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Jesus in the Garden 3/12/2017

Jesus in the Garden 3/12/2017

Mark 14:32-42

The Crushing of Gethsemane

Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in. The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."
It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . .

That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.

Some of us have felt like Chippie from time to time in our lives. And today we are going to work our way through some of the most difficult moments in Jesus’ life.

For the next few weeks leading up to Easter we’re going to examine the last few hours of Jesus’ life.

As we pick it up here Jesus has just had the Last Supper. He was there in the upper room for a few hours.

Today we are going to walk with Jesus from the upper room to the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus spent about 4 hours in the Garden of Gethsemane.

To get there Jesus would have to cross the Kidron brook, which flowed between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. It was a really narrow creek that you could just step over. Kidron means “dark and gloomy.”

1000 years earlier David crossed the Kidron brook after being betrayed by Absalom. David, the shepherd who became a King, crossed the Kidron with a heavy heart because of betrayal. On this night Jesus, the King who is also a Shepherd, crossed it with a heavy heart for the same reason.

Now this Kidron brook was nasty, all of the sewage from upper Jerusalem flowed through this brook as well as the blood from animal sacrifices at the Temple.

 In the Antiquities the Historian Josephus says that there were about 256,500 lambs sacrificed at Passover.

  • It’s completely dark, just the light of the moon, imagine Jesus stepping over that river of blood.
  • Mark 14:32-42  And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”[a] 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

 

  • Today we know where the Garden of Gethsemane is located, it hasn’t moved. The Mount of Olives hasn’t moved. Olive trees don’t grow taller; they grow wider.  They grow new roots and just spread out.
  • There’s a rough rock ledge about 10 x10 that is there called the Rock of Agony.
  • Let’s go to the Garden with Jesus tonight.

 

  1. Jesus Agonized in the Garden
  • To understand the message of Gethsemane we need to understand how olives were harvested and pressed.
  • The word Gethsemane comes from two Arabic words that mean Olive Oil Press.
  • To harvest olives cloths were spread under the branches, then the harvesters took heavy sticks and beat the branches to make the olives fall on the clothes.
  • Kind of like a cherry shaker for people!
  • Jesus knew that like the olive branch He would be beaten.
  • Luke 22:44 says ‘And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground”
  • That passage uses a word that we still use today, thrombosis. The literal translation is blood mixed with sweat. Jesus was under such agonizing pressure that His scalp oozed blood and sweat.
  • This condition isn’t unique. A Doctor wrote “Of medical significance is that Luke mentions Him as having sweat like blood. The medical term for this, ‘hematidrosis,’ has been seen in patients who have experienced extreme stress or shock to their systems. The capillaries around the sweat pores become fragile and leak blood into the sweat.”
  • King Charles IX is probably the most hated king in French history. He ordered the St Bartholomew’s massacre in which 10,000 French protestants were killed. The stress drove him crazy.
  • He died at the age of 23 from hematidrosis. Blood seeped from his pores and he died in agony. Most people die from it.
  • And that’s the kind of agony that Jesus was in in the Garden.

 

  1. Jesus was Disgusted with the Cup
  • Let’s go back to the Olive tree for a minute. After the beating of the tree to shake off the olives, they are placed in a circular stone basin with a huge millstone. Animals walked in circles to grind the olives, crush them, until it makes a paste.
  • Then the olive pulp was put into cloth bags and endured two more crushings, using long presses weighted down with stones, and sometimes a huge press driven by a wooden screw twisted tight.
  • Finally liquid comes out of the olives, and the liquid is blood red. All of that grinding, crushing, pressing produces a blood red oil.
  •  This process is repeated 3 times.
  • And 3 times Jesus prayed in the Garden.
  • Jesus was on His knees and He prayed, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.”
  • The phrase to drink a cup meant to experience something.
  • The cup Jesus knew He was going to be drinking from was suffering and death.
  • The night before the cross Jesus peered into this cup and what He saw caused his blood to freeze. The contents of the cup caused Him to recoil.
  • What did He see?
  1. Jesus saw Pain.
  • He was 100% God and 100% man. He experienced physical pain just like we do. He had the same nerves running through His body that you and I do.
  •  He knew the suffering and pain that He was about to face. He knew that rough hands would grab Him and twist his arms behind His back, He knew that He would be beaten and spit on.
  • He knew that a crown of thorns would be driven into His head. He knew His beard would be plucked from His face, He knew His back would be bared and He’d be tied to a whipping post while being mercilessly beaten. He could hear the whistle of that whip going by His ears.
  • He knew He’d be mocked and his torturers would get pleasure out of torturing Him. He knew nails the size of railroad spikes would be driven into His hands and feet and a spear would puncture His side. He knew all of that.
  • He looked into that cup.  Imagine the dread He faced as He did so.

