A Pressure You Will Never Experience (Mark 14:32-36)

Monday, February 9th, 2015
Sermon Series: Led to the Cross, Mark

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A Pressure You Will Never Experience

The distressing prayer of Christ in the Garden

from the gospel of Mark 14:32 to 36

 There’s no escaping pressure. Denying the presence of pressure in your life won’t make it go away. It’s not a matter of “if” you’ll encounter pressure, but “when”. And none of us deny this reality–as you accept greater responsibility and greater leadership, you will face greater pressure.

Scientifically defined, pressure is the ratio of force to the area over which said force is distributed or applied. I love to scuba dive, and I’m familiar with pressure. Being down close to 4 atmospheres/99 feet offers an interesting experience in pressure, but it is one I enjoy–in fact I love it. I also want to affirm, I’m used to the pressure of being a leader and the spiritual pressure that comes with being a pastor-teacher.

But I must confess, I don’t always enjoy the pressure of the ministry–sometimes I resent the pressure, and there are times when I begin to believe the spiritual pressure will drown me. But as great as my pressure has been, it is nothing compared to the pressure experienced by Lady Twinkle Toes.

Who is Lady Twinkle Toes? A dark, elusive beauty being delivered to the LA Zoo in order to mate with King Arthur–both of them being black rhinos. Gary Richmond was a zookeeper at the LA Zoo, who later served as a pastor at a church I attended. He wrote about many of his experiences in a book called A View from the Zoo. One chapter describes the arrival of Lady Twinkle Toes, and the unique pressure she experienced.

To get to the zoo, she was transported on a cargo ship, lifted onto a truck, driven forty miles over the LA freeway system—and by the time she arrived, with all the new noises and smells, she wanted out of her crate, and she wanted out now. They all knew she wanted out, because she began ramming the door of her massive crate so hard that the crate began to crack and splinter around the hinges. As a result, the zookeepers and engineers began to hurry—but her crate was so large they had to use a crane to lift it into the exhibit, so they swiftly began lifting the crate over the wall.

But now Lady Twinkle Toes had reached her stress limit. She became possessed by terror, and in her mind her life was on the line. Seventeen feet up in the air, the crate began to rock violently—4×4’s fell to the ground as the door to the crate crashed open. The zookeepers were terrified. Rhinos see very poorly, and if she attempted to jump into her exhibit from that height, she’d be crushed and killed by her own weight.

She was trembling with fright, and her eyes filled with tears, causing the crane operator to set her crate down as quickly as possible–ten feet, eight feet, six feet, then at four feet she opted for freedom and jumped out with a sickening thud. The zookeepers waited a lifetime of seconds to see if she’d get up. Then with a snort she stood to her feet.

But now her body was trembling violently with colossal fear–the kind of fear that produces rage. Through blurred vision, she noticed a rock that resembled a man, and she charged it. The massive rock moved slightly and she fell to her knees. Staggering again, she noticed another boulder, and charged it–this time she got up more slowly.

Then the most amazing thing happened–her entire body began to glisten red in the morning sun. She seemed to be perspiring great drops of blood from every pore in her body. My friend Gary turned to the vet and asked what was happening? No one had ever seen anything like that before. The vet said, “This animal has reached maximum stress.” Rhinos, hippos and elephants under this kind of pressure can burst capillaries all over their bodies. The doctor said, “She cannot take much more stress. She is in great danger.”

Everyone was glad when she stopped her awesome display of fear, rage and pressure, and began to calm down. She happily lived for thirty-four years at the LA Zoo. I share this with you so you might consider the words of another doctor, the beloved physician Luke, who said of Jesus Christ in 22:44, “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.”

Have you ever considered the pressure Jesus Christ faced on the eve of His suffering and death? Can you imagine how He must have felt? How alone He was, how stressed He was, how agonizing it was for the pure, holy One to know He’d bear sin, and for the perfect One to know He was about to experience God’s wrath?

This morning, we’re about to swim with Christ in very deep waters. We will see Jesus up close and very personal, as He experiences pressure far beyond anything you or I will ever face. If you’re under pressure, experiencing stress, overwhelmed by fear, or battling with trust, belief, peace or lack of contentment, you need to be impacted by Christ through this agonizing moment. If you’ve become indifferent about your walk with Christ, if His sacrifice has stopped warming your heart, nor moving you toward loving, dependent obedience to His Word–then you need to have your eyes opened as to what Jesus actually bore for you.

