The first of our Easter reflections considering Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
For three years, Jesus had conducted his ministry in all kinds of places, among all kinds of people and faced all kinds of situations. Some of the outcomes were spectacular and the adulation from many of those with whom he had come into contact was amazing. He had also had his share of doubters and those who outright opposed him. In all of this time, he had around him those whom he had chosen and who had shared in every aspect of his ministry.
But there are some things – even crises, that have to be faced alone.
Jesus had just celebrated the Passover with his disciples and had prepared them for the darkness that was to come. He spoke of his betrayal and had to face the empty affirmation and bravado of loyalty from Peter, the rock.
But it was time to be alone, it was time to face the reality of his mission and ministry.
In a garden called Gethsemane he went off alone to be with his Father and he asked his disciples to watch for him. He shared with them his sense of vulnerability and the weight of all that he knew was before him. But they proved fickle. He truly was alone.
He prayed, three times asking his Father that if there were any other way to bring about his Father’s plan of redemption for the world, that He put it in place. Was it doubt? Was it fear? Was it second thoughts? It was a crisis but in the end his heart was to submit to the will of his Father. He knew that despite all that was before him, he was loved by his Father and he trusted Him. This is not about me, it is about You, Father and I will do all that you have laid before me. I will obey Your will and carry out Your purpose – whatever the personal cost – even the cross!
So many of those with whom we work around Asia have offered themselves to God in this self–sacrificing way. They know about the hardship of being followers of Jesus but the price they may be called to pay to share his name and his truth with others can be very high including the prospect of death, and yet, they are willing to face that prospect. They are willing to pay the ultimate price. Why? Because they know the price that Jesus paid for them. They know that they are loved by God and are willing to trust Him. They have surrendered themselves to the will of God.
The Apostle Paul writing to the Roman church reminded them, and us, that the call of God is to offer our whole selves to Him as living sacrifices because this pleases God and enables us not only to embrace His will but to see that His will is good, pleasing and perfect. From the crisis comes the purpose and the blessing.
Have you offered your whole self to God? Have you faced that crisis? Are you willing to serve Him wherever and in whatever sphere He calls you to?
This Easter, you could help provide a motorbike to an evangelist with the ‘On Your Bike!’ appeal. Click below to find out more.