The Day of Suffering
Before the day of suffering, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples. Judas Iscariot was already with the wicked group to betray Jesus, and the other eight disciples were of no help. Jesus said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He then went to pray, taking only Peter, James, and John with him (Mark 14:32). You may have believed in Jesus for several decades, but after all those years, if you thought that all 12 disciples went to pray together, that’s a big tragedy. Jesus did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man (John 2:24-25). Jesus taught His disciples for three years, yet their hearts did not head Him; They followed halfheartedly and absentmindedly. When all forces of darkness including the devil were mobilized to attack Jesus in order to ruin God’s plan, the disciples should have been the shield for the Lord; even all 12 disciples wouldn’t have been enough. However, as soon as the eight of them went up, they surrendered to Satan with their hands up. They didn’t pray together at the garden of Gethsemane but only reached the foot of the hill (Matt 26:36). When Jesus said, “Just the three of you come with me,” the eight disciples never realized that these would be Jesus’ last words. After Jesus finished praying, He said to bring the other eight quickly so that He could see their faces one last time before getting arrested.
Although the ability to be victorious was given
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to them, “You, pray for Me here, and you here, and you here.” Jesus’ face suddenly hardened and changed while shaking, shocking the three disciples. Jesus said, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death” (Matt 26:38; Mark 14:34). He asked them, “Please pray for Me.” But the authority of Satan in the air, the old serpent on the ground, and the demons all mobilized to attack the three disciples at Gethsemane. They were afraid that the three disciples would pray for Jesus, so they destroyed them first. The three disciples were people who received special love from Jesus. Jesus took only these disciples when He saved the daughter of the synagogue official (Mark 5:41) and when He went to the Mount of Tabor, the mountain of transfiguration. These three disciples heard the voice of Heaven when the other nine disciples did not. They were able to trust Jesus and receive victory. They were given the ability to endure until the end. But they lost this ability and were humiliated by Satan. Jesus prayed once and came to wake the sleeping disciples. The sound of Him praying a second time was loud enough to burst the eardrums of the three disciples, yet they ended up falling asleep again. Jesus, who came to wake them up the second time, was drenched head to toe, to the point you couldn’t tell if it was from sweat or tears. It was not the image of Jesus from before, and the three disciples were in shock. Jesus said, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
It was the moment when Jesus, who came to the Earth to save mankind as the Word of creation, the Word of salvation, and the Word of eternal life, was not able to have his disciples stand by Him as he earnestly prayed to God alone. God waited 4,000 years for the six hours of Jesus on the cross. This would be the moment when the sins of mankind would be resolved. Satan knocked down the three disciples and attacked Jesus to prevent this moment from happening. It was believed that there would only be death if the body was hung on the cross and the red blood was drained from the body. He did not realize that the Word within the blood is what would save mankind. He did not realize that Jesus would be resurrected. Jesus knelt down with his face fully on the dusty ground and prayed. No matter how urgent our family problems may be, we could kneel, but would not put our faces to the ground. Wouldn’t you worry about getting dirt on your clothes? God came to this Earth and put His face on the ground in place of you. Think about Jesus, who is suffering to death.
God and Jesus were secretly speaking to each other
The meaning of Gethsemane is to press. The soul, heart, and body of Jesus was pressed like sesame seeds being pressed to extract its oil. This was all for you and me. There were many olive trees in Gethsemane and the disciples saw Jesus praying in the midst of the trees. What they heard was so solemn and desperate, as Jesus crouched low in prayer. His hands were clenched in fists, sweat drenching His body, and shed tears as He prayed, crying out in grief. “Father! Is not everything possible with You? Must I bear this cross? Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not by My will, but may Yours be done.” Do you really think Jesus wasn’t aware of God’s will? Ever since the fall of Adam, having no choice but to take responsibility for the sins of mankind, God and Jesus were secretly speaking to each other, without letting Satan know, secretly, from all men. This is written in the Old Testament. God gave the powerful Word of creation, the Word of salvation to save mankind, but the people did not receive the Word nor were they able to bear the word. Thus the Lord spoke in parables, “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” When Jesus was hung on the cross, the blood poured down from His crown of thorns, flowing into His nostrils and suffocating Him. He couldn’t open His eyes. They stabbed a spear to His side. He was beaten hundreds of times and His whole body and both His hands and feet were bruised and covered with blood. Satan was dancing and celebrating when he saw Jesus bleeding on the cross. The wicked were saying, “We were humiliated because of Jesus, but now as He is dead, we can peacefully do our own ministry!” They celebrated having feasts over their houses and exchanged gifts. They loved to see Jesus shedding blood on the cross but never guessed that the Word of God that was hidden in His blood would crush the head of the serpent, overcome the power of death, and save mankind.
Only by receiving the grace may we be able to obey like Jesus
The Bible records of Jesus’ obedience in three places. The first act of obedience is recorded in Romans 5:19. Jesus’ obedience is contrasted with Adam’s disobedience. Adam brought the fall, death, and judgment upon mankind through his disobedience, but Jesus brought salvation, life, and grace to mankind through one obedience. The second act of obedience is recorded in Philippians 2:6-8. Jesus humbled Himself as He completely emptied His heart. When one’s heart is empty, there is no greed. The heavenly food and the heavenly will may remain in us only when our hearts are emptied in our life of faith. The third act is recorded in Hebrews 5:8. Although Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. Obedience cannot be obtained by one’s own will. We consistently have to strive to seek and know the word of God and His will in order to live in the realm of the Word. We must always yearn and long for the Word. Therefore, we must have a friend named “Grace” in our daily lives. Only by grace are we able to acknowledge our sin and repent and receive the Holy Spirit that has been promised. There is no other way to work for the will of God without receiving the Holy Spirit. That is how we achieve obedience. Obedience is the foundation of the kingdom of God (Matt 12:29). God promised to give the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). The devil was pouring all kinds of tests on Jesus so that He would disobey God’s word. Yet, Jesus prayed harder, giving all the best in earnest. How shocked must the three disciples have been when they saw this?
