Can you see it?
Look closely.And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Your soul hangs on a drop of blood red sweat. . .And being in an agony. . .
Listen: He wasn’t gung-ho to get on that cross, my friend.
Let us not flatter ourselves, as the modern visible church flatters itself.
John 3:16, the most well-known verse in the Bible:For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Our modern visible church changes this. They pervert Christ into some lonely god-nerd, frantic to get on that cross and die for us, desperate for us to *accept* Him, to *invite Him into our heart.*
Our modern visible church would have it as this:For Jesus so loved the world, He gave Himself, that whosoever would invite Him into their heart should not perish, but have everlasting life.
And the visible church, giving it no more thought than some punk kid accepting a Facebook friend request, says all right, Jesus, You can be my saviour.
We have no idea who we really are, we have no idea of our true station in the cosmos, if we think it is like that.And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.
Does that sound like He was in a great big hurry to get up on that cross, and then receive our *invitation?*
Jesus is wringing His hands there in Gethsemane, fretting over who will *invite* Him into their heart? I think not.Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.
A couple of days prior to this, Jesus was confronted by the priests and the elders of the temple. Jesus told them His simplest story:But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father?
You don’t think, just a handful of days from the cross, there wasn’t a little bit of Himself in the first son?He came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.
No, I don’t see Jesus running to Calvary, telling the Roman soldiers, I can’t wait, give me some wood and a hammer and some nails, and I’ll do it Myself, I can’t wait to die for the world, to get all those *invitations* into all those hearts.
I don’t see it that way.
I see it this way:And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
That ought to tell us our proper place in the cosmic order.
Stop and think. Let’s get over ourselves, for a minute, and think about the life of Christ.
There was never a more isolated being on this planet. Who was His friend? Who understood Him? He lived on earth for thirty years, and there is no evidence He had a single friend.
Then, after thirty years here, He walks alone to John the Baptist, who among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater, who supposedly is Christ’s *cousin*. . .the Baptist does not recognize Him.
After thirty years here, He walks up alone to the Baptist, and begins His mission.
Those who were acquainted with Him, his kinsmen, thought Him mad, and His supposed *brothers,* Mary’s and Joseph’s children, taunted Him and did not believe in Him.
Even Mary, whom the catholics come so close to elevating to co-Redeemptrix, does not seem close to Christ.While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him. Then one said unto Him, Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee. But He answered and said unto him that told Him, Who is My mother? and who are My brethren?
We can infer from the scant detail in the gospels Christ was an exceptionally isolated figure. Some might argue there is not enough evidence to draw this conclusion.
But stop and think. We need only imagine Christ and the world, and it becomes self-evident. How would Jesus participate in a world of sin and sinners?The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.
Was Jesus going to live for thirty years as we live? Lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, backstabbing, jealous and envious? Was He going to engage in addiction, violence and perversion? These are the bonds that join us sinners in friendship.
Now stop and think. What would Christ have thought of the world after living in it for thirty years? After leaving the glory of Heaven, and spending thirty years in human flesh, living in a world of sin and sinners?
He was here, in the belly of the beast, for thirty years. He got a nose-full of the stink of humanity. This wasn’t the long view, from another realm, from a throne surrounded by adoring, worshipful beings. He was right in it. In the bowels of it. He heard the crying, the screaming. He saw all the depravity.
Here is what our Lord had to say when the scribes and the Pharisees criticized the disciples for not washing their hands before eating:Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. . . Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man. . .
This was not some academic theory proposed from the Ivory Tower of Heaven. Jesus lived in the mire of humanity for thirty years and witnessed from flesh the evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness and blasphemies.
His judgment is sure, because He observed for thirty years.
Well, at age, thirty, what do we think of the world? Do we have a high opinion of it? Do we have a high opinion of our neighbors? Our neighbors, who are no worse than we are, do we have a high opinion of them? Are we ready to get on that cross for them?Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.
And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Sorry, He didn’t want to get on that cross for you or me. He wasn’t here to win some popularity contest. He wasn’t here putting on a show for you and me, so we would vote for Him to be our next idol.
That is what we think, if we say within ourselves, I have reviewed the gospels, He went up on that cross and died for me, I’m going to say, good job, Fella, you can come on in into my heart.
Listen: that’s not why He was here, to win our approval.But I receive not testimony from man. . .
I receive not honour from men. . .
He wasn’t here to impress you or me.
I don’t mean to imply He was cold or indifferent to humanity.
