In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus has just finished praying and emerged victorious over the fear and distress that overcame Him as He was pressed by the sins of the world for the oil of His sacrificial Spirit that would be poured out to save mankind from its bondage to iniquity. For even as the crowd led by Judas drew near to arrest Him He might have hidden Himself and escaped as He had many times in the past—before it was His time; cf. Joh 2:4, 7:6,8,30, 8:20. But now His time had arrived, and although He was sorely tempted according to His own will to escape the suffering of the cup that was now before Him, even in this darkest hour, through prayer He subjected His will to that of the Father and entrusted His soul to Him, knowing in faith that in spite of His sufferings, His Father’s greatest good for Him could only come through His obedient faith to the point of death, even death on a cross; Phil 2:8. What does the hour now at hand for Jesus to be delivered up in contrast to the many other times that He escaped remind us about God’s plans that happen right on schedule according to what He has ordained? See Act 2:23, 4:28. Although God had sovereignly orchestrated the perfect timing of these events that composed our salvation, does that mean that the battle that Christ waged in Gethsemane wasn’t real, that He wasn’t really tempted, and He as a man really didn’t have a choice about doing the Father’s will? What does this remind us about the reality of the free will of man, who was created in the image of God, even in the midst of God’s sovereignty, and that he is not a mere puppet whose strings God pulls? Cf. Est 4:14. What do these things also remind us about the spiritual realities of our faith that are mysteriously but firmly anchored in our physical reality?
How does Jesus describe what was happening to Him, twice in as many verses? See Mat 26:45-46, and notice the twofold behold, drawing the attention of His disciples to what was now unfolding; note also the emphasis repeated in Mat 26:48. In what way is betrayal—delivering up a close friend or acquaintance for one’s own benefit or advantage—the ultimate expression of mankind’s sinful and selfish nature? Cf. Job 2:4. What is the exact opposite of such betrayal that was manifested to us by Christ’s example? See Joh 15:13. To whom does a third behold in Mat 26:47 draw attention as the one betraying Jesus? How is Judas described there? Into whose hands does Jesus say Judas was betraying Him? See Mat 26:45. Although the chief priests and elders clearly demonstrated themselves to be sinners to whom Jesus was betrayed by Judas, who were the sinners Jesus was ultimately referring to into whose hands He was betrayed by all these of His own Jewish people and nation? See Gal 2:15, Mat 20:18-19. Why is this significant in the grander scheme of God establishing His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven over all the kingdoms of the world? See Psa 2:1-3 as well as the rest of this important Psalm; cf. Mat 21:33-39.
Until how long before Judas arrived with the mob to arrest Him did Jesus pray? Did He leave time after praying to retire for a short nap or a bite to eat to strengthen himself physically for the ordeal He knew He was about to endure? See Mat 26:45-47, Mar 14:43 and think: how much physical strength does one need to die, but how much spiritual strength is needed? What does this again remind us about where our ultimate source of strength and vitality comes from for victory not only in the spiritual realm, but also in the physical realm as that victory in the spiritual realm is manifested? Cf. Zec 4:6, Mat 26:41. In what way was His devotion to prayer until the very last moment also different from other men when facing death, who for want of some leisurely distraction cut short their prayers so as to one last time enjoy the comforts of the world, whether it be a last meal, a cigarette, or some other pleasure? Have we come to understand, as Jesus did, that our only true and lasting comforts come from God, and not from the world?
Who does Matthew say was accompanying Judas to arrest Jesus? See Mat 26:47. From whom and under whose authority was the large crowd sent out with Judas? See again Mat 26:47. What does Matthew’s description of the mob indicate about the fear that the religious authorities had of a confrontation with Jesus and His followers, as well as their determination to seize Him? Understanding the true nature of Jesus’ strength and victory through nonresistance, was that fear justified? Cf. Mat 26:55. Similarly, if Jesus had wished to escape or resist them, would their arms have been any use to them? In what ways are the fears of those who oppose Jesus today also misplaced, as well as their efforts to silence Him? As His disciples, do we justify the fears of Christ’s enemies by making motions to war after the flesh and brandishing swords of our own? Or do we faithfully represent His true nature as lambs of God who look to the great shepherd of our souls, trusting Him to accomplish His purposes and reward us for our faithfulness? See Rev 12:11.
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The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?