We will watch Christ as He agonizes in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in Mark 14, verses 32 to 36. Open your Bibles to Mark 14 and follow along with your outline, as we are working our way verse by verse through Mark. You know where we’re currently at today. It’s now Thursday evening. It’s very late. The Lord and His men just enjoyed the last Passover celebration until Christ returns, and just initiated the first Communion service.

The Lord announced He would be betrayed, and Judas the betrayer left the Upper Room to inform the religious leaders as to Christ’s soon to be location in the Gethsemane grove. Christ in humility washed the men’s feet, and the men in pride argued over who is the greatest. Christ taught His men the entire Upper Room discourse in John 13 to 17, left the Upper Room, and while traveling to the Garden informed His men they would all forsake Him and flee, and that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed twice.

So now they’ve all arrived, and the pressure of what Christ is about to face comes crashing down on Him. We know what’s going on. We know a lot more about this time in Christ’s life than any other. If you use all four gospels and total up all the chapters that talk about Christ’s birth until the beginning of His public ministry, it’d be only four chapters out of eighty-nine. Out of the eighty-nine chapters, there are twenty-nine directed at the last week of his life, and thirteen aimed directly at Friday, the last day.

The Spirit superintended a lot of information about this time, simply because it’s the most important time. It may be new to you, it may be review for you, but regardless–each of you needs to embrace what Christ went through for you. Some of you have genuinely forgotten just how important it is for you to be stirred up by way of reminder. The Spirit of God wants you to embrace these truths.

So read verses 32 to 36, “They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here until I have prayed.’ 33 And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. 34 And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’ 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.’”

#1  The PLACE of prayer over the coming cross  Verse 32

They came to a place named Gethsemane.” Gethsemane is one of our Lord’s favorite “get away from the crowd” locations. It was somewhere on the Mount of Olives. The name Gethsemane means “oil press”–a place where they made olive oil. Today, there are four different religious groups that claim their Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives is the genuine spot. But since the Romans chopped down every tree for an 11-mile circumference around Jerusalem during their siege in AD 70, Gethsemane’s actual exact location today is only a guess.

The gospel of John called Gethsemane “a garden,” letting us know it was more than a grove of trees and dirt. The idea of the disciples falling asleep there also lets us know it was more than merely a grove of trees. Understand, the city was crowded with housing, and like today, many people had gardens they kept outside the walled city. It was probably both a garden, a place of beauty for retreat, a food resource of vegetables and fruits, and a grove of olive trees used for the production and selling of olive oil.

The garden may have also provided a type of outdoor accommodations, where they could sleep at night. So here is another nameless person, the owner of this garden, probably a follower of Christ, who allowed, if not encouraged Jesus and His men to use it as a place to gather. They are done with the Passover, they’ve left the city, they’re walking up a road on the Mount of Olives while Jesus tells the eleven they’re all going to stumble and scatter and Peter will deny Him. Peter says, “I will die before I betray you,” so Jesus warns them all about their weakness, and alerts them to the coming temptation.

And Judas also knew of Gethsemane. John 18:2, “Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.” It’s a place they frequent enough that Judas knows they’ll be there. Gethsemane definitely was a favorite place and a private place for Christ and His men to retreat from the crowds. And tonight it’s the place where Christ experiences a divine struggle.

Verses 32 to 36 are much more than a season of difficult prayer. This is a grief and suffering that defies comprehension. After the cross, this is the greatest moment of agony the world has ever seen. It’s an intimate and profound look at God Himself. It is open heart surgery on Jesus Christ. You will see things here you can’t see anywhere else. Today, if you’re willing, you will be challenged to move beyond a superficial knowledge of Christ, which is far too common today, in order to see Christ’s glory, His person, His passion, His attributes in an entirely new, deeper, and intimate way.

Christ is beyond our understanding, but He is also knowable. And this moment in the Garden of Gethsemane is the most revealing. What is happening during this second greatest agony? Christ, who is God-incarnate, is anticipating God’s wrath poured out on Him. Christ, who is perfectly holy, is readying Himself to become sin for us. And the pressure and sorrow is so great, it came close to killing Christ. Believe it or not, this conflict is actually staggering to the God-man. Which is why Jesus expresses . . .

