Sunday, April 03, 2011

April 3, 2011 … The Start of Jesus’ Final Challenge

Passage of the Day: Matthew 26: 36 … Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."

My Journal for Today: Today’s verse, with a glimpse of Jesus entering into His suffering at Gethsemane, allows us to begin to contemplate the final hours of agony experienced by our Lord. However, no matter what I suffer in my life or see in the way of suffering in the world, I will never fully comprehend what Jesus went through during His final living hours on this earth. Even the graphic movie created by Mel Gibson, which millions saw, cannot give our hearts the full story of how Jesus became the “man of sorrows” prophesied by Isaiah (in Is. 53: 3) as He took on the sins of the world and becoming separated from His Father in Heaven on the cross.

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 53: 3 ... He [the Messiah] was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

As Jesus enters Gethsemane, where the sorrows of our Messiah begin to unfold, we see Christ’s agony beginning as He enters into the prayer vigil which would fully show our Lord “the cup” He must endure, even cause Him to sweat blood in His prayers that night. And in this scene we get a glimpse as to why Jesus had wept as He entered Jerusalem a few days earlier. Having a word of knowledge from His Father through God, the Holy Spirit, on that Sunday before Passover, He saw that the very crowd who cried, “Hosanna,” spreading palms before Him would soon be crying “Crucify Him!” And Christ’s time in the garden was about to give Him a clear picture of the suffering He would have to endure in His humanity for all of mankind. And, as God, the Son, He also sensed the separation that He would endure from His Father as he humbly and willingly received that “cup” which seemed so overwhelming to our Lord in His humanity.

No, what Jesus was to go through on the cross (for me and for you) is simply beyond my human reasoning abilities. And perhaps that is a blessing because the mental distance from the reality of this horror protects me; … but it also tests my faith. Unlike the close group of Disciples whom Jesus left to watch and pray in the Garden, I know what was about to happen. We have the true story given to us by God’s living word. I’ve read “THE BOOK;” and though I may not be able to fully empathize with His horror in the Garden, I must accept … in/by faith … that His passion for me was the model of suffering that would be our guide forevermore.

When we suffer, especially in His Name, we have a clear picture through God’s word as to the “why” behind our suffering. And we know that we, as Christians, will suffer in this life; … every believer who witnesses to/for his faith in this life does. So, even today, I can imagine that our Lord is saying to me, “Sit here and watch, while I suffer so that you can be with Me in heaven and all sorrows will be gone.”

Oh, my faith sees so anemic at times!

My Prayer Today: Lord, give me the vision and strength to endure life’s suffering. Amen

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