Thursday, 21 April 2011

Gethsamane is a place to visit today

by Max Lucado

Go with me for a moment to witness what was perhaps the foggiest night in history. The scene is very simple; you’ll recognize it quickly. A grove of twisted olive trees. Ground cluttered with large rocks. A low stone fence. A dark, dark night.

Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See that person? See that solitary figure? What’s he doing? Flat on the ground. Face stained with dirt and tears. Fists pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a stupor of fear. Hair matted with salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead?

That’s Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Maybe you’ve seen the classic portrait of Christ in the garden. Kneeling beside a big rock. Snow-white robe. Hands peacefully folded in prayer. A look of serenity on his face. Halo over his head. A spotlight from heaven illuminating his golden-brown hair.

Now, I’m no artist, but I can tell you one thing. The man who painted that picture didn’t use the gospel of Mark as a pattern. Look what Mark wrote about that painful night, he used phrases like these: “Horror and dismay came over him.” “My heart is ready to break with grief.” “He went a little forward and threw himself on the ground.”

Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. Mark used black paint to describe this scene. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:3 NASB) We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief.

We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.

The writer of Hebrews would later pen, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV)

My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity.

The next time the fog finds you, you might do well to remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think that no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to him pleading among the twisted trees.

The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention. It may be the closest you’ll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very well be that the hand that extends itself to lead you out of the fog is a pierced one.

 This story from:

This is Love - The Extraordinary Story of Jesus

Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado

Trust  you  are  doing   well my  dear  friends.
Tomorrow in  the  Good  Friday service
I  am  going   to  speak  on  the  first  and  fifth
last  statements  of  Christ from
the  cross..

7 Fertilize my soul:

Nadwrażliwiec said...

For me Jesus is the best example to following in the time of suffering. Can I follow Him in this time? Can I behave like He? I don't know. My faith is rather like reed and like mustard seed. My strenght? It's like little stone on the mountain. My wisdom? It's like the wind on the steppe. Only Jesus is my Lord.

Amrita said...

Praise God for your testimony Zim. May you grow more and more in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Amrita,

Very apt message for today. Yes, Jesus suffered because HE took the human form. HE suffered just like any one of us.

He even said - “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You.Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 16:33-13)

Luke also relates this story but adds “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.” As Jesus awaited the final hours of His life, He was in agony of spirit. His agony reached such great levels that His capillaries began to burst, mixing blood with His sweat. He began to bleed before anyone had laid a hand on Him. Such was His agony that He called out to His Father that if it was possible, He would remove this cup from Him.

Did Jesus fear those He knew were coming to lead Him to the cross? Did He fear whips, chains, thorns and spikes? Perhaps his humanity recoiled at the thought of having a spike driven through His wrist or at being beaten with ruthless brutality, yet at the beginning of His earthly ministry Jesus had spoken to His disciples about just such an event. In Matthew 10:28 we read “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” In the Garden He prayed to God, asking if He might “take this cup away from [Him].”

Wish you all the best for the speech tomorrow.

Nikki (Sarah) said...

HI Amrita...want to wish you a very happy Easter. ☺

Vilisi said...

Hello Amrita. I love how Max Lucado writes. He has a vivid way of describing that makes us see a familiar scene in a startlingly new way. I pray your Easter is filled with HIS presence. God bless you, dear sister.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Your listeners will benefit so much from your soliloquy. I will pray that it will be Spirit filled for the benefit of your listeners. Yes, Jesus suffered fear and apprehension before His crucifixion. Thanks for the inspired post. God bless you always.

Becky said...

what a picture he paints! Also, i was just reading the those last words this am. best wishes to you!