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March 23 | Mark 14:32-42


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Crushing Overwhelm

by Mary Alice McGinnis


The Garden of Gethsemane was a unique place. It was near the temple mount on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. The surrounding area grew groves of olive trees.


The name Gethsemane is formed by two Aramaic words—“Gat,” which means press and “Semen,” which means oil, ointment, olive. So literally, this garden was named Olive Press.


This is where Jesus came to pray. He came to this place where olives were pressed, crushed for their oil. And He was feeling pressed, indeed crushed in His spirit.


He said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”  


Think of a time when you felt overwhelmed. Was it the pressing weight of responsibility? Fear of failure? Illness? Injustice? Betrayal? Hurt? The haunting regret of things you have done? Maybe habitual sins that are crushing you? Circumstances beyond your control? Things beyond your ability to fix?


But why was Jesus pressed and overwhelmed to the point of death? Wasn’t He the one who commanded the waves to be still? Wasn’t He the one who fed the five thousand? Wasn’t He the one who healed the sick? Wasn’t He the one who raised a little girl back to life? Wasn’t He the one who called Lazarus from the tomb after being dead for three days?


Jesus’ sense of crushing sorrow was not because He faced physical torment or things out of His control. He could have called upon all His divine power, or the angel armies of heaven, at any time. Yet, He said His SOUL was overwhelmed.


Remember the things that have caused you to feel overwhelmed? Take all those things that have brought you overwhelming sorrow and picture them being put into a box and placed on a scale. How heavy are they? Now add them to all the miseries of this entire world. From the beginning of time until the end of time. How heavy are they now?


Jesus saw it all. All the injustices, all the pain and suffering, all the ways our hearts have turned against God, the weight of all our sins, from the fall in the Garden of Eden until the day He returns. He knew the path that was before Him if He followed His Father’s will. He knew the depth of this crushing weight would result in death and abandonment from God.


Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”


The crushing weight of sin and its destruction would be placed entirely on Jesus, as part of the Father’s will. In anguish, He cried out, “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.” 


He knew His Father’s love for Him, that is why He called Him Abba—daddy. A loving Dad would do anything for His beloved Son, right? Yet God the Father did not take this “cup” from Him.


Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”


There is then a shift. While crying out to His Father in anguish, Jesus remained faithful. With His request of “another way” going unanswered, and without the support of His disciples, He humbled Himself and submitted to deepest desire of God's heart, saying: “Yet not what I will, but what You will.”  


Jesus anguished prayer of obedient surrender translated into immediate action. He resolutely came to His disciples and said, “Rise! Let us go!” His Father DID answer His prayer by giving Him the strength to fulfill what He came to do.


"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission." (Hebrews 5:7)


PRAYER

Thank You Jesus that You did not choose another way. What incredible love, what amazing sacrifice, what unbelievable mercy. You chose to give up Your life, and to take upon Yourself the crushing weight of my sin and shame, and that of this entire world. You felt the depths of Your Father’s abandonment in my place, so I could be redeemed. How can I ever thank You? Teach me to follow You with willing obedience, humble submission and resolute action toward what You desire.




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2 Comments


robin.lorms
Mar 23

Wow!!! Mary Alice this is really a thoughtful summary of the "weight" Jesus had to feel in the garden. Your ability to create a picture of the amount of pain and suffering facing Jesus is so well done. What a blessing!!!

I have always loved his final remarks before being taken by the Romans and the Jews. Z'Rise! Let us go. Here comes my betrayer!"

The Holy Spirit was at His side and Jesus' courage was something to behold. He knew there was no alternative but to go through the plan decided from all eternity. He was ready to take on the Father's will-take on the sins of the world from all time-ready to see others who would betray h…


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