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Agony in Gethsemane (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
November 15, 2021 6:00 am

Agony in Gethsemane (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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November 15, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 14:32-41)

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The death that he tastes is a holy experience and not a natural one. It is outside of anything you would expect God to subject himself to.

God subjected himself to men spitting on him, pulling off his beard, scourging him, and then not only nailing him to a tree, that's what a cross is made of, but then propping him up in front of everybody. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Gospel of Mark.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in Mark chapter 14, as he begins his message, Agony in Gethsemane. We are in the Gospel according to Mark chapter 14, and if you have your Bibles, please turn there. We will stand in a moment and take verses 32 through 42 in under two minutes it will take to read that. Mark's Gospel chapter 14, verses 32 through 42. Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, sit here while I pray. And he took Peter, James, and John with him, and began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then he said to them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

Stay here and watch. He went a little farther and fell on the ground and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.

Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will. Then he came and found them sleeping and said to Peter, Simon, are you sleeping?

Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Again, he went away and prayed and spoke the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And then he came a third time and said to them, are you still sleeping and resting?

It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going.

See, my betrayer is at hand. Agony in Gethsemane is this morning's title. We look again at verse 32. Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane.

And he said to his disciples, sit here while I pray. Now, the word Gethsemane means the olive press, and it happened to be in a garden. It is where they crushed the olives to get the olive oil from the olive. John gives us a little bit more information. He says he went out with his disciples in John 18, over the brook Kidron, where there was a garden which he and his disciples entered.

And Judas, who had betrayed him, also knew the place where Jesus often met there with his disciples. So here we have this olive press in a garden. The tomb of Joseph of Aramis of Thea has a wine press in that garden, but this one is an olive garden. And the owner is not named.

Well, that's characteristic of all that is taking place in the shadow of the cross, that looming event that he is facing. He borrowed a donkey's colt to enter the city. The owner's name is not recorded. The upper room, we do not know who that owner was either, who provided for him there. And then here this garden. We will, of course, find out the name to the garden tomb, the owner of that garden, Joseph of Aramis of Thea, as I mentioned. It says here in verse 32, and he said to his disciples, sit here while I pray. They fell asleep.

What would you have done? You know, we look at these verses and we're supposed to look for ourselves in them or at least be challenged. That's where the growth takes place.

That's where the pruning goes on and the encouragement. That's what helps us get through all these years, these centuries that Christians have moved forward with the faith. In verse 33, Mark records, and he took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be troubled and deeply distressed. We never hear of the other's protests that, why those three guys?

Why not one of us sometimes? Judas may have thought that way because we understand he was a very carnal man, but we hear them complain about this. They did in Moses' day. There were those that were dissatisfied with God's selection.

They felt that Moses had too much authority, all of it given by God. They conveniently factored that out. I don't want to be that type of person, but here we have for the third time recorded that he selected these three to be near him for a dramatic event. They did not know they were going to encounter these dramatic things that he was bringing them into. Well, the first one they did, and that was at the house of Jairus when his daughter had died and Jesus brought her back to life. They didn't know what to expect.

They knew it was going to be something. Then there was the Mount of Transfiguration. Again, they did not know what to expect until it unfolded before them, and then here we have him bringing them into the Garden of Gethsemane, and they really don't get it. We'll talk about that as we move forward, but there is a very interesting parallel that emerges from those three events that these three men were called to witness with the Lord at the exclusion of his other apostles. Paul said in the Philippian letter that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings if by any means I may be conformed to his resurrection.

Well, that's what we see in these three experiences that I may know him. Well, that was the transfiguration. They got a chance to know Jesus in a way that they never knew him nor anyone else before that event.

Then there is of course the power of his resurrection, which was in the house of Jairus when he raised his daughter, though that was not a resurrection but more of a resuscitation, because he is the first to be resurrected from the dead and transformed. This third experience is the fellowship of his sufferings here in the Garden of Eden. They were to enter into his suffering with him. He invited them to do this. Peter, the one that argued with him just minutes before, he is not excluded. He is included.

The Lord didn't say, well, you know, Peter, he just gives a pain in the neck after dinner. I'm going to pass him and I'm going to bring Thomas or one of the others with me. I doubt that he would bring Thomas.

Of course, I don't see Thomas as the doubter everybody else sees him meant to be. But anyway, even though Peter argued, there he is. Even though Jesus knew that again within minutes Peter is going to flee and then deny him. And knowing this, he brings Peter with him still.

Christ would forever keep Peter close to him, no matter what. You come to this realization, you say he does the same thing with everyone who wants him, who loves him. He just keeps us close. He knows you failed.

