Leaving the Last Supper, the twelve, Jesus and the remaining eleven, walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, the Christ was reduced to tears and fear. His humanity was once again evident. Why a man? Why this man? Was it really necessary that He die? Is God so demanding? What would be accomplished? To answer these questions, let us step back and quickly look at what has led to this state.

Someone, (Our first ancestors, Adam and Eve), defied the will of God. Using the free will that God had given them, they chose to use it in defiance, as we do, even today.  In so doing they paved the way for a weakened mankind to defy God. This action brought evil, sickness and death into the world. Throughout time this evil, this cancer grew and continues to grow and spread. To restore the balance in the universe, to restore justice, a sacrifice has to be made. What could offset the evil, the hatred, the murder, the lust, the continuing disregard of God and His Goodness, all of which built up over thousands of years? A god must suffer and die. But, then, God would not be God, if he could suffer and die. A man, a God-man, a person so perfect that He knew not sin would have to the sacrificial lamb.  He would have to be the sacrifice. And so, from all eternity we have Jesus designated for the task of saving mankind from itself.

All of this defies logic. It sounds like a fairy tale. But here is where our faith must bridge the gap. A loving, caring God wants man to freely love Him and so gives him free will. That it is possible that man can choose to turn his back on God, and does, is the price of free will. We have been given a gift. How we use it is totally dependent on us.

The sad part of this is that we, all of us, have sinned. Maybe it was a slight disagreement, or a heated argument, or a murderous attack. Maybe it was stealing a nickel, or something of much greater value. Maybe it was a desire, a lust, an adulterous relationship. Small or big, our sins are added onto the heap of mankind’s willful self-serving. Restoration of order in the universe must be accomplished. If it is not restored, if it is ignored, then God could not be perfect, could not be just, could not be God.

So, here we are in Gethsemane, the apostles , asleep, Jesus, afraid and in tears. We gather our clubs and go after this Man. His agony, His scourging, His pain and torture, and ultimately His death will all take place very soon. Which of these things are we responsible for? Surely, my evil was not this huge.  I am not a mass murderer, like Hitler. Mine was just a small, minor transgression. But, Jesus is suffering for ALL mankind. You and I are part of that group. Our transgressions, big and small are part of this trash heap that He is paying the price for. The pain in His muscles, the flesh being torn, the punches, the insults, the mockery, the nailing to the cross, we are responsible for these. And his response to all of this? “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing”. He makes excuses for us.

It is much easier to think of all of this as a fairy tale. It didn’t really happen, so I don’t have to be concerned about it. Let me shove it to the back regions of my mind, where my thoughts rarely go. … But it did happen. We are responsible. For us to make amends we have to honestly look at Jesus and see what He did for us and why. Realize that He did this for us. Our free will must again come into play. We must use it now to recognize our guilt, our complicity in this tragedy. With our free will, Jesus wants us to recognize and admit our guilt, accept His act of Love and freely give our love and concern to the rest of mankind. If we do this, we show our love to Him. We give back to God our love using our free will.

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