On the night that the Lord Jesus was betrayed, the night before He would go to the cross, he took His disciples and went to the garden of Gethsemane. This was a quiet place on the slopes of the mount of olives just outside of the city of Jerusalem. We are told that the Lord came here many times before to pray. It is here that the Lord Jesus prayed a prayer three times that we will never really understand. It is this prayer that I have been thinking about this Easter time, it tells me what Easter really means.
"Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me." Mark 14 vs 36. The Lord Jesus is asking if there is any other way that God can deal with our sin without the cross. This is amazing. Jesus is God the Son, a member of the trinity, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is eternal and the bible tells us it was Him who created the universe. He knew everything of His earthly life before it happened. His life of thirty-three years was planned before the earth began. The bible tells us the reason He was born was in order to die. Jesus has already said to His disciples several times in Marks gospel that they are going to Jerusalem where He will be killed. And yet now, hours before the journey to Calvary begins, the Lord is asking His Father if there is any other way. Why?
The anticipation of the cross. The anticipation of taking on Himself all of the wrong things I have ever done and that anyone has ever done. Even all of our evil thoughts as the human race. All of our sin. The anticipation of Gods wrath as the Lord took the blame of the sin of the world. This was so great that Jesus was exceedingly sorrowful even to death. This was why he cried out to God in anguish. These are things we could never comprehend. The Lord was in three hours on the cross experience an eternity of hell that we deserve.
What happened next though is even more amazing. Jesus then prayed, "Yet not what I will, but what you will." Knowing that there was no other way the Lord willingly stood up to be betrayed by Judas and be taken by the soldiers. He chose the cross and willingly died there to save us from our sin. He went all the way because He loved us. This is the real meaning of Easter. That Jesus was willing. Now we can be forgiven. Because of His death and His resurrection we no longer have to pay the price for our sin. If we trust in Jesus we will be saved and one day live forever in heaven with Him. Stuart Townend puts it this way in his Gethsemane hymn: "No sin to slight to overlook. No crime to great to carry. All mingled in this poisoned cup. And yet He drank it all. The Saviour drank it all."