Summary: This is the first in a series of Easter Sermons addressing the Passion of Christ. What can we learn from those 4 climactic days leading to the resurrection?
The Passion Pt 1
In Gethsemane¡¦s Shadows
The Passion ¡V Nothing in the last 20 years has raised so much awareness of the climax of our Lord¡¦s ministry upon the earth. I must confess that I have not seen the movie yet ¡V but I¡¦ve done something better ¡V I¡¦ve read the book. I want to spend the next couple of weeks between now and Easter sharing with you the message of these 4 climactic days in the ministry of Christ. As with the movie the story opens in Gethsemane¡¦s shadows.
So what can we learn here in Gethsemane¡¦s shadows?
1) Learn how much He loves you! ¡V And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood. How deep the darkness must have been for Jesus that night ¡V as He fought the final battle between His humanity and His deity. Nothing demonstrates better both the weakness of the flesh and the determination of God combined in the Messiah. In Gethsemane¡¦s garden we see the greatest test of that challenge hurled at Jesus upon the cross ¡V ¡§Are you not the Christ ¡V Save yourself and us!¡¨ Therein lies the agony of this night ¡V that one thing was impossible. He could not save others and Himself. Here in Gethsemanes shadows the dark reality of the cross finally took shape. Certainly the torture of scourge and nails held there own dread for Jesus but I think even more - for this man who was God in human flesh - was the spiritual darkness and desolation of the cross. It was here I believe that Jesus began to feel the spiritual torment that would follow as He took upon Himself the sin of the world. On the one hand His flesh must have cried out to be free from this agony ¡V from this darkness ¡V from this Cross. On the other hand ¡V His heart cried out for His creation ¡V His children ¡V His love. This great battle raged Love and Fear ¡V and His sweat poured out upon the ground in drops of blood. In that moment of greatest conflict the Love of His heart won the battle ¡V His fears put beneath His feet ¡V His love for us won the day. The scriptures say that ¡§God demonstrates His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.¡¨ They screamed at Him, laughed at Him, trumpeted their victory over Him ¡V calling Him to save Himself if He was the Christ. If He was the Son of God. Let me tell you something this morning ¡V the Jews didn¡¦t crucify Jesus ¡V niether did the Romans ¡V Love Crucified Him. His Love for you ¡V kept Him on the cross. His love poured out for you.
2) In Gethsemane¡¦s Shadows learn the frailty of Man and the Power of God ¡V I think it¡¦s funny that Peter and some of the other disciples brought swords to the garden that night. They were expecting trouble ¡V and it was their intent to protect Jesus. Think about that for a moment ¡V they thought they needed to protect God. How disillusioned they really were. For 3 years the Jewish leaders had plotted against Him. On several occasions they had actually tried to lay hands on Him to take Him by force ¡V yet they were not able to even lay a hand on Him. For 3 years Jesus had taught, healed, delivered, and even raised men from the dead ¡V yet now men come to arrest him armed and dangerous ¡V and His disciples think to defend Him with violence. You see they didn¡¦t understand ¡V this was God. He could at any moment call to Himself a legion of angels to fight for Him. He could simply speak and they would cease to exist. He could walk through their midst and none could touch Him unless He allowed it. And Pete and the boys thought they needed to defend Him. Folks understand something ¡V God has no need of us to care for Him. He has no need of us to defend Him. The fact is quite the reverse ¡V He takes care of us. Matthew 6:25-30. Our life is not about defending the Gospel or providing for God ¡V it¡¦s about trusting God to provide for us as we are obedient to Him.
3) In the Shadows of Gethsemane learn the power of darkness ¡V v53 ¡V Here in Gethsemanes shadows stands the Messiah of God. And here in Gethsemanes shadows stand men blinded by darkness.
„« There stood the chief priests, officers of the temple, and elders ¡V all stood blinded in darkness. Their eyes so blind that they see in the Savior of the world a criminal, a traitor, a blasphemer of God. So blinded in the darkness that they feel a perfect hatred of the one who has come to save them. So blinded in heart that they completely miss all that they have been so diligently searching for ¡V the fulfillment of all there religious searching ¡V the answers to all their fervent prayers.