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The Garden of Gethsemane

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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May 23, 2021 12:01 am

The Garden of Gethsemane

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 23, 2021 12:01 am

Jesus' pleading with the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane reminds us how important it is to distinguish Christ's human nature from His divine nature. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series in the gospel of Mark to help us better understand what it means for Jesus to be truly God and truly man.

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R.C. Sproul
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Kerwin Baptist Church
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. When Jesus goes into the garden and prays earnestly that that cup would be removed from him questions come out of this text like this. If Jesus is God incarnate. How do we have God pleading with God to change the decree of God is a question that goes directly to the Trinitarian theology.

How can God be one yet three today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul turns to the gospel of Mark chapter 14 and addresses this important question. We will learn what it means for Jesus to submit to the father is Dr. this morning. I'm going to depart from my normal method of preaching.

Which method is called expository preaching where I look at the text and try to unpack the text for you in a verse by verse sequence that is the style of preaching that I believe that we are called to and that I pray that would happen in every people put in America, people might be fed on a regular basis by next position of the word of God.

Now I am going to give an exposition, just not the normal type of exposition and not the what we would call a directly exegetical or biblical exposition. What I want to do this morning is to give a theological exposition of matters that are found in this text. The reason why am Depaul are two reasons why am departing for my normal patterns are these.

The first is that I have often expositors on this record of the Gethsemane experience of Jesus, particularly on Maundy Thursday evenings, which many of you have attended, but not all, but next year, all of you will, God willing. And secondly, that there are times where theological exposition is so vitally necessary to protect the saints from all sorts of distortions, errors, and even heresies and so the couple of questions that I want to address today with you.

Are these the come out of this record. First of all what is going on when Jesus goes into the garden and prays earnestly that that cup would be removed from him questions come out of this text like this. If Jesus is God incarnate. How do we have God pleading with God to change the decree of God. That's one question that comes from its the second question that comes from this text has to do with Jesus announcement to Simon Peter that he will deny him three times before the rooster crows twice on the following morning. How is Jesus able to predict the future with such accuracy.

Not only does he predict in this text, the denial of Peter, but he also predicts his own resurrection when he says after I am raised I will meet with you all in Galilee. So here Jesus as insight into the future and we would expect the God man to know something about the future but if we just turn back a page or so in our Bible and remember what was said at the end of chapter 13 that our Lord mentioned concerning his return he said in verse 32 but of that day in our no one knows not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the father. Do you feel the difficulty of that were here Jesus as even though I may predict my coming even though I may predict the destruction of Jerusalem. Even though I may predict the destruction of the temple. Even though I may predict with uncanny accuracy. The denial of Peter the betrayal of Judas.

Nevertheless, there are some things I don't know the trouble you again. This is the God man who out of his own lips and by his own testimony is placing a limit upon his knowledge. We were taught from the time we were little, that God is omniscient. He knows everything, past, present and future, even all possibilities of future events, so how is it that Jesus can place a limit here on his knowledge.

This really faxed Thomas Aquinas the angelic Dr. of the Roman Catholic Church and one of the most brilliant and astute theologians. The world is over now.

Aquinas came to this text were Jesus limits his own knowledge, and he said of it can't be. This is the God man that the divine nature and the human nature are in perfect unity.

Jesus had to know the day and the hour so how do we deal with this text. While here's one of those cases where the great genius of theology took a nap for a few moments and hope you will see that nap where Aquinas explained it this way. He said Jesus really did know the day and the hour, but the knowledge was too high to wholly to wonderful to communicate to mortal souls such as his disciples. So to accommodate himself to their weakness. He simply told them he didn't know how that saves the idea of the omniscience of Jesus, but it raises in its wake, and even more serious problem if Jesus told his disciples he didn't know something, when in fact he did know something we call that a falsehood. And even if it was a small one, even if it was a peccadillo that peccadillo would be just enough to disqualify Jesus from being our Savior so Thomas are just going to have to do better than that.

However, the Roman Catholic Church in the wake of Thomases accommodation theory which I've just explained to you developed a concept that's going to sound a little bit the abstract to you for a second, but I'll try to explain it of what they called the communication of attributes with Humana cardio Eddie Amada that's simple enough right the communication of attributes that is in the incarnation, divine attributes were communicated to the human nature. That's what makes it possible for the body of Jesus to be as we mentioned last week in Pittsburgh, Paris, Seattle and Orlando all at the same time, a feat that most human beings cannot accomplish because our humanity by virtue of the limitations of creature would is always limited by space and time, I can't be here and in Pittsburgh the same time cannot. I know that was the case. A couple of years ago during the Super Bowl that I was not able to be preaching Sunday night and watching the Super Bowl at the same thought at a spot either course one of our congregation with a cell phone who called me at 8 o'clock to tell me how things were going, but I was limited by my humanity, to being here and so are you know in the fifth century, year 451. The church called a great ecumenical Council at Chelsea. One of the most important ecumenical councils of all time.