He served with compassion. He ministered with love. He understands our failings, our weakness.
But He also understood human nature.
After He walked alone to John the Baptist and began His ministry, His isolation ended. People rushed to Him. . .crowds followed Him. . .wanting their bellies filled, as He said, but still, this is the basis of most human connection. . .we want something from the other.
There is evidence Jesus had more than a superficial connection to Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Greater still appears to be the connection to the *beloved disciple,* John. John’s gospel is much different from the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John had a much deeper understanding of the Saviour.
Jesus served with compassion. He ministered with love. He understands our failings and weakness. He forgives our sins. Yet, as John reveals, Jesus will not whitewash human nature:Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to Him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye cannot hear My word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name's sake, because they know not Him that sent Me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth Me hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause.
Jesus felt hatred from the world of sin and sinners. Where did this sense of hatred come from? The crowds had not yet completely turned against Him. He had been loved (imperfectly, yes) and celebrated for the forty-two months of His ministry.
He had the perfect understanding of us. He lived with us for thirty years and saw us as we really are. Thirty long years living in and observing the world of sin and sinners. He knew the world and the hearts of men. Before He began His ministry, He knew how it would all play out. When the adoring crowds were following Him, when the *world had gone after Him,* as the Pharisees put it, He knew how it would all end.
Knowing the hearts of men, He knew exactly the value the world would place on His kingdom, when the time came to choose. Would they give up their life in their world for His kingdom? He knew how it would all end:His blood be on us, and on our children. . .
When it came time to choose between going with Jesus to His kindgom or staying in the world of sin and sinners, it was a *no-brainer:*His blood be on us, and on our children. . .
From the cross, He said:Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. . .
He understands us and He forgives us. He has compassion toward us. To have compassion, one must understand. He understands our failings and our weakness. But He also understands our corruption. That is true compassion. That is true forgiveness. There is no need to hide our true self from the Lord Jesus Christ. He saw depraved man at his worst from the cross. He has seen us as we are. We do not need to hide.
The Father will bring some of us to Christ.
We can come as we are. No need to pretend we are better than what we are.For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The Father so loved the world. . .
The Father gave His only begotten Son. . .
Jesus did what He did to please the Father. . .not to please you or me.
He wasn’t on that cross wangling an invitation from you or me.But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.
He was here because the Father would give Him some of us to save:All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
We can *accept* Him. We can *invite* Him. We can flatter ourselves that Jesus came to win a popularity contest. That He endured the world of sin and sinners to put on a show for our benefit, so that we would pick Him to be our next idol.
The truth:No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him. . .
So here is Christ in Gethsemane:And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
He knew us perfectly from having lived with us for thirty years. He knew our sins. He saw them. The full range. From the everyday hardness of our hearts to the murders and blasphemies. He had been in the world of sin and sinners for thirty years. . .and He would have to bear those sins. . .and all the sins before and after. All sin would be placed on Him, so those the Father draws to Him might be saved.
He wasn’t in agony because He was some coward terrified of death. You think some scum on death row holds up better than Christ under the pressure of impending death?Who His own self bare our sins in His own body. . .
Christ was in agony because all sin, our sin, was about to be dropped on Him. Everything foul from the world (like this ugliness
) was about to be thrown at Him. What does that mean? How was that carried out? How did Christ experience that? We don’t know the mechanics of the enforcement of Divine Judiciality. But I see Christ in agony.
Can you see it?
Look closely.And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
That is THE picture of love. . .
The love of the Father for the world. . .
The love of the Son for the Father. . .Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.
Let us not flatter ourselves the cross was Jesus’ Grand Finale to win our approval in some popularity contest.
It was agony for Christ to follow His Father’s will.
Our soul hangs on a drop of blood red sweat. . .
Let us have a little humility on Easter Sunday as we warm the pews for an hour, and rush through McCommunion.
We are the ones that ought to be in agony. Have we ever agonized over our souls?
Without that drop of blood red sweat, do we realize what would be just ahead?It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. . .
That isn’t a popular subject, anymore. Judgment is not talked about.
Nobody can be frightened into faith. I bring up judgment to point out what our station in the cosmos is, without that drop of blood red sweat.
Christ agonized in Gethsemane.
Let us try to understand who we are, and where we would be without Christ’s agony.Father, for Jesus’ sake, have mercy on me, a sinner. Jesus knows my true self. He knows all about me. To please You, He followed Your will all the way to the cross. For His glory, let His blood cleanse me from all unrighteousness.