Summary: The only palms that really mattered eternally during passion week were Jesus’ palms. A study of all His hands touched and accomplished, and what they were about to do! Link included to formatted text and PowerPoint Template.

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Palms in the Garden

Matthew 26:36-56

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Just outside Jerusalem was a little garden…the garden of Gethsemane. Jerusalem has always been a very crowded city / property hard to come by / wealthy would purchase private garden spots on the slopes of the Mount of Olives…

This one was probably owned by a friend of the Lord Jesus and was a special place for Him to go for rest, relaxation, prayer (I hope you have that special place to get alone w/ God)

Gethsemane means “oil press”. Evidently, it was a place where they would harvest the olives from the trees, press and crush them to remove the oil.

This is significant because Jesus was about to be crushed and pressed, so the oil of salvation could flow freely to the world.

This side of heaven, we may never understand what Jesus went thru that night in this garden…our vocabulary would go bankrupt to try to express the depth of that experience. Here it was that Jesus surrendered to go to the cross…so it was here in the garden that the victory of the cross was actually won!

Let’s approach this message w/ reverence, because we’re on holy ground as we walk together into this garden!

Several palms we’ll notice along the path:

1. Palms of sorrow

v. 37-38 phrase “exceeding sorrowful” comes from one Greek word meaning “surrounded by sorrow” / in a whirlpool of sorrow / engulfed by sorrow

Why did He experience this sorrow in the garden? 3 reasons:

• The emotional suffering He was about to endure

Jesus was subjected to every negative emotional attack possible:

Luke 22:44

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

In medical language he experienced hemathydrosis, or bloody sweat in which under extreme duress the blood vessels actually burst. And perhaps kneeling there He placed His palms of sorrow over His face as He sweat great drops of blood!

Add to this stress the unbelief of people calling Him liar and blasphemer (it hurts to have your integrity doubted / sincerity questioned)

Rejection of people (that He loved…He came unto His own…)

Hatred of religious leaders of that day

Betrayal of Judas Iscariot (who walked w/ Him for 3 years / prayed w/ Him / His treasurer! He betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave!)

Desertion by all the disciples is coming

The coming denial of one of His own (He’s already predicted Peter’s denial)

Injustice of His coming trial (convicted in a kangaroo court that broke every law of jurist prudence of that day…He was convicted of crimes for which He was not guilty!)

He knew he would be further ridiculed, spit upon, stripped naked (greatest indignity, put to open shame)

If you or I experienced any one of the above we would be devastated, yet Jesus went thru it all at once!

Salvation may be free, but it’s not cheap!!

With palms of sorrow upon His face He endured the emotional suffering!

• Physical Suffering

He knew a rugged cross awaited Him…and they say to be crucified is to die 1,000 deaths!

v. 38 makes it clear his emotional suffering led to physical suffering immediately-- “even unto death”! His physical body recoils at the thought…not that He was afraid to die, for He faced death w/ courage and w/ perfect peace…but no one in their right mind looks forward to torture and death. You’re not looking forward to dying! If the Dr. gives you a choice between living and dying, you’ll take living every time! As humans we have a built-in defense mechanism to resist pain and death.

Can you see the palms of sorrow, as Jesus looks down at His hands, knowing in advance the spikes which will be driven thru them?

But the worst part of His suffering wasn’t physical or emotional…

• His Spiritual suffering was the worst

v. 39 He picked up that cup w/ His palms…and in that cup was much more than physical and emotional suffering…for in that cup was the sin of all humanity / accumulated sin of all the ages about to be laid upon the sinless, perfect Son of God.

And we cannot even pretend to imagine the repugnance He must have felt at the thought of becoming our sin…to the point His own Father could not look upon Him (He would cry from the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”)

We’ve seen His palms of sorrow…

2. Palms of surrender

v. 42 (last phrase) “Thy will be done” In His humanity He may have buried His face in palms of sorrow…but thank God He looked up w/ palms of surrender!

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