It’s an emotional scene. Jesus is on His face in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is hours away from His upcoming crucifixion, and He is praying to His heavenly Father, begging Him for a way to circumvent the cross. In this one verse, we get a glimpse into the most passionate love that exists - the love between the Son and the Father. And in this message, we will learn how we can experience this kind of love in our lives too.
Last week, Jeff did an incredible job walking us through Verse is, thirty to forty six of Matthew twenty six, and you might remember that he highlighted Verse 8 thirty nine in his message.
This is what he had to say about it. And I quote, undoubtedly one of the most incredible and important verse is in the Gospels, end quote. And you know what I wholeheartedly agree with them is the reason why we're going to hit the pause button in our study through the gospel of Matthew so that we can spend some more time looking at this one individual verse. And next week we'll pick things up in verse forty seven. Sound good. All right.
Here's our sin. Jesus is less than 24 hours away from the cross. He has finished enjoying the Passover meal with his disciples.
Judas has left and the rest of the disciples have made their way with Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemani.
Jesus is there with his disciples. He's praying, they're sleeping. And Judas and the crowds are on their way as we speak to take Jesus into custody.
And Jesus is in agony as he's praying to his father. This is what he prays is our Verse 8 Matthew. Chapter twenty six, verse thirty nine. And going a little farther, he fell on his face and prayed, saying, my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. Jesus prayed my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. This cup is a reference to the appointment that Jesus had with the cross.
He really does not want to go like like seriously does not want to go to the cross. He wants this cup taken from him.
Jesus experienced such a deep level of anxiety surrounding the idea of going to the cross that Luke records this for us in his gospel. Luke, chapter 22, verse 44 reads like this. And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Jesus was in such agony over the idea of going to the cross that his capillaries burst under the pressure of the stress that he experienced just thinking about the cross.
Why? Why was Jesus in such agony over the idea of his upcoming crucifixion? Well, as we dive into answering this question, I got a one I got to make one thing emphatically clear up front. Jesus was not a coward. Although crucifixion is a physical torture of the most intense nature, that physical anguish was not what Jesus wanted to avoid most.
I can say that with great confidence because of testimonies that we have of Christians who have gone to their own torturous deaths.
Singing, singing, not pleading for their torture to be removed, but singing, here's a quote from an article I found online at Loyola Press dot com titled Early Christian Martyrs.
Says this. There are hundreds, thousands of other martyrs from these years who endured the most terrible pain, but the strange thing is the stories that come down to us about their deaths, even those few stories recorded by the Romans who killed them tell us that most of these women, men and children who were killed for their faith died with peaceful hearts, sometimes even singing hymns as they were burned or dragged by animals in front of the cheering crowds. Their friendship with God was very, very deep, end quote.
Christians singing as they're being tortured for their faith, singing. And yet here in Verse 8 thirty nine, we have Jesus pleading for his cross to be removed from him. Are there some Christians who are more courageous than Jesus? Jesus wanted to avoid the cross, but these others are like, bring it on. How do we make sense of that, what's really going on here? Why does Jesus want to avoid the cross so badly?
I have a personal story I'm going to share with you that I think might be helpful in shedding some light on what's going on here in the garden. It was back in 2007 and Jessica was my wife. Now, we've been dating at that time for about four months. When she went ahead and broke up with me, that just devastated me floor like complete devastation. My pastor at the time, Pastor Terry, who some of you know, he came over to my place and I sat with him in his car and I just cried.
I described my eyes out. After only a short amount of time getting to know Jess, my heart had grown so attached to her that it broke into pieces at the mere thought that I wouldn't get to experience her presence in my life anymore.
I had known her for only four months, and that was the way I felt about our relationship being fractured. Now, did you know that God has a relationship that he cares deeply about, that he cherishes above everything else to God has revealed this relationship that he has? He's revealed it to us in the scriptures. It's the relationship that he has in himself to the word of God is plain and clear about this mysterious fact. God is one and he is three, both at the same time without contradiction.
It's God math one plus one plus one equals one. God, the father. God the Son. God, the Holy Spirit. Only one God. Not morphine from one form to the other. All three at the same time as one God, coequal in power, coequal in worth, coequal in love, coequal in everything that makes God God. John in his gospel records, Jesus saying these words about his relationship with the father in John, Chapter 10, verse 30, Jesus says I and the father are one.
God exists in a perfect unity in himself, a perfect oneness, a perfect joy, a perfect love. Take a moment right now, and I want you to think of the best feeling you've ever experienced in your entire life. The best. Got it. Now, multiply that sensation by infinity. That's all God has ever experienced in the relationship that he has in himself, in the relationship that exists between the father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, infinite joy, infinite peace, infinite love, shared perfectly between the father, the Son and the spirit.
