PANDEMIC PRAYERS - hard-pressed 9-4-20
ONCE THE PASSOVER MEAL WAS FINSHED, THE DISCIPLES FOLLOWED JESUS TO GETHSEMANE.
For them, perhaps the wine taken at the meal made them sing lustily the Hallel psalms,and that was probably the reason they all fell asleep in the Garden when Jesus went off to pray......
The word “Gethsemane” comes from two Aramaic words,
Gat-Šmânim, which means “olive oil press.” Olives were placed in a stone press and a huge millstone crushed them into pulp. That first olive oil was called extra virgin olive oil and is clear.
But then the olive pulp was put into cloth bags
and endured two more crushing
using long presses weighted down with stones,
and sometimes a huge press driven by a wooden screw twisted tight.
The olives are crushed three times
until no oil remains in the pulp.
The final crushing of the olive pulp
produces a thick dark oil.
And Jesus prayed three times when he felt crushed in this garden where olives were crushed. “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Lk.22:44
Dr. Luke used a medical word we still use, “thromboi” - thrombosis.
The literal translation is “blood mixed with sweat.”
Jesus was under such agonizing pressure;
His scalp began to ooze bloody sweat. This condition isn’t unique.
A Christian medic commented
“Of medical significance is that Luke mentions Him
as having sweat like blood.
The medical term for this, ‘hematidrosis,’
seen in patients who have experienced extreme stress or shock.
The capillaries around the sweat pores become fragile
and leak blood into the sweat.”
One of the most hated Kings in French history was Charles IX.
He ordered the St. Bartholomew’s massacre in which over 10,000 French Protestants were killed, and many escaped to this country
as Hugenots, seeking refuge from oppression.
The stress from his guilt drove him crazy.
He died at age 23 from hematidrosis.
Blood began to seep through his pores, and he died in agony.
The condition is rare, but most people die of it.
That’s how close to death Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Just as the olives were crushed three times, Jesus returned to pray the same prayer three times.
Each time, He begged God saying,
“Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
That’s the turning point.
He said, “Father, you know what I want. My desire is to take the cup and throw it away. But, Father, I cherish your will more than mine,
so I’ll do what you wish. “
That was the crushing Gethsemane experience of Jesus.
What is our Gethsemane today?
Throughout the world we are crushed by this terrible Coronavirus.
It has a knock-on effect producing other crushings -
Job insecurity, failing business, diminished bank accounts, debt....
What crushing challenge are you facing?
Whatever shape or form your Gethsemane may take,
do what Jesus did…… 1. Pray
2. Give it to God
3.Trust, that together
you can get through.