His Agony and Our Access
"Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples....'Stay here and watch with me' " (Matthew 26:36, 38)
We can never fully comprehend Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, but at least we don't have to misunderstand it. It is the agony of God and man in one Person, coming face to face with sin. We cannot learn about Gethsemane through personal experience. Gethsemane and Calvary represent something totally unique -- they are the gateway to life for us.
It was not death on the cross that Jesus agonized over in Gethsemane. In fact, He stated very emphatically that He came with the purpose of dying. His concern here was that He might not get through this struggle as the Son of Man. He was confident of getting through it as the Son of God -- Satan could not touch Him there. But Satan's assault was that our Lord would come through for us on His own solely as the Son of Man. If Jesus had done that, He could not have been our Savior (see Hebrew 9:11-15). Read the record of His agony in Gethsemane in light of His earlier wilderness temptation -- "...the devil...departed from Him until an opportune time" (Luke 4:13). In Gethsemane, Satan came back and was overthrown again. Satan's final assault against our Lord as the Son of Man was in Gethsemane.
The agony in Gethsemane was the agony of the Son of God in fulfilling His destiny as the Savior of the world. The veil is pulled back here to reveal all that it cost Him to make it possible for us to become sons of God. His agony was the basis for the simplicity of our salvation. The Cross of Christ was a triumph for the Son of Man. It was not only a sign that our Lord had triumphed, but that He has triumphed to save the human race. Because of what the Son of Man went through, every human being has be provided with a way of access into the very presence of God.
Would I have been one of the people shouting "Hosanna"? Would I have poured expensive perfume on his feet? Would I have let him wash my feet? Would I have stayed awake with Jesus in the garden? Would I have been the one to cut off the soldier's ear? Would I have denied him three times? Would I have shouted "crucify Him"? Would I have been at the cross when He took his last breath? Would I have needed to see His scars? Would I have believed that he died and rose again for me?!?
I could have been any one of those people! I'm sure I would have done the same. I'm thankful to know that I am His child and that He died and rose again to save even me -- yet another sinner in His world. I am thankful for the Easter story! I am thankful that I am saved by His grace!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!