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March 28, 2024

Last night on the Flashpoint program, I shared about a dream sent to me from a friend. In the dream, I was at the U.S. Capitol singing a line from our National Anthem. Those of us on the program found it more than coincidental that a week after this dream, the bridge bearing the name of the anthem’s author was destroyed. (The dream did not mention the bridge.) I will share a post regarding this dream and my overall thoughts concerning it next week. Though the dream is significant, I do not feel it is appropriate to deviate from our posts regarding Christ’s Passion Week in order to address it. Again, we will do so next week. 

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Gethsemane


“Leaving there, He went, as He so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed Him. When they arrived at the place, He said, ‘Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.’” (Luke 22:39 MSG)


“The place” spoken of by Luke was Gethsemane. It had become Christ’s favorite place of prayer; notice the phrase, “as He so often did.” This is how Judas, who had left the Last Supper early, knew where to take the soldiers to find Him. Christ would spend three hours there that night agonizing over the ordeal He was facing. During this time, He would wrestle with His natural, human desire for this cup of suffering to pass from Him: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).


The agony of these three hours was horrific, much worse than most people realize. Luke tells us Christ started this time of prayer on His knees. Matthew adds that He eventually fell on His face in agony. Mark added that He fell repeatedly. In other words, Christ would kneel, then eventually fall on His face. He would rise to His feet again, only to fall once more - first to His knees, then onto His face. At one point, the agony He was experiencing, as well as the knowledge of what was coming, became so intense that the capillaries in His face burst, and blood, mixed with sweat, oozed through the pores of His skin (Luke 22:44). This is a painful medical condition known as hematidrosis. “Doctors don't know exactly what triggers hematidrosis, in part because it's so rare.


They think it could be related to the body's ‘fight or flight’ response… Sometimes, it seems to be caused by extreme distress or fear, such as facing death, torture, or severe ongoing abuse. It's probably where the term ‘sweating blood,’ meaning a great effort, comes from.”(1)


“While the extent of blood loss generally is minimal, hematidrosis also results in the skin becoming extremely tender and fragile.”(2) I believe our redemption was actually beginning at this point when the first drop of Christ’s blood was shed, even before He reached the Cross.


Through a blending of the Gospel accounts, and with more in-depth definitions of the words chosen by Holy Spirit, we can gain a more complete picture of what Jesus truly experienced in the garden. When He “withdrew” from the disciples to pray by Himself (Luke 22:41), Luke uses a stronger word than the other Gospel writers, apospao,  which means “to tear away.”(3) Wuest [New Testament] translates it accordingly, “He tore himself away from them.” Probably more than any time in His life, Christ wanted the comfort of being with friends, yet He knew He would have to face this ordeal alone.


We are told by Matthew and Mark that Yeshua became “sore amazed, exceedingly sorrowful, and very heavy” (Matthew 26.37-38; Mark 14:33-34 KJV). More literal definitions of the Greek words used give us poignant descriptions of what He was feeling: 


  • Sore amazed - ekthambeisthai: “to be exceedingly astonished, either with wonder or fear; to be in the grip of a shuddering horror.”(4)

  • Exceedingly sorrowful - perilupus: “to be very sad, environed or surrounded with deep grief.”(5) 

  • Very heavy - ademonein: “to be troubled and in anguish, to be in a state of great anxiety; used of one who is rendered helpless, disoriented, agitated, and anguished by the threat of an approaching event.”(6) 


Wuest New Testament says Christ was “thoroughly alarmed” (Mark 14:33) and “entered a state of severe mental and emotional struggle to the point of death” (agonia) (Luke 22:44). Though Jesus knew in advance this trauma was coming, the intensity of it was even greater than what He had expected. Based on all of these definitions, the ordeal was alarming to Him, astonishing, disorienting, horrifying. 


