Meditations for the Lord’s Table: “The Garden”

This is an exposition of Matthew 26:36-46. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, September 24, 2017.

Intro:

There are many things about the Passion of our Lord that are difficult to look at. The scene of his being mock, spit upon and struck repeatedly in the face; the thought of the scourging and his back ripped to pieces. Finally his being nailed to the cross and publicly exposed to humility and shame.

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It is unthinkable that the eternal Lord of glory should endure such pain and humiliation and for what purpose? To redeem sinful, fallen wicked folks like you and me. But in my own mind there is a more terrifying scene. A scene that unnerves me. It is that scene of our Lord laying prostrate on the ground in a pool of blood crying, “Father if at all possible, let this cup pass from me.”

On the night before our Lord’s greatest triumph, at the threshold of history’s pivotal moment, that moment anticipated by our Lord for all eternity, fear grip his heart. This Jesus who with such command and authority silenced the storm and calmed the sea. This Jesus who, with a word, caused demons to flee. This Jesus who, by his touch, opened the eyes of the blind, comforted the afflicted and even raise the dead. This Jesus who repeatedly silenced his critics with his profound wisdom, who consistently amazed the multitudes with his authority – this Jesus now cried out in terror from a lonely spot in the garden of Gethsemane. Our text this morning is found in the 26th chapter of Matthew.

Text: Matthew 26:36-46

It has been quite an evening. Our Lord met with his disciples in an upper room to celebrate the Passover. As they gathered our Lord assumed the role of servant and washed the feet of his disciples. During the supper he introduced a new memorial meal, one that would look back to the cross. “This is my body given for you. This is my blood poured out for you.” He spoke of betrayal, denial, death and resurrection. After singing a hymn they went out into the night. They walked the familiar path to the Garden of Gethsemane. As they approached the Garden our Lord became strangely silent. As they crossed they Kidron brook he had a strange look in his eye as he stared down at the water now red with the blood of the Passover lambs. Upon reaching the Garden he told his disciples to watch and pray. Taking Peter, James and John a bit further he went on beyond them and threw himself on the ground. Such agony. Such pain. Everything in me wants to look away from this scene. But to do so would be to miss a precious and wonderful revelation.

Thesis: Our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane reveals the majesty and the beauty of our Savior.

This is the heart of Christian worship. Christian worship, I don’t want to lose you on this, is about Christ! It is about the beauty of his character, and the glory of his work on the cross.

Three things are revealed to us in this experience. Three truths that call us to worship and adore our Savior.

  1. Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the absolute horror of the cross.
  2. Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the tender compassion of the Savior for his own.
  3. Our Lord’s experience in the Garden reveals the iron-willed determination of our blessed redeemer.

Conclusion:
Our Lord’s experience in the Garden is a powerful revelation of the majesty and the beauty of our Savior.

It reveals the absolute horror of the cross.
It reveals the tender compassion of the Savior toward his own.
It reveals the iron-willed determination of our blessed redeemer.

This is the One we love.
This is what he has done for us.
This is the essence of the Gospel.