Summary: A sermon about peace through doing God's will.
"24 Hours that Changed the World: The Garden of Gethsemane"
In my parents' house there is a map of the history of the world, and it's a BIG map.
It wasn't created by a specifically "Christian" publishing house; I believe it was put out by National Geographic, and fairly recently.
Anyhow, on this map, the history of the world, or the history of civilization is divided up into two categories...
...and the dividing line or the hinge of this map is the birth, life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This is the hinge of History!!!
A few years after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, there were several thousand Christians living under Nero in the Roman Empire.
And it is reported that Christians were regularly "crucified or set on fire so that when darkness came they burned like torches in the night."
Three hundred years later, there were 34 million Christians or 56.5% of the total population.
And here we are 2,000 years after the events in the New Testament and Christianity is now the world's largest faith.
And we declare with boldness: "Hallelujah!!! Jesus lives!!!"
For those of us who follow Jesus: we base our entire lives on this fact.
It's the reason we do not fear death.
It's the reason our lives have been changed so radically and continue to change as we deny ourselves each day and continue to take up our cross and follow Christ.
It's the reason that billions of people around the world are able to face this terribly difficult life with courage, hope, faithfulness, and even thanksgiving!!!
It's one of the main reasons that we have so many hospitals, schools of higher education and of course, a church on just about every corner.
Certainly Jesus Christ...
...His life, teachings, death and Resurrection is the hinge upon which the doorway of history swings.
It is also the hinge upon which the doorway of so many lives swing.
What hinge does the doorway of your life swing?
What gives your life hope and meaning?
Sometime after eleven 'o'clock on a Thursday night, Jesus and His disciples finished their Passover Seder by singing a hymn.
After the meal Jesus predicted that all His disciples would scatter when He was to be arrested.
And Peter protested saying, "Even if everyone else stumbles, I won't.'
But Jesus said to him, 'I assure you that on this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.'"
He knew Judas had already sold Him out for 30 pieces of silver and would soon betray Him with a kiss.
And He knew that even Peter, whatever he promised, would deny even knowing Him.
The experience of being betrayed, deserted, and denied by one's closest friends is one of the most difficult things to endure.
If you were to go to your computer and search for "betrayal" you would find nearly 14 million sites where you can "bone up" on betrayal.
There are stories of betrayal, poems and songs about betrayal, articles on how to survive betrayal, and studies on the psychological and emotional costs of betrayal.
There are even websites that claim to help you be a more effective betrayer and get away with it!!!
And the internet isn't the only place where stories of betrayal reside.
They reside in us as well.
Almost everyone has stories of betrayal to tell.
In this room, there are most likely, stories about being betrayed by spouses, parents, and children.
There are stories about being betrayed by employers, pension funds, or financial advisors.
And there are stories about being betrayed by lifelong friends.
The stories are unending and the pain is often too deep for words.
There are also those who have done the betraying.
And the guilt runs deep, just like being betrayed leaves scars.
Perhaps one of the most painful things about betrayal is that we nearly always have to bear it alone.
Jesus bore the sins of the world on the Cross.
He suffered for sins He didn't commit in order to bring us to a place where we can have a relationship with God.
And no matter how difficult it is to be betrayed, on this Thursday night, approximately 2,000 years ago, Jesus' suffering was just beginning.
It's interesting that Jesus led His disciples to a garden--The Garden of Gethsemane.
It was also "in a garden" where Jesus was buried, and where Jesus rose again.
This causes us to think back to some things that took place in another garden, at the very beginning of the Bible.
It was in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and our relationship with God was severed.
But Jesus, unlike Adam, comes to a Garden to restore what was lost.
The Apostle Paul went so far as to speak of Jesus as the "last Adam."