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Gethsemane



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In 2004 Mel Gibson brought the movie The Passion of the Christ to the Hollywood scene. The movie depicted in graphic detail the story of the last few days leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It culminated with the victory of His resurrection from the dead. Amazingly, the movie ignited excitement in scores of people, from those who were actively Christian to those who had never been “religious.”

Christians were eager to see the world exposed through film to God’s most perfect gift to humanity. They came up with Bible study lessons based on the movie. Members of various churches even joined together for “watching parties.”

Nonbelievers and nonactive Christians were stunned by such a visual representation of the agony Christ endured. Those who were previously unmoved by this story were surprised to find themselves, well, moved by it.

Box office returns showcased the power that this story had over the masses, with The Passion of the Christ earning more than $370 million dollars from its United States showings, making it the twelfth-highest-grossing domestic movie of all time.1

One can’t help being touched by the story of Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity. It’s one of the cornerstones of our beliefs as Christians. Jesus rising from the dead after such a harsh and cruel death demonstrates God’s power and victory over sin in a mighty way.

Have you ever stopped to think what would have resulted if Christ had yielded to the temptation of the devil and chose not to go through with His rescue plan?

Before the trials, before that awful Friday on the cross, before the miraculous and awe-inspiring Sunday when Jesus escaped the grave and declared victory over the bonds of sin and Satan, there was Gethsemane.

Though the event of Jesus going to the Garden of Gethsemane is often included in the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, it’s often overlooked in terms of what a pivotal time it actually was. All four Gospels do mention the event, though they give it small mention compared to the in-depth details they offer concerning the crucifixion.

Going to the garden

It had been a long day, and Jesus had just bid His betrayer, Judas, to go quickly about his work. Jesus had hung out with His disciples as a group for the last time. In the garden, in the fleeting hours before He finished what He had come to earth to accomplish, Jesus had a lot on His mind.

Sometimes, in the face of His awesome power and majesty, we forget that Jesus was fully human as we are, subject to human emotions and pain. During the time He spent in the Garden of Gethsemane that night, the tremendous pain and anguish of what was happening hit Christ’s heart hard.

He had taken His disciples to Gethsemane to pray with Him. He’d done it before, but things were different this night, summarized best in His own words: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:38, NIV).2

The disciples were too tired to follow Him, so Jesus went alone into the deeper recesses of the garden. There He poured out to His Father all of the anguish and hurt He was feeling. He prayed the words that demonstrate to us how heavy the event weighed on him: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, NIV).

When I was a little younger, I remember reading this passage and thinking to myself, I can see where Jesus was coming from. Who would want to willingly surrender to being beaten to a pulp, to being spat upon, to having nails pierce their hands and feet, and to having a crown of thorns pressed into their scalp? Count me out, indeed!

However, I’ve come to realize that the reason Jesus prayed such a prayer had very little to do with the physical pain He was about to endure and everything to do with the emotional torture He was already going through.

You see, at that moment, Jesus was feeling the weight of the sins of all of humanity on His shoulders.3 His sacrifice was dying for our sins—sins that He never committed so that we wouldn’t have to. The hardest part of carrying all of our sins was feeling those sins tearing Him away from His Father.4

Things of God are in direct opposition to things of Satan, and they cannot coexist. In Christian writer Ellen White’s book The Desire of Ages, it is written that Satan’s last temptation for Christ was telling Him that if He took on the sins of the world and became the sacrifice for them, Jesus would be seen by God as being on Satan’s side, and that Jesus would forever be separated from His Father.4 Jesus struggled immensely with the idea of being separated from His Father—the Father that He loved so much, the Father that loved Him so much in return. Such a thought He could hardly bear.

Imagine if, for the sake of somebody’s life, you were asked to be separated from those you love dearly, from those who are your comfort and strength. Not only do you have to part from them, there’s a chance you might never see them again. Oh, by the way, the person you’re doing all this for hates you, calls you all types of names, and does everything in their power to make your life difficult.

How many of us would rise to the challenge of performing such a task? Yet that was the situation in which Christ found Himself. He went through such an agonizing ordeal because He realized that He was our only hope. If He’d chosen not to die for us, we would have forever been subjects of Satan’s kingdom.6

As painful as the idea of being separated from His Father was, it was also painful for Jesus to think of all of humanity, God’s precious creation, dying in sin. That’s why He went through with it.

Our response

When we understand the full extent to which Christ sacrificed on our behalf, we can’t help but be astounded. Such love can scarcely be measured by human definition—it’s beyond our comprehension. Jesus willingly laid everything on the line for us, the very human race that has denied Him countless times.
If Christ could overthrow the bonds of Satan, even at such a low point in His life, certainly He can help us through what we believe are our biggest temptations and obstacles (1 Corinthians 10:13). Thinking about the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice for us makes the things God asks of us seem comparably simple.

In the face of such miraculous, overwhelming love, how can you not surrender completely to the One who gave His all so that you can live eternally?

1From www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=passionofthechrist.htm
2Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
3Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 685.
4Ibid.
5Ellen White, The Desire of Ages. p. 687.
6Ibid.

Tiffany S. Taylor is a pediatric registered nurse and a former high school English instructor. She enjoys working with young people. She says, “If teenagers realized the potential that they have and used it for good, they would be such a powerful and mighty force in the cause for Christ.”

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Jaycee
I can't hear aynthnig over the sound of how awesome this article is.
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