That counsel was called to combat several heresies and the most significant heresy that was facing the church in the fifth century was what was called the Monophysite heresy there we go again with those terrible theological terms Monophysite were to learn today. What that word means it's not hard. It has a prefix and a root. The prefix mono you know what that means.

What does it mean one right Monophysite refers to mono few cysts in the word Fuson. This is the word for the English word physics, which is the study of nature, so mono fuses simply means one nature the Monophysite's claimed that Jesus did not have two natures of divine nature and the human nature, but he had only one nature. So far so good. Understand everything that's a hard one nature, one nature only now that one nature was neither completely divine or completely human.

It was a single nature that involved however you look at it.

A deified human nature or another way to look at it. A humanized divine nature and so the Monophysite said Jesus is one person, one nature, a divinely human nature or humanly divine nature. However, you want to slice it over against that very serious heresy that was serious for two reasons.

It denied on the one hand, the full deity of Christ and on the other hand, it denied the real humanity of Jesus and against that the church in 451 declared that Christ was vera Homo vera Deus truly man, and truly God two natures in one person.

Now here's the difficulty. How do we understand the union of a human nature with the divine nature going back to the Scriptures. The Bible says that in the incarnation God or the second person of the Trinity. The logos took upon himself a human nature. Now, when the word took upon himself flesh a human nature. He didn't deified that human nature that human nature remained human I was just take that for second come back to the garden of Gethsemane, asked the question when Jesus is pleading with the father is at the divine nature is that they eternal logos pleading with the father to change his mind when we know that the father the son of the Holy Spirit.

All full persons of the Trinity were in total agreement from all eternity on how our redemption was going to be accomplished. Let me make it simpler when Jesus in his agony began to sweat. Were those breeds of perspiration divine sweat. Think of it was the perspiration that rolled down his four head divine, eternal, omnipresent and omniscient perspiration or did that perspiration manifest the human nature of Jesus when Jesus gets hungry. Does God get hungry. Of course not.

When Jesus has to take a nap does God go to sleep. Of course not.

Those are manifestations not of the divine nature, but of the human nature no at Chalcedon in dealing with the mystery of the incarnation affirming the two natures of Jesus. The church said that the two natures divine and human are perfectly united in such a way that they're not confused or mixed, divided or separated, said again that the two natures are without mixture confusion. The vision or separation so you can't mix them together like the Monophysite state where you deified the flesh or humanize the spirit to see that. And yet at the same time, you must not ever separate them. They are always and everywhere remaining united and then the kicker. Those four negatives of Chalcedon are further qualified by this phrase. Each nature retaining its own attributes. That is, in the incarnation God does not surrender any of his attributes. The divine nature is still eternal is still infinite. It is still omniscient. It is still on the present. It is still omnipotent. It is all those things that belong to deity God didn't stop being God. When he took upon himself a human nature. In Jesus, and at the same time the divine nature retained its own attributes being finite contained not able to bed more than one place at the same time limited in knowledge limited and power all of those things that are attributes of humanity remained attributes of Jesus humanity my going too fast.

This is crucially understand last week, a week before. When I mentioned Jesus instituting the Lord's supper, saying, this is my body and I talked about the great controversy that erupted in the 16th century. I mentioned to you that for the human nature of Jesus to be president. More than one place would be a violation of this counsel. Chalcedon, the only way that can happen is if a divine attribute were communicated to the human nature of Jesus, which is exactly what room taught and sadly Martin Luther taught as well and I said no, that Jesus humanity is limited, can only be one place same time somebody well-meaning at the end of the service it but aren't you separating the two natures I hope not, because if we separate the two natures, then we fall off the horse in the other direction and deny the perfect unity of the two natures. Remember, without mixture confusion division or separation.

I said no were distinguishing that it's one thing to distinguish between two natures. It's another thing to run them apart this very moment Jesus is in heaven touching his human nature. But he is perfectly united to the divine nature. Even now in the divine nature can be here and in Pittsburgh in Seattle and Paris. At all times, and wherever the divine nature is the person is even though the physical body is in heaven now, Thomas Aquinas suggested the Jesus really did know the day and the hour of his return.

