Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gethsemane - Place of surrender

OK, honestly, I should have written about this around Good Friday time, but as I've warned you before: I procrastinate....and I didn't think of this until today when the word surrender came up yet again!

I'm also thinking of Easter a little differently this year. You know how at Christmas you kind of promise yourself to keep that giving spirit going into the new year or to really be "in the moment"? And then right around January 2 or 3 when everybody heads back to school and time gets short, you stop having that Christmas feeling. (If not, maybe it's just me!) ;) I would like to think of Easter that way this year. Not just a one day/weekend thing, but reminding myself throughout the coming weeks that Jesus rose from the dead and we serve a risen, living King!

While I was thinking about surrender, I got to thinking about Jesus in Gethsemane. He went there to pray before the mob came to get him. He knew what was coming. He'd been preparing for it for about 33 years. He took some of his buddies, presumably to keep watch and maybe even pray for him...yeah, they fell asleep....not once, but three times! Meanwhile, Jesus is going through some serious agony.

Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV) 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
42 He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

Even Jesus had to surrender his will and let God's will be done. I take comfort in these verses. It shows a very human side to Jesus. He felt troubled and overwhelmed with sorrow. Mark 14:33 says in part he was deeply distressed. He asked for the burden to be taken away, but asked that God's will be done. If it is possible, take it away. "Not as I will, but as you will" "The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" If it is not possible, unless I do it "May your will be done". Jesus surrendered His own will so we would have the right to choose to surrender to God as well. Jesus knows how hard that is.

He knows the overwhelmed troubled feelings. Given a choice, we'd probably all ask for our paths to be a little (or maybe a lot!) smoother. However, knowing Jesus came out victorious should give us comfort that even as Jesus hung on the cross, God was waiting for him to come home. Same as He is for us....waiting....and watching us grow in the process.

Praying for Easter blessings that continue on throughout the year. May you feel God's arms around you when you're at your worst...and God's arms raised in victory when you're at your best! May you feel valuable because Jesus has paid the ultimate price for you. Easter blessings!

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