In the arms of Christ.
If I could now find myself in the arms of Jesus and His pierced hands gently press my head against His heart, what would I hear?
The pulse of Heaven…
… And I hear it beating… I hear LIFE. And I am trying to sense this heavenly rhythm, to understand the pulse of Heaven – the power of God’s love. And I think I get something. I compare it in a human way, and I’m a little scared that I might be wrong and hurt Jesus, trying to explain His love for me, thinking about motherly love, true friendship, love between a wife and a husband, brotherly and sisterly love, and children’s love for their parents.
But His love transcends all earthly love. I’m sure! For He has protected every parent, friend, spouse, child, brother and sister not to experience what the Son of God experienced – to go through the sins of others, through their pain – physical and spiritual, through their diseases, the cruel struggle with doubt… What about hatred, negativism, impurity, malice, thoughts of revenge and suicide) (the list is endless!)…? He bore all this ugly burden… and did not complain, did not accuse, did not shout insults against the cruel people He saved,… who He wanted to save !!! And to whom He gave a divine power through his sacrifice …
The power of His love
Yes, He has given to parents, friends and husbands, to each one, a big amount from the power of His love. For it is the one who overcomes when we are rejected, neglected, deceived, or betrayed, pierced with poisonous words, and overwhelmed with unjust accusations, but forgiving and still loving, reflecting even His character, sometimes more and other times less…
An inexplicable miracle
The love of Christ in us is a miracle that cannot be explained in human words… ..All people can be compassionate… (I hope…) Their souls are torn sometimes in helplessness how to help and what words of comfort to find when they become part of the agony of those they love.
But they cannot feel what God feels every day, every second! And not the pain of one of His children, not of three or five, and not of one wife or one husband, not of hundreds of people, but of more than 7 billion of them !!!
Someone else`s pain
And I am grateful that we cannot experience the suffering of the others as God feels it! Yes, we can only taste it, but not drink someone else’s cup of pain, because everyone has their own cup! A mother only takes sips from the glasses of her children and her husband, but they are not her glasses!.! And thank God for that!
While Jesus Christ was on earth for 33 years, He had His family and later His disciples and followers around Him. But we read in the Gospels that He was often misunderstood. Yet His contemporaries expected a king, a ruler with power and authority, who would crush Roman oppression, not a King preaching love, forgiveness, and spiritual rebirth.
Despite the crowds gathering around Christ, despite His disciples following Him everywhere, only the Father never betrayed Him. The people, who assured the Divine Master that they loved Him and that they would even die for Him, they betrayed Him and fled in the hour of danger, and one of them even denied Him.
The only request of Christ
Everyone asked Jesus for something – to give them health, to give them counsel, to come to visit them, to give them food, to give them an understanding of God’s law…. Throughout His earthly life, the Savior asked for a just one single friendly favor to their three closest disciples and friends: to stay awake with Him and to support Him with a prayer.
“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”(Matthew 26: 37,38)
The unfulfilled request
And they fell asleep. This happened in Gethsemane, a garden of beautiful olive trees east of Jerusalem. Today, many people know and use the expression “Everyone has their Gethsemane”, ie. – everyone has in their life a time of great bitterness, pain,… of mental and physical agony… Among the trees of that Gethsemane Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and was captured. There He had to experience the horror of loneliness and the weight of the enormous responsibility He had to bear…
That very evening, a few hours before His sentence and execution, He wanted to feel the supportive presence of His friends. But they fell asleep, exhausted from anxiety, fear, and physical fatigue.
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? “ (Matthew 26:39-40)
I emphasized “one hour” because Jesus actually prays three times, 1 hour every time.
“Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. “ (verses 42-44)
The difference between man and God
I can’t help but share that I am very angry with these three gentlemen there. Let’s think together: because they fell asleep, they failed to hear the Savior’s full prayers. Each time, it seems that they just catch the end of His prayers or their beginning. I doubt that Jesus repeated a single sentence in almost one hour! That is why the evangelists have recorded in their gospels only what they have been able to hear. Pity!
But let me not burden them with so much guilt. It is unlikely that if you and I were there with them, we would not be able to sleep.
Here is the difference between a weak sinner and a loving God. He never betrays those for whom He died and will never fall asleep while His children need Him!
In Gethsemane, Jesus gathered our sin and our pain, accumulated over 6,000 years, into a single cup, and then made the only request to Himself: “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
I thank the Father that His Son drank my cup and your cup and the cup of every person who was, who is and who will be born in this world. And what I just have to taste now, He drank it before me! Unbelievable! Do we fully understand it ?! Hardly!
The bitter cup
And the devil thinks that he has defeated, crushed and poisoned us with the cup of misery, pain, self-blame, despair and, of course, the doubt in God’s love. The enemy of Christ would rejoice if we lose hope that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross saves us. He continues to try to convince us that when we sin, God condemns us and we lose the eternal life promised by the Savior to those who believe in Him.
But the bitter cup was drank more than 2,000 years ago in Gethsemane by Someone other than me and you! Jesus saved us by drinking it on the cross, and it is up to us to keep it dry, to live like saved people, or to fill it with sins, hurting our Savior over and over again.
A cup full of grace, mercy and love
The bitter cup is drank! God offers us a cup full of mercy, grace, and love. Everyone is invited to drink from it and become friends with God, to accept Him as their personal Savior, Heavenly Father, and Best Friend.
“Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.” Job 22:21
On whom it depends
And again – It all depends on me and you in the end, right ?! Why talk about a cup when God offers us a whole wellspring of heavenly grace to drink and share with others. I want this wellspring to turn into rivers of living water to flow through me and reach more people !!!
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)
Yes, Jesus’ disciples fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane when their Savior asked them to stay awake with Him, but He did not abandon them, and His example made them tireless apostles of the gospel. They fulfilled His command:
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
I wish no one has to pass through Gethsemane, but the world we live in will not allow it, and we, as the disciples of Jesus, are moving away from the Savior, swirling with worries and problems…
So let’s not forget that:
⦁ when our ears seem to be deaf to His voice
⦁ when our eyes seem blinded to His miracles, intervention and guidance
⦁ when our faith barely flickers
⦁ and when we have fallen into a deep spiritual sleep
God NEVER SLEEPS!
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.”