BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS


The epitome of acceptance is demonstrated in Jesus. The Bible teaches us about the God who so completely accepts the reality of fallen Creation that He engages personally in the solution. 


From Jesus we learn that the greatest challenges are invitations to come before God. The monumental moments are not approached with the fatalism of a gambler throwing his last dice, but met face down before the Almighty.

Let us follow Jesus into his most private struggle recorded in the Scripture. This is what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  
Matthew 26:
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”


This is Jesus’ struggle to accept the final responsibility for mankind’s salvation.

When Jesus says his soul is overwhelmed, there is no exaggeration. His sadness is crushing him to the point where he feels that he could drop dead from the weight of the burden. In despair, he brings his friends along to Gethsemane. The garden took its name from the ancient olive trees and the presses used to extract oil from the olives. This is a fitting and symbolic environment for Christ’s anguish.

He is feeling the pressure of being crushed. Like the olive, the fruit of his life is being destroyed to produce something more valuable.

In Luke’s telling of the story we find additional details that show both the severity and the mercy of the moment.

Luke 22:
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

The severity of Christ’s anxiety manifests in bleeding through his sweat. This is the original blood, sweat and tears. At the same time, the mercy of God appears in the form of an angel from heaven. This friend from home comes to his side.


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