In reading Matthew 26 and Mark 16 this morning, I spent time meditating on Jesus in the Garden right before his arrest, beating, and eventual crucifixion.  It’s an amazingly intimate picture of Jesus’ humanity.  I saw a few things that jumped out at me:

  • Jesus goes to a secluded place to pray
    • [do we run to God or away from God in tough times?]
  • He takes his close brothers with him, and takes his inner circle with him closer still
    • [do we have trusted brothers/sisters? do we let them in?]
  • He confesses to them that he is “very sorrowful, even to the point of death”
    • [do we confess to them when we are struggling?]
  • Jesus prays three times an honest prayer from the depths of his soul
    • [do we pray, repeatedly, honestly?  how is the nature of our prayer?]
  • Each time Jesus presents his request “If possible, remove this cup from me” – he then speaks truth to himself – “Not what I will, but what you will”
    • [A message God continues to beat into my head – despite what society has been telling me for 41 years, it’s not about me and my self-esteem, and personal happiness – the Bible says it’s all about God.  Jesus models this perfectly, even being obedient to the point of death (Phil 2); how much more so should I be seeking the Father’s glory and will in much smaller matters today?  In his glory is the ultimate happiness anyway!]
  • Jesus continues to ask the Father in repeated requests, pouring out his heart, and then speaking truth to himself – despite the fact that we see no answer from the Father.
    • [Do we continue in prayer, even when there seems to be no answer?  Jesus knew the answer – press on, for God’s will and purpose, not mine.  Prayer is a powerful demonstration of our dependence on God and in that he reminds us of the truth and what we need to do for Him…sometimes even without a verbal answer, the Holy Spirit directs our hearts as we seek God’s purposes]
  • Jesus comes to a resolution – “It is enough, the hour has come.” He is seemingly at peace with the situation, as he has poured out himself to God in prayer. I’ll bet that there was some serious self-discipline going on there.
    • In our lives, our feelings cannot drive the bus.  Even if we don’t “feel” resolved we know the direction we need to take – take it.  Do it.  Discipline yourself to move on deeper into what God wants you to do, do not wait for the feelings to come and then do it.  Move ahead in faith. Press into God in prayer.  Preach the truth of the gospel to yourself and get on with it…(Phil 3:12-14)
  • The situation didn’t change – God certainly didn’t take away the cross (“the cup”) – but Jesus pressed on.
    • Many times the situation may not change, but our outlook on the situation will, perhaps sometimes only by pressing in and doing what you know in your heart God wants you to do, even if you don’t feel it.  Some of us may be facing really bad situations – but God is bigger than all of them.
Update, as things would have it, I caught up with Pastor Mark Driscoll today and this was his the subject of the sermon…good stuff:

http://marshill.com/v/wfowy2lqjcr8

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