The Agony in the Garden
This is Day 35 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.
It's Holy Week and therefore I am going to blog about the Five Sorrowful Mysteries over the next five days. We start with the Agony in the Garden.
Have you ever been so worried about something that you felt sick to your stomach? I have, many times. It's one of the worst feelings in the world. The night before He was to be crucified Jesus was so worried about what was coming that He was sweating drops of blood. That's serious stress. But it's understandable.
Imagine knowing that type of pain was coming. Imagine knowing that within the next 24 hours you are going to be beaten, humiliated, scourged, tortured, nailed to a cross and hung up to die gasping for air. I would probably be worried enough to sweat drops of blood, too.
Now imagine you had the power to stop it, simply by saying no. All you had to do was say, "I'm not going to do it," and all of it would stop--there would be no scourging, no torture, no cross. Would you go through with it?
That is exactly what Jesus was struggling with in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knows what's about to happen and He doesn't want to go through with it. He even goes so far as asking His Father to stop it, to "take the bitter cup" from Him.
I pray like that a lot, too. I ask God to take my bitter cup away. But I am normally not as strong or faithful as Jesus. Because, though Jesus begged God to take the bitter cup from Him, He had two stipulations. The first was that there be another way to save us all.
Those who say that there is more than one path to Heaven always ignore this point. Jesus begged His father to take the bitter cup from Him ONLY if it were possible to complete God's plan of salvation and redemption without Him drinking if. In other words, if there be any other way to bring all of us to salvation without Jesus suffering and dying on the cross. He did not want to give up the pain and torture if that meant you and I would have to burn in the fires of Hell for all eternity. He would only give up the pain and torture if there was another way to save us. Like a mother who would gladly die for her child, Christ only wanted the cup taken from Him if His children would still be saved! God's silence on that matter demonstrates that there is no other way to salvation except through the cross of Christ.
Jesus' second stipulation was that He wanted the bitter cup taken from Him but ONLY if that be the will of His Father in Heaven! Christ was not going to give up the pain and suffering He knew He would have to endure just to satisfy His will. He wanted it to be His Father's will!
How often am I willing to endure the pain if it is God's will? How often do I pray for something, but then say "not my will but Yours be done" AND ACTUALLY MEAN IT?!?
Jesus was in such agony in the Garden of Gethsemane that He was sweating blood, but He still did not ask His Father to spare Him unless we would still be saved, and His Father willed Him to be spared. Let's all remember that this Holy Week, and especially the next time we are tempted to sin.
Today's prayer: Thank You Lord Jesus for loving me that much!
R.C. VanLandingham lives in Florida with his wife and kids.He is the author of several books including the Christian fantasy books Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity, Peter Puckett & the Enchanted Chalice, and Magdalene Hope & the Elves of Evermore.