An Easter Thought

An Easter Thought

By Allen White 

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “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.” Matthew 26:36-38

Jesus consented to His mission long before He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. As God, He knew that there was no other way to redeem anyone except that He would lay down His life.

One of the mysteries of faith is that Jesus is fully God and fully man. This is not a 50/50 equation. He is 100 percent God and 100 percent man. That is difficult to wrap our minds around, but that’s okay.

As His crucifixion neared, Jesus went to the Gethsemane to pray and to work through some intense feelings. One might think that the Son of Man who so brashly proclaimed His divinity to the religious leaders would approach His death with more of a “git ur done” attitude. But, Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow.

As a man, Jesus had never experienced death, especially a death accompanied by such torture and humiliation. Anyone who can sit through the scenes in the movie, The Passion of the Christ, without falling apart, must have a heart of stone. The agony is overwhelming. Jesus knew what was coming.

As God, Jesus faced taking on “the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). This may have brought more anguish than the prospect of physical pain. Jesus had never been separated from the Father, not even in a small degree. Now, the Holy One, who had always been set apart from evil, would take on all of it and face separation from the Father.

The driving aspect of Jesus’ sorrow was over the lostness of people. He viewed us as “harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Jesus knew that there was no other way for us to be reconciled with God. We certainly couldn’t save ourselves.

At Gethsemane, Jesus proves many things to us. He gives us the most extreme example of fully surrendering ourselves to God. Jesus doesn’t present obedience to the Father as the path to a problem-free life. He shows us that there is something better than a life devoid of troubles; namely, a blessed life.

Jesus expressed that real men experience real emotions. It’s okay to be overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel sorrowful. It’s okay to take those things to the Father.

Jesus showed us how important we are to Him. At great personal sacrifice, He died for our sins. “God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son…” (John 3:16).

Where do these words intersect with your life today? What are you feeling deeply that you need to lay before God? What are you struggling with that you need might need to surrender to Him?

Most Read Posts for August 2011

These are the Most Read Posts for allenwhite.org in August 2011:

By Allen White

1. How Do You Know When God is Speaking to You? 

2. Are You Discipling Your Online Followers? 

3. Why Bother? (Smallgroups.com article)

4. The Power and Potential of Small Groups By Brett Eastman

5. How Can I Get My Group to Share at a Deeper Level? 

6. How to Beat Small-Group Burnout 

7. Is Pornography Adultery? 

8. Is Worship in Small Groups Even Possible? 

9. Connecting the Last 30 Percent: Engaging Introverts (3-Part Series)

10. How Do We Balance Developing Relationships and Completing Lessons in a Group?  

Top 10 Posts of 2011 So Far

Here are the Top 10 posts on allenwhite.org for 2011:

1. Are You Discipling Your Online Followers? 

2. Who Should Choose Our Next Small Group Study? 

3. Is Pornography Adultery? 

4. Rethink Summer 

5. $10 Can Change a Life in India

6. How Do I Get My Group to Do Their Homework? 

7. Very Cool Donation to Water of Life 

8. How Do I Deal with Group Members who Gossip? 

9. Small Group One on One 

10. Turning Wine into Grape Juice 

Top 1o Small Group Leader Posts of All Time on Upstate Groups

Living a Balanced Life Week 1 Day 1

Luke 2:52

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (NIV)

Over the next few weeks, we are going to focus on the four key areas that were the most important in Jesus’ development: our relationship with God, our relationship with other people, our physical health, and our capacity for gaining wisdom. Now these weren’t just four random categories that Luke records about Jesus’ maturity. In the Old Testament, we read that “the young Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man” (1 Samuel 2:26). The balance between our body, soul and spirit is significant.

Our physical health impacts our emotional health. As I am writing these words, I am experiencing the fatigue of having lost sleep because of an emergency trip to the veterinarian last night with our cat. Then, I lost more sleep, because I had to pick up the cat early this morning from the “ER” vet and deliver him to the regular vet. With the help of sugar and caffeine, which are incidentally poor substitutes for sleep, I am making it through the day. But, I’m not feeling great physically or emotionally. So, I’m not evaluating my job performance or anyone else’s today. I’m doing my best to avoid taking on the cares of the world today. Tomorrow will be better, because my body will be better rested.

Sometimes we make a mistake in thinking that our spiritual relationship will “bail out” what lacks in other areas. “I’m tired, Lord, give me strength.” “My marriage is strained. Lord, heal my spouse.” “I made bad decisions. Lord, change my circumstances.”

This is why our spiritual growth has to be multidimensional. If we’re tired, we need to go to bed earlier. If we’re struggling in a relationship, we need to get some help in finding favor with that person. If we’ve faced the same circumstances again and again, we need to reflect, consult with others, and become wiser. And, yes, God is always there for us.

As we begin this new study, what is your greatest area of need? Physical health? Growing close to God? Relationships with others? Gaining wisdom? Ask God, right now, to help you see clearly what you should focus on in the next six weeks.

Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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