Monday, October 26, 2009

Wrestling in the Garden

At our men's group meeting tonight, after some fun at the pool table, our host and leader spoke about the prayers of Jesus at the time before his betrayal and eventually the execution.
During Jesus intense time of prayer he stops as recorded in the gospels, once, twice and then a third time according to Mark.
He speaks to his friends about watching and praying that they not succumb to temptation.
i began to think about some other thoughts, some of them i shared there tonight. This is what i thought about.
He knew what he was about to give himself to, but also he knew that there with him were the men who were going to carry the next events with them and how this was going to change the history of God's intervention with man for all time. Not only was he becoming the sacrificial lamb for the world, not only was he carrying all our sin and guilt with him, not only was he demonstrating the enormous love of the Father to all mankind, but he was to be betrayed by a friend and killed by the very people he had come to demonstrate the love of God to. Who only hours before he had been teaching and healing and casting out the demonic from those who were bound.
He foretold this event in the story of the vineyard and the workers who killed the son of the vineyard owner, speaking of himself and those who had been entrusted with the keys of the kingdom.
Here were a group of people, his friends who knew nothing of what the next hours were going to unfold, and who knew nothing of how they were going to react and run away and even deny knowing him.
These were the same people who would be used by God through Holy Spirit to change the course of history, beginning with a small speck of a nation and for the next few thousand years would impact the entire earth with a radical message of good news through the death of one man for all for all time.
The wisdom and at the same time seemingly foolishness of God to trust men with so phenomenal a task. He had to trust the fickle heartedness of mankind to carry out something so important, that had they known what they were doing and the ramifications... ripples in the stream of time, of what this was going to do in changing the divine order of the religious world as was known at the time. They may have failed completely had they seen the whole picture as was thought out in God's heart for what he was going to accomplish.
These men had a choice to wait it out for the next 50 days, together in a room or go back to what they were doing before and forget about it all. This was their moment of temptation. Do they really believe that Jesus was all and everything he had said, and that there was another encounter to behold in Holy Spirit?
i mean, what did they know of Holy Spirit? Where was there some evidence that this was going to happen and who or what was Jesus talking about?
They could have walked away.
God as a trusting Father allowed his hands to be free from any coercion. There was no mind games, no control, no changing the rules of free will. They could have stopped at any time and the plan of God could have fallen flat.
But it didn't and there was no failure, because God knew what was in the heart of each chosen individual, each as different as they come. He knew they could be entrusted with the greatest event this world has ever seen and will ever know until the return of Jesus in our very near future.
God's choice in creation was easy compared to these next days as he watched his only son walk down a pathway into the arms of hatred. His people, his heart, his passion for life and giving to mankind would be rejected and his heart in Father, Son and Holy Spirit would be broken and all his love thwarted for a time. Until mankind would see what really happened here and turn and repent and be welcomed back.
He still awaits his first love of the Jews to have their eyes and hearts opened.
i cannot speculate on what i might have done during those horrendous next few days to come. i was not there. i was destined for such a time as now. i was chosen to receive his gift of love to me at a specific time in my life. i had a choice to make and i said "yes to Jesus, i will follow you!"
That was over 34 years ago.
i like millions of others have been given a gift of Holy Spirit... the comforter, teacher, the one who directs and leads us into the truth and love of God the Father and glorifies the Son, Jesus of Nazareth.
i like these other men, Jesus original followers, was not coerced, controlled, manipulated, threatened, violated, pushed, nor demanded by religiosity to do what i chose to do. i chose to change my lifestyle and have a relationship with God as my heavenly Father because i wanted to. To be filled with Holy Spirit and have him join with my spirit and to love Jesus was also my choice. To walk in the spirit and be led daily by Holy Spirit, and to love God and others is my choice.
God writes the notes of the symphony, but we decide what we want to play.
He still entrusts life onto the hands and hearts of men.
i choose to trust my hands and heart to him.

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