32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer Mark 14:32-42

What did this time Jesus spent in the garden mean to Him and what could a time like this mean to us? He did not plunge into His agony and suffering unprepared. Just as it was His custom to spend time with the Father at the beginning of each day to prepare for His day, so now how much more did He need to be prepared for what lay ahead.

How hard it must have been for the Father to remain resolute in the face of His Son’s anguish! To remain silent to His Son’s plea and to allow Jesus to reach His decision alone and to determine in His heart to obey the decision they had made before the foundation of the world, must have wrung the Father’s heart out as well.

This had to be Jesus’ choice without argument or persuasion. He knew what the Father wanted. He understood the bigger picture. To refuse to comply to save His own skin was unthinkable because it would cost everything He had come to do – no family for God, no-one upon whom to lavish His love and generosity; all His dreams for the human race and for His eternal kingdom up in smoke. There was no plan B. Everything hung on this one decision and its consequences.

But Jesus’ heart was tender towards the Father. Above everything else He chose to be one with Him. But Jesus, like us, was not alone. He offered Himself as a sacrifice through the Eternal Spirit. He lived His entire human life in the environment of the Holy Spirit, in His company, in His power, under His guidance and in fellowship with Him. Not even on the road ahead would He be alone. Once the decision was made, He would carry it out in the power of the Spirit.

He could not continue unless and until He had made His choice. In that instant the camera began to roll on a most astonishing drama – the Son of God striding out to do battle with the enemy, not cringing in fear but resolute in faith and courage because He was already the winner. In His heart He challenged the devil to do His worst, to deluge Him with everything hell could muster to get Him to break rank with the Father. His choice would stand, and it did!

From that moment human beings revealed what they really thought of God; they ridiculed, insulted and humiliated Him; they spat in His face, pulled out His beard, beat Him almost to death, stripped Him naked, nailed Him to a cross and left Him there to die under the boiling midday sun. The only words He had for them were, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.”

Jesus showed the world what it is like to protect love and unity at any cost and to emerge the winner over both man and Satan. And He paid for man’s failure to do just that. He put the record straight, once and for all. One man obeyed God – completely!

Luella Campbell

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