(April 7, 2020)

Luke 22:44 “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

Read: Luke 22:39-46

From the beginning, we protestants have emphasized theology. The Reformers wanted to teach the Gospel “rightly.” There is much to be commended in this, yet we do well to remember that we can sometimes be so cerebral that we forget Jesus is bigger than our minds. He took on flesh, and so experienced the things that we do. He took it all on, so that He could redeem it all. This includes our emotions. To borrow from Calvin, Jesus was the only one who had “affection unaccompanied by sin.”

In other words, Welcome to Gethsemane.

Referring to the Garden, ponder the church Father Ambrose: “…there is no instance in which I admire more [Jesus’] kindness and his majesty; for he would not have done so much for me, if he had not taken upon him my feelings. He grieved for me, who had no cause of grief for himself; and, laying aside the delights of the eternal Godhead, he experiences the affliction of my weakness. I boldly call it sorrow, because I preach the cross. For he took upon him not the appearance, but the reality, of incarnation. It was therefore necessary that he should experience grief, that he might overcome sorrow, and not shut it out; for the praise of fortitude is not bestowed on those who are rather stupefied than pained by wounds.”

Gethsemane always reminds me how Jesus can meet us in our strong feelings. He Himself underwent such anguish that He sweat was like drops of blood. He gave us emotions. We need not deny them or “shut them out.”

So bring Him your praise, your joy, your love. Bring Him your depression, your anxiety, your anguish. Bring Him your joy and your tears knowing that we do not have to always wearing a smiling façade. For Jesus is big enough to hold them all.

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Father, thank You that our salvation in Jesus Christ is so complete that You ask us to lift up our emotions to You. You invite us to bring before You our full self; for in Christ Jesus, You are redeeming it all.

Today, may we ponder the power of Gethsemane.