01 Mar 1999

The Gethsemane Experience

As God’s people all over the world remember Christ’s death for the sins of the world at this time of the year, let us ponder afresh the meaning of Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane....

As God’s people all over the world remember Christ’s death for the sins of the world at this time of the year, let us ponder afresh the meaning of Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane....

Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane...and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me."

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."...

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."...

So He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Matthew 26:36-44

There at Gethsemane 2000 years ago, Jesus, the Son of man, having laid aside His glory above as the Son of God, struggled to obey His Father and His God. Yet it was already prophesied by Isaiah in Isaiah 53:1-8.... "Who has believed what we have heard?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him as a young plant,
And like a root out of dry ground;
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,
nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity (weaknesses);
and as one from whom others hide their faces
He was despised , and we held Him of no account.

Surely He has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases;
Yet we accounted Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our trangressions, crushed for our iniquities (sins);
Upon Him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by His bruises we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

He was oppressed, and He was afflicted,
yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so He did not open His mouth.

By a perversion of justice He was taken away.
Who could have imagined His future?...."

Therefore, is derived the essence of the Gethsemane message:

That Christ's victory on the cross and the resurrection commenced at Gethsemane. It was there that He, as the Son of Man, almost gave up fulfilling the agreement He made with His Father before He became a man. The very thought of Him being separated from the Father who had never left Him alone was too disgusting, horrifying, paralysing and depressing. How could He stand being torn apart from One who loved Him so much and whom He loved dearly! Wasn't the taste of grief for His human father, Joseph, enough? Yet,

It was at Gethemane that we understand how secure He was in His Father's wisdom, love and faithfulness that, finally,

He obeyed Him in being made sin for the world...and thus lived without God for us. He trusted His Father to raise Him from the be with Him again...!

The Call to Gethsemane

When the Lord Jesus first confirmed the vision for ReconRe in January 1995, it was by the giving of the name "Gethsemane" to the first retreat centre to be set apart for His workers in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. He said that it was to be set aside for those who may need a place to seek Him face to face and thrash out some critical issues in their lives with Him. It was to be a symbol of retreating to be with God in order to be more real and effective in our service in His Name.

Pause for silent reflection:

"Am I willing to become of no account in the eyes of fellowman for His sake?"

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Let us now ponder and pray afresh, using the hymn writer’s words....

 Lead Me To Calvary

"King of my life, I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow, lead me to Calvary.

Chorus: Lest I forget Gethsemane; Lest I forget Thy agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.

Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid, Tenderly mourned and wept;
Angels in robes of light arrayed, Guarded Thee whilst Thou slept.

Let me like Mary, thru the gloom, Come with a gift to Thee;
Show to me now the empty tomb, Lead me to Calvary.

May I be willing, Lord, to bear, Daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share, Thou hast borne all for me.

Let us pause to consider the depth of the love of God for us.

Less than 24 hours later, Jesus was made to carry a rugged wooden cross, meant for die-hard criminals, in your place and mine...but as if to convey to the world that the real cross was one of death to self-will but alive to God’s will, not just a symbol of a burdensome task, someone else was alotted to carry that cross for Him....On that cross, however, He was finally crucified, killed, for you and me....the holy for the unholy, the righteous for the submission to His Father’s will.

Let us direct our eyes to the Person on that cross as we think about the words of another hymn writer...

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

"Beneath the cross of Jesus, I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way.
From the burning of the noon-tide heat, and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus, mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess,
The wonders of His glorious love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my hiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self, my only shame, my glory all the cross."

During our times with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, let us continue to consider what He has done for us in Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary...till we meet again in April to consider the effect of His resurrection upon our lives.