Summary: As Jesus looked toward the cross, He agonized over what was to happen. What made His look at the cross with such fear and dread?
The Glory of the Cross Series
Agony in the Garden
1. Illus. of dads ring
• Dad gave it to me after his stroke, when he realized his days were numbered.
• His father gave it to him when he went to military.
• Not very valuable... but I wouldn’t sell it for a million dollars.
• Sometimes the value of a thing is not its intrinsic value. Its value is what you are willing to pay for it.
2. What is my value? What is your value?
• We tend to answer that based on personal achievement. How much money are they worth? How much education do they have? What awards and recognitions have they received?
• God only other hand answers the question in an entirely different way. What we are worth to him is determined by what he would be willing to pay for us.
3. When you read the bible it becomes apparent that we are extremely valuable to God! And nowhere is this more apparent than in the Garden of Gethsemane. As Jesus contemplates his coming crucifixion he is in an agony of despair. Falling on his face before God he prays, "father is it possible that this terrible cup pass from me!" And yet so great is his love for you and me that he goes on to say, "yet not my will but your will be done."
4. Text: Luke describes the agony Jesus went though as He thought about His upcoming death.
5. Today: Jesus dread of the cross, and His willingness to go anyway, shows us how very much He loves us.
6. We will never understand the depth of His love until we undrstand the nature of this cup. What was this cup He agonized over? Three possibilities.
Possibility #1: it was the cup of physical agony.
1. When Jesus spoke of this terrible cup, some people believe he was referring to the physical agony of the cross. There is no doubt that the cross, and the events leading up to the cross, involved excruciating pain.
2. Scourging was called, “the little death” because often the victim died of the terrible beating. Having your flesh literally torn from your body one lash at a time was agonizing. Crucifixion itself was the most painful form of death that had ever been invented. As a matter of fact it was so painful that we had to invent a new word to describe that level of pain: "excruciating," means out of the cross.
3. And yet as terrible as it was, I do not believe that was the cup Jesus feared. Jesus physical and moral courage throughout his public ministry had been indomitable. To think that it failed him now is ludicrous! Besides that, it’s ridiculous to think that Christ failed where his followers would later succeed.
4. Illus. of Ignatius
• Bishop of Syrian Antioch at beginning of second century.
• On his way to Rome to be martyred, he begged the church at Rome not to plead for his release!
• “Let the fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let the breaking of bones and the tearing of limbs come, if only I may gain Jesus Christ!”
5. Illus. of Polycarp
• A few years after Ignatius. Was the 86 year old bishop of Smyrna.
• When told to deny Christ or burn at the stake, he refused to deny Jesus.