“The Passion of Christ”

                                                       by Pastor Jess Foglesong

It is the week of Passover, and the Easter weekend approaching.  And as we journey back to the -- in my mind -- the most important event in human history, we wonder ... of the struggles of Jesus, the man -- The Christ.

Let’s take a look at a place called Gethsemane. From Matthew 26: 36-45. Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” …. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed. “My Father , if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done?’’

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were once more heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?” Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

This is the recapitulation of the first Garden scene: the Garden of Eden.  Adam, the first Steward and Rep. of Mankind was tempted and gave in to Satan. Mankind -- humanity -- became lost, and therefore needed another Saviour to take his place. And so when Jesus took his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and told them to watch and wait, while he went to pray … he was again tempted (some say that this was the 4th temptation of Christ). The first 3 were at the beginning of his ministry: 1) The temptation to feed himself; to change stone into bread, during his 40 days and 40 nights without food. 2) The temptation to allow himself to fall to strike the ground, and to be held up by angels, then become famous, to become an Idol. And 3) The temptation to fall down and worship the devil (materialism) and in so doing have control of all the world.

Jesus said to Satan, “Away from me, for it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ Then the devil left him, and the angels came and attended him."

At Gethsemane, again (the 4th time) he was tempted, but he prayed to his Father in Heaven, saying, “if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus makes a decision to allow his soul, his will … to become his Father’s will. His fears of knowing what would come next: his arrest, his condemnation by his own people, his mocking and beating by his captures, his crucifixion and his death. All of these had overwhelmed him, at that point. The temptation -- by Satan -- was that he could just walk away from it all. Blend in to society and become just a man -- not a God-man -- but just a man. Well, he did NOT follow Adam’s footsteps! He was (is) the true (New Adam) Representative of humanity -- of Mankind. His “will” -- his Self -- became his Father’s “Will” …

Jesus went back to awaken his followers (symbolically: people of the world, humanity). He said to them, “… look the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go!" And he put his entire faith and soul into the guiding hands of his Father -- The loving God. He had broken the spell of death; of disobedience; of separation from the Father; of alienation. God at that point -- had found a new Representative, for the human race.

Jesus’ passion was to lead us and show us “The Way” to salvation -- through His Father’s Will; through his Father’s glory and power.

All there was left was to go through what was written in Isaiah: of the One, who would die for all, and who would sit to the right side of The Father -- in Heaven.