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Garden Deliverance

Early on in Jesus’ ministry, his disciples asked: “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). As part of his response, Jesus included these two key elements: (1) “THY WILL be done, as in heaven, so in earth”—11:2, and (2) “Deliver us from EVIL”—11:4. The doing of the will of God and his delivering us from evil were BOTH a vital part of Jesus’ own life, especially in the Garden of Gethsemane under the shadow of the Cross. 

Mark 14:33-41 recounts Jesus’ prayer time with his Father in anticipation of the “cup” he was facing and, if it were possible, that the “cup” might “pass from” him (i.e., be avoided). But Jesus made his petition contingent upon this: “Nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (14:36). 

Jesus was “sore amazed” [awed out of measure] and “very heavy” [depressed, weighed down] in spirit (14:33). He said to Peter, James and John: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful [surrounded on all sides by grief] unto death: tarry ye here, and watch” (14:34). The KJV reads “exceeding sorrowful” to describe the reaction of the disciples at the Last Supper to Jesus' prediction that one of them would betray him (Matthew 26:22). It's the translation of lupeo, a word that describes “distress, uneasiness, sadness.” The word in Mark 14:34 is perilupos, meaning “surrounded on every side by grief, engulfed in grief.” The word was used of grief so extreme as to cause physical death. Jesus was there and, but for the grace of God, might have succumbed.

We know why Jesus was in such as traumatic state: He was about to become SIN FOR US, who knew NO SIN in order that WE (ones for whom he would die) as believers might be made the righteousness of God in him! (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. But in his humanity, he was able to experience an emotional trauma, a sense of dread and grief, he was unable to experience in his pre-incarnate state. This does NOT suggest Jesus was peccable (i.e., could have done, or had the ability to do, something other than the Father's will). He was impeccable. But as a man, he had the capacity to experience all the emotional distress that we might have experienced under the same circumstances and sense the real need for the Father's help in the midst of his sorrow.

The Father delivered Jesus; NOT from the Cross and his “cup” of suffering, but rather from SELF-WILL. After three hours of wrestling in prayer, he returned to his disciples, and said: “It is enough, the hour is come!” (14:41). Translation: “Men, the Father and I have resolved the issue! MY CUP of suffering is unavoidable; HIS WILL shall be done! The time for PRAYING is over; the time for DOING has come.”

I believe at some point during his three-hour prayer time, the Father SET before his Son what would be the JOY he would experience on the other side of the Cross (Hebrews 12:2). The “JOY that was set before him” consisted of the hundreds of millions of souls that would experience redemption through his blood and occupy eternity in heaven with him as 'brethren' and trophies of his grace. 

No man or woman can experience a deliverance greater than deliverance from SELF-WILL. It was SELF-WILL that got Lucifer cast down from heaven. It was SELF-WILL coupled with deception that caused Eve to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When she presented the fruit to Adam, it was SELF-WILL on his part that plunged the entire human race into spiritual darkness and death. It is SELF-WILL that blinds sinners to the Gospel and precludes them from repentance, which is all about sinners coming around to God's way of thinking and doing of the WILL OF GOD by believing on his Son, the Lord Jesus, the ONLY way to the Father. 

The fact that the Father delivered Jesus from self-will and delivered him up to the Cross for us all were no doubt the greatest acts of deliverance in human history. These acts of deliverance were worked out in the Garden of Gethsemane. We believers in Jesus have become the benefactors of his deliverance with a deliverance of our own, and will be a source of eternal joy for the One loved us and gave himself for us!


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