#2  The PRIORITY of prayer over the coming cross  Verse 32

They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here until I have prayed.’” “They came” is Jesus and the eleven–Judas left the Upper Room back in Jerusalem to plot Christ’s arrest. Probably near the entrance, Jesus speaks to the eleven. The Greek tells us Christ speaks with purpose–so He tells the eleven to remain at this entrance location until He’s done praying.

While Christ goes to war, sadly His men are sleeping. And while they snore, Christ is engaged in a life-threatening battle. You already know Jesus first battled Satan in the wilderness. Christ was tempted by Satan for forty days and nights while not eating. So when Christ was weak from fasting, the evil one tempts Him with food. But Satan went far beyond that–just dive off this tower and supernaturally soft land, and everyone will embrace you as the Messiah, plus I will give you the entire world if you only bow down to me. Ultimately all of what was, Satan offered Christ–everything Christ deserves without the cross, to be the Messiah, to rule the world, to fulfill His role and accomplish His purpose here without having to go to the cross.

The second battle where Satan overtly tempts Christ is Matthew 16, where Jesus tells His men He is going to die, and Peter says, “No way, Lord–you are not going to die.” Jesus knows who motivated Peter’s comments, and said, “Get behind me [who?]–SATAN.” Through Peter Satan says, “It’s an outrage to think of You, God incarnate, going to the cross and having to die.” Again, another effort to keep Jesus from the cross.

And now a third, direct battle, and the worst one of all. The parallel account, Luke 22:53b, says, “but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.” The Greek language literally says, “This is THE hour of THE power of THE darkness.” There are three definite articles, telling us this moment is a specific attack of Satan. Some believe this is a final effort of Satan to keep Jesus from the cross. In the Garden, Satan hopes to drive Jesus to say to the Father, “I can’t do it,” or, “I won’t do it.”

John MacArthur says, “And if Satan succeeds in that, then hell is the only place people will ever live forever. Heaven will be empty. God’s Word will be untrue. The promise of salvation a lie. Satan will be the true sovereign.” This is the great battle facing Christ, so He goes to prayer.

The enemy is pouring on Christ His greatest temptation. The crushing weight of the cross is bearing down on Christ. The desertion of His closest friends is imminent. One of His own, Judas, is orchestrating a scandalous betrayal. So in verse 32, Jesus pours out His soul before God. “Sit here until I have prayed.” Get this–Jesus needs to intimately connect with the Person He has enjoyed perfect oneness with for all eternity, leading to . . .

#3  The PURPOSE of prayer over the coming cross  Verse 33a

And He took with Him Peter and James and John.” There is a definite article attached to each name, telling us this inner circle were named individually to accompany Him. The three had been selected previously. They were present at the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead (in Mark 5). They were present at Christ’s transfiguration (in Mark 9). And with Andrew, they received the teaching on the end of the world (in Mark 13).

But why did Christ leave the eight by the entrance and take Peter, James and John deeper into this very large Garden with Him? My study has led me to believe three main reasons.

First  To have the support of intimate FRIENDSHIP

Jesus is God, but He is also man–and being 100% God and 100% human, He felt the need for companionship, the desire for friendship, and the hope for support during a deep trial. Listen, Christ not only needed food, drink, clothing, shelter, and sleep–but He also desired human fellowship. So the God-man invites the inner three to remain close to Him for His encouragement and strength, as He is overwhelmed by the greatest pressure Christ has ever experienced. These three have seen the glories of transfiguration, and now they’re selected to witness the opposite–the deepest agony of His soul. Why does Jesus have only these three with Him?

Second  To grow by LEARNING a truth to be recorded

The three were chosen to learn a lesson–to understand how important it is to pray, so they’ll be triumphant in temptation. Sadly, they’ll learn it the way that I learn best–through failure. They’ll learn the lesson by failing to pray, then falling to temptation. They will learn out of the disaster of their prayerlessness.

They just declared themselves as the champions who would never fail Christ–the confident ones, Peter being the most proud. But they all fall asleep during Christ’s life and death battle. They will learn the lesson of just how important it is to pray–that spiritual strength and victory only come to the dependent. Think about it–if Christ Himself needed to pray in the face of temptation and trial, how much more do we need to pray?

To make certain we get it, Jesus commanded them in verse 34b, “remain here and keep watch.” Jesus already told them to keep watch. Three times in Mark 13 we’re to keep watch while waiting for His return. And here in Mark 14, Jesus gives His men a present tense, continual imperative command to stay awake–be spiritually alert and ready.

