Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9- The Struggle in the Garden

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

(Maundy Thursday)- Worship 7:00 p.m. Maundy Thursday recognizes Christ's last supper, his commandment to love one another, when he washed the disciples' feet, and his struggle in the garden. This devotion focuses on the latter thought.

41 He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:42-44)

John Calvin: We must be good soldiers, or we cannot be men of faith. Our faith neither can nor should exist without fighting something.” (Sermon on I Timothy 6:12-14 and I Timothy 1:5-7)

Human life is hard. The person of faith will always find that they are in a struggle which exercises their faith. As a butterfly must fight to get out of a chrysalis- or it is too weak to fly, so we must be molded and strengthened by the struggles of life. The cross was Jesus struggle. Part of the struggle was realizing the struggle was coming. Jesus wept tears of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane the night of his arrest. He could foresee the battle, the struggle. He asked for the cup to be taken from him. The struggle Christ had was a foreshadowing of our own struggles. Calvin saw that the fact that the babies were killed in Bethlehem in Jesus’ early years meant that Christ’s whole life would be a struggle with evil. For Calvin, when we are adopted as his children, we are enlisting in his army, and the evil of this world will be forced against us.
I will never forget a young couple who visited my first church. They came three weeks in a row. I visited them, they came one more time and then they quit coming. I followed up. They said that since they started coming to church their dog died, their car died, their roof started leaking, and they said, they just couldn’t take it anymore, so they gave up. Now they believed the devil was after them. My question was, “If you believe the devil is after you for coming to church, why did you stop coming so he could have you?” It is necessary to persevere, but we do this not in our own strength, but in God’s. We live with hope and nothing can take that away- we have to give up ourselves. Do not give up!

Prayer: Lord, you suffered so much, and did not back down. You endured the shame and pain of the cross for us. Help us to follow you with perseverance and grace.

1 comment: