Easter is on the horizon and our church family is “walking with Jesus” as He concludes His ministry here on Earth and prepares for His ultimate home at the right hand of His heavenly Father. This past Sunday’s sermon was spot on as our pastor preached from Matthew 26:36-56. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus is spending an interminably long night in prayer as His disciples struggle to merely stay awake. Gethsemane means “place of the olive press.” What an apt name for what lies ahead. What He faces He full well knows, those drops of sweat blood testify to it.
Have any of us ever faced such excruciating emotional agony? “If it be possible, take this cup from me…” What a bitter cup it is, full of sin, suffering, separation, sacrifice and ultimately our salvation. Aside from the sheer physical torture involved in His death for us, He willingly takes upon Himself the world’s sin….our sin—an indescribable burden that causes the Father to turn away…to turn away from His beloved son, for holiness cannot gaze upon sin. One of my favorite hymns is “Great Is They Faithfulness” which states that for us, “there is no shadow of turning with Him.” We will never have to face the unspeakable sense of abandonment that Jesus briefly endured on our behalf. He paid the price He did not owe for a debt we can never pay. My mind never ceases to reel at this truth, this sacrifice, this love.