Friday, April 10, 2009

The King's Garden...Agony

Last night I tried to speak on the agony of Christ in the garden. You can read about it in Matthew 26:36-46. Here is a movie clip by C. J. Mahaney on the garden how it should remind us of our sinfulness as well as God's glorious mercy in Jesus.

Charles Spurgeon was the man. Here is one point of a sermon he preached on "The King's Gardens." Here is what he says about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. It is worth your read:

II. The second king's garden to which I will introduce you is very different from the first, but it yields more fragrant spices and healthier herbs by far. It is THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE--the garden of the olive-press, wherein the Lord Jesus Christ was the olive, and God's anger against sin was the press.

Put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground! 'Tis night. Yonder are twelve men walking, and talking sweetly as they walk. Observe one, a mysterious, majestic Person, who is evidently superior to the rest. It is the Son of Man. Hush! It is the Son of God, and as he talks you can hear words like these, "I am the vine, ye are the branches; abide in me and I in you." We will conceal ourselves behind that group of olives, and will see what is to happen here. This is the place where that mysterious Son of God was often to be found with his disciples. Just as God walked in the first garden in Eden, so the Son of God walked in the second garden; and as God in the first garden communed with man, so of the second garden it is written Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. See, he has dismissed eight of them. He has told them to wait yonder, and on he goes with only three--Peter, and James, and John--the chosen out of the eleven--and speaking to them, and bidding them watch, he leaves them, and is all alone. Let us draw as near as we may; we see the Son of God in prayer, and as he prays, his earnestness gathers strength. He is striving with an unseen enemy--struggling like a man who would overcome an adversary, wrestling so vigorously that he sweats; but it is a strange sweat! "His sweat was, as it were great drops of blood, falling to the ground." He is beginning to drink the cup of Jehovah's wrath, which was due to our sins, a cup which we could not have emptied even through eternity, though every drop of it had been a hell. Christ is quaffing the wrath-cup, and as he trembles under the fiery influence of the draught of worse than wormwood and gall, he cries, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me." But he recovers himself, and his prayer is, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." Backwards and forwards you see him go like a man distracted. Three times he looks to the disciples for comfort, but they are slumbering, and then again he returns to his God and casts himself upon his face, with strong crying and tears, pouring out his soul in blood before high heaven, such is the anguish of his tortured heart.

Herein behold the beginning of our redemption. Jesus then began to suffer in our room and stead, atoning for our iniquity. The mischief of Eden fell upon Gethsemane. The mist of sin rose up in the garden of Paradise, and as it rose it gathered and collected into a black, tremendous storm cloud, and anon it burst, with flashes of lightning and with claps of thunder, upon the great Shepherd of the sheep, that we, who deserved to be overwhelmed by the tempest, might find fair weather in the rest which remaineth for the people of God.

Perhaps no sight that was ever beheld of men or angels, except the crucifixion, was more tremendous than the agony of Gethsemane. It must have been a terrible spectacle to have seen martyrs in the fire, or men and women devoured by lions and bears in the Roman amphitheatre, but then to the Christian's eye there was a pleasure mingled with these ghastly sights, for God sustained his faithful ones. They clapped their hands amidst the fire. They sang when the wild beasts were leaping upon them. Such holy joy beamed from their countenances, that their brethren were comforted rather than distressed, and saints wished to be there with them, that they might die as they died and win the martyr's crown. But, when you look at Christ in the garden, you miss the help which the martyrs had. God forsakes him. He must tread the winepress alone, and of the people there must be none with him. Ay! and yet, dark as that night was, the darkest night that ever fell upon this world, it was the mother of that gospel light of finished redemption which now enlightens the Gentiles and brings glory unto Israel.

Let us leave the king's garden, then, with feelings of deep repentance that we should have made Jesus suffer so, and yet with holy gladness to think that thus hath he redeemed us from the ruins of the fall.

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Steve said...
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