It is impossible for humans to fully grasp the truth of Gethsemane and Calvary. One can intellectually relate to Christ’s suffering in the Garden and on the Cross from an historical perspective or one may experience their spiritual impact as a new creation in Christ. The gap between the intellectual and the spiritual cannot be bridged by mere mortals. You can know about Gethsemane and Calvary or you can feel their impact.
Gethsemane and Calvary – Incomparable
Unbelievers scoff at the importance of Christ’s crucifixion because they have no frame of reference for comparison.
Throughout the centuries there have been men and women martyred for their faith in unspeakable ways. Each of these faithful were tortured unto death as was Jesus. His death was a human death, but that is where the similarity ends.
“We can never fathom the agony in Gethsemane, but at least we need not misunderstand it. It is the agony of God and Man in one, face to face with sin. We know nothing about Gethsemane in personal experience. Gethsemane and Calvary stand for something unique; they are the gateway into Life for us.” – Oswald Chambers
There are two distinct differences between the death of Jesus Christ and the death of a martyr. The first is simple enough; Jesus was not martyred. Jesus was born into the world from outside of the world for one purpose – to die and rise again.
The second difference is unknowable except in the spiritual sense. What happened between the moment Jesus “gave up his spirit” and Easter morning? No one knows, nor is it possible to know in an intellectual sense. The simplest explanation is that Jesus was separated from God. Only a human spirit made new by the Holy Spirit can know in any way what being separated from God means.
This is Holy Week. As you prepare for Good Friday and Easter, please consider this message from Oswald Chambers.
Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken.
The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it.
The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience.
When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.
The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened – but the crash is on the heart of God.
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