I don’t believe Christ was asking them to be alert in order to watch for His enemies who are coming with Judas. But the Lord desired the three to be spiritually prepared for their own coming temptation. When you don’t pray, you’re not prepared for temptation or trial. Why the three? Christ desired . . .

1) friendship

2) to teach His men, and for them . . .

Third  To later function as leaders in order to INFLUENCE others

And Jesus had them follow Him into the Garden, because they were the leaders of the twelve, and had to learn an important lesson in order to pass that truth on to the others. Peter, James, and John are the three main leaders. These are the men who are the main influencers of others. So Jesus says,

“Come with Me, because you have something to learn. And when you learn it, you can teach it to the rest, and record it for others.” And what they’re going to learn is mind-blowing.

#4  The DIVINE PRESSURE over the coming cross

As Jesus is going off to pray, verses 33b and 34 say, “And began to be very distressed and troubled. 34 And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’” Focus on those three dramatic phrases–do you see them?

First  Distressed

“Distressed” comes from a verb that actually means amazed. Now what in the world could amaze the all-knowing God? There is something the God-man has never experienced. There is an event that is completely alien to Christ. In fact, it causes Jesus to be . . .

Second  Troubled

This is a very strong term meaning to be anguished to a level that cannot be comprehended. What is causing this? Judas’s betrayal, the disciples’ desertion, Israel’s rejection, the coming unjust trials, the mockery, scourging, crucifixion or dying? Is that it? Those things do cause sorrow, but this amazed anguish is far more deep and painful to our Savior–what is it?

Christ is anticipating His role as a sacrifice for sin. To become sin for you and me, to bear our sin upon Himself–this is completely alien. God has never known sin. Christ was temptable, but could never actually sin, because He was also 100% God, and God can’t sin–Jesus is impeccable. He can’t sin.

Christians struggle with sin, and though our old nature is dead, sin is so strong. The very memory of it and nature of it affects us deeply, which is why we struggle to do what is right and not sin. But that is not the same with our Savior. Though He felt the intensity of temptation at a deeper level than any of us have ever been tempted–because of His holy nature, sinless purity, total righteousness, and perfect obedience here, Jesus struggled only because of the power of perfect holiness.

Get this–God is asking Christ to embrace sin as a sin bearer, not as a sinner, but a sin bearer. To pay the wages of sin and to accept our punishment for sin. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin, to become sin.” And Isaiah 53:4 to 5, “He would be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.”

“Yea, yea–okay, I got it. Jesus died for me.” No–think deeper, friends. The punishment for sin is not only death, but bearing God’s wrath. And the wrath we deserve for our sin against God was not a momentary expression of wrath, but we deserved God’s wrath poured out upon us for all eternity. Our just punishment for our sinful nature and sinful choices is an eternity of God’s wrath against us. We deserve the torment of God’s wrath poured out on us in Hell—forever.

So when Jesus bears the wrath for our sin against Himself in our place, He’s bearing an eternity full of wrath for each believer. For every sinner He died for, Christ took that sinner’s eternal wrath. For the millions of sinners for whom He died, Jesus took a million eternities of wrath on the cross, and He bore that wrath for His children past, present and future all at once on the cross.

Now can you begin to get an idea of why Christ is experiencing amazed anguish? Now do you get why His struggle is so great? This is a divine, holy pressure that you will never experience. But it is a holy pressure that our Savior bore for you. It was so overwhelming that Christ was also . . .

Third  Deeply Grieved

Look at verse 34, “And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’” Deeply grieved describes the action of being surrounded by sorrow–surrounded by grief. The Greek word for “deeply grieved” is peri-lypos. Notice the prefix peri–like perimeter or periphery, telling us Christ is engulfed in this grief, emotion, and pressure.

It is so bad Jesus says [and this is God speaking, God’s Word, so it’s the truth], Christ is “grieved to the point of death.” Christ has reached the very limit of pressure, emotion, grief, distress and anguish, trouble–He is truly about to physically die. Luke 22 describes the pressure so intensely on His body that He began to sweat drops of blood. Luke 22:44, “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.”

