Night Before Day

Tomorrow is what some have called “Maundy Thursday.”  It’s the day that commemorates Jesus’ last supper with the disciples and His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before his arrest.  This morning, my wife brought me a book by Tim Keller and said, “You need to read this chapter.  Today.”  And in true fashion, Keller brought out something we tend to breeze past on our way to Easter.

We think about the Garden of Gethsemane and we remember several details:  Jesus prayed intensely, the disciples fell asleep repeatedly, and they were all shaken to attention when the crowd came to arrest Jesus.  The praying of Jesus, however, carries little detail for most of us.  “Let this cup pass, yet not my will, but yours be done.”  Keller played with that intensely.  Jesus wasn’t just facing death as so many martyrs have faced since.  His death was unique.  In the garden, Jesus would see the reality of Hell in all its fury, not for himself, but for all of humankind, and He would experience the judicial punishment for ALL sin, ALL at once, ALL on Himself.  He would face it so WE would NOT.  That’s what makes His death different.  That’s what makes His experience on the cross so torturous.  That’s what makes those days so holy.  They are His extreme expression of love for us so powerful.

We want to rush past this to get to Resurrection Sunday.  Don’t.  We typically don’t recognize the price that’s paid for us to experience something good.  None of us understood what our parents did, all that soldiers have faced, and certainly not what Jesus faced.  So, for His sake, linger in the Garden over these next few days.  Let the gravity of His love sink in.  THAT’s why Resurrection Sunday is a day for joy!  Jesus finished his rescue mission and we who have put our trust in Him have this incredible inheritance that HE deserved and gave to us.

We love the daylight, but we face the night before we see the sun peek over the horizon.  Before you jump to Easter, take a prayerful look into the Garden of Gethsemane.  It will intensify your joy over the resurrection.

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