Here the Director of The Bible College of Wales Continuing, Brian Mason brings a word from the Lord
He is pictured here interceding over Blaenau Ffestiniog, an area of Wales known in Christian Circles for many betrayals
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
St Matthew chapter 26 verse 39
In this verse Matthew takes us to the loving heart of our God. There is a depth which is not of this world for Matthew takes us into the realm of the divine.
This is right into what Jesus was prepared to go through in order to provide the way by which sinners could be restored to fellowship with a holy and righteous God. Words are inadequate to do justice as the scene of Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane is considered. May we reflect on this sacred scene with our hearts receptive to the revelation of the Holy Ghost who alone can show us the cost of what Jesus went through on that momentous night.
Jesus had shared the last supper with his disciples. This had been a time in which he had opened his loving heart to his disciples as he looked to show them that the bread and wine which he shared with them was to represent his own body and blood. What sacred truths are before us as soon afterwards Jesus would go out into the night and alone face the darkest hour which would be when the devil was to be allowed to do his worst.
The institution of the Lord’s Supper touches us as it is from that time when Jesus showed that it was to be his broken body and shed blood which would reconcile sinners with God. Each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper our hearts are stirred to know that it cost Jesus his all to bring undeserving sinners back to God. We can never take the night of Jesus ’betrayal lightly for if we do we fail to see right into the loving heart of our God.
Jesus had made it clear that he was to be betrayed by one of his disciples. He had explained that all would desert him. Even Peter in all his words to the contrary would not be able to stand with Jesus in his darkest hour. What desolation waited for our lovely Jesus. As Jesus left the upper room and went to a place called Gethsemane it was with a heavy heart.
On arrival he left the disciples to wait for him except in that he took Peter, James and John with him. Even then this was too much for Peter, James and John as they fell asleep. What could Jesus do in this time when he stood alone. He prayed. He poured out his soul unto the Father. Remember that Jesus had spoken about the Father and himself being one.
I and my Father are one.
St John chapter 10 verse 30
It was through this intimacy with the Father upon whom Jesus had relied upon throughout his earthly ministry that Jesus now looked for the strength to face the darkest hours that this world had ever known. These were to be the hours when the devil himself would be defeated at Calvary and all mankind would receive the chance of being given the opportunity to be reconciled to God.
At what cost though. Have we ever really taken the time to let the sufferings of our Lord eat into our hearts. Jesus began to be sorrowful and very heavy. He faced up to what this meant and triumphed in his own spirit. The flesh could never be willing to accept what was before him.
This was a spiritual battle with the devil and it was his spirit which would see him through. Jesus had to be strengthened by his Father as he poured out his soul. It was the prospect of loosing contact with his Father which troubled Jesus. Remember Jesus said that I and my father are one. The prospect of carrying the sin of every sinner was one we cannot take in. My sin, your sin and the sin of every sinner every born or still to be born.
Because Jesus was to be made sin for us whilst he was nailed to the cross he would for that period of time lose the communication he had always had with his Father. O the cost to my blessed Jesus.
It is no wonder that Jesus asked the Father if it was possible to let the cup pass from him. This was the cup of suffering. He fell to his face as all strength appeared to have been drained from him. Blessed Lord how you faced these moments with deep agony of soul.
No one but our God could have faced the prospect of Calvary and then to have accepted every last draining moment. Jesus prayed for the Father’s will to be done and went forward from that moment knowing that all he had come to earth to do was now to be fulfilled. He could face the betrayal of Judas. He could go forward to be treated worse than anyone has ever been treated as he was mocked during his trial. He could face the agony of the cross.
All was now assured. Dare we ever take the scene presented to us at Gethsemane lightly? Surely not. Do you thank him enough for all he has done for you? Each day we have the opportunity to thank Jesus for all he means to us and all he has done. In the light of the cost to Jesus we can say we pour contempt on all my pride. It is not who we are or what we have done which is of value but only who Jesus is and what he has done.
The ways of the world are ones of pride and self seeking. There is no room for pride to the Christian. The world acts with pride as those who are of the world can only live by the flesh. Christians are those who live and move and work in the power of the spirit. It is the Holy Ghost living within the believer who shows us the way of Gethsemane. For the true believer there is also the way of suffering as we are taken into the sufferings of Jesus.
Do not be taken by surprise at what you will have to face in the way of betrayal. Your betrayers are likely to be those who call themselves fellow Christians. Not all who call themselves Christian act like Christians. They act in the flesh not the spirit. They act like those with the world’s values rather than following the teachings of the Bible. Blessed Jesus when you said:
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
St Matthew chapter 5 verse 8
Jesus how it must grieve you that many who claim to be your own do not show pureness of heart towards those who love you with a pure heart. It is those who betray Jesus by their actions against other Christians who are doing great damage to the body of Christ. May we never be people who are betrayers or act through pride or as the world would do. May we be those who see Jesus who through suffering has been able to make us those who will give their whole life to Jesus each and every moment no matter what we too have to suffer for him who loved us and gave himself for us.
Lord Jesus Christ we can never thank you enough in time or eternity for all you are or what you have done for us. When we consider all the agony you went through in the garden of Gethsemane everything we have to face in life pales into insignificance. May your people be set apart from the world and seen as those who manifest the life and love of God. Lord look upon those who call themselves Christian but carry out acts of betrayal on other Christians.
Lord show these betrayers that they are kicking against your own sufferings when they make other Christians suffer. Lord in your mercy bring these betrayers to see your agony in Gethsemane and the agony they are creating in others. Lord Jesus help us to pour contempt on all our pride and look to you and you alone and allow the Holy Ghost to live a life in and through us which takes the love and presence of God wherever we go. This prayer seeks only to bring honour to the name of our God. Amen.