Summary: Putting full commiment into practice.
“THE WONDER OF HIS COMMITMENT”
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John Brokhoff tells of three little girls who were talking about their dads and one said, “My Dad is a doctor, he practices medicine.” The second said, “My Dad is a lawyer, he practices law.” The third little girl hesitated for a moment and finally said, “Well, my Dad is a Minister, but he doesn’t practice anything that I know of.” That may describe some ministers but how many of us are really putting our belief into practice? Commitment is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “The practice of following through on an agreement or pledge to do something for someone.” But many Christian’s are not practicing the follow-through that they made when they made a commitment to Jesus Christ. You see many want Him as their Savior.. The forgiveness of sins, eternal life, all the good stuff. But few are willing to understand that by accepting Him as Savior they have made a commitment to Him as Lord. It is said that W.C. Fields, the old-time comedian, was once asked what he thought of commitment and he said, “I don’t like it.. It just means doing something that I don’t want to do.”And we understand that don’t we? Because the practice of following through on our pledge to Jesus Christ as Lord often calls us to do things we don’t want to. Jesus Himself said, “If anyone wants to be my disciple He must deny himself.” That is never easy.. practicing selfishness comes much more naturally than self denial. Jesus understood- Heb. 4:15- “For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-” He was tempted, most forcefully, to just pass on His commitment.
There is an old hymn that says, “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses..” I’m not sure there are actually roses in Gethsemane, but, I know this was no “rose garden” for Jesus that night. For it is here, in this garden, that calvary is fought, it is here, in this garden, that the greatest battle of all time is waged, it is here that His self-denial receives it’s greatest test, and it is here that we see most fully, the wonder of His commitment.. To the Father but also incredibly.. To you and me.
You see, the question, if you claim to believe in Christ, is not, “Do I have to be committed to Him?” But.. “Am I really following through with my commitment to Him?” If you have not received Him as Savior and Lord.. Am I ready to say.. or if you are a Christian, am I saying in my life like.. That which He did on that night to God.... “Not what I will, but what You will.” Well, that’s what makes this incident, such a critical one to study. For as we see Jesus meet His greatest trial, we can learn how to put into practice our full commitment.
I. THE THREATS TO JESUS’ COMMITMENT: Vss: 32-33, 41a
First I want you to see the threats to His commitment that Jesus had to endure. Vs:32- “Then went to a place called Gethsemane..” Gethsemane is situated just outside the city of Jerusalem. Gethsemane literally means "Oil Press," and Jesus is about to be pressed on every side. This is where Jesus runs when trouble overwhelms Him. Here, under the darkness of the Olive trees, He flees to the Father.. And this is not the first time.. Lk. 22:39- “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives..” Do you have a place like that? One you can go to and pray and wrestle with the threats to your commitment? This is one of Jesus’ favorite places. And on this night the commitment He had already given is threatened. You see, Jesus pledged His allegiance to doing God’s will not only before entering this garden, but before entering this world. Hebrews 10:5 (quickview) -ff- “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body you prepared for me... Then I said, ‘Here I am- I have come to do your will, O God.’” And now He has His greatest test. Jesus could of reneged on His commitment at any time.. In the wilderness after His baptism facing satan, in the temple facing the hypocritical religious leaders, in the upper room listening to His disciples argue about their prominence. But there is no place or time in Jesus’ life when His commitment is more threatened than in the Garden of Gethsemane. Look at some of the phrases that Mark uses here to describe the ordeal that Christ is going to go through. Vs:33 “..He began to be deeply distressed and troubled..” Vs:34 He says- “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the pont of death..” A.T. Robertson states that this phrase carries with it the meaning of a "feeling of terrified surprise." I think that as Jesus enters this Garden He realizes, maybe for the 1st time, what a horrifying experience faces Him.