Most of us don’t think of Christ as being capable of feeling these types of emotions. Yet, in His humanness, He could and did, allowing Himself to identify with us. Matthew also tells us Jesus was agonizing “to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). The word used demands that this be taken literally. Though death could never have overcome Christ before the time came for Him to “yield up” His spirit, nevertheless, His body was close to death.


Again, I believe our redemption - specifically, taking the emotional wounds, rejections, and sorrows of the entire world upon Himself - began here in the garden of Gethsemane. Isaiah prophesied of Christ:


“He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5 NASB)


Don’t waste a moment of Christ’s suffering for you. Everything He did was redemptive. Every second of suffering and abuse was for you and me, taking our place. Let it bring healing to every part of your soul that may be hurting. Jesus wants you healed from every form of abuse, rejection, betrayal, and loss. He paid for this! Receive it.


After three hours of emotional agony, it was enough. God sent an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). Christ broke through into peace, and His spirit was now in complete control of every emotion. At this point, Judas came with soldiers and betrayed Christ with a kiss (kataphileo)(7). The word reveals that this was more than just the friendly kiss on the cheek (phileo),(8) a common greeting in many countries. The prefix kata(9) strengthens it, implying a stronger affection; perhaps he added a hug, or the kiss on the cheek lingered somewhat. That is why Jesus questioned Judas, “Are you betraying me with this type of affection, Judas?” (Luke 22:48).


Christ then asks the soldiers, “Who are you seeking?” When they told Him, He simply said, “I AM” (John 18:4-5). Jesus did NOT say “I am He,” as most translations state. He spoke His God-name from throughout eternity: “I AM.” And the power of His words, of His name, knocked the soldiers backward onto the ground (verse 6). Christ is, indeed, Almighty God.


At this point, Peter, perhaps emboldened by what happened to the soldiers, pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, a servant of the High Priest. Jesus promptly touched Malchus and performed a creative miracle, healing his ear! (Luke 22:51) The great I AM, indeed! The Healer! The Great Physician! The Creator! And in this time of His suffering, the Savior is seen ministering to His enemies.


At this point, Jesus was led away to be tried, beaten, and crucified. We will look at this tomorrow.


Pray with me:


Father, the agony You must have felt during Christ’s sufferings had to have been immeasurable. The temptation to answer His prayer, “Let this cup pass from Me,” must have been overwhelming. But You knew there was no other way to save us - our sins required a perfect, sinless substitute. You who spared not Your own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall You not also with Him, freely give us all things! (Romans 8:32). Thank You!


And Jesus, words fail us. You, the Prince of Peace, suffered overwhelming mental anguish and emotional trauma for us. You allowed Yourself to feel the pressure until Your capillaries burst and Your skin oozed blood. Through this, You now give us unexplainable peace and unspeakable joy. We worship You today. We exalt You above all others. We love You from the depths of our hearts. May our incense of worship rise before You, bringing the pleasure You so deserve.


As incredible as it sounds, we know we are the reward of Your suffering. Satisfy Your heart even more in this hour - send revival to the earth! Bring a billion souls into Your family in this coming revival. Your Father, who cannot lie, gave You the nations as Your inheritance. No one can take them from You.


Holy Spirit, show the world just how wonderful this God-Man is. Open their eyes to His glory, His selfless love, His humility. Give them dreams about Him that awaken desire - a longing to know Him. Surely, there is no one like Him - give them a taste! Let not the wicked stop this. Ruin their plans, judge their strategies, thwart their efforts…and reveal this glorious Man. 


And in His name, we pray, Amen.


Tomorrow, we will partake of communion together as we remember Good Friday, the day of Christ’s death.


Click on the link below to watch the full video.


 

  1. This is a combined definition from these sources:  Strong, James. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990. Thayer, Joseph Henry. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977. Vine, W.E. The Expanded Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1984. Zodhiates, Spiros, The Complete Word Study Dictionary. Iowa Falls, IA: Word Bible Publishers, 1992.

  2. Ibid

  3. Ibid

  4. Ibid

  5. Ibid

  6. Ibid

  7. Ibid 



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