He knows you may argue with him and be disappointed with what he allows or disallows. And yet we still follow. And it's important to remember that Peter, even though he ran off, he still followed from afar. But he was following and he began to be troubled, deeply distressed. Now here is where the agony and the death arrive. There's sort of these dark clouds now coming over him. This moment that he has been ready for is here.

And you know, at least when I perform a wedding, I think other pastors do too, you say to the couple, the moment that you have been waiting for has finally arrived. It's here. It's really happening.

That's a joyful occasion. This was nothing but death and torture and agony unparalleled in the human experience and never matched. Again, in the second time I've said this, but we'll unfold that a little more also. But he, Jesus Christ, who is troubled, deeply distressed, in agony, in Gethsemane, this garden, it is springtime, things are coming to life.

And he's facing death. And within the Godhead, he also planned the redemption for sinners long before Bethlehem, all the way in the foundations of the world. Second Timothy Paul writes, speaking of Jesus, chapter one, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling.

I wonder if we remember that enough. That the calling we have to Christ, to follow him, to serve him, is a holy calling. There's nothing like it. You don't get a holy calling anywhere else. You're handpicked. And this is not Calvinism. This is not Rickism either, which is superior to Calvinism in my opinion. But that's another sermon. This is God choosing those who choose to submit to him. And this is a holy calling, not according to our works.

You can't earn it. But according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. In other words, he is the architect of his suffering, his agony, his death. And as we read in Hebrews, he will see the joy that is set before him. Isaiah tells us, he shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied. It's worth it to him. We who can only bring him really one thing, and that is love, and that's what he wants, that is so satisfying to God, our love to him. Imagine if you had a toddler, two years old, says, you know what? I don't love you. That would be devastating. But what makes one of the things that makes toddlers so amazing is that they just love, you know, they love mom and dad. Anyway, verse 34, then he said to them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

Stay here and watch. God who came to earth as a man is now letting us see, unlike ever before, his humanity, which again, they weren't prepared for this. They only knew his deity or his connection to the father. They did not really know his humanity. They knew that he could hunger and sweat and things like that, but not fail, that he was susceptible to suffering, his suffering. See, before this, it was the suffering of others. I mean, at the tomb of Lazarus, he wept because everybody else was shattered. They were in grief, and he entered into that grief.

But now, this is his. Hebrews chapter 4, which I plan to quote a few times from Hebrews because it really captures what's going on here in this garden of agony. It says in verse 15, four, we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tried or tempted as we are, yet without sin, close hope. He knows what's going on. Being God, he did not have to experience it.

He knew. But he does for our sakes, and he tells us. He says to us, I know you may think I'm removed from your sufferings because I'm here on the throne, but I'm not.

I'm very much in touch. In Gethsemane, this garden, his humanity also has to face this death, this torture, that again is unparalleled, and I'll say why soon. Hebrews chapter 2, but we see Jesus, what a beautiful phrase, but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels. That's him taking on humanity for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. There's so much unique in that we don't have time to go through it, but there's something, again, unparalleled about his death. Otherwise, how could he taste it for everyone when there have been so many people that have died, even before his coming? Because the death that he tastes is a holy experience and not a natural one. It is outside of anything you would expect God to subject himself to. God subjected himself to men spitting on him, pulling off his beard, scourging him, and then not only nailing him to a tree, that's what a cross is made of, but then propping him up in front of everybody to boast of their work. Hebrews 5 verse 7, who in the days of his flesh, again, his humanity, that part of him that identifies with us in front of us, it would be no good for it to happen, and we didn't see it happen, we are watching it happen. He continues in Hebrews 5, when he had offered up prayers and supplications.

Now again, as I just read a minute ago, that he came a little lower than the angels, because he could not, as God enter in full God, without humanity upon him, enter into these experiences, at least that's the way he chose to do it. It says, with vehement cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and was hurt because of his godly fear. Veiment cries, we don't get that from the gospels. The writer to Hebrews tells us that he wept in the garden.

It was not just an emotional agony that was internal, it was external also. He says he made his supplication in Christ to him who was able to save him from death, but did not. You could say, you could make an argument for that Jesus experienced an ungranted prayer. And of course when he says not my will, your will be done, and God says of course that's how he planned it, but this is for us.

It's not for God, this is for us. And in being in the humanity that he assumed he had to go through this, it was not something he could bypass, nor would he. When he was on the cross, it wasn't as though he somehow blocked out the pain.