Because of the communication of attributes now, here's where it gets a little bit difficult and at the put on your thinking caps. It's one thing for the divine nature to communicate information to the human nature, which indeed took place in the incarnation things that only God could no were communicated to the human nature so that Jesus could make predictions about the future with perfect accuracy. But again the communication of knowledge from God to man in the supernatural way happened. Multitudes of times in the Old Testament in the case of the prophets who were given information that they couldn't possibly have learned through their own human research and in like manner, the apostles in the New Testament, chiefly the apostle Paul who was an agent of Revelation communicates to us things that he couldn't possibly know on his own, but which God communicated to him so that there is the communication of knowledge between the divine nature and human nature is no difficult thing to imagine, but it's one thing to say that the divine nature communicates information.

It's something else to say. He communicates a divine attribute see the difference.

If the reason why Jesus knows tomorrow is because the attribute of omniscience is communicated to his human nature, then we would expect him touching his human nature to know everything, but he himself indicated there were limits. Thomas Aquinas not with standing and so if we understand that the divine nature communicates information without communicating omniscience. We don't stumble over these passages. If we understand that we distinguish between the human and the divine nature. It is obviously the human nature that is going through this agony at Gethsemane. It is the human Jesus praying to the divine for relief from this agony and at the same time, indicating his perfect commitments to obeying the father's will. The two natures without mixture, confusion, separation or division remain intact, but there are certain things that manifest the divine nature.

Other things that manifest the human nature.

Again, as I say, hunger, tiredness, sweat up body, legs, arms and eyes. We know that they belong to the human nature of Jesus, not to the divine nature, and I take the time to go over this because it's been said that every ancient heresy that the church combated the first 800 years is repeated in every generation. I said if you watch Christian television for one day you will hear every single heresy from the ancient world restated in our time so we have to be careful in every generation, lest we fall into these heretical ideas that distort these matters now having said that we don't know all there is to know about the mystery of the incarnation. Notice that what happened at the Council of Chelsea is the Chalcedon drew the boundaries they set the limits of our speculation. They sent her to go over this boundary agreement and in the Monophysite heresy. The over this boundary can end up separating the two natures of Nestorius a dump and so that you end up being careful to stay within the boundaries of legitimate reflection. They say we don't really know how the divine nature and the human nature or co-joined but we know what it is not. It's not by confusion is not by mixture is not by separation and it's not by division and we know that, however, else the divine nature and the human nature are united that in that perfect union. Each nature retains its own attributes. The divine nature does not stop being divine human nature does not stop then humanist.

When I say sometimes I get upset when we sing some of these hymns about God dying on the cross, the God man dies on the cross. The divine nature doesn't die on the cross. Good heavens, if God actually died on the cross. But with that name. Not only would Jesus die, but the Holy Spirit would die before I would die. The cross would perish.

Jerusalem would fall into oblivion the whole universe would cease its existence because the universe depends for its moment to moment existence by the upholding hand of God. If God parishes everything parishes know the God man dies is the new Adam in his human nature on the cross for us. Even when he was a corpse in the tomb.

He remained united to the divine nature is human spirit was given to the father and his last breath the union of the divine and human was not broken, it was not separate. Again, we don't separate the two natures, but we must distinguish them to avoid every conceivable parents know we had to put on our thinking caps today, didn't we. But what a profound and hopeful message Dr. RC Sproul you're listening to Renewing Your Mind of this Lord's day. Thank you for being with us by we Webb like many of you. I consider myself a ligand or student and what I always appreciated about RC was his willingness and ability to take complicated theological concepts like the Trinity and explain them with great clarity and were grateful for the privilege. We have to continue airing Dr. Sproles teaching a resource offer today will help you continue your own examination of God's word. As we make our way through this preaching series for Mark's gospel when you contact us with a donation of any amount we will provide you with a digital download of RC's commentary on Mark.

It's a complete examination of the book with easy to read reflection on each verse. This is an online offer only. So go to Renewing Your to make your request, I think you'll also enjoy getting to the ref that that's her 24 hour Internet radio station Dr. Sproles teaching is featured on a regular basis along with her teaching fellows here ligand or ministries and other trusted pastors and teachers partially are music audiobooks in Scripture readings. You'll find a full schedule, it ref net.FM and you can listen for free at any time. Again the web address is ref net.FM or you can download the free ref net app. Next Sunday we will return to Mark's gospel and doctors who will focus on the events surrounding Jesus arrest. I hope you make plans to be with us again next Lord's day here on Renewing Your Mind

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