It’s called “hematidrosis”–under immense stress, the capillaries gorge, inflate and explode and the blood comes out of the sweat glands. This is the maximum amount of human stress. The pressure is so great, the Father actually sent an angel to strengthen Christ, in order to rescue Him from premature death, Luke 22:43. Christ might have bled to death from the sheer stress of it.

And how could our Savior not be deeply grieved? Not only is our Jesus perfectly holy, yet about to bear the ugliness of our sin. Jesus is God, so our Lord knows exactly the justice of God’s wrath against sin–and now He’s about to have a million eternities worth of God’s righteous wrath poured out on Him. He knows what’s coming.

And how could Jesus not be deeply grieved to the point of death, when for all eternity past, Jesus has been perfectly one with the Father and the Spirit? Perfect communion, perfect fellowship, perfect intimacy, perfect relationship–but now for the first time, separated because of sin, because of your sin. Christian, Jesus Christ did all this for you. In the midst of this battle, Jesus commands His closest friends in verse 34b, “Remain here and keep watch.” What did they hear?

#5  The PLEA over the coming cross  Verse 35

And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.” Jesus goes beyond the three in the Garden and falls to the ground in prayer. His agony was so great, He could not stand up. When Mark says He went a little beyond them, Luke 22:41 clarifies, Jesus is only a stone’s throw away from the disciples.

From the four gospels, we understand Jesus first “went to His knees” (Luke 22:41), then fell “to His face” (Matthew 26:39). The Greek for “fell” is a descriptive imperfect, capturing a vivid picture of “seeing Him falling”. The three saw our Lord (verse 35) fall to the ground. Can you imagine how they felt when they saw His knees buckling, then falling to His face, with blood dripping from His pores?

Does Jesus cry, or feel sorry for Himself? No, Christ prays. His prayer is not because He’s fearing a dark destiny, nor because of the physical suffering He will endure, but rather the horror of being separated from His Father as He bears the sins of the world. Jesus Himself is about to become the object for the holy wrath of God against sin.

And in this prayer, Jesus is anticipating His coming cry on the cross in Mark 15:34, “At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” But what does Jesus ask here? Verse 35, “He began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.”

His agony was such that Jesus throws Himself to the ground before the Father in great anguish, praying, if it is possible that this coming hour might pass Him by. Jesus is asking, “Father, is there another way to accomplish my mission?” What is “the hour that might pass Him by”? Is it fear of not conquering sin and death? (No) Asking the Father whether He had the power to let Jesus pass on the cross? (No) Bitterness of death itself? (Yes) The agony of crucifixion? (Yes)

Most of all, it’s asking to avoid having to become sin. Can I skip the horribly excruciating pain of bearing God’s wrath for sin? At the coming cross, the sinless Son of God will take your sins upon Himself. “Can this hour pass me by?” is asking the Father, “Is there another way? Can I pass on bearing the weight of sin, and can I pass on bearing Your just wrath for the sins of Your own?”

The hour is coming, Your chosen time for My sacrificial death is about nine hours away. Can I let this hour pass me by? Can I fulfill My Messianic mission in some other way than the suffering, trials and cross? And as Christ continues to pray, He asks . . .

#6  The PERFECT petition over the coming cross  Verse 36

This contains Jesus’ actual prayer, which tells us, “And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.’” Look at what He says in the form of three keys to live by and pray by.

First  INTIMACY  “Abba! Father!”

Abba means “Daddy”, or in Hawaiian, “Kuku”. It’s a term of familiarity. No Jew would ever call God, “Father”, let alone call Him, “Abba”. But between the persons of the Trinity, there is perfect intimacy, affection, and oneness. In order to glorify God, this kind of unity is what we Christians are to pursue with our spouses, with our brothers and sisters, and with our church family. And our Lord calls upon this intimacy from His Father, as if pleading for that intimate love and unity to rescue Him.

Second  PETITION  “All things are possible for You, remove this cup from Me

All things are possible for you”–that is true, all things are possible for our God. He can do the impossible. He has the power. He can do whatever He wants in Heaven or on Earth. But God could not allow Christ to miss the cross.

When Jesus prays, “all things are possible for you,” then adds, “remove this cup from Me”–that’s a problem. If Christ doesn’t go to the cross, Satan wins–Heaven is empty, Hell is full, the Bible isn’t true, God’s promises are lies, and there is no salvation for anyone. God will not go back on His Word. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. There needs to be a final, sufficient, acceptable sacrifice—Jesus.

