Summary: The Garden of Gethsemane began as a place of stress and ended as a place of rest. We can learn much from our Master.
Your Place of Stress or Rest
• Do you know what stress is? Everybody in this room understands this term because it is seems to be so evident today. Little kids have stomach problems, teenagers have relational problems (peers), and everybody seems to have emotional problems if not a disorder of some kind. This week I ‘attempted’ to read up on disorders only to discover that I didn’t have time because there were so many and the list is growing every day! Think OCD, ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, dependency, schizophrenic, and do I need to go on? You ask, “Preacher, you making fun?” The answer is no as I have emotional issues in my own family and of my own. Here’s the point: While it may not be the entire cause, stress is one of the culprits to our emotional dilemma for the day. Everybody knows what stress is because most of us are closely acquainted with it.
• Do you know what rest is? It’s more than your favorite recliner or bed. In fact, many go to bed each night and get little rest. Rest is being able to be at peace in the midst of a world gone crazy.
• Today, we continue our journey with Jesus toward the cross. Jesus knows what is ahead, He knows what is behind, and He turns a place of stress (in the face of Calvary) into a place of rest. Let’s read & learn how He did it. He didn’t abandon God’s plan of the cross, but found peace. (Read)
• It would be easy to simply tell the story of Gethsemane and how it impacted Jesus, but what I desire to do is to walk through this story and see how much we can learn from His experience.
• Verse 32 begins like this, “they went to a place.” You recognize that word “place”, it generally means a location like a garden, a house, or town. Certainly for Jesus and his disciples this was a location. However, many of us have come to the place in our lives where we were stressed out.
• It wasn’t a location, it was a state of being or state of mind. Jesus and his disciples came to that place called “Gethsemane.” What is interesting is that Gethsemane literally meant a press of oils, in other words it was a place where they pressed the oil out of the olive. You will remember that Gethsemane olive trees in it. So the press and the stress can be seen clearly.
• Several years ago we saw the stress which Jesus encountered in the garden in the opening scene of the “Passion of the Christ.” Watch how, I believe the place of stress became the place of rest.
1. A place of brokenness- Brokenness is not a popular subject today. In fact, when things are broken we tend to want to throw them away. Almost 15 years ago, at one of the lowest points of my life, one of my cousins sent me a book entitled “Broken Things.” I’d like to say that that book changed my life, but the truth is it changed my perspective of life. God uses broken things & broken people to accomplish His work and will. It is only when we are broken that we can be used of the Father. In the garden, human-divine Jesus felt brokenness as He was about to be used for a great work.
a. He felt a broken heart - Have you ever considered just how difficult this night was for our Lord Jesus? Too often we only see Jesus in his divinity, but Jesus was fully human. He hurt like humans, he felt like humans, and he even bled like a human. In his humanity in Gethsemane He, without a doubt, was brokenhearted. To think of the many ways that his heart was broken is to understand how human he was. He was abandon by one who could walk with him for 3 years, He was misunderstood by those who remained with him, and now He felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. Years ago, a Christian artist named Dallas Holm wrote these words, “He died of a broken heart, broke for you and me, He loves us more than words can say and more than we can see. His death was not from the pain that He felt while hanging on the tree. He died of a broken heart for you and me.” We can see His heartbreak in the garden. So for each of us, when we have a heartbreak Jesus is a friend & the answer you need because “He’s been there too” – He understands & will help you.
b. He felt the broken promises – Just a few hours earlier the disciples had declared their allegiance, love, and support for Jesus. Now in the garden Jesus asked the disciples to “Sit, wait, and pray” – only to find them asleep a short will later. They had said they were committed, but when asked to do something like pray, they failed. Have you ever been on the wrong end of a broken promise? Someone promised to stand with you, help you, or uphold you – and when the pressure came, they walked away? Well, ask yourself another question: Have you ever been the promise breaker – when it came to our Lord? You told Him “If only you will” and then He did, but you didn’t. That night in the garden was a place of stress because of broken promises He knew (past, present, & future). The stress He felt in His humanity was beyond comprehension. When the broken promises came, Jesus never considered abandoning God’s plan. Perhaps one of the reasons we see Him in such distress is because He was giving a picture to help us in our lives. So -