Matthew 26; Thoughts on Gethsemane

tampa-bay-016I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

Luke 22:43 says, “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” In His darkest hour his friends let Him down and one even betrayed Him, but Jesus was strengthened by an angel. I believe that we can have every advantage that Jesus had. If our friends let us down God will send us an angel or help us Himself if He needs to. As a matter of fact, check this out from The Great Controversy page 560.  “He [God] would sooner send every angel out of Heaven to protect his people, than leave one soul that trusts in him to be overcome by Satan.”  Imagine it. The Father sent an angel to aid the Son of God but will empty all of heaven of every single angel and send them to our aid in time of need. Why depend on the weak arm of man?

 

When Jesus’ friends let Him down and fell asleep when He needed them the most, instead of holding a grudge He excused their weakness when He said, “the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.”  Matthew 26:41. In His darkest hour He looked to heaven and not to man. He was not disappointed in man because He did not expect anything from man. Since He did not expect too much He was not hurt too much by them and even referred to Judas in Matthew 26:50 as His Friend! By calling Judas His friend it shows us Jesus did not demand much at all from His friends while He gave all of Himself.

 

Mark 14:33 says Jesus became “sore amazed.”  You become amazed when you realize something you did not before. This shows us the true humanity of Jesus and that He was amazed as He experienced something He had never known before-the wrath of God-abandonment. In Gethsemane Jesus was facing more than a six hour pain endurance marathon on the cross. He was facing abandonment. The Desire of Ages brings this home for us on page 753, “Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.”   

 

This Gospel, not the six hour pain endurance marathon gospel, but the gospel of Jesus being willing to say goodbye to life forever to save us shall be preached in all the world before He returns. In Revelation 14 the first angel has the everlasting gospel, not the six hour pain endurance marathon gospel, but the everlasting gospel to give to the whole world! As Seventh-day Adventists lets not let anything distract us from taking this gospel to the world!

 

This gospel will heal lives and mend hearts and change lives for eternity. It already has. Joseph saw this gospel when he told his brothers that he forgave them even though they betrayed him and caused him to suffer because it led to their salvation and the salvation of others! The gospel healed Joseph’s relationship with his brothers when the self sacrificing gospel was manifested in Joseph. Moses saw the goodness and mercy of this gospel and reflected it when he offered to have his name blotted out of the book of life to save others. This gospel was manifested in a thirteen year old Amish girl who during a violent siege of her school asked to be shot first hoping to buy time for the rescue of the others.  Her request was granted. In Revelation 15 this gospel is manifested in a large group who sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. They share the experience of Moses and Jesus in coveting the salvation of others more than they covet their own salvation.

 

Jesus was more than natural when He gave His life for those who let Him down and betrayed Him. He was supernatural. This gospel, not the six hour pain endurance marathon gospel, but this gospel is supernatural. Is it in you? Next time a friend lets you down or even betrays you do more than what comes natural. Do the supernatural. Let Jesus manifest Himself in you just as He was manifested in Joseph, Moses, Marion Fisher the Amish girl, and a whole host of people in Revelation 15.  If you do the supernatural all heaven will be on your side, and if need be every angel will be by your side, and you will heal hearts, mend lives, and change people for all eternity.

 

Your Christian Servant,

William

 

You can find more of my studies and stories at In Light Of The Cross.

Redemption in Romans, Lesson 4

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

In this week’s SS lesson we read, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. “ Romans 3:31

While reading through the Old Testament in my personal devotions I discovered something I had not realized before about when Moses struck the rock. God told him to speak to the rock and water would come out. Instead Moses struck the rock and said must ”we fetch you water”. I always thought that it was a combination of Moses’ anger and pride that got him into trouble. 1. Striking the rock instead of speaking and 2. Saying must “we” fetch instead of God, insinuated Moses was taking credit for the miracle. However, in verse 12 of Numbers 20 I found another clue. God infers that Moses struck the rock because of his unbelief. Maybe Moses did not think speaking would work. What if God does not do His part too? So Moses in striking the rock was doing the work himself in forcing the water out like the last time. Instead of speaking and trusting God, Moses decided to work the entire miracle out on his own.

There are two extremes man has been struggling with ever since sin began. One is that we can produce good works on our own. The other is that since righteousness comes by faith that it is not a real righteousness but rather that God just plays make believe and pretends to make us righteous.

If Moses had obeyed God and believed water would come from the rock just by speaking (notice how believing and obedience go together and you can’t have one without the other) there would have been real water flowing out from the rock. It would not have been make believe water. Likewise when God gives us righteousness by faith, that righteousness is just as real as anything else we get by faith. This idea of make believe righteousness also lead to the erroneous idea that the law is done away with. The law is the character of God which is love. To do away with the law is to do away with love and the character of God. Why would we do that? Psalms 19 says “The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.” Why would God do away with something that is perfect and  a vital part of our conversion?

“But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.  {Desire of Ages 126.1} 

When we confess our sin (That is our part, speaking, just as Moses was to speak) God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God literally forgives and He also literally cleanses us from sin so that we do not have to continue hurting ourselves and others.  By faith, this cleansing from the power of sin is just as real as the water that came gushing from the rock that Moses was to speak to.

In legalism (Which is the works or efforts of the flesh)  or in the gospel, righteousness is the goal. Legalism wants to strike the rock and force that water out ourselves to bring that cleansing from sin. Faith believes if we ask God, He will do His part to make the cleansing water gush into our hearts and souls cleansing us from the guilt and power of sin.

 You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of the Cross.