Now, this perfect one, this had been experienced for a very, very long time, forget about the four months that I had known just before she broke up with me.
It was an infinite amount of time. It was for eternity.
Which technically is even outside of time, because time only came into existence when God created the heavens and the Earth, that Jesus mentions the time frame of this oneness that he has with the father in his high priestly prayer found in John, 17, and John, 17, verse five.
Jesus prays this. And now, father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Forever, eternity, before the world existed, before time even began. That's how long the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit had enjoyed infinite love, joy and peace in the relationship inside the Godhead. And now. And now in the Garden of Gethsemani, Jesus looked ahead to the cross and saw that in a few short hours, the greatest love he had ever experienced was going to be interrupted for the very first time ever. I sat in Pastor Terry's car agonizing over the idea that I wouldn't be with Jessica anymore.
Jesus was lying on his face in the Garden of Gethsemani, agonizing over the idea that there would be an upcoming moment in time where he wouldn't be able to experience the oneness he had with the father.
Jesus didn't fear the physical agony of the cross primarily. I'm not saying it wasn't torture, it was what I'm saying is that it wasn't the reason he was sweating drops of blood. Jesus prayer in the garden flowed out of the love he experienced with the father, and now the way that he had always experienced this relationship with the father was threatened.
That's why Jesus didn't want to go to the cross. Well, how does something like this happen? How did it ever get to this point? How does a rift come between the eternal sun and the eternal father?
Well, the answer is a weighty one, because the answer is an. God is holy, which means that he is separate from sin, sin cannot dwell in his presence. Sin is what keeps humanity separate from a relationship with God. And sin came into the picture in Jesus life for the very first time when he was on the cross. The Bible says that Jesus became sin. Second Corinthians, Chapter five. Twenty one. The Apostle Paul writes this For our sake.
He made him Jesus to be sin. Who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. You see, Jesus didn't have any sin of his own. He was perfectly sinless his entire life. But on the cross he took on sin. And when Jesus took our sin upon himself, he became separated from the father because of our sin. While on the cross, Jesus cried out, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
The answer to that question. The sin of the world was placed on Christ. And that is why he was forsaken by the father. And while our sin was on the son, the father turned his back on him and crushed him for our sin and for the very first time in all eternity, the perfect oneness that Jesus had experienced with the father with separate.
This is the cup Jesus references in his prayer in verse thirty nine, let this cup pass from me. Jesus the same father. Whatever you do, don't let me be separated from you. I love you too much. Let the cup of your wrath that is put on the sin of the world. Let that pass from me.
Let the experience of me being cut off from you. Pass from me. Can you see the passion Jesus has for his father? Can you see how much he loves him? Is this passion that Jesus had for the father that needs to shape the mindset that we have towards sin in our life? Let me explain. If we looked at sin through the lens of Verse 8 thirty nine, I think it will drastically affect the way we understand sin and in turn I think it will drastically affect the way we would strive to avoid it at any cost.
Here's what we need to do. We need to make the switch from focusing on the secondary consequences of sin to the primary consequence of it. There are big time secondary consequences to sin, and these are the consequences that usually get the biggest headlines in our minds. Shame, guilt, loss of material goods, brokenness in our relationships, health issues, just to name a few.
These things can come because of our personal sin.
And don't get me wrong, these are terrible consequences. And you should want to avoid having these in your life if you can help it.
But these things aren't the worst. What's worse than all of these things will the same thing that Jesus feared losing, losing intimacy with God, that's worse. Sin separates us from enjoying the relationship that we have with God, like it did to Jesus while he was on the cross, sin will keep us from experiencing intimacy with God. And that should be what we care about most as children of God.
If we love God, we shouldn't want anything to get in the way of our love relationship with him, which is why we shouldn't want to touch sin or flirt with it in any way.
We shouldn't want to see how close to the fire we can get without getting burnt. I always hear some Christians who are in dating relationships ask the foolish question like this. How far can we go in our physical relationship before it's sin? Wrong question like Joseph did when Partitas Wife grabbed him. We need to run at the thought of sin at the potential of it. We go to avoid it. We got to get out.
Sen always separates. It always impedes the way that we can walk with God, so we should want to avoid it at all costs. But sin doesn't just affect our relationship with our maker, sin affects any of the relationships we have with the people that God has placed in our life.
Soon we'll put a separation between you and the people in your life, and here are a couple examples. Just think about friendships, think about friendships. You want do you want to have amazing friendships?
