The Lord be with you
Back in 2014 I earned my D.Min. degree. My project was a modification of the Stations of the Cross, which we used at my congregation in SC. Since moving to DE, we have used it at our circuit pastoral gatherings twice. At the last gathering I wrote meditations for each station that were well received, so I’ve decided to share them on our blog. I’ll post a station and a meditation each day. May they help us this Lententide as we prepare for Easter.
Description of Station and brief reason the secondary images are included
Station 1 – Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-46; Mk 14:32-42; Lk 22:39-46; Jn 18:1)
a. Jacob wrestles with the “angel” (Genesis 32:22-30)
b. Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:1-7)
Reason – Jacob wrestling with the “angel” at the brook of Jabbok has often been used as a metaphor for “wrestling” in prayer and in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus is “wrestling” in prayer.
When Adam and Eve are tempted in the Garden of Eden their choice was whether to follow their own will or the will of God. They chose to follow their own will. Jesus also struggles with his will (the desire to avoid the cross) and the will of God (the cross). Jesus chooses to follow the will of the Father, thus achieving victory in this area for us.
It seems like the hope of Heaven is implanted in every human heart. However, fallen humanity often misunderstands this inbred yearning and seeks to make heaven over in its own fallen image. So springs up all the utopian philosophies. We can make heaven on earth, we are assured. Such dreams promise a life without struggle; a life where whatever we do or think or say is always approved and desirable.
Such a life means never struggling with the will of God. Why would we? The will of God is always in harmony with our will.
But such is not reality. We see, time and time again, the struggle between human and divine wills in the Bible. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve struggled between their will and God’s will. They chose their own way and plunged humanity into sin. Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord, whom we know better by the title Christ, and our Lord graciously let him prevail. Jesus even bestowed a blessing on Jacob and gave him the new name of Israel. For the moment, at least, Jacob followed God’s will.
Jesus, who was just as much true Man as he was true God, struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane. Doctrinally this certainly helps us understand that Jesus had a true human will as well as his true Divine will. How that works is just one of the mysteries of our Lord we will have to wait until we reach Glory to understand.
What we see is that Jesus, according to his human will, accepted the Divine will. He would face cross and shame so that you and I can enter the true Utopia, eternal life with Jesus and all who truly believe in him as their savior.
The struggle goes on, or at least it should; God’s will or my will.
O Lord Jesus, when we wrestle between Your will and our will, graciously defeat our fallen will and, in so doing, leave behind a blessing so that our new name, “Christian,” may be carried in a fashion that brings you glory. Amen.