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Lent for Everyone: Holy Week, Tuesday (120403)

Lent For Everyone Reading Plan

This is Tuesday of Holy Week. The reading is Matthew 26:36-56, the Garden of Gethsemane. (If you want to listen, scroll to the bottom of that page for the audio links.)

Wright says “This scene in Gethsemane is absolutely central to any proper understanding of who Jesus really was. It’s all too easy for devout Christians to imagine him as a kind of demigod, striding heroically through the world without a care. But certainly Matthew is clear that at this crucial moment Jesus had urgent and agitating business to do with his father. He had come this far; he had told them, again and again, that he would be handed over, tortured and crucified; but now, at the last minute, this knowledge had to make its way down from his scripture-soaked mind into his obedient, praying heart. And it is wonderfully comforting (as the writer to the Hebrews points out) that he had to make this agonizing journey of faith, just as we do.

‘If it’s possible — please make it that I don’t have to drink this cup!’ The ‘cup’ in question, without a doubt, is the ‘cup of God’s wrath’, as in many biblical passages (Isaiah 51.17; Jeremiah 25.15, and elsewhere). Jesus was resolutely determined to understand this fateful moment in the light of the long scriptural narrative that he saw now coming to its climax in his death. But, precisely because of that, he realized in a new and devastating way that he was called to go down into the darkness, deeper than anyone had gone before, the darkness of one who, though he was the very son of God, would drink the cup which symbolized God’s wrath against all that is evil, all that destroys and defaces God’s wonderful world and his image-bearing creatures.

Gethsemane Hymn by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Gethsemane by Jenny Phllips