“He took Peter, James, and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.” ~Mark 14:33
What happened that night in the olive grove at Gethsemane? What transpired there? Jesus is meeting a tremendous trial, he’s facing a gruesome horror, he’s fighting intense temptation. And he does not do it stoically. He does it biblically. Loudly. With tears and sweat. And honest lament. He lays his body and soul before God in complete honesty and trust and says, “Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.”
Jesus is facing the most severe test of his life. God is handing him the cup and demanding he drink it. Jesus’ physical and spiritual self — his mind and his body, his heart and his soul — none of him wants to do this. He shudders in horror at the mission before him. He dreads all of it. The pain. The torture. The death. Jesus is facing the terrible prospect of crucifixion. His Father is in the process of making him who had no sin to be sin for the world. Jesus is walking through the valley of the shadow of death. And he’s in turmoil.
Jesus wants another way. And he asks for it.
This is a horrible scene.
Jesus crying out to his Father — “Deliver Me!!” — and no dove descends, no voice from heaven says this is my Son. God has already spoken. And the Son must obey.
And he does.
“Not my will, but yours be done.”
Perfect honesty. Total truthfulness. Complete trust. And a beautiful, matchless example of devotion and commitment and obedience to God. The perfect example of understanding God’s will, wrestling with the difficulty of carrying it out, demonstrating to us that asking God about it, even asking him to change it, is not inappropriate. It’s honorable. But through it all, we clearly see Jesus’ commitment to obey.
Jesus overcomes the silence. He fights off the temptation to do what he wants. And through open and honest prayer, he obeys the Father. At Gethsemane, we see both Jesus’ agony and his determination to do God’s will, even if it means his horrible death.
Praise God for the Savior’s love. And for his obedience to our Father’s will.
Early Saturday evening, while moving a water sprinkler in the back yard, I noticed a huge glob of bees congregated on the northeast corner of our house. The blob of bees was about two feet in length and 18-inches wide, probably 20-thousand bees according to the beekeeper I was forced to call.
He told me he would charge me $200 to remove the bees, $300 if they had actually gotten into the walls of the house, and $400 if I spray them or attempt to remove them myself first.
Needless to say, we had bees on the brains at Stanglin Manor Saturday night. So when a June bug flew into the kitchen and buzzed Valerie’s head toward the end of dinner, the terrified screams, I’m sure, set off car alarms in Haltom City.
The beekeeper showed up at 7:30 yesterday morning. It was cold outside so the bees weren’t moving much. They had actually all clumped on top of each other instead of being all spread out the way they were in the evening. He put on his bee suit and used a tricked-out vacuum cleaner to suck them them all quickly and painlessly into a big white box. 15 minutes. Two-hundred dollars.
He says he does about 400 calls a year.
Valerie did the math. Now she wants to be a beekeeper.
What a fantastic morning Saturday at the Eastridge Church in Rockwall. The Four Horsemen met at 7:00 for an hour of prayer in their beautiful worship center (having Mason, Jason’s oldest son, there to pray with us was an unexpected treat!). Seeing Dan on 24 hours of prayer and zero hours of sleep was interesting (actually, it’s not that different from seeing Dan any other time). And, for the first time ever, over-dressing at an event Kevin helped sponsor was a bit unsettling.
Jason and I had the great privilege of sharing breakfast with and then speaking to the men of Eastridge who had just completed a 24-hour period of continuous prayer. What a blessing! I love listening to these men recount the experiences of praying with one another for an hour or more over the needs of the congregation and the community. The unexpected tears. The overwhelming nature of the requests. The burden-bearing. The responsibility. The fellowship. The pouring out of hearts and souls to God. The bonding.
The same thing happened when we did this here at Legacy. And in Marble Falls. And in Mesquite. In fact, the 24 Hours of Prayer was one of the very first things we did as the Four Horsemen following that monumental breakfast at our house in 2001. We pledged to one another that morning to do more for Christ and for his Kingdom. We pledged to do more for the Mesquite congregation and the Mesquite community. We vowed to stop asking the elders for permission, to just start doing the things we knew needed to be done that would shape us all more into the image of Christ. The Second Saturday Servants. Feeding the homeless and hungry in downtown Dallas. The Men’s Advance. We didn’t ask for permission to do any of that. We just organized it and got the whole church to do it.
On Saturday, as we reflected with those men at Eastridge on that life-changing, earth-altering year for us, a year that saw a series of events that facilitated tremendous spiritual growth, Jason pointed out that now he and I both have to ask our elders permission before we do anything.
Parity has entered the world of NCAA tournament brackets at Stanglin Central. And it’s not pretty. Whitney unseated me as undefeated bracket champion in a tie-breaker following the final game last year. This year, Carrie-Anne has unceremoniously taken the crown even before the on-court title is decided. She finished with 72 points. Valerie was next wtih 71. Carley and I tied with 70. Whitney went from first to worst with 63. None of us has Carolina or Michigan State winning the whole thing. So we’re done. Congratulations, C-A.
Speaking of next year………Go Rangers!