GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 624 • March 28, 2021
JESUS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
You should be glad God said NO to Jesus’ prayer request.
Two songs come to mind here. Please keep them in mind as you read this lesson.
Love sent my Savior to die in my stead; why should he love me so?
Meekly to Calvary’s cross he was led; why should he love me so?
Why did my Savior to Calvary go? Why should he love me so?
Oh, what wondrous love I see, freely shown for you and me
By the One who did atone.
Just to show His matchless grace, Jesus suffered for the race
In Gethsemane, alone.
His forever I will be, for the love He gave to me,
When He suffered, all alone.
Who died on the cross? It was the miraculously conceived but naturally born man, Jesus, son of Mary by God the Spirit. The monogenes – literally “one of a kind” – no other ever born or generated in such a way, no other in whom God himself was present in such a way. He was not God, but God was in him, really present in him (John 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:19). God was in Jesus from his conception to his death on the cross. He left him while he was physically dead, but rejoined him at his resurrection.
Who was raised from the dead after being crucified and buried? The same man, Jesus, in the same wounded body. Identified by specific wounds in his hands, feet, and side.
Who ascended to heaven and is there now – in an exalted and glorified spirit body, at the right hand of God? The man Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
In this lesson we will look at the man Jesus before the cross, especially during his last hours of freedom when he was faced with choosing to die or not to die as a sacrifice on a cross.
Jesus was sharing his last Passover with his disciples. He knew that his end was near and he would very soon be the suffering sacrifice of God (Matthew 16:20-25, John 13:1, and Luke 22:13-16 before I suffer). He knew he was to die by crucifixion (Matthew 26:2).
Jesus instituted a memorial to be observed in the coming kingdom/church. His body, blood, life, and connection with God would be sacrificed on the cross. He promised that in his glorified spirit body he would eat the memorial supper with his disciples in the coming kingdom (he continues doing so now, with us) until he comes again (Matthew 26:26-29, compare 1 Corinthians 11:26).
Jesus knew (had already announced) what was going to happen to him imminently. He knew the full contents of the “cup” he would have to drink. There are two metaphorical contents in the cup.
The first thing in the cup: his death. He was fully aware of the terrifying reality of crucifixion that was coming to him. Throughout the Roman occupation and overrule of Israel this method of execution had been practiced. Jesus no doubt saw it many times (John 12:32-33, Matthew 16:21 and 20:18-19, Luke 18:31-34). He knew Psalm 22 (on the cross he quoted from it) – a precise picture of a hate-filled bloodthirsty mob denigrating, abusing, and mocking a man being crucified, with several graphic depictions of what happens to one’s body in crucifixion. His death would be real, not a vision or dream, not a pretended performance – nobody else can see your vision or your dream, or feel your feelings, or believe your play acting. He refused the drugged wine (wine with myrrh offered to him as a soporific to mitigate and mask the intense pain (Proverbs 31:6 KJV, NKJV, Mark 15:23). A completely sentient human would “taste death,” experience the conscious reality of physical death by crucifixion (Hebrews 2:9, 17).
The second thing: something even more terrifying than death was in the “cup” he would drink. He would become the incarnation and embodiment of human sin. God laid upon him the iniquity/sin of us all (Isaiah 53:4, 1 Peter 2:24). God would abandon him, leave him, no longer be in him — he would simply be a dead and empty man. To be deserted and forsaken by God is more terrible than dying even the cruelest form of death. All his disciples would leave him – nobody standing with him in his trials (Matthew 26:31). Question: would you accept either or both consequences and die for others? Could you, would you drink the cup of Jesus?
IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE.
Matthew 26:36-47, Luke 22:39-47
Jesus became very disturbed and distressed, emotional, “My soul is sorrowful, even unto to death” (Matthew 26:37-38).
He urged the disciples to pray for themselves and for him (Matthew 26:41, Luke 22:40).
Three times he prayed the same prayer to God. “If it is possible, do not require me to go through with this. However, if it is Your will, I will do it.” (Matthew 26:39-45).
His own (human) spirit was willing, but his human flesh was weak (Matthew 26:41). His wanted to obey God, but his physical body trembled and resisted the prospect. No doubt this would apply to the disciples who could not stay awake and pray with him as he requested.
An angel strengthened and encouraged him while he prayed and agonized, sweating blood at the prospect he was facing (Luke 22:43-44). This bloody sweat was real, not something with the appearance of or similarity to drops of blood. Hematohidrosis – bloody sweat – is a rare but real affliction that can occur under extreme emotional stress, fear, dread.
AFTER GETHSEMANE JESUS RESOLUTELY, WITHOUT FALTERING, SUFFERED AND DIED TO FINISH THE WORK GOD APPOINTED FOR HIM.
Although he had urged his disciples to supply themselves with appropriate weapons he refused to let them fight to free him when he was being arrested.
He did not resist those who scourged and crucified him.
He prayed for his enemies (Luke 23:34), as he also teaches us to do (Matthew 5:44).
He cried out: “My God, why have You forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46), but as he died he committed his spirit to God who had departed from him (Luke 23:46).
We should be glad God said NO to Jesus’ request and gave him to die that we can be saved (John 3:16), and glad that Jesus finally said an unequivocal YES. There would be no salvation for anyone without him (Acts 4:12).
There is a “cup” for us to drink too: the cup of faith, repentance, submission, obedience, faithfulness. We can gratefully sing:
I hear Thy welcome voice, that calls me, Lord, to Thee
For cleansing in the precious blood that flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord, coming now to Thee.
Wash me, cleanse me in Thy blood that flowed on Calvary.