Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Agony in the Garden (2)

The Agony in the Garden (2)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, while the disciples slept, Our Lord prayed to His Father: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.” Then after this prayer, and checking on the disciples, He said “If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!”

For you or I the agony in the garden would be easy to understand. If suddenly you realised that you were going to be betrayed by your friend, taken away, mocked, spat upon, beaten to a pulp, dragged through the hideous streets to your death with your skin hanging from your bones and your blood congealing in the scorching heat while people laughed at you, and threw stones at you, then you would be in agony. And if you could see your mother over there, behind that crowd, her heart breaking, her soul being crushed by aching love and screaming horror; if you knew that all that was about to happen to you, then would you not fall to your knees and plead - no, not plead, but beg - that you did not have to go through it? For us, then, the agony in the garden would be fear of pain, fear of humiliation, fear of failure, fear of death. Yes, we can understand it well enough, if it had been you or I in that garden.

But it was not you or I, it was Our Lord, and it was His agony. All of those fears I have just described must have been there in the background (Our Saviour is fully man as well as fully God) but I guess that they were held in check, held at arms length by His divinity. So perhaps God’s agony was not so much that He knew what was going to happen, but rather that He knew that it had to be this way. That this was what His creation, His beloved creation, was going to do to Him. These men and women, who He had made, and who He loved with all His heart and soul, who He had walked among, ate with, laughed with, cried over. These men and women were going to do all of these things to Him. Indeed that these men and women would do these things to anyone.

Perhaps the agony in the garden in part was the final realisation of the depravity of human beings, baying for His blood like dogs. His blood which He still poured out for them, despite everything. His agony would not be the same as ours, for we would fear for ourselves. The agony of Our Lord would be that we would do these things to Him.

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