Saturday, April 11, 2009

Random Musings on Easter

I have been mulling over the Easter story lately. Of course, the season brings it out, and I cannot help thinking deeper than just the storybook, "He died on the cross to save us from our sins and then he rose again" thing. I think we all know the basics of the Easter story, but I frequently find myself in awe of some of the most minute details. The ones we often pass over, but are so incredibly important.

Bear with me here, I am feeling a bit ramble-ish tonight.

The garden of Gethsemane is my pondering today. Six little verses, often skipped over, but telling a deep story in themselves. Mark 14:32-38 says:

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to the disciples, "sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will but what you will."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Jesus was man, and Jesus was God. I know that I get caught up in the idea that Jesus was God, and only attribute the "man" part to the fact that he lived in a human body. But that is not true.

Have you ever dreaded something? Not just, "I really don't want to go to the dentist," but really dreaded something? I remember being in eighth grade, and lying to a teacher. It became apparent that I needed to confess the truth, and I knew that the truth would make a lot of people disappointed in me. I felt heavy in my stomach, and dread filled my soul until nothing else could get in. The weight of it pulled me down so that I could not stand straight, and I felt that my face even sagged under the weight of it all. That was pure dread. But I cannot imagine the dread that filled Jesus that night. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," is a very deep dread. He knew it was coming. He knew he was going to die. And he knew it was going to be excruciating.

Jesus goes off by himself to pray. He prays to God the Father, and I picture Jesus and God having some pretty deep conversations. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will but what you will." Now, Jesus knows the prophecies, He has stated them to his disciples. He knows he is the one to die, yet He still begs God for another plan. Why would He do that?

Because he was only human.

Think about it. If you were facing certain, horrendous, painful death complete with mocking, ridicule, and betrayal and abandonment by your closest friends, wouldn't you be waving your little white flag and asking for plan B?

"Yet not what I will but what you will."

He knew that He was going to die. He knew that he didn't want to. He knew that it was going to be the most painful death known to humankind. But He also knew that God's plan was the best, and that God knew what He was doing. He was willing to trust God with his life, even knowing the horrible outcome ahead of time.

He must have been so tortured that night, knowing what was coming, and wanting with everything in him for the answer to be something different. He said his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. And we know Jesus does not exaggerate. That was torturous for him. But what did He do, when His soul was sorrowed? He got down on His knees, and turned to his Father. And we can too.

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

This part really bugs me. You are the followers of Jesus! You are His chosen ones, out of everyone in the history of the world, He put you on earth at this time, and chose you to follow Him, and you fell asleep?!? Chronologically, this happened just after the Last Supper, when Jesus predicted that Simon Peter would betray Him three times. If I were Simon Peter, I would have to say that I would be trying to prove Jesus wrong. I would be very attentive and aware. If I were told by Jesus that I would deny Him three times before the rooster crows, I would certainly not fall asleep on the job after Jesus told me to keep watch, since His soul was troubled to the point of death. Seriously. The book of Mark says that He went away once more, and returned and found them sleeping again. Really? After being reprimanded by Jesus, you will do it again? What idiots! Stupid morons, and they are Jesus' chosen ones?

But suddenly it hit me. How often do I do that very same thing? I was so tortured after having to confess my lie, but have I told the truth every time in the years that have passed that event? No. I have done it again. I am the stupid moron. I have learned lessons the hard way, and then had to learn them again. I make mistakes, and sometimes repeat those same mistakes every day. Why can't I learn the lesson only once and be done?

How many times has God told me, "watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." I don't think I can even keep track. Why don't I listen?

I wish there were an easy answer to this one, but I really don't know. I do know that the closer you walk with God, the less chance you have of "forgetting" His teachings.

I have always pictured a large room. In one corner is God, and in the other is Satan. In Satan's corner is everything that Satan promotes. Riches, pride, fame, power, alcohol, grudges, spitefulness, anger, deceit, every kind of sin, they all belong to Satan. In God's corner are the fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. If you turn and face Satan, you cannot fully face God. If you turn your back to Him, it is easy to ignore His voice. Turning towards Him involves turning your back on Satan and all he is involved with. You cannot turn towards God and also turn towards money, or lust, or anything else that is Satan's. Every time you sin, you turn your back on God, and it is harder to hear His voice. I need to find the areas of my life where I an hanging on to sins, and that are keeping me away from fully facing God.

This Easter I am, as always, very grateful and humbled by what Jesus did for me. I am going to try and keep my face to God, and not be as much of a stupid moron. And I know God is waiting, just itching to hold me and help me, because I am one of His chosen ones, too. He loves me and he wants the best for me, and He will never turn His back on me, no matter how often I turn my back on Him and ignore His voice.

Have a happy Easter. He is Risen!


Carmen O. said...

A wonderful post, Tiff. Very thought-provoking and palpable.

Snow Mommy said...

Amen Sister!

Tracie said...

Without a doubt, this has got be the absolute very best post you have ever done on your blog!!!

Thank you for taking the time to put something here that is so worth reading, and that at the same time also gives more insight into just the type of Christian you are as well.

You have definitely put a lot of thought into this, and hopefully as many others read it, they too will begin to give more thought to the significance of Easter, and just how amazing Jesus really is!!! :-)



Paging Doctor Mommy said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

This is AWESOME - and I'm putting a link from mine to yours as it's really good!
You need to remember that the main reason that Jesus didn't want to go to the cross was that he'd NEVER experienced sin and he had to carry the sin of the world. And another gospel says, he sweat great drops of blood ... some have said that He was under such GREAT stress - and along the forehead the blood of the forehead breaks and it mixes with the sweat! THAT'S stress!
Another place in the Bible it says that 'you have NOT struggled against sin to the point of DEATH' - I remind meself of that sometimes when I'm whining - which is DAILY!
God bless you and read or listen to His Word daily as it will bring Him to your mind. I know you are busy with your 4 children. ;) Or praise music.

Love my babes said...

Hallelujah! That is a great reminder. I will have to figure out how to post a link on mine as well. Very true. I was listening to a sermon on how heavy the crosses were and it was heart wretching to think that Jesus Christ loved us that much to take all that on knowing what a painful death it would be. I am eternally thankful that He did do that for me and all mankind. Thanks so much for the beautiful reminder:o)