 

  1. He saw Isolation
  • Jesus saw the emotional pain in that cup. Jesus knew that He was going to die alone. Jesus loved to spend time with people.
  • Luke 7:34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
  • This passage indicates that Jesus loved being around people. He was known for it.
  • The children loved Jesus and He took them in His arms and blessed them.
  • In the beginning there were 1000’s following Him. He fed 5,000 once, 4000 another time.
  • As He began asking more and more from them though, the crowds left. Now He’s down to 12, then 11 as one left to betray Him, and when the mob comes, they all leave Him alone.
  • GK Chesterton said “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
  • This road is not always an easy road. Nobody likes to be alone.
  • Edgar Allen Poe said ““I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
  • If you are here today and you’re lonely, Jesus understands what that’s like.
  1. He looked into all of the Sins of the World
  • Physically and Mentally Jesus knew of the pain and suffering, the isolation but spiritually Jesus, who was Holy God in the flesh, perfectly sinless, yet He saw all of the sins of all humanity in that cup.
  • He must have drawn back in disgust at all of that sin.
  • But He took it, all the sins of the world. All of the vilest criminals, the worst dictators, the child molesters, the rapists, every serial murderer, in that cup was all of the disgusting sin of every wicked act.
  • He not only took it, the Bible says He Became sin for us. 2 Cor 5:21 “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
  • He didn’t just drink it, he was immersed in the entire sin of the world.
  • Think about it, what if you had to drink a cup of sewage, anthrax, smallpox, measles, botulism, now you don’t just have to drink it you have to be submerged in it. It fills your ears, your eyes, your nose, your mouth. You smell it, taste it, drink it. Now take that and multiply it by a billion. That’s what it must have felt like for Jesus, the sinless Son of God to be submerged in the filth of that sin. Yet He still went to the cross for us.
  1. Jesus Found Peace through Surrender
  • Let’s go back just for a moment to our Olive tree. All of that beating, all of that crushing, all of that grinding produces something good. The Jews called the Olive tree the Tree of Life.
  • Olives were used to make oil, medicine, soap, lighting, and as a preservative.
  • Oh but that Olive tree isn’t the Tree of Life, Jesus is Life.
  • Just as the olives were crushed 3 times Jesus returned to pray the same prayer 3 times. Each time He said, “Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 
  • That was the turning point. He said “Father, you know what I want. My desire is to take the cup and throw it away. I want to avoid the loneliness, pain, and disgrace. But, Father, I cherish your will more than mine, so I’ll do what you wish.”
  •  Luke wrote about Jesus’ sweat and blood, but he also said “An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him.” (Luke 22:43)
  •  We don’t know what the angel said but maybe it was “Don’t worry Lord, if you decide you need me there are twelve legions of us who will come the instant you call.”
  • All we know is that when Jesus had returned the 3rd time He was at peace. His head held high, there was fire in His eyes. He knew what He had to do.
  • He found peace by surrendering to God.

Conclusion

  • What is your Gethsemane today? Marriage, health, finances, family, temptation. Are you facing a crushing challenge?
  • If you’re not right now you will be. What do you do? Do what Jesus did.
  • Pray- Jesus prayed His way through Gethsemane.
  • We know what ASAP means, but it can also means Always Stop and Pray. Pray your way through your Gethsemane, through others Gethsemane.
  • Don’t make prayer a last resort, it’s your first resort. And after you pray,
  • Surrender your will to God.
  • Jesus said “Take this cup away from me.” Or “get me out of this mess.”
  • Listen carefully to this statement, God is more interested in changing you than in changing your circumstances. We want God to fix the problem and God wants to fix us.
  • Like Jesus we’ve got to say “Not my will, but yours be done.”
  • In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve put their will over God’s. They said, We know that your will is not to eat the fruit, but that’s what we really want to do.” This led to the ruin of humanity.
  • In 1 Cor 15 Jesus is called the last Adam.  This one was in the Garden of Gethsemane, unlike the first one, He surrendered His will to God, and it led to the redemption of humanity.
  • You and I face the same choice every single day.
  • Trust God’s Perfect Plan.
  • God had a plan for Jesus. The Bible says that He is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the World. The cross was always God’s plan.  It was scary and intimidating, but He trusted God’s perfect plan.
  • Some people are afraid that if they trust God’s plan they’ll wind up in a hut in Botswana. But He has a perfect plan. It can be scary, but it’s perfect.
  • After praying the 3rd time Jesus said, “Rise! Let’s go.” He turned to face the approaching mob.
  • Fear can mean Forget Everything And Run. We do that a lot when we face a scary challenge.
  • But fear can mean Face Everything And Rise!
  • What’s your choice today?