Today for communion I want to look at Jesus and the time He spent praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. And I want to talk briefly about the anguish Jesus must have felt. The Bible talks about the Garden in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Today I want to read the Mark account.
They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” 35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting Him might pass Him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” He cried out, “everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.”
In verse 34 we see that Jesus said, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death”. The Passion Translation says He was overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief. It feels like I am dying. In Luke 22:44 it says, “He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood”.
As we can see Jesus was in an incredible amount of grief about what was going to happen. Today before we take communion, I want to look at two reasons for His grief.
1. Jesus knew about the cross
Jesus knew He would be handed over to evil men who would whip and beat Him, hold a mockery of a trial, march Him through the streets and He would be nailed to a cross. He knew He would die at Golgotha. We know this because He told the disciples in Luke 24:7 that this would happen. I am sure most of us here would ask the Father to take this cup from us, but Jesus added not my will but yours be done. Jesus knew it was coming.
2. Jesus knew He would be an offering for sin
Jesus left the glories of heaven to be born into this world to show us what God is like and save us. Jesus lived the perfect sinless life here on earth. He is the only one who ever has. But the Bible tells us He became sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” Could you imagine the overwhelming anguish of being an offering for the sins of the world? All sin, past present and future on Him. Could you imagine the weight of that sin? I can’t ever fathom it. But Jesus carried that for you and me, so we could be saved and right with God. Jesus knew it was coming and He would be made sin. No wonder just before He died Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
So today as we take communion, I want to remember the anguish and grief Jesus experienced as He prayed in the Garden. He knew He was going to the cross; He knew He would be an offering for sin; and He knew He would be forsaken by the His Father. But He still went ahead and did it because He loved us and wanted us to be right with God and spend eternity with Him.
Can the helpers come forward please?