Summary: Jesus’ experience at Mt Olives demonstrates his voluntary submission to crucifixion and how we are to handle a "No" answer to prayer. He demonstrates his humanity in his grief as he walks the path from Anxiety to Acceptance.
Hope Community Church
February 8, 2004
Bro. Chris Hill
Contemporary American culture values the independent thinker who can make quick decisions. I have even read in some of my leadership material that a true leader is not somebody who can make a good decision but one can make any decision. In my own observations I have noticed that most people don’t have a problem making decisions – most people have a problem making godly decisions. I certainly expect the lost to make decisions based on their own whims and desires, but I am surprised by how many people who profess to be godly people make ungodly decisions. While quick decision making is valuable, it is far more important to make godly decisions.
It is when we struggle with the two natures, the flesh which wants to run away from God, and the soul which wants to honor God, that the Christian faces anxiety. Anxiety is that tension between what we want (or think we deserve) and either what we have or what we think we will get. So many times during my hospital chaplaincy visits people would ask me why they were facing surgery and/or death even though they had lived a good life. One particular lady in her early fifties facing her own death lamented that she had lived a good Christian life. She prayed regularly, attended church regularly, and had been involved in several ministries yet she was stricken with cancer at a fairly young age. She thought she deserved to live a healthy life and a lot longer than the doctors were telling her she would live. Her grief and anxiety were the result of the tension between what she wanted or thought she deserved and what life had put on her plate. If you never have any anxiety it is probably because you are not closely enough connected to God to put tension between natural desires and God’s will.
I. Jesus, fully man, felt the natural desire to continue living that was in tension with his impending arrest, trial, and crucifixion.
A. His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow
1. Trembling, chest-tightening, paralyzing grief
2. to the point of death meant that he thought he might dies
B. What was causing such anxiety?
1. His impending death was obviously a concern.
2. The biggest tension, however, came from sin.
a. Not his own – he was sinless.
b. He saw all the past, present and future sin.
c. He was going to become sin (2 Cor 5:21)
C. How did Jesus handle anxiety?
1. He followed a routine or discipline (spiritual disciplines) – see Luke 22:39 “The Message” says, “Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives.”
2. He surrounded himself with others who shared his grief. (vv 36-7)
a. The most mature he kept closest to himself (Peter, James, John)
b. The disciples also were grieved (see Luke 22:45).
3. He prayed
a. He shared his own desires.
b. He asked for the Father’s will to be done.
c. Jesus prays the prayer that receives a, “No!”
II. Jesus acquiesces to his father’s no.
A. He prays, “If this cannot pass unless I drink it…”
1. It is the plan laid out from the beginning
2. Eph 1:4 For he chose us in Christ Jesus before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
B. Jesus’ concern is now how to go through the crucifixion rather than how to avoid it.
1. He still prays about the cup.
2. The thought that it might be different is now at the back of his mind rather than at the front.
3. The Father’s will is still his focus.
C. Jesus’ path is a process.
1. Begins with anxiety
2. Transforms to acquiescence.
3. Leads to acceptance.
III. Acceptance results in a different attitude as well as new strength and conviction.
A. Jesus prays a third time.
B. Divine support came to strengthen him (Luke 22:43)
1. Strength to pray more fervently.
2. Strength to resist human desire.
3. Strength to face adversity with courage.
C. The tension is released and he says, “Let’s go!”
1. He is convinced that the Father’s path is the best one.
2. He desires to confront the situation.
3. Anxiety and fear are absent at this point.
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. (Citation: George Muller in Signs of the Times. Christianity Today, Vol. 35, no. 95)
IV. Jesus’ choice to go to the cross is what make it so special.
A. Extraordinary love is different from ordinary love by the sacrifice that is made.
1. Even sinner’s love their own (Luke 6:32)
2. When the sinless is willing to die for those who have hated him that is extraordinary.