11 Apr Go Farther
Hello Good People!
It’s hard to believe that Easter is almost here! It seems like yesterday we were celebrating Christmas! 🙂 Hopefully your heart is filled with anticipation for the Easter season as we rejoice in the hope that Jesus provided through the cross and an empty tomb!
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend ten days in the Holy Land. To say that it was life-changing would be a gross understatement. There were so many moments on this trip that impacted me deeply, but probably none more than experiencing Gethsemane. You might recall it was here that Jesus came to pray with His disciples before being betrayed, falsely accused, and nailed to a cross. While at the garden, I had the opportunity to preach the Word and as we approach Holy Week, I wanted to bring you back with me to the garden.
You see, the truth is we all end up in Gethsemane at some point in our lives, whether we travel to the actual site or not. The word Gethsemane means, “Olive (or oil) press”. Every one of us has come or will come to a place where we are so overwhelmed or consumed with what is taking place in our lives that we feel hopeless and alone. Did you know that Jesus felt that way too? We find the story towards the end of chapter 26 in Matthew’s gospel. Look at how the Gethsemane experience begins for Jesus…
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)
It was here that Jesus would have to press through the pain, the hurt, the betrayal and every other emotion He was experiencing in order to fulfill His purpose of bringing hope to the world. It was here that He could have run, which is what we often feel like doing when the pain of our circumstances seems too great. But He didn’t. He could have run, but notice what Matthew says next…
Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)
Did you catch it? He went farther. He could have run, headed for the hills, but He didn’t. He went farther. Side note… An interesting fact I learned about the Garden of Gethsemane is that it sits at the base of what was a known escape route from the city over the Mount of Olives toward the Judean desert. It was the route David took when running from his son Absalom. Jesus would have known this. But instead of running, He went farther and turned to His Father, declaring…”Yet not as I will, but as You will.”
You see, it’s in our Gethsemane moments, that if we really believe that God is bigger than our hurt and that we can trust Him, we will not run, but turn towards the Father by saying, “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Jesus modeled this. Think about it. He was…
All of those were facts of His past, but they weren’t the destiny of His future! His pain in the garden became power in the tomb! He rose! And so can we if we are willing to go farther – if we are willing to press through the pain by turning to the Father. You see, when we come to Gethsemane, there’s a human side of us that wants to simply run. However, because Jesus has already been here and can relate He has shown us how to go farther and press through. Why? Because on the other side of our hardships is a resurrection! It was true for Jesus, and it’s true for us.
When you find yourself in Gethsemane, don’t run. Go farther. Go to your heavenly Father and declare… “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” I hope you have a great weekend and are making plans to join us at a newhope campus near you!
Executive Director of Campus Growth and Development || Garner Campus Pastor