This Lent season, come lean in and lock eyes with the One who changed the world and discover His unimaginable love!
After His final, earnest discourse in Kidron Valley with His closest friends, we find Jesus in the famous Garden called Gethsemane, face down in the dirt, facing down His destiny.
This, just hours before His betrayal, “the time when the power of darkness reigns.” Luke 22:53b
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw away and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’” Luke 22:42
Those agonizingly decisive, final moments brought Hebrews 5:8 to bear,
“Even though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.”
Regarding this verse, Matthew Henry’s Bible commentary asserts, “Christ made improvement by his sufferings. By his passive obedience, he learned active obedience.”
The passive obedience on His face was actively lived out in submission to Roman nails.
Yet, amidst the immense struggle, God tenderly attended His Son.
Fully God, yes, but also fully man—Jesus received courage and strength to take each excruciating step cross-ward when, “…an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.” Luke 22:43
One is not strengthened unless there is need for it.
Jesus was given what He needed to live out His call—what a faithful, loving Father!
So, in all His wrestling, what was on Jesus’ mind that harrowing night.
Was it submission to His Father’s will? Absolutely! But I believe there was something more:
His heart was completely consumed with unimaginable love for every soul to walk this planet. It seems the cliche phrase is apropos, “In the garden, you were on His mind.”
Two complementary (or possibly competing?) anxieties dominated—the passion of the cross, and us.
His humanity made Him want to run as far as East to West from the cross; His divinity made Him want to stretch His arms out as far as the East is from the West on the cross. (Psalms 103:12)
Jesus knew Scripture would be left unfulfilled and the world in ruins if He did not submit to His destiny with an old rugged cross.
Jesus embraced His suffering, fully and completely, in an all-to-still garden nestled in the olive groves.
He held absolutely nothing back from His followers during any moment of His life, but most assuredly, that night, and every next step cross-ward.
What will He not do, move, give, release, share, bestow, dispense, call forth, heal, or take away for us?
We all have our own journey cross-ward, if we are Jesus’ followers. (Matthew 16:24)
And He understands, like no other, how we feel—our deepest fears, anxieties, concerns, desires and what it means to journey with cross in hand.
He will surely move heaven and earth for us, quite literally, if we ask. We will never bear one ounce of burden alone. He longs to take our burdens and exchange them for His easy and light yoke of peace. (Matthew 11:28-29)
What do you need to ask of Him today?
Strength to keep taking the next right step? Wisdom to discern what the next step even is? Restoration, healing, or hope for a sick child, your marriage, a dead-end job, the state of our nation? Peace to lay your head on the pillow and wake up 7 hours later instead of every 2?
With all He faced for you, will He withhold what He died to give?
Unfathomable! If our Father equipped His Son for His ultimate call cross-ward, will He not assuredly equip you, whom He called by name as His own in unimaginable love? (Isiah 43:1)
I’ve often heard quoted, “God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.”
Friend, He will hear, meet with and bestow the good gifts for which He died to lavish on you.
- a new outlook
In the quiet agony of your own garden, won’t you ask today? Jesus will come—administering courage, strength, hope and yes, even joy—just as God did that still, lonely night in Gethsemane.
He can do nothing else. He is a Savior after all.