Have you ever felt the agony that comes when you know God is calling you to do something you don't want to do? The reality is most of the Bible calls us to stuff we don't want to do, but we know God's ways are better, so we trust him. If you've felt this, you are not alone. There are many people in the Bible that felt the tension of trusting God. Chief among them is Jesus.
Before going to the cross to die for the sins of the world (including yours and mine), Jesus went to one of his frequent prayer spots in the Garden of Gethsemane, across from the brook of Kidron. It was during this prayer session where we read Jesus prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will" (Matthew 26:39). But let us not miss something significant. Jesus was in agony over what was coming and what he had to do.
The account is recorded in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, and Luke 22:39-48. John only mentions that they were in the garden across the brook of Kidron where Judas "knew this place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples."
Matthew 26:37 says he was "sorrowful and troubled." Mark 14:33 says Jesus was, "greatly distressed and troubled." And Luke records that an angel appeared to comfort Jesus and he was in agony so much so that his sweat was dripping like blood. (However, some manuscripts do not contain Luke 22:43-44.) The point is that Jesus was very uncomfortable and he even asked God if there was any other way. Nevertheless, Jesus was committed to doing the will of the Father, no matter what. Even if it caused him a sleepless night. Even if he didn't want to. And the will of the Father was that Jesus would die under the crushing weight of the world's sin so God and man could be reconciled.
At times we feel agony and anguish over doing the will of the Father. We worry and fret. We baulk. But in the end, we must say, "Not my will, but the will of God."
The above photo is not a free-use photo. It is never our desire to post copyrighted material without permission. However, as I look at the many paintings of Jesus, praying in a beam of light, I just don't see the picture the Bible paints. I think Michael D. O'Brien's painting, "Jesus in Gethsemane" get's at it a little better. Can't you feel the agony in this painting? (Michael, if you would like us to remove this picture of your wonderful painting, please let us know and we'll be happy to do so.)
Church, I will be preaching on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane this Sunday. I know many of you are feeling this agony. You are struggling in tension of trusting that Jesus' ways are better than the world's ways. You know the information, but it's so hard to align your actions with what you know. Sometimes it's even difficult to believe that Jesus loves you, but he does! Don't be in agony, but if you are, trust God. He's ways are better.
I pray we see you Sunday!