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What Happened In Gethsemane?
"And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly; and
His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

Luke 22:44 ESV.
Gethsemane
was a garden of olive trees, east of Jerusalem, on the city-facing lower-slope of the Mount of Olives.
It had become customary for Jesus and His twelve apostles, when in Jerusalem over the Passover period, to sleep outside this garden.
This was how Judas Iscariot knew where to bring the High Priest's officers to arrest Jesus on the night of His betrayal.
See:
Why
Mount of Olives?
But
on that night Jesus took three of His remaining eleven apostles to pray with Him inside that garden. It had been commanded by God to Israel that all Jews were to keep a vigil on the night of the Passover for all following generations.
But the prayer manner of Jesus indicated more than this ancient vigil of Israel was at issue.
Exodus 12:42.
Was it
His impending crucifixion death in Jerusalem that weighed so heavily upon Him?
 
 
No. The evidence indicates otherwise. . .
 
Months
before this, after Peter had exclaimed 'you are the Messiah' in response the Christ's question as to who His disciples thought He was, Jesus then began to prepare them for His coming suffering and death in Jerusalem at the hands of their leaders.
Matthew 16:21.
Even later,
on their actual way to Jerusalem, He took His apostles to one side (away from the rest of His disciples) and said –
"'See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man [this Man] will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes,
and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified,
and He will be raised on the third day'."
Matthew 20:18-19,
emphasis mine.
So,
as far as Jesus was concerned there was nothing unexpected about His coming betrayal, cruel flagellation and public crucifixion.
 
 
Christ's own focus here seems to have been simply on preparing His apostles for the future shock-effect of these horrific coming events.
 
So
what was it that so disturbed Him then in Gethsemane? Was this just 'cold feet' at the last minute? A touch of cowardice?
 

Something
happened in that garden that night, which, in its effect upon the human body of Jesus, was the direct equivalent of His 40-days fasting in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry.
 
 
As then, at the end of His wilderness-fast the angels of God had ministered to Him for Him to be able to walk out of that time of wilderness testing (Matt.4:11), so now also after this short time in Gethsemane on that night it needed an angel of God to specially strengthen Him in order to simply continue (Lk.22:43). Why?
 
 
A closer look at the sequence of events inside Gethsemane will lead us to the answer.
 
Outside
the garden He says to His faithful eight apostles (excluding Peter, James and John) –
"Sit here, while I go over there [into Gethsemane] and pray." Matt.26:36.
 
 
"And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled.
[Mark describes it as "began to be greatly distressed and troubled" (Mk.14:33)]
         Then He said to them,
'My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me'."
Mark gives us
Peter's report
1.
         And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying,
'My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will'."
Matthew 26:37-39.
2.
"And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping.  And He said to Peter,
'So, could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.'
Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed –
'My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done'."
Matthew 26:40-42.
3.
"And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy [Luke in 22:45 tells us it was from "sorrow", so depression was a factor in their sleepiness].
   So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying
the same words again."
Matthew 26:43-44.
Why?
What was this single paramount issue?
 
It was
not the 'cup of death' that was this critical issue. That had been fully anticipated and accepted long before this time. This was an issue bigger, much bigger than physical death.
 
This
was not martyrdom He was facing! That would have been an honour; as with the many who had suffered terrible deaths in righteousness for their faithfulness to God.
No, that night Jesus was facing its exact opposite!
 
The
contents, of that 'cup' of death from which Jesus was to drink on His cross was nothing less than the absolute totality of all
 
 
SIN
– GUILT BEFORE THE HOLY JUSTICE OF GOD –
OF
EVERYTHING WHICH IN ANY WAY EVER IS LESS THAN THE CHARACTER OF GOD HIMSELF.
Our sin, your sin, the world's sin!
 
The Bible tells
us of this plainly in 2 Corinthians 5:21 –
 
"For our sake He [the Father] made Him [Jesus] to be SIN who knew no sin,
so that in Him
[Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God."
The physical
death of Jesus, His cross, His blood may symbolically represent this reality, but they are not the reality.
 
The blood that dripped from His body in Pilate's fortress as He was flagellated did not pay for one sin, even though His blood represents our redemption.
The nails of His cross may symbolize this sacrifice of Jesus, but the moment they were driven through His body did not atone for our sin.
Symbols may represent, but they are not the reality.
 
That reality lies not in what either the Jews or the Romans did to Jesus. It lies only in what God did to Jesus!
 
The
mental, emotional, and physical suffering of Jesus, as terrible as it was, was only the frame within which God Himself made the sacrifice for sin –
in the total violating of the eternal unity of God in just atonement for sin, all sin.
 
 
Satan had no part in this transaction!
It was the complete offering of God's Lamb to the infinite justice of God as an everlasting atonement for all sin:
therefore we are accepted in the Beloved!
 
Nothing less than the infinite Son of God confined to human flesh and now completely cut off from God as our substitute is the infinite price of our everlasting atonement!
This and
only this explains the nature of Christ's cry of utter desolation on the cross.
 
Not a cry to His 'Father'; for that relationship had gone in the instant that He was considered as sin for our sakes – but a cry to 'God'unanswered, for in that moment He was completely abandoned by the Most High.
God turned His back on Jesus for our sake!
 
 "'Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?' which means, 'My God, My God, WHY have YOU forsaken Me?' " 
Mark 15:34.
Mark gives us the Aramaic words of Jesus even though this cry was prophesied in the Hebrew Psalm 22 (which is why Matthew quotes it in the Hebrew), for Christ's home language was Aramaic and He is here forced to the
root of His human identity
in this cry.
From that Gethsemane night onward He knew that it was coming, but when it came, even the knowledge of its purpose was taken away from Him.
The Lamb of God was left with nothing, absolutely nothing, to give meaning or purpose to comfort His distress, His apparent desertion by God!
 
His was a total sacrifice.
This reality
of becoming sin for us, which was part of the purpose of His incarnation into our flesh, was not a part of His human understanding until He faced it in Gethsemane. Hence the shock of that understanding – that everything within Him which loved God and His righteousness and hated sin and its effects in our universe, was to be given up and completely submerged under the total condemnation of God upon all sin.
There are
no words to adequately described this, but if an angel of God had not specially strengthened Him in those Gethsemane moments, His body would not have survived the shock of this knowledge in order for it to be implemented for our sakes.
 
But this is why from this moment onward there was nothing more to be said, so He was silent –
 
"...like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth"
Isaiah 53:7.
We are God's answer to that cry of utter desolation,
which the holy Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God, first understood during that night of the Passover vigil in Gethsemane.
  Therefore, at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow!  


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