Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:39 [NIV]
He went away a second time and prayed,
“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
Matthew 26:42 [NIV]
He was in the garden called Gethsemane.
Perhaps it was a commercial olive grove.
What and where it was does not matter.
[Gethsemane appears in the Greek of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark as (Gethsemani).
The name is derived from the Assyrian (Gat-Šmanê), meaning "oil press". Matthew (26:36) and Mark (14:32) call
it(18:1), a place or estate. The Gospel of John says Jesus entered a garden with his disciples.[wikipedia.org]
Imagine yourself in his position.
You have foreknowledge that you will be arrested, scourged, taunted, mocked, crowned with thorns, then force
marched up a hill carrying the horizontal beam of a cross on your sagging shoulders. You anticipate the
suffering to come, piled upon what you have already endured.
You can visualize yourself being forced down on your back upon a timber. When the beam you have borne is
attached to the timber, it will form a cross. You won't be merely strapped to it with cords ... large iron
spikes will be driven through yours hands or wrists, and your feet.
You will be stripped naked. The cross will be lifted upright and dropped into a prepared hole in the ground.
It drops in with a thud. Your body's downward motion continues from inertia, putting your entire weight on the
spikes through you.
There is more to come. In your personal vision you can see all of this happening to you a short time from now.
You are alone as it is possible to be. Your companions have no idea what you are going through as you sprawl
on the ground in the garden and pour out your heart to God.
What you see in your mind's eye is horrifying beyond belief.
You did nothing to deserve this humiliating, brutal, execution. You are innocent of all wrongdoing.
You see a cup.
It is filled with torment.
You ask God, your own Father, if He will take away the cup.
He does not answer you.
He has turned a deaf ear to your plea.
Deep within, you know you do not have to go through with this.
You could have opted out thirty three years ago and refused to be incarnated.
Your Father would not have loved you less if you refused.
He would not have loved you more because you acquiesced.
His love for you is, was, and shall always be, perfect.
It is entirely up to you.
Would you drink this cup of unimaginable suffering ?
For whom ?
But is gets worse.
Your vision becomes clarified and you see in the cup not merely pain and death, but the poison of spiritual
death. You see the accumulation of sin from the other garden long ago in Eden, onward through the future to
the end of the world as it is known.
This cup will not only kill you; it will separate you from your Father.
You know you will overcome death.
You know you will return to life.
You know you will return to your Father.
BUT, you know you can go home without doing this.
You told your disciples, in advance, what will happen to you. You said it was for the joy set before you, and that your joy might be full.
Where is the joy ?
What kind of insanity has you in its grip ?
When you have done it, if you do, what will be the outcome ?
After you leave Earth, humankind will continue its evil ways. Nothing will change. Satan will still be ruler
and prince over the Earth. What can you possibly accomplish by enduring this ? In Earth time, you will see the results of your sacrifice bear fruit.
Some will believe the things you said. Twenty centuries after you leave, millions will believe you, believe in you, and when they leave Earth, will
become your brothers in the family of God.
You know that this IS what your Father desires ... to have a family of spirit beings he created but whose
inner spirit is dead. Your sacrifice will bring to life those dead spirits in those who understand and who
believe. Your sacrifice is not in vain.
You've told those who would listen that a grain of wheat must fall to the Earth and be transformed before it
can live and grow to its potential. You know from your own parables that YOU are the grain of wheat which dies
to self and is transformed into the Bread of Heaven.
Knowing all of this, would you do it ?
[ image from http://hopiong-sermon-1.blogspot.com ]