Easter Meditations: Garden of Gethsemane

Thursday of Holy Week – Events and Passages:

Passover meal/Last Supper – Matthew 26:20-35, Mark 14:17-26, Luke 22:14-30

Upper Room Discourse – John 13:1-17:26

Jesus prays in Gethsemane – Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46

Betrayal and arrest (after midnight?) – Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:2-12

“An Innocent Man Crushed By God”

“Now, in the familiar setting of the Mount of Olives, having gone out as usual with his disciples following, Jesus if engulfed by pent up emotions. Suddenly everything that he has considered before him comes into his human psychology and grips him with immense passion. We know that because we find him crying earnestly and sweating profusely.

What makes this a drama of compassion? The nature of what he is about to do.

The time had come for Jesus to surrender himself as an eternal expiatory sacrifice for sin. Jesus was about to bow himself into the hands of his enemies, about to be condemned and crucified. Jesus, the beloved and precious to the Father, is about to be destroyed at the hands of God.

Three verses help us to grasp the reality of what is happening here.

Isaiah 53:10: “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer.”

Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.”

2 Corinthians 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.”

This is beyond belief. An innocent man is about to be crushed by God. An innocent man is being delivered up by God to be sacrificed. An innocent man is being made sin on behalf of others.” (p. 22)

Adapted from “Jesus Our Substitute,” sermon by Alistair Begg,Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, July 13, 2003. Excerpted from Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, edited by Nancy Guthrie.

’Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow

By William B. Tappan, 1822

’Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
’Tis midnight, in the garden now
The suffering Savior prays alone.

’Tis midnight, and from all removed
Emmanuel wrestles lone with fears
E’en the disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.

’Tis midnight, and for others’ guilt
The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He Who hath in anguish knelt
Is not forsaken by His God.

’Tis midnight, and from ether plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior’s woe.

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