The Garden, March 10, 2017 – Post 2
All week my mind has been occupied by thoughts of Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane…
I’m not really certain how this idea is meant to play into my blog post for the week, but since this is what God has been laying on my heart, I figure it’s important and meant to be shared. So here’s a look into what God has been revealing to me this week…
I typically don’t give much thought to the agony in the Garden, my focus drawn more towards Christ’s death than the 40 days preceding it. But this week, God has been placing this idea of Jesus’ Agony in the Garden on my heart again and again. And the same question surfaces: why did Jesus have to suffer in the Garden? What was the purpose, and what did it have to do with His later crucifixion? I mean, after all, it was His death that mattered, His death that destroyed sin and offered us eternal life. So why the garden?
I believe (after many days of contemplation, some bouts of confusion, google searches, and bible-flipping) that the answer lies in the writings of Peter, when he says “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross…”
Now, most people are familiar with this idea that God sent His Son in order to destroy sin. But something that I had never really spent time pondering was how this was accomplished. How were the sins of the world, the sins of people past, present, and future, brought to the cross? In the body of Christ. But how did they get into the body of our Savior?
I believe that’s where the agony of the Garden becomes significant. In order to destroy sin, Jesus had to first take on sin, so that in being killed Himself, sin would be killed as well. So, quite literally, during His time in the Garden of Gethsemane, God laid the sins of the entire world onto the shoulders of His Son. Jesus experienced every act of violence committed, as well as the pain that violence caused. He experienced every broken heart over an ended relationship or a lost friendship. He experienced the anguish and despair that comes with losing a loved one. All of the bad things that have happened and will happen as a consequence of sin entering into the world, He bore.
Wow. Maybe now you can understand why this concept has been consuming my thoughts and prayers all week. The idea that one man, over the course of 40 days, bore the pain of all the world on His shoulders makes me sick to my stomach. But because I know that Christ’s acceptance of this agonizing cup is what led to our salvation, I am also filled with gratitude and joy.
Yet, how often do I fail to thank Him, to acknowledge the tremendous gift that was His suffering in the Garden? How often do I experience temptation, sin, pain and simply try to take it all on myself, instead of turning to the One who knows exactly what it is I’m going through?
When talking to a friend this week, she brought up the point that sometimes it’s hard to bring our sins, anxieties, worries, or pains to the Lord because we have this idea that in doing so, we are burdening Him. Maybe the stress you’re experiencing over your upcoming O Chem exam doesn’t seem big and consequential enough to bring to the Lord. Or maybe, when something really awful happens, you feel like you’re the only one who knows what you’re going through, and therefore must go it alone.
The truth, however, is that Christ has experienced it all. Even before we were first met with temptation or overcome with despair, Jesus experienced it in the Garden. When we share our temptation and suffering with Him, regardless of how big or small it may be, we’re not burdening Him, we are simply acknowledging the fact that He suffers too. We can ignore, but we cannot evade the fact that Jesus took on our sin and pain and brought it with Him to the cross.
With His death came the death of our sin.
So when we refuse to bring our sins and pains to the Lord, we are not saving Him from burden, but rather, we hurt Him further, by refusing to acknowledge His role as our Savior. On the contrary, when we bring our struggles and sufferings to the Lord, we console His heart. When we ask Him for comfort and guidance, we ask Him to be our Savior. And nothing delights Him more than being our Savior.
So during this Lenten season, I challenge you to allow Him to share in your suffering. That sin that seemingly controls you, the one that you can’t seem to shake? Bring it to the Lord. He knows what that temptation feels like, and can help you overcome it. The pain you are experiencing because of someone else’s sin? Bring it to the Lord. His heart has been broken also, and He knows how to put the pieces back together.
This Lent, allow Him the joy of being your Savior.
Maddie Zenk is a junior biomedical science major at Colorado State University. She is also a very active member of Ram Catholic. Maddie is on the Student Advisory Board, leads Bible Studies, and helps to evangelize on campus. Ram Catholic is excited to follow her journey this Lent!
“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you.” -Hosea 10:12
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