What Was He Thinking? (Part 3)

jesus-in-gethsemane

Dread. I learned not too long ago that dread is actually fear. I never really looked at it that way, but was made aware of the fact we dread something because we fear the anticipated negative outcome we’ll undoubtedly have to face. Jesus knew exactly what He was facing as the hours before His betrayal and crucifixion ticked into minutes, yet He did not dread. He didn’t fear them at all; He stayed true to His call to the end.

Recently I was introduced to a new translation of the Bible called The Passion Translation. It’s so new in fact that there are only about 10 books of the Bible translated yet. I’ve enjoyed the simplicity and passion it’s written in and have used it to study the events of Resurrection weekend. I made a decision to be very intentional about staying in a Jesus state of mind this Easter and this morning I was reading the accounts leading up to His crucifixion in the gospel of John. Chapters 16 and 17 really moved me; Jesus is talking to His Father in Heaven and saying, I paraphrase, “I know it’s time. I know my assignment is fulfilled and I look forward to re-joining you in Heaven. I know what lies ahead of me in these next hours and I know they’ll be difficult, but I have fulfilled Your plan and I am ready.”

As I said in the last post, everything Jesus did was for a reason. He knew Judas would betray Him and Peter would deny Him, for those acts would fulfill Old Testament prophesy. He knew He would be despised, mocked, and brutally beaten. He also knew He was innocent. And yet, the hour before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, He prayed for you and me! John 17 is His conversation with God the Father where He thanked Him for the responsibility of the twelve disciples and the opportunity to train them to further His ministry after He was gone. He spoke over and over of fulfilling His call, completing His assignment, which was to provide us all with the opportunity to carry out Jesus’ mission. After talking about His disciples, He turned the discussion to future generations of the faith … you and me; He prayed that God would protect us, that He would remind us that we’re in this world, but not of it.

Jesus ends His conversation with God by saying in John 17:26, “I have revealed You to them (which is us), I have revealed your very nature and character to them and I will continue to make Your love known to them.” The whole purpose of God sending His Son to the cross was because of His Love for you and me. His mission was love. Our mission is also love.

The Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus bore the full weight of His impending assignment. In His agonizing conversations with God He said, “If there be any other way, please take this from me. Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.” I’m reminded of the selfless act of Mary, Jesus’ mother, when the angel came to her announcing that God chose her above all women to bear the Messiah even though she had never been intimate with a man. Her world was turned upside down, and her dreams for the life she thought she’d have would never come to pass. Yet her response to the angel was ‘may it be as you say.’ 

Selfless obedience to God’s greater plan is what brought Jesus into the world and it’s what ushered Him out of the world.

May His death never be in vain for you and me. May your mission be as selfless as Jesus’ was ~ to spread the unfathomable love of God to everyone you meet. This is indeed, a Good Friday!

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