14th December 2022
Read - Matthew 26:36-46
Message - Alan Burke
This is a three parter, really one big devotion over three days. If you didn’t read Monday’s don’t worry although you may be left wondering why are we focusing on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26 but sure just go with it. On Monday we were focusing on the Garden of Eden, today the Garden of Gethsemane. The reason why is from the moment that Jesus was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit and Jesus took to himself a true body in the womb he had come to fulfil the promise that God had made in the Garden of Eden. No longer was the shadow of what lay ahead, how He had come to die for the sins of those who are His far off, instead the shadow lay heavenly upon Him. The Next day Jesus would go to the cross, take the cup that our sin deserved.
The imagery of cup is that given in the Old Testament is of drinking the cup of the wrath of God (Jer 25:15-16; Isa 51:17, 22; Lam 4:21; Ezk 23:28-34; Hab 2:16). Jesus had come, to take the wrath of God, the punishment of the sin that came into the world at the fall. While Adam in the Garden just choose to disobey God’s clear command, Jesus the second Adam, that night in the Garden of Gethsemane with such anguish and turmoil, facing the burden of what lay ahead we are told fell to His knees with the weight of what was upon. He unlike Adam would not choose to disobey, instead He sought to obey the word of the Father.
Falling to His knees the ground He prayed, verse 39, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Mt 26:39). Jesus unlike Adam was subjugating all His human desires to the Father's perfect will. He just like Adam had a choice to obey or disobey, to obey or disobey the will and the word of God. In the parallel account in Luke’s gospel we are told how he with the horror of what lay ahead, He sweat drops of blood, prayed, “not my will, but yours, be done”.
The poignancy of what takes place here shouldn’t be lost on us. The anguish that Jesus faced in His humanity saw we are told in Luke, angels sent from heaven appearing to Him to strengthen Him as He prayed to the Father, this is a scene that depicts Jesus coming in desperation, with the weight of what lay ahead fully upon him, facing the wrath of God of all those who would repent and believe being placed upon Him, so that He requested that if it were possible some other way would be found.
The prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane confronts us with the reality that God does not always take the hard things from us. While Adam did it His own way and choose disobedience, Jesus Christ the promised one of Genesis 3:15 in the Garden of Gethsemane willingly submitted himself to the wrath of God on our behalf. He would go to the cross, and lie in the Garden tomb, His heal was bruised but in it He crushed the head of the Serpent, Satan was a defeated foe. Today we can say that Satan may bark but he has been utterly defeated and his time is short.
The outcome of the battle has never been in doubt. The ‘He’ of Genesis 3:15 is Jesus the Christ who has come in the flesh, to take the punishment for sin that Adam and Eve deserved, that we all deserve for our rebellion against a Holy God. This certainly does not downplay the horror of the cross, but just as a wounded heel would not be considered a fatal wound, so Christ is not defeated upon the cross. Satan however would be categorically defeated by Christ. His wound would be to the head.
Jesus Christ as we are reminded in Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Ga 3:12–13). Jesus Christ became cursed for us, he is our only hope, the one who took the curse for us. He did what Adam did not, it was there in the Garden of Gethsemane that we see His willingness to do the will of the Father for our salvation and that we might know the Hope of the Garden City.
Q23 What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation. (Acts 3:21–22, Heb. 12:25, 2 Cor. 13:3, Heb. 5:5–7, Heb. 7:25, Ps. 2:6, Isa. 9:6–7, Matt. 21:5, Ps. 2:8–11)