How do we understand Gethsemane? Can we possibly fathom the agony Christ endured between the garden and the glory?
Have we confused the suffering of Christ—his soul overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, his plea with the Father that “this cup might pass,” the sweat like drops of blood falling to the ground—with fear of the nails and the thorns, the scourge weighted with shards of bone and metal, the mockery, the bitter gall, the suffocation? Or even the humiliation of the cross? If we perceive his agony through this narrow lens, then we completely miss the point.
Watch with me, says Jesus.
Jesus embraced the cross as his calling, opening the way for us to go to the Father. But the agony of carrying the sins of all humanity for all time is a thing we can never get a hold of. What would the weight of all the world’s sin require of the Son of Man? As we face the toll of sin in small doses—the broken within us, the wounded right in front of us, the hell-bent on self-destruction and disdainful-of-God all around – what do these speak of the scope of Gethsemane for Christ?
Watch with me, says Jesus. Yet, we slumber.
“We can never fully comprehend Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, but at least we need not misunderstand it,” says Oswald Chambers. “It is the agony of God and man in one Person, coming face to face with sin. We cannot learn about Gethsemane through personal experience. . . It was not death on the cross that Jesus agonized over. He stated most emphatically that He came on purpose to die. In Gethsemane he feared lest He might not get through as Son of Man. He would get through as the Son of God— Satan could not touch Him there. But Satan’s onslaught was that he would get through as an isolated Figure only – and that would mean that he could be not Savior.”
Watch with me.
Has Jesus found you slumbering or alert?
How is he inviting you to watch and wait with him this Easter season?