Posted by: bellissimanh | March 17, 2018

Crushed, for me

pressI’ve been reflecting over the past couple of weeks on the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. It does my soul good to spend concentrated time considering what Jesus went through – and why – on my behalf. I know that it’s easy for me to become desensitized with the scenes… Jesus in the garden, Judas’ kiss of betrayal, the disciples scattering, the scene before Pontius Pilate, the scourging… you know the ones. We tell them so often – sing of them, even – that they become as familiar to me as an old sweater and, sadly, I grow as comfortable with them too. I lose sight of the brutality, the true weight of what happened, and that leads me to take it all for granted sometimes. I don’t want that, and so this year I’ve chosen to dive deeply into the truth. One of the tools that has helped me is a selection of readings by Michael Card: “A Violent Grace: Meeting Christ at the Cross” (thank you for the recommendation, Theresa!)

 

Today I was reading about the night Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane, and I was undone. Knowing that Jesus stuck to His routine of retiring to the garden, even though He could just as easily have switched it up to avoid Judas. Picturing Him there, weeping and praying with such intensity His sweat became like drops of blood. Knowing the anguish He experienced as He thought about what it would be like to suffer and be separated from His Father, even for a brief period of time. Jesus may have drunk the cup of God’s wrath on Calvary, but it was here in the solitude of Gethsemane that He made the choice to do it. For you. For me. Seriously… i.can’t.even.

 

Gethsemane literally means “place of crushing.” The garden included an olive press. Card writes, “You can imagine how an olive press works: Beautiful, ripe olives go in; heavy stones apply irresistible pressure; and the precious oil flows out. All that remains in the press is unrecognizable pulp.”

 

I can’t imagine a better illustration for what Christ went through. Physically, mentally, emotionally – He was crushed for me. “But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53:5)

 

In that garden, Jesus said “no” to His own desires, and “yes” to God’s plan. “Not My will, but Yours be done.” Because He made this choice, I have the power to make it too. When you think about it, every temptation we face gets its power from our desire to say yes to ourselves and no to God… but we don’t have to do it alone. “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). I’m beyond grateful.

 

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