Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Closer Look at Sadness 2: Gethsemane Night

After Jesus had publicly acknowledged that Judas would betray Him, He went to Gethsemane to pray. Three times His best friends (who are there to support Him) fall asleep, totally oblivious to His agony.  Luke says they were 'sleeping for sorrow'. It was to much for them to fully support Jesus. I wonder, did they not notice that He was sweating drops of blood? Why could they not at the very least pray?
Jesus knew full well what impact His death would have – separation from His Father as He carried the full brunt and shame of the punishment of our sins... And so our Lord begs in prayer for this ‘cup’ to pass, yet He says, in sweetest submission, “Not my will but thine be done!” What whole and perfect submission to Abba Father’s sovereign plan, what utter giving up of self. Where is the frustration, anger, bitterness, urge to retaliate in the unfairness of it all – there is none.
With acceptance He faces His father’s sovereign plan, Matthew 24: 47b “See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
 When Judas comes Jesus knows Judas is a traitor and not a true believer, yet in His kindness, Jesus calls Him ‘friend’ and that just as Judas plants the betrayer kiss upon our Lord’s cheek! May we have such gentle generosity towards our betrayers?
Then in a hasty attempt to protect His Lord a true friend chopped off the ear of the enemy, right there and then Jesus heals His enemy. There is a general grace displayed for the wicked men that surround Him. As our Lord submits to His Father’s sovereign plan, He is able to work in confidence and kindness.  These enemies may not have been destined to an eternity of walking with God, but Jesus shows a kindness and respect towards them all the same and that in His most difficult hour.  He also reminds and comforts His ear chopping friend of who He is - the Lord that could call upon twelve legions of angels to save Him, yet chooses to go through with the most terrible of all deaths. 
Oh that we may so emulate our Saviour in this!

Did Jesus really understand sadness, you may wonder? There is no hint of sadness in all of these happenings. Other than in His most private moments in Gethsemane, we see no obvious sadness in Jesus. Yet, He tells His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death”. He does not demand help from then in this, He merely asks for prayer. There is no shame in asking for prayer in our saddest of times, even our Lord did. 

But it is also interesting to see that He did not use His sorrows as an excuse to stop serving others in His very best manner… Judas is the only disciple who calls Jesus ‘Rabi’ instead of ‘Lord’, yet Jesus calls him friend. There is a quiet obedience that only comes from prayer and a peaceful submission to the Abba Father.
In such perfect giving - His perfect life is a perfect example to us now and even more so it is the only perfect sacrifice that could take away our punishment for sin, when we repent and believe.
Sadness is real; Jesus understands it far more deeply than we ever can. None of us have sweated drops of blood in teh agaony of our immense sadness, have we? Yes, sadness should not stop us from serving our Abba Father. In fact our sadness can bring us to pour out our hearts to Him and to serve Him all the better for the sweet working out of our submission and our trusting of His sovereign plan for our lives.  

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