The Garden Of Gethsemane: Dying to the Flesh (Self)

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I was reading an article this morning in which GOP Rep. Steve King told his constituents that he can relate to the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Sioux City Journal. Rep. King is referring to losing his seats on House committees last year after backlash to comments he made in an interview with the New York Times. 

Many times we say things without any consideration of what we are saying. There is no comparison. Jesus took on the sins of the world for mankind. The Bible says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2 ). 

On the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sin. He did not deserve to die, but He willingly took our place and experienced death for us. Jesus’ death was a substitution, “the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3:18).

The night before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion He was in agony knowing what lied ahead of Him. He went out to the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane accompanied by Peter, John and James to pray.  He asked them to stay awake and pray that they would not fall into temptation, but they fell asleep.  Sounds a little like the church. (Luke 22:40-53).

Twice, Jesus had to wake them and remind them to pray so that they would not fall into temptation. This was especially poignant because Peter did indeed fall into temptation later that very night when three times he denied even knowing Jesus 

Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. (Luke 22:43). During His agony as He prayed, “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44). The weight of the sins of the world pressed down upon Him. 

The word Gethsemane means “place of the olive press”.  During Jesus’ time, heavy stone slabs were lowered onto olives that had been crushed in the olive crusher squeezing the olive oil out of the pulp and collected in clay jars. 

Even in our own journey we may experience times of great trials and testing. We may feel hard pressed on every side. The Apostle Paul knew this all to well, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.  So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 Cor. 4:7-11)

Since we have the same spirit of faith, we don’t lose heart in the process knowing that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. Our momentary light afflictions is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Cor. 4:13-17).

Most of us would rather not go through the hard times. Yet, we do not look at what we see with our natural eyes, the hardships, the struggles, the trials, but we look to the things that are unseen, the promise of His coming glory. For the things that are seen are transient. They are momentary, lasting only for a short time; impermanent. The glory lasts forever. (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

God wants to walk with us, so that we will become a people who experience His presence, His power, and His glory in a tangible way. Times of trouble and hardship have always driven the people of God into His presence. Difficult times press God’s people into Him so they can experience His manifest presence. 

Blessings,

Dr. Francine

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