Choosing Grace

 

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.  And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow,  and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46)

Have you ever stopped and really thought about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane? You can read about Jesus’ prayer time in the Garden in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46 & John 18:1.

I find it interesting that Luke’s account is the only of the 4 gospel accounts that adds the fact that an angel came to give him strength and that he actually physically sweat blood during his prayer time pleading with his Father to remove the cup of the cross from him.  In fact though these verses (Luke 22:43-44) were included in the original Aramaic manuscripts, they were omitted from many Greek texts. Why the Greek translators chose to remove them, I do not know.  Either way, these two verses provide interesting insight into Jesus’s Garden of Gethsemane experience.

I recently went through my own Gethsemane experience.  A tumor had grown in my neck destroying my larynx rendering me permanently hoarse and it was about to suffocate me.  The doctor was so concerned that I could stop breathing and swallowing at any point that he wanted to give me a emergency tracheotomy.

I had been diagnosed with what they thought was laryngeal cancer and for almost 2 years.  With many loved ones around us, we spent 2 years laboring in prayer for a Divine healing.  It was a roller coaster of emotions resulting in utter surrender and trust in the Lord for healing. However, healing the way we wanted wasn’t coming and I found myself facing “a cup” that I desperately wanted to be removed from me.  A full laryngectomy. A total removal of my larynx resulting in my two pipes being separated, a hole created in my neck where I could breathe and unable to talk without a speech aide of some kind.

As I walked through the season of facing “a cup” I didn’t want, I found great peace and surrender in these passages in the gospels. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; Yet not my will, but yours be done.”  The words of Jesus echoed in my own heart ultimately leading me to literally lay myself down on the alter of sacrifice and allow the surgeon to remove the tumor.

As I studied Luke’s account during this garden season, I marveled at the fact that Jesus actually sweat blood during this prayer time. Sweating blood is a phenomenon known as hematidrosis.   It happens when someone is under severe emotional stress or in times of great fear.  It’s extremely rare, but there have been a few recorded cases of it happening both in ancient and modern times.  Doctors explain that when someone undergoes extreme stress or fear the capillaries near their sweat glands expand releasing blood into the glands which causes their sweat the be tinged with blood.  The result is something that looks like bloody sweat on the face.

I have no doubt Jesus knew the severe pain and suffering he would experience during the crucifixion.  It was a brutal and cruel execution method.  But could that alone cause Jesus enough stress to cause the hematidrosis?

As I  meditated on this idea, I just couldn’t help but think that the suffering of the crucifixion in of itself wasn’t enough to cause him to sweat blood.  He told his disciples, “In this world you will have troubles (John 16:33).”  It’s something he called us into.  Paul over and over talks and even boasts about suffering.  It’s part of our human experience. Even though Jesus hadn’t experience suffering that great, he still had experienced in his humanity pain.  So what was it about this “cup” that was so great that the stress of it actually caused his sweat to bleed?

I was left thinking there was another layer to Jesus in the garden.  There had to be more to it than the obvious.

So what caused Jesus to sweat blood?

I think one thing that added to Jesus the extreme stress of Jesus sweating blood was this ability to see time all at once. He sees time like a helicopter and in the garden he was able to see all sin for all time all at once.  This is the only explanation I can give for the amount of emotional pain Jesus felt in the garden that day.

And here’s the kicker.

Despite Jesus’s ability to see all sin for all time all at once, he still chose the cross. 

He surrendered to His Father’s plan and laid his life down for us. Scripture says he rose resolute.  Fully surrendered to God’s plan for redemption.

I’ve met people before who feel they are so far gone into sin and depravity that they could never come to Christ.  My dad, a prison minister, told me a story once of a man he met in prison.  Imagine the character in the movie with the tattoos and scars.  You know. The antagonist who is so bad and has done terrible things we all justify wanting him dead?  This was this guy.  Yet my little father full of the love of Christ, despite of the horrible hideous things he had done, is ministering grace to him.  The man told my dad that he was too bad.  Too evil.  That he had done too many things. Grace couldn’t cover him.

Oh… I wish I had been there.  I would have told him this.

Look, I can’t even imagine the horrible things you’ve done. But Jesus saw them.  He saw every wicked and evil thing you have ever done and he still went to the cross.  He still choose grace.  He rose resolute after sweating blood and went to the cross.  For you.  And he would do it all over again.

I went to a local park with a group of young people to minister and pray for people.  The Lord led my group to this woman. Obviously stoned out of her mind.  We loved on her for a while.  Then her boyfriend came out to find her.  We started talking to him.  He was the same attitude as this guy in prison.  He was too far gone for grace to cover him.

I looked at him and the Lord gave me a word of knowledge over him.  I said, “You know earlier today when you were in your closet doing that thing you thought no one saw?  Well, God saw it.  And he not only saw it today, but he saw it many years ago.  See God can see all of time at once.  And many years ago, when Jesus decided to go to the cross, he saw you in that closet doing that thing you thought no one saw you doing.  And he still chose grace.  He chose to go to the cross for you.  Even seeing every wicked thing you have ever done.  He still chose the cross.  He loves you that much.”

The man looked at me.  I saw something in his eyes.  It was revelation.  Understanding. He got it.  He took the beer that was in his hands and poured it onto the ground and right there, we prayed and he asked Jesus into his heart.

You see, God knows your secrets.  He sees the things that you think no one sees you do.  And he still chose grace.  He still chose the cross.  He loves you that much.

You have a chance now to respond to that grace.  I hope by reading this you will receive the grace God has granted you.  I hope you will receive him.  Forgot the evil and wicked things for a moment and just look into the loving face of Jesus and receive him.

If you don’t know how or if you would like some help receiving Jesus and becoming a Believer and part of “the church”, please contact me with through my blog.  We will help you with resources on your faith journey and point you toward truth.

Copyright © 2020 Dacian Keaton Ministries.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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