Jesus wants this cup removed. Cup is a symbol from the Old Testament of divine wrath–cup is referring to the cup of wrath. Jesus earlier asked His men, “’Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink? The cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?’” Christ is about to drink the cup of wrath, and He soon does.

Charles Spurgeon said it best (and Shawn used this quote at camp), “It seemed as if Hell were put into His cup; He seized it, and, in one tremendous draught of love, He drank damnation dry.” Jesus has to drink the cup of wrath coming from His Father. That is something He’s never experienced before, resulting in this anguished petition. But amazingly, Christ responds with . . .

Third  SUBMISSION  “Yet not what I will, but what You will

This is unbelievable, incredible, mind-blowing. Jesus is stressed to the point of death, anguished, troubled, deeply emotional–but different than our day, Christ says no to His feelings. Christians, you are to say no to your feelings. You are to obey, even when you don’t feel like it. You’re to obey, even when you have no feelings–feelings do not drive obedience.

Jesus proves, to the highest degree, we don’t follow our feelings. You’re to follow God, even when you feel you’re about to die. Jesus says no to His desires. He says no to His thinking. And He reaffirms to His Father, “I want what you want first. I want what you will, not what I will. I want your Word.” Wow!

Christ lived submissively to His Father. At age 12 He said, “I must be about my Father’s business.” Early in ministry He says, “My food is to do the Father’s will.” In John 6 He said, “I have come from Heaven not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me” (verse 38). And now, in the greatest act of submission and obedience, Jesus takes the full chalice of man’s sin and God’s wrath, knowing it means separation from His Father, and with steel resolve will drink the entire cup, and do so for you and me.

One  Jesus knew PRESSURE

He went through this for you. The next time you’re stressed, remember what Christ suffered for you. Recall the anguish, the grief and the bursting blood vessels. Not only does He understand what you are going through, He has gone far beyond what you could ever experience in this life.

What does Jesus say to both non-believer and believer? Matthew 11:28 to 30, “’Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’” Stop fighting and surrender to Christ. Turn from your sin and trust in Christ. And if you know Him, stop striving and depend on His Spirit and His Word moment by moment.

Two  Jesus helps us understand EMOTIONS

Christians are often uncomfortable with the emotions of others and their own emotions. Yet God made us emotional beings. Jesus expresses distress, anguish and deep grief, and there are times of sorrow when it’s right for us to express those emotions–but never without a trust in God and a submission to His will.

It is never right, nor pleasing to God, for yelling matches, for screaming at others, for sorrow without trust—never. That kind of emotion is selfish and sinful. On the other hand, allow believers to grieve at the death or departure of loved ones. Allow believers to wrestle with God and go through times of sober dependence.

Three  Jesus is a model of SUBMISSION

Submission is not a quality merely for children toward parents, or wives to husbands, but for all believers to their God. God delights when we petition Him, but with our prayers there should always be the caveat, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Also as we plan, it must be, “if the Lord wills.” Say it, affirm it.

Singles, your big test will be for you to say and mean, “If the Lord wills,” and actually trust His timing and His choice. With some young families, it’s “if the Lord wills” concerning children, a single family home, or the right job. Older families have to say, “if the Lord wills” concerning schooling, college, marriage, and grandchildren.

But if Christ experienced a near death agony, but can still say, “’Yet not what I will, but what You will, Lord,’” I believe He wants you to pursue a heart of submission too. Are you submissive in your marriage? To your parents? Are you submissive to your employer and church leaders? Make a practice of saying, affirming, repeating, “Yet not what I will, but what You will, Lord.”

Four  Christ’s AGONY should result in our ADORATION

My beloved friends, how can we not weep for joy over what Christ did for us–bearing our eternal, forever punishment? How can we not love Him more this morning? How can we not cry out with thanks for His suffering, and His coming sacrifice?

Do not forget the cost of what He paid. Do not forget the agony He endured for you and for me. Though we can’t fully understand His anguish, His Word reveals why. He was our substitute. He bore our sin. He paid our price. He suffered from God’s forever wrath meant for us. And He chose to be separated to some degree from the Trinity, though they had been perfectly one for all eternity–a moment so painful, so agonizing, that Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

And Christ did all that and more, in order to forgive you. Will you worship Him? Will you affirm His great love for you? Will you adore Him, and thank Him, and cherish Him? Let’s pray.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church – Murrieta.

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