Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jesus: a human in the garden

When we think of Jesus, we often tend to think of His devine attributes and not his human ones. The garden of gethsemene is one place where we see Jesus humanness. He took three of his best friends with him and then went off alone to confront His own humanness in the face of His divine mission.

1. OVERWHEMLED. "...if there be any way, let this cup pass from me..." Jesus was overwhelmed by what He knew was coming, and He, very humanly, wanted to avoid it if possible. How many times have you felt absolutely overwhelmed by life or by a task you must complete? Jesus understands because He too, has felt that way. Fortunately for us, He was willing to do God's will in spite of His own human feelings.

2. LONELINESS. Another human emotion Jesus felt in the garden was loneliness. He knew He had to walk this path alone; no one else could do it for Him; no one else could do it with Him. It was for Him alone to face, and He must have felt a loneliness more intense than anything we have felt. Jesus understands our loneliness and our need for a "Jesus with skin on" when we go through hard times. He kept His friends close, but in the end, He had to do this alone.

3. ABANDONMENT. Jesus asked His friends to sit in vigil and pray with Him and for Him as He faced His biggest earthly challenge. All He asked for was prayer. But His friends, twice, fell asleep at the post. Have you ever told someone you would pray for them and then forgotten in life's busyness or fallen asleep on the job? Jesus understands our feelings of abandonment and the anguish of when friends don't come through: He experienced it.

There are many more examples of times when Jesus felt his humanness and faced these three emotions, but the intensity of the time in the garden and the knowledge of what was to come bring it home in a way we can understand. Jesus didn't have a sin nature, but He sure did have a human body. Unless we understand His humanness, we won't really be able to understand how he has suffered everything we have and survived to thrive.

Yes, Jesus was devine, but, thank God, He was also very much human, and He knows my distresses and fears. When I turn to Him, I don't turn to someone who has no clue, I turn to the one who has the only clue: Jesus.

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