What do you think will happen if your friend ever finds out that you've been gossiping about them behind their back? Gossip is a sin and that will cause a fracture in the relationship that you have. Here's another one, marriage. If you're married, do you want to have an amazing marriage? What do you think will happen when your spouse finds out that you've been having a secret, inappropriate conversation with a co-worker of the opposite sex?
How do you think that's going to impact the intimacy in the marriage relationship? Sin will cause a fracture in the relationship. Big or small, sin will affect the way that you experience the relationships that you have in your life.
It affected the relationship between the father and the son when Christ was on the cross bearing our sin. And it will affect any of our human relationships, too.
So if you want great relationships of any kind, and I'm going to assume that you do avoid sin at any cost. We need a crucial reminder at this point, one that I believe is going to encourage us and help us to apply all of what we've been talking about so far, apply it right to our lives as if we didn't realize this yet.
You really need to. Jesus is Jesus and we are us. There's a big time difference between us and the sinless Lamb of God. Remember, we're the ones in the story who are sleeping. We're the disciples. We're not the Christ.
So how do we look at this scene in our verse and come away with any kind of realistic encouragement to love the father, the way that Jesus loves him and to love the people in our life, the way that God wants us to?
Here it is, and it's going to be the first fill in on your outline. Love is impossible without God, love is impossible without God to Jesus, love is the example for us to study and for us to follow. But it's not only an example to follow, it's so much more than just an example, and that's great news because we need more than just an example to emulate.
We need more than an example to follow, because apart from God, we don't have what it takes to love the father the way Jesus loves him. And yet God calls us to love him the way that the son loves the father with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. This command to love God is a very simple command and a very impossible command, both at the same time, kind of like a command to swim across the Pacific Ocean non-stop.
So that's an easy command to understand if someone ever came to me and said and we went to English Bay and looked out at the ocean and someone said, OK, I want you, I'm commanding you right now, jump in the water and swim across the Pacific.
That's an easy command to understand. I can grasp the concept.
I'd get in one arm over the other, one arm over the other, and I would just swim all the way across.
Easy to understand, but it's also an impossible command to actually obey. I could never do it. No one could.
We would need to undergo a monumental change in our physical anatomy if we were ever to be able to swim across the Pacific Ocean in one go. We'd have to become like Jason Mimos character in the movie Aquaman, because Aquaman could do it. We'd have to become like him if we were going to do it to. Here's the point, we need to be changed. We need to be changed if we're going to love God the way that Jesus loves the father in verses thirty nine, we don't need to be physically changed in order to do it.
No, we need to be spiritually changed on the inside. The secret to our being able to love God like God loves God is to have God in us producing love for him from within. And this is what God promises to do for us. He tells us that the Holy Trinity will come in and make their home in us. John, chapter 14, verse twenty three says Jesus answered him. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.
God's love for God inside of us enables us to love God like Jesus loves the father. Now, there's a two stage process to be able to love God the way the son loves the father stage. Number one, we need God in us. This is a one time transaction. It's called becoming a Christian. You repent of your sins, you trust in the finished work of the cross, then you give your life to follow Jesus and God will forgive your sins and wash them all the way.
And he will come to live inside of you by way of the Holy Spirit. This happens the instant a person becomes a Christian. The Holy Spirit fills our life. This is the first thing anyone needs to do if we want to love God and love people the way God is commanding us to. Stage two, this is a fancy theological term, it's called progressive sanctification.
This is the ongoing process of becoming more and more like Jesus as he lives his life in us and through us by way of the Holy Spirit that he's given us.
Let me give an illustration to show you what this progressive sanctification looks like.
I want you to think of the love of God like a father giving his son his own shoes as a free gift. Once the kid once the son receives the shoes, they're his.
Now there is. And he puts them on and they're really big. They're really big. But even though the shoes are big, the shoes are his. Now, all the kid needs to do is just grow into the shoes, get enough nutrition, get enough exercise and enough sleep. And when that's done over and over again, the kid will physically grow into his dad's shoes. God gives us his love, he gives us his huge, enormous love is too big for us, but he gives it to us and we have it the moment that we believe in him.
It's ours now. All we need to do is spend the rest of our lives growing up into it.
Read the word pray, give, serve, sing fast, do these spiritual disciplines over and over and over again and over time, we will spiritually grow up into this great love that God has fully given to us.
And this, by the way, we're going to spend an entire lifetime growing up into the love of God, never having fully reached it and not fully arriving until we see him face to face in heaven, but God's love in us, producing his love through us, love for God and love for others. And as we've seen in this message, a big part of this love is the desire to avoid sin at any cost so that we can enjoy a healthy relationship to God and to others in the fullest in the fullest way possible.
