Summary: In the garden of Gethsemane we stand on holy ground. We can never fully understand what happened there, it is beyond our human experience, but this passage gives us an insight.

Reading Mt 26:36-46)

Vehement cries

7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear

This verse refers to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and takes us onto holy ground. We can never fully understand what happened there, it is beyond our human experience, but this gives us an insight.

Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Certainly Jesus suffered tremendous stress at Gethsemane, as He thought about the cross and what it would involve. This was so severe a weight of woe, more than whole worlds could bear that blood leaked into His perspiration. (Interestingly John Bunyan linked that to the blood applied to Aaron’s right ear, thumb and big toe when he and his sons were consecrated as priests Lev 8:23.)

Sometimes our prayers a sort of intellectual exercise that we go through, but He prayed earnestly with vehement cries and tears. It is His intensity that comes over so clearly. He was fully aware of all that was to happen and its horror gripped Him. He who knew no sin [was about] to be [made] sin for us 2Cor 5:21. We are used to sin and have been as long as we can remember. So we can’t imagine what it was like for the Holy one of God, with His holy, unspotted character to contemplate taking our filthiness upon Himself. And, as if the sin itself was not bad enough, it would also break His eternal fellowship with the Father causing a feeling of utter loneliness and rejection.

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mt 27:45

It was from these horrors, not the mere physical suffering, that He recoiled. Have you ever thought that He allowed the seed of the tree to which He would be nailed to germinate and grow and that He watered it with rain and kept it from gales, woodworm and termites so that it was ready to serve its purpose? The same is true of the iron for the nails, the soldiers who nailed Him to it, and so on.

Yet He could have stopped His trial or execution at any moment by calling for more than twelve legions of angels Mt 26:53. One angel killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt in one night, so what might thousands of angels have done in defence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? But, as Jesus went on to say 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?

39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." 41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 "He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’" Mt 27

I wonder if they were deliberately quoting from Psalm 22? 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. What restraint He showed!

Remember, when you can’t sleep or function because of your anxieties, that Jesus understands. The reasons for our anxieties may be quite different, but He has faced far worse and calls upon us to cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us – 1Pe 5:7

And tears

The gospels don’t say that he wept in the garden of Gethsemane, but it is not surprising to find that he did, for Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus, Jn 11:35, and over Jerusalem, Lk 19:41. In the emotional turmoil that caused Him to, literally, sweat blood there is every probability that there were also tears. Truly He was A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief Isa 53:3.

This reminds me that that there is nothing dishonourable in tears, and that we, men in particular, should not be ashamed to weep either – although I draw the line at breaking into tears because of a broken a fingernail! What is much sadder than excessive tears is a hard heart that is unmoved by sin or the problems that others face. Our heart must be hard indeed if tears never come when we reflect on Christ’s suffering and death for us.

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