Jesus begins His walk to the Garden … to betrayal … to execution … to burial … and to resurrection. His human nature is wrestling with the enormity of what He will do while His God nature is ready to complete His task.
The first sin happened in a garden. The sin of Adam and Eve caused them to walk from the Garden, banished forever. Their sin brought about a need for a savior, and today the circle is complete as Jesus voluntarily walks into a Garden, knowing he will be arrested and killed for the sins of mankind.
The Garden of Gethsemane represented guilt and grace. Peter resisted God’s will. Judas was guilty of betrayal. The mob was guilty of rejecting the Messiah. Jesus was gracious, surrendered to God’s will. He healed the servant’s ear, protecting His disciples. He yielded Himself into the hands of those who would kill him – all so He could voluntarily hang on that cross, suffer, and die for my sins, your sins, and the sins of every human who has lived or will live on this earth.
Jesus predicted that His disciples would desert Him. It was a part of the Scriptures yet to be fulfilled.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness. Psalm 88:18 (ESV)
Simon, the one who Jesus renamed Peter, “The Rock”, still doesn’t get it. Jesus told him what would happen, but I guess he was in denial and was caught up in emotion. Peter didn’t believe that Jesus would really die. Peter didn’t believe that he would deny Jesus. As a result, when Jesus took Peter, James and John deeper into the Garden to pray in those final hours, Peter fell asleep.
Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. Matt 26:33-35 (ESV)
Jesus was on his face, seeking the Father’s will and asking if there was another way. Jesus was so emotional that he sweated drops like blood… and His closest friends snoozed. It’s bad enough that we snooze when we’re trying to communicate with God, but THIS? Didn’t these guys get it?
They didn’t get it because it was part of God’s plan. We cannot excuse our behavior by saying that God has everything planned out. We have personal responsibility and decision making abilities.
Jesus’ earthly supporters snoozed on, but God provided Jesus comfort.
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. Luke 22:43 (ESV)
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was in agony. He wasn’t worried about the physical pain (although I am certain that was on His mind since He was fully God and fully Man). He was in agony because of the cup of the wrath of God. He asks God to remove “the cup” if possible. The “cup” wasn’t physical death: a cup often symbolized divine wrath against sin (Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15-17 and elsewhere). The next day Jesus would “bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28) and would see the fullness of God’s wrath fall on Him.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10 (ESV)
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
Jesus prayed. Jesus prepared for His final act of love. The disciples rested. They trusted that Jesus could take care of them, and they didn’t bother to pray when Jesus asked them to. Because they weren’t “prayed up”, they didn’t have the strength required to go through the next few hours. Peter in particular saw the error of his ways, and after the rooster crowed and Jesus looked at him, he ran away and wept tears of repentance.
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61-62 (ESV)
Earlier, Jesus had told the disciples that they would need to take provisions with them, including a sword. The disciples somehow misunderstood what our Lord had to say.
And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” Luke 22:35-38 (ESV)
After Jesus was betrayed, Peter’s testosterone (and lack of prayer) got the best of him. Brandishing one of those swords, he cut of the ear of a servant. Jesus rebuked Peter, and in His last public miracle before His death, He healed the soldier. Jesus had compassion for those who meant Him harm, and He also prevented Peter from being arrested and possibly killed for attempted murder.
While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. Luke 22:47-51 (ESV)
Jesus, who could have called legions of angels to stop this insanity, meekly allowed Himself to be arrested and moved to the city. He was brought before the Sanhedrin, apparently there awaiting His arrival. This “trial”, was a mockery. The council sought people who would testify against Jesus (remember that there had to be two witnesses to any offense leading to death [Numbers 35:30b]). They couldn’t find two people to agree on even trumped up charges!
Furthermore, the trial was illegal for many reasons. It was illegal to hold a criminal trial at night. Trials in capital cases had to be public and in the temple. That could be a part of the reason that the council waited until daybreak to render a “verdict”. This was one of two trials Jesus endured. The second, secular trial will be held in the morning.
Please take time to ponder, to pray, and to praise God for what Jesus did. Think about Him walking voluntarily to that trial and seeing you and your sins. He would have died for just me. Or just you. Why, or why don’t we live more fully for Him? Yikes. Convicting!
See you tomorrow.