Garden of Gethsemane

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

We were at the Bakers for dinner on Sunday and Dave mentioned that Easter Sunday is the biggest day of the year for churches. Bigger than Christmas Eve or Christmas. I thought back to when we were dragged to church when I was a kid (which was very rare), and then immediately remembered that it was never on Easter. I vividly remember feeling bad for everyone who had to go to Church instead of getting up to hunt for Easter eggs and eat a ton of candy. The true meaning of Easter, duh!

We've been going through the book of Luke for over a year and our pastor, David, has timed it perfectly with Easter. This past week we went through Jesus being mocked, being questioned by the Council, being questioned by Pilate and Herod, and finally - Pilate's decision to cave to the Council's wishes and crucify Him (Luke 22:63 - 23:25). I was on the edge of my seat. I wanted to hear the end of the story! Then I realized "Uh, you have a Bible. Read it yourself." For some reason, I haven't. I kind of want it to be a surprise. I'm seeing the Easter story - easily one of the most important stories of Christianity - for the first time as a Christian myself. It's truly breathtaking. (Maybe I should point out that I know the obvious parts of the story. He's crucified, buried and then rises to Heaven. As I typed that out I realized I clearly don't really even know much of the obvious stuff. Is that even right?)

Over the past year, I've been able to see Jesus in a different light. I'm a big visual person, and I love that David uses visuals every once in awhile at church to really get his point across.

This is a good representation of how I always pictured Jesus. Totally chill, just a scrawny hippie going around talking about peace and stuff. (I actually laughed when I found this picture. I Googled "peaceful Jesus" and this was one of the first to come up. Still laughing.)

In reality, He is so much more. Jesus was and is a warrior ready to fight for us. To go to war for us. Us. Isn't that insane? The same God who spoke the universe into creation fights for US.

At the same time, He also loves us more than we will ever comprehend. He wants us to trust Him, to give 100% of ourselves to Him. To literally take a leap of faith and give him full control.

But I've still always had this vision of him marching into Jerusalem all self-righteous with his chest puffed out, ready to die a martyr on the cross. I didn't understand why people were sad on Good Friday. This is literally what Jesus was put on earth to do, and he knew it from day one. It was all part of the plan. It wasn't a surprise to Him. He dies for our sins (whatever that really means). He goes up to Heaven. Ta da.

Then we went through the Garden of Gethsemane a couple weeks back in church. I was moved to tears. It speaks about how Jesus went into the garden and spoke to God (his dad), saying "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done." They describe Jesus as crying, sweating blood, terrified of the wrath of God he is about to endure. FOR US. It's easy to forget that He was human. He knew what he was about to face, He knew this was his mission... but He was still scared. He didn't want to do it. But he knew it was the only way. It was the only way to save the hearts of all of God's children. Of you and me. The one who never sinned was betrayed, tortured, beaten and died at the cross to save our sinful hearts.

I still haven't finished the story of Easter on my own. I'm am so eager for Sunday. I am so excited to hear the story of Jesus' Resurrection for the first time as a Christian. Sunday is coming, and I cannot wait.

(Side note: I love the way Aiden's bible spells it out. It was a great way for me to digest it. If you're interested in Jesus and/or Christianity, I 100% recommend the Jesus Storybook Bible. It's for kids, but I love reading it because it sums up the big stories of the Bible into easy, short reads. And each story points back to how it relates to Jesus. It's the best, and I steal it from her room to read myself.)

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