Going Through The Agony OF Gethsamene

FACING THE AGONY OF GETHSEMANE – PART I

NEVER FEARING – PSALM 23

Go with me to the Mount of Olives.  We join Jesus and His apostles there.  Scripture tells us that this was a favorite place of His.  It is a place of prayer, but tonight it is also a place of fear.

One of my first Bibles had a picture of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.  It was a serene scene.  Jesus was calmly kneeling beside a large rock with His hands folded.  His eyes and face were peacefully gazing toward heaven.

Either the artist was not much of a Bible student or he ignored what he read.

Mathew says Jesus fell to the ground.  Mark tells us Jesus was very sad and troubled, troubled to the point of death.  Luke says Jesus was in agony.  Prostrate on the ground, sweat like great drops of blood, His body rising and falling with sobs – Jesus was experiencing fear.  So much fear that he begs for a change in divine plans.

All of us have been there, haven’t we? We’ve all faced fear.  We’ve prayed this same prayer Jesus prayed.  Perhaps it was when we boarded a plane; maybe it was when a child was rebellious, or it may have been when we learned we had a dread disease or doing surging economic crises.

Friends, listen tome.  If you think you can live a good enough life that you can escape ever going to the Garden of Gethsemane, Satan has fooled you badly.

Scripture tells us that all who live godly lives will suffer.  We will join Jesus in this garden scene – not once – but many times.  Our purpose in this lesson is not to learn how to stay out of the garden.  Rather, our purpose is to learn how to prepare the heart for this experience.

You’re having a great time at the ball park.  The home team is winning.  A friend slides in beside you saying that there has been an accident out on the interstate and your wife and three children have been rushed to two different hospitals.  One has been flown to the burn unit in a nearby state.  Fear.  The heart races.  The cry to God is that He would erase the last five terrible minutes.  But it won’t happen.  It didn’t  for Jesus either.

You hear a strange noise, you see a shadowy figure in the dark, you feel a blow on the head, and you realize that someone has invaded your house in the middle of the night.  There are screams from the children’s bed room, “Daddy, Mother, Daddy, help!” Fear grips your soul.  You wish you could wake up and find it was just a bad dream.  You wish you could wake up and find it was just a bad dream.  But it’s not!!! Not for Jesus.  Not for us.

You set across the desk waiting, waiting.  Will he ever come? Then the door opens and the doctor slowly, deliberately, eases into his chair.  His eyes are solemn.  His greeting causes your heart to pound.  Then he clears his throat and asks, “Did you come alone?” and you know this biopsy report is not good.  Cancer, stage five, six weeks, six months at the most.  Fear!! – fear that makes you sick at your stomach.  The body moves in convulsions that you cannot stop.  Jesus couldn’t; neither can we.

There is no feeling quite like the icy grip of absolute fear! Because, you see, life has no pause button.  There is no erase command.  Life can’t be placed on fast forward.

Those who will live Godly lives will suffer.

So… The question becomes how?…

  • How do we deal with this excess baggage?
  • How can we possibly enjoy the trip?
  • How can we make our heart fit for the journey?

David must have known something we don’t know.  He faced the lion and the bear.  He faced Goliath.  He faced Saul’s army.  He faced the fear of leading Israel.  But he is able to say, “I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4b)

The rest of the lesson is about when fear and faith meet.  Now don’t take this as a promise that all things will work out to our wishes – that God will always deliver us.  But He does give us strength for the journey.

  • God did not deliver Jesus, but He sent angels to minister to Him
  • God did not deliver James from death at the hand of Herod, but He did give him strength to remain faithful.
  • God did not deliver Paul from the thorn in the flesh, but He did give him a measure of grace to endure it.
  • God may not choose to deliver us from our worse fears, but He does promise to be with us and help us.

So, how can we learn to face our fears? How can we emerge victoriously from the “garden of fear”?

Deliverance requires that we face our fears honestly.

Some advise us to just be patient.  One day fear will wear off.  It will just vanish into thin air.

Let me tell you friends: fear isn’t going anywhere on its own.  It will just get worse.  The reason for this is that Satan is behind our fears, and he will not relent until…

  • Our fears destroy us,
  • Until our fears cause us to lose our faith in God, or
  • Until our faith overcomes our fears.

We want to know what is causing our fear.

  • It might be a lack of faith and trust in the power and presence of God in our lives…
  • It might be a chemical imbalance in our bodies…
  • It may be an emotional response to a phobia we have..
  • It might be because we make little or no effort to rid ourselves of our this emotion.

We must know tonight that, like Jonah, we cannot run from our fears.  We must acknowledge them, face them, deal with them honestly.

I read a remarkable story about a Canadian family who were convinced that World War III was looming.  They were terrified! They decided to run away hoping to find some small corner of the world where they would be safe.  So in the spring of 1992 they relocated to a quite little spot on an island chain, an obscure piece of British real estate where nothing was likely to go wrong.  The family relaxed but enjoyed only five days of tranquility before Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and began the Falkland War.

Friends, there is no place to run from our fears.  We must stand and face the truth of the fear.  Only then can we begin to trust in God for help.

Deliverance demands we bring our fears to God.

Presently, I believe fear is like anger.  Fear is not the sin.  It is how we deal with it that has the potential for sin.

Like anger, fear is God-given emotion.  It serves a legitimate purpose in life.  However, if fear is not processed, controlled, and channeled in the right direction, it can lead to sin.

In fact, the bible teaches us there is more than one kind of fear.

One is a fear which is an appreciation, an awe, a reverence.  The Psalmist wrote, “How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways” (Psalm 128:1).  Solomon wrote, “The  conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Acts 2:43 tells us that the success of the early church was because fear came upon every soul.

We are to have a healthy fear of fire, disease, wild animals, storms…

Another fear is the type which paralyzes our hearts, our good intentions, our proper response to life’s situations and circumstances.  This fear cause us, as children of God, to move from a trust and confidence in Him into an area of disobedience.

  • Fear caused Moses to try to excuse himself from accepting God’s commission of delivering Israel.
  • Fear caused the ten spies to bring an evil report of the land of Canaan.
  • Fear caused king Saul to not go up against Goliath and the Philistines.
  • Fear of the Pharisees caused many to reject Jesus.
  • Fear caused the one-talent man to hide his talent.

It is this kind of fear that robs our faith and paralyzes our response to God’s will. Revelation 21:8 tells us that those who fear will be lost forever in the lake of fire.

During the crucial years of World War II, president Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke of this kind of fear when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Jesus took His fears to His Father, and  God sent angels to strengthen Him. Paul took his thorn in the flesh to God, and he gave him grace to overcome.  Listen to Paul:

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness”.    Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness.  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10).

David wrote, “I sought the Lord and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

Folks, we will never be delivered from our fears  until we acknowledge them, confess them, and ask God for His help.

“Be anxious for noting, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to Cod” (Philippians 4:6).

Don’t measure the size of the mountain – take it to the One who can move the mountain.  Don’t go to the sheep – take your problems to the Shepherd of the sheep.  “Don’t tell God how big your storm is, but rather, tell your storm how big your God is”.

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~ by ubcky4 on June 9, 2009.

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