A painful meeting, a tragic reunion
Finally, Judas Iscariot entered the Garden of Gethsemane with the Roman soldiers. Take a look here at the high priest who has tens of thousands of men under his command, coming with Judah to kill the Lord. As the Lord walked towards the front, he heard the sound of clubs and spears. At last, He confronted Judas Iscariot. Jesus and Judah always met in bright places, but on this day they met in the dark night. It was a situation where their faces could not be recognized without lit lamps. At the garden where Jesus and Judas have prayed together dozens of times, they were now standing on opposite sides, as “you alone, me alone.” This was a very lonely meeting, a very painful meeting. Jesus’ eyes were filled with tears as He spoke, “Judah, will you sell me with a kiss?” This was a tragic reunion, a tragic encounter. There was a moment of silence between Jesus and Judah.
The words on the first day of creation and the first saying on the cross
Please listen carefully. The six hours on the cross show the time of creation, the six days, recorded in Genesis 1. God created light on the first day and said, “It is good” (Gen 1:3). The first saying of Jesus on the cross was, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” When Jesus spoke, God said, “It is good to Me.” God, Himself, is love. Please listen to the voice that says, “Judah has sold you and has killed you, but the blood on the cross shed is also for Judah.” Jesus is the atonement, the sacrifice for all of mankind. He spoke seven sayings on the hill of Golgotha as He was nailed on the cross of the cedar tree with over 30 nails, and hung for six hours! The words, “It is good” in Genesis 1 was spoken seven times during the six days of creation! This is truly mysterious. It is a mysterious first and later encounter. God said He is the “Alpha and Omega.” God is the beginning and the end, the moment when the beginning and end meet! No one can know this meaning except for those who pray. I believe that this Word will be understood and abundant grace will be poured out only when we dwell daily upon the seven sayings of the cross. The six hours of the cross is the compression of Jesus’ entire life. This is the moment of the completion of redemptive history. The trash and filth thrown along the river are swept away in heavy rains. The souls killed from testifying the Word of God received evidence from God, but not the promise. However, the six hours Jesus spent on the cross is when we receive the token of His promise. This is the moment when the white robes were handed to the martyred souls (Rev 6:9-11; Heb 11:39-40). How can Satan know this secret?
What if we are told to “Sit and stay here”…
In the courtyard of the high priest, Caiaphas, the high priests, the elders, and officers tortured and interrogated Jesus. Peter was near the fire as the night must have been cold. When he was interrogated for being a disciple of Jesus, he denied and swore, “I do not know Jesus!” At that moment, Jesus turned His head and looked at Peter and their eyes met. This is such a dramatic moment. Then the high priest asked Jesus, “Do your twelve disciples still follow You and have faith in You?” Jesus answered all other questions with dignity, “When I come to judge this land, you will see me coming down on a cloud.” But when this question of His disciples was thrown to Him, He dropped His head. Jesus was going through so much agony, such that it was more painful than being crucified. “We will follow our Lord to the deathbed even if all the others abandon You!” Where were these disciples who made these promises? They all fled, leaving the Lord all alone (Matt 26:56; Mark 14:50). The most concerning part is this part of the Bible. Among the twelve disciples, one went out to betray Jesus, going here and there with the evil group, and the eight out of the remaining eleven disciples were told to “sit here until I pray and come back” at the entrance of Mount Olive. This terrifies me; what if our Pyungkang saints are told, “Sit and stay here, I will take these saints from other churches to pray,” what will happen? As I was sitting at my desk with such worries in my heart, I cried and I prayed for the whole church. I shed many tears of repentance with determination and resolution in my heart. Instead of saying, “You guys sit here and stay,” wouldn’t it be so much better if Jesus said to us, “All of you, pray here for Me!” Satin poured all kinds of test and temptation on the three disciples, who were chosen to pray together, in order to interfere with their prayer. Was the temptation to ruin the will of God just a few? No! The dark forces were pressing hard and corrupting their minds! In the midst of these temptations however, Jesus has put all His thoughts aside, bearing all the suffering and diseases of mankind, and sacrificed His soul as the sin offering. At that moment, God said, “Your days will be long and many seeds will be produced, many will be comforted, and their souls will be comforted by God.” Jesus walked and triumphed to the end.
There is no sin that cannot be forgiven
We must have the heart of Jesus. We must understand His heart. We must live according to God’s will. Crying out, “Lord, Lord,” will not let you enter Heaven. You will be told, “Go away, those who violate the law.” Yet, those who do the work of the Father in Heaven will be saved. Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, “May Your will be done.” The Word, Jesus’ heart, will, and spirit is all contained within this. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. Don’t be discouraged if you sin behind your spouse’s back. Hold tightly onto the Word you received today until the day you go to Heaven. Pray next to the Lord and not at the entrance of Gethsemane. Please all raise your hands and pray. 1 Timothy 2:8 says to raise your holy hands and pray.
1 Timothy 2:8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.
This is a summary of the message, “The Day of Agony,” shown during Passion Week on Thursday, April 14, 2022; This message is a part of the sermon, “The Day of Suffering” which was preached during Passion Week on Friday, April 21, 2000, Rev. Abraham Park.
*This post can also be read in 'Champyungan'. (http://champyungan.com/en/)