-8). In this agonized and deeply distressing account of prayer between Father and Son, we see the depth of God’s passionate commitment to us and his love for us.
What has been your “Gethsemane”–a place where you wrestled with God? What do you learn from the example of Jesus? Who would you want to “watch and pray” with you next time you face a “Gethsemane”?
Lord Jesus, You are my High Priest and You are, even now, interceding for me. I ask for alertness and vigilance, so that I do not miss an opportunity You present to me.
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