Now, question, is anyone going to do this perfectly? It's a resounding no. We're going to make mistakes as we give ourselves to living a life of love. We're going to sin even when we try avoiding sin. First, John, chapter one, Verse 8 reads like this, The apostle John says, If we say we have no sin as a Christian, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. So what do you and I need to remember when we're inevitably going to make mistakes, what do we need to remember the moment after we make our next mistake?
What do you need to know that will help you keep you from falling into despair when you send. I'm going to give you four quick hitting points that you and I really need to remember when we sin number one, Christian sin doesn't alter your position in Christ sin. This is going to be your next our next film on your outline. But sin does not alter your position in Christ. Sin won't keep a Christian out of eternal life with God. Why not, Will?
Because Jesus paid for all of our sins on the cross. And when we believe the gospel for the first time, we were born again and we became children of God, and that standing as a child of God does not change the moment we make a mistake.
If my daughter sinned against me, she wouldn't stop being my daughter, she will always be my kid. And the same way we won't cease to be a child of God when we goof up, we won't stop being his kid but has children. We do sacrifice intimacy with them, with the father when we choose to sin. It's just not going to affect our position in Christ. No. Two, Christian, you are not exempt from the secondary consequences of sin.
And we listed some of those earlier. We're not immune from sins, consequences. We're forgiven totally.
And we're going to be in heaven for ever. But in this life, you still might get sick or go bankrupt or suffer any other consequence that's tied directly to making sinful choices. We're not exempt, we don't get a force field around ourselves as Christians when we make mistakes. Number three, Christian, when you sin, you need to remember this, please confess and repent as quickly as you can, as quickly as you can. There is an abundance of grace available in Jesus Christ, and the only way we're not going to experience that grace for our sin is if we don't come to him when we mess up.
If you come to him, he's going to lavish forgiveness on you. But if you refuse to come to him, we'll have to prolong this feeling of of shame and guilt and heaviness that are sin brings as long as we refuse to run to him. So, number three, Christian, when you sinned, confess and repent as quickly as you can. Number four, Christian, make every effort to be reconciled to the one that you've sinned against, go to anyone who you've sinned against or with, sinned against you and seek out forgiveness and or reconciliation.
Christian, we forgive those who sin against us. Why? Well, because Jesus ended up leaving the Garden of Gethsemane and he made his way to the cross where he paid for our sins so that he could forgive us.
If we have this forgiveness as a free gift from God, we must give that free gift away to others, whoever asks for it. I'm going to close. Matthew, chapter 26, verse thirty nine, what a verse, huh? When we look at the scene that unfolds in the Garden of Gethsemani, we see a picture of what love really looks like when we understand the love that Jesus has for his father.
And my hope is that no matter where you are on your personal journey of faith right now, my hope and my prayer is that Jesus would draw you closer to himself, closer maybe than you've ever been before, walking with him so that you can experience the life transforming love that God has for you, that you'd experience for yourself in your inner being. But you'd experience in a way, when you give it to God and give it to others, living a life marked by love that's accomplished only by and through the grace of God.
That's my hope for you. You bet your heads and pray with me. Father. I'm going to pray on behalf of my brothers and sisters watching and even any guests or friends, anyone who doesn't know you yet, Lord, as we look at this scene and we picture it, we see you on your face, blood coming out of your pores as your brain anxious, agonizing over the cross because of the great love, the passion that you, Jesus, have for the father.
Lord, work that kind of supernatural out of this world, kind of love, work that in our hearts fill us to overflowing with that kind of love, that kind of love changes everything. So, Lord, do whatever you need to do to produce that in us to fill us. We come to you with all of our sins, Lord, and we throw them at the foot of the cross and say, Lord, here they are, the sum total of them.
Forgive us. All of them wash us clean and come and make your way into us. If you're watching this tonight and you're not a Christian yet, you're doing this for the very first time. I hope and pray. And Christian, if you already have the Lord, you already have the Holy Spirit.
We keep coming to God again and again and again as many times as we stray, as many times as we slip or fall in our journey, in our walk of faith, as many times as we said we come back to the throne of Grace, wash me again today.
Jesus filled me fresh again. Change my heart, change my mind. Here I am tainted and stained and I'm yours. And Lord, work is a conviction in our heart that you will take us every single time. Fill us with this love, mark your church with this love of God and change the world because of this love. I pray all these things, Jesus, in your sweet and your powerful name, Amen.