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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Garden

Originally scheduled for September 5

Then Jesus *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and *said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He *said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."

(Matthew 26:36-39 NASB)

 

We are often encouraged to pray alone and unheard by anyone but God. Other than public prayer in worship, this is considered the best method for Christians. In this particular instance, however, Christ himself chose three of his apostles to accompany him to listen to his prayers. We might well ask why he did this. Dr. Schofield gives us an interesting answer to this question:

The value of the account of the agony in the Garden is in the evidence it affords that He knew fully what the agony of the cross would mean when His soul was made an offering for sin, (Isa 53:10); in the hiding of the Father's face. Knowing the cost to the utmost, he voluntarily paid it.

Christ knew the agony to come and voluntarily accepted it. We, being sinful human beings, cannot possibly know the extent of this agony. It is beyond any possible experience we have. But we can know that he experienced it.

Christ established in his apostles a memory that night. As communion is a time for us to remember, we might look at what Christ instilled in them.

·        That night was a night of very human agony. There is no thought here of Jesus being God and therefore exempt from fear and pain. He was fully human; he fully experienced the agony.

·        They saw the fear; they also saw the love which triumphed over that fear.

·        From the first days of the church, they knew and preached that this agony brought about salvation which is personal to each and everyone who accepts it.

Communion is a time for prayer; we might learn a good lesson here from Christ’s prayer taken as a model for our own.

·        First, acknowledge the sovereignty of God. You are not bargaining with an equal, but the Lord of the universe. Render the respect deserved.

·        Second, before you make your requests, acknowledge that you will accept God’s will as the answer to your plea. Make it clear that you are obedient to his will.

·        Then, ask the Sovereign God if he would see if it would be possible to grant your request.

The agony of Christ on the cross opened the door for you to bring your requests to the Lord of the universe in heaven. Do so thoughtfully and respectfully, as a sinner boldly approaching the throne of grace.

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