He took it all, he drank the dregs of the cup. Three times we read of the Lord weeping in scripture, the Lord Jesus, at the grave site of a friend named Lazarus, at the site of a spiritually doomed city, and there in the Greek as he was heaving tears, and then here in the garden, the first time for a friend, the second for a city, but here it is for himself. We get that again from Hebrews 5-7. Not only facing the horrors of crucifixion, he was facing the wrath of God for sinners, for all sinners. So not only did he suffer life and death, and he suffered death too.

He had friends that died early, he had neighbors that were afflicted. He suffered life like the rest of us do, not maybe to the same extent, because I don't know that the Lord was ever depressed emotionally, as some of us can be, we can be from time to time, but he suffered alongside of us, and yet his suffering was beyond, far beyond, what we know. And so where it says here that he said to them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful even to death, as God has become a man.

This is self-inflicted pain for somebody else though, that's what makes it a sacrifice and a substitute. Romans 15, where even Christ did not please himself. Look at that, because I sure like to please myself. How would he have pleased himself? Well, first, he stayed in heaven, but second, created other beings to love him. Second, that he could have called legions of angels to put an end to this, to what was coming. Paul continues in Romans, for even Christ did not please himself, but as the scripture says, the reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me. Those who are against God, those who are against the Father, those who have violated the commandments of God.

The judgment for those people, which would include us, fell on him and not them. So that when Christ dies on the cross, he dies in my place as me, taking my punishment. Not just that physical torture of the cross, but the spiritual wrath of God, which is something that, according to human eyes, he has never seen before. In his humanity, he faced it. Verse two of Hebrews 12, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. As I mentioned, he was the architect of our salvation.

And when he planned it out and he's mapping it out, if you could just look at him as an architect would, he's, well nowadays it's all with keyboard and mouse. And he says, you know, I'll start in Bethlehem and I'll do this in Galilee and I'll make my way to Jerusalem and then I'll pray in agony. I'll let the processes run their course upon me, knowing what's coming. And the part that's knowing, again, not the spikes, the nails, but the wrath of God, the Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani, that's the part. And yet he says it has to be this way if I'm going to love the sinners. And so looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith for the joy that was set before him.

That's your face and my face in heaven. That's the joy set before him. Because if that doesn't happen, there's no joy set before him. It's a mission accomplished kind of a joy. Well, the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross. That's why he took it.

It was worth it to him. I have no self-worth. I don't want self-worth. But I have the love of God on me.

Self-esteem, the opposite of self-esteem is not self-hatred. It is the esteeming of God. It is the exaltation of God in my life.

That covers so many things. It reduces so many problems. But I pray to the Lord sometimes I have such a frustration with, you know, what he does and doesn't do in my flesh. And God has spoken to me many times, not whenever I want him to. But one thing liberating, he said to me, and I hope you understand this, Rick, you are my slave.

You don't have a vote. I'm your God. What makes that work? Love.

Nothing short of love. Because again, in the New Testament, and when Paul talks about a bondservant and a servant of Christ, he's saying slave. That's the Greek word that he's using in a society, in a society that had as many slaves as three people, if not more. They identify with Paul when he said, okay, when, you know, you were a slave to some Roman who had the right to kill you on the spot without explanation.

That's how far their rights went. Paul says, I'm a slave, but not to that Roman. I'm a slave to Jesus Christ. And so when he writes his letters from jail, he doesn't say, I'm a prisoner of Caesar, which on a human level he was. He says, Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, a bondservant.

That means willing bond. He's taking the Hebrew event and he's applying it to slavery and Gentile world. And he's saying, I am the slave of Jesus Christ and willfully so. That stops a lot of arguments with God. Because then you say, well, wait, if he is the master and I have no Caesar, it's out of my hands. And I will then trust his character because I don't have a Roman for a master. I have the God of love and I don't like the, you know, when he tells the church in Smyrna, suffer till you die. That's what he tells that church.

But I'm going to make it good. That's what faith, then faith then kicks in. Okay, this belongs to God.

Not an easy place, it's an impossible place to come to in your own strength. It's something that is a spiritual event that God gives. And many times when God gives us something, it has to be maintained. And this is also significant when Peter says, kept by the power of God.

Paul talks about God running the universe continuously because he does in Ephesians. Anyway, the joy that is set before him, enduring the cross, hating the shame, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He is in total control and I must submit to that. And that's what we're getting out of this agony in Gethsemane. He's submitting to God's will and it hurts and it hurts immensely. But this resolve in the shadow of this suffering and death, others have suffered more.

His resolve is mentioned by himself in John's gospel. My soul is troubled and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour but for this purpose I've come.

Well now the hour is here as I mentioned earlier the time that you've been waiting for the moment has arrived. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Mark. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry visit our website Once you're there you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the book of Mark right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-22 18:48:44 / 2023-07-22 18:57:40 / 9

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