Gethsemane’s Test

This season offers more of an opportunity to place Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection into a live discussion because of Resurrection Day, an actual ‘Holy-day’.  There is more time for interesting conversations with children on why he came, lived and died.  A question was posed by our church’s Christmas play: “Why didn’t he come as a Ninja superhero?”

As surely as the hymnist said: “Would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?”  We all struggle knowing our actual worth, is so inadequate for the devotion and sacrifice he showed.  The supreme submission, devotion, and surrender he exemplified is an example for us all.   This was not the act of a god or even the son of God in a titular role.  Christ was fully God and fully man at the same time.  Even then, he was not subject to death as we are – he had no sin to be liable for.   He did not have to die hence the words “I lay down my life . . . no man taketh it from me” [John 10:17-18].  He was not killed and those who try to vilify the jews for the crime are confused on the concept. 

Someone HAD to die to legally pay the sin debt for you and I (all humanity).  His humanity was reluctant and struggled to surrender both His life and his contact with the Father.  He consoled his friends by sharing the promise foretold by the prophets.  

He had been preparing for His sacrifice for some time.  At the transfiguration, he was provided counsel by Moses and Elijah regarding his departure [exodos].  Alone in Gethsemane, the three gospels provide what Jesus asks of the Father. He asks if it is possible, to remove the suffering that he must endure.  Mark 14:36  ” . . . nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt. ”  He then relegates his will to that of the Fathe or he submits his will to the Father.   Jesus leads absolutely in the way that we have failed to imagine because we wouldn’t have the insight to give up our will.  It’s not something we would do.  

Salvation of the soul encompasses the restoring and redemption of the three components of the soul i.e. the mind, the will and the emotions.  These components are sacrificially given back to God so that they can be transformed and made acceptable.   We are told that we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16)  and that our minds must be renewed and we learn that in order to have the compassion of Christ we must change to be like him.  In that same manner, we must then forfeit our will, as he did to complete our soul restoration (Psa. 23:3) 

This is what happened in Gethsemane, this exemplified his great surrender and passion to give and to show not only surrendering his body but surrendering his everything for us in a way we are only beginning to appreciate.