Summary: This first in a series of three Easter sermons looks at the brokenness found in Gethsemanes garden. The broken promises of the disciples, the broken religion of the pharisees, and the broken heart of Jesus.
Shadows of the Cross
Pt 1 – Broken in Gethsemane’s Shadows
The first three days of July 1863 marked a turning point in our nation. Two armies gathered in little known Gettysburg, Pa. George Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac – Robert E Lee the Army of Northern Virginia. In three bloody days of battle 51,000 men were killed, wounded or captured. Those three days marked the turning of the tide in the war that made our Nation what it is today. Three days that shaped the future of our country and the future of the world as we know it today. From the shadows of Gettysburg a Nation would rise – no longer a confederation of States – One Nation under God would rise and live to seize the reigns of world history.
You know me well enough to know that I am not here to teach you about American history today. What I do want to do however is teach you about three days in history that marked the turning of the tide in the war of all mankind, past and present. Three days that have shaped history and eternity. Three days spent in the shadows of the Cross.
Our journey opens in the shadows of Gethsemane where brokenness reigns.
In Gethsemane’s Shadows we find…
1) A Place of Broken Promises – v50 – They all left Him and fled. Remember that these are the same men who just hours before had been fighting amongst themselves over which one would be sitting at his right hand. Men who had declared wholehearted allegiance and undying loyalty. Peter went so far as to say – “even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” Then they left the lighted upper room where they shared the Passover – and entered the shadows of the cross. The truth is that the world is full of broken promises. Our faithfulness waxes and wanes. Our commitment often falters – and our best intentions go awry. This is how Paul talked about his struggle in the shadows. “I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” (Romans 7:21-25 TMNT) Jesus comes to us and asks couldn’t you stay awake for just an hour. “Could you not keep watch for one hour?” The ultimate broken promise walks in the shadows in the heart of Judas. One who had walked with Jesus for so long – three years he had seen all that the other disciples had seen – but his heart was far from God. Ambition was his god. These men walked in the shadows of Gethsemane not because of the darkness around them but because of the darkness in them. We walk in the shadows today not because of the darkness around us but because of the darkness within us. Something has gone wrong deep within us, and it gets the better of us every time.