Summary: This is the first message in a series on the most important day in the most important life ever lived; we walk with Jesus to Calvary.

¡§The Most Important Day In the Most Important Life Ever Lived!¡¨

¡§The Weight of the World¡¨

Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:43-44

February 3, 2002

Series Intro:

I haven¡¦t watched the show, but I¡¦ve seen the promos and I have inside sources who tell me what it is about; the show is called Twenty-Four, and the premise is that the show is done in real time; that is, a one-hour show encapsulates a 24-hour time period. There will be 24 episodes to the show¡¦s season, apparently, and thus one year of this show, not counting re-runs, will involve one day in the life of its characters. Again, I have not seen the show, so I know little of it; it might well be entertaining; on the other hand, I wonder what they¡¦d do for a final show if the ratings stunk and they decided to cancel it. Perhaps they¡¦d write an ending of the show which would involve the world blowing up between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.! I¡¦ve also wondered if, say, the 3:00-4:00 a.m. episode was really worth watching; what, did the cameras focus for an hour on some guy snoring in his bed, or what? Oh, but it¡¦s Hollywood, and any correspondence to actual reality is purely coincidental!

The fictional goings on of some TV drama matter little in the grand scheme of things; our series which we begin today I have likewise entitled ¡§Twenty Four¡¨, but in so doing I propose to take a look at the most important day in the most important life ever lived. It might be said that particular people seem to be created for particular times. Would there have been a Protestant Reformation had there been no Martin Luther? Would there be a United States today had there been no Patrick Henry, no George Washington or Ben Franklin? Would Europe have fallen to the Nazis had there been no Sir Winston Churchill? Would we still be using candles if Thomas Alva Edison had never come on the scene? Would we stress over vanished documents and lost email were there no Bill Gates? Good questions all, I think!

But we can say with the utmost of certainty that Jesus Christ came on this world¡¦s scene with one primary mission, the redemption of lost mankind. This was, from eternity past, His one chief purpose, His one driving desire, His ultimate mission. If this was the case¡Xand it was¡Xthen we can say with equal certainty that the 24 hours we will study over the next few weeks represent the most important day in the most important life ever lived. We journey alongside Jesus to Calvary, that place where He paid the ultimate price to purchase our redemption.

Would you stand with me as we read today¡¦s Scripture, Matthew 26:36-46? PRAYER

It had already begun as quite the evening; in an upper room, Jesus had led His disciples to eat the Passover meal. He had given them teaching that they could not possibly have fully comprehended, but He knew that eventually they¡¦d get the idea, teaching about the cup of wine He held out to them representing His blood, and the bread He broke with them representing His body. He had talked about His impending betrayal, even identifying the one who would do so, but undoubtedly they had difficulty really processing this as well. After singing a hymn of praise and leaving, He had predicted that all His followers would leave His side in cowardice. Brash Peter, known far and wide for engaging his mouth while his brain languished yet in neutral, boldly proclaimed his fidelity, literally moments prior to his gutless retreat. Now, it was time for a retreat!

I¡¦ve begun to make it my yearly habit to get away for several days, near the beginning of the year, to recharge my own batteries and prepare for ministry to come. This year, I chose to do so at a retreat center just outside of Asheville, NC, which is one of my favorite towns in America. It¡¦s good to get away from the routine for a time to re-center oneself on the real priorities of life and ministry.

Jesus had such a getaway spot. It was a place of retreat and refreshment, sustaining Him in times of physical, mental, emotional exhaustion. Its name: Gethsemane, the ¡§place of the olive press¡¨, a garden of gnarled olive trees. This final trip, however, was not one of comfort or relaxation; rather, it would portend the most excruciating suffering ever known by man. And so as we begin our walk with Jesus to Calvary, we go to a garden. It was in a garden, interestingly, that Adam¡¦s sin ruined us; the taint from his disobedience stains every human life. But now it is in a garden again where the 2nd Adam began His work of restoration.

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