Pastor Barry Robinson

Letters to the Camberwell Congregation from Pastor Barry Robinson

March 2008 - Easter

March 2008 - Easter

Easter 2008 Sermons

Dear Church Family,

The night of Jesus’ arrest is one of the most dramatic episodes in the entire Bible. He left the Upper Room and went with His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, where Judas led a band of Roman soldiers and temple guards to arrest Him.

But why a garden?

Well, human history began in a garden (Genesis 2:7-25) as did human sin (Genesis 3). For the redeemed, the whole story will climax in a ‘garden city’ where there will be no more sin (Revelation 21-22:7) and on the cross Jesus said to the thief, ‘…today you will be with me in paradise ’. (Luke 22:43)

But between the garden where man fell and the garden where God reigns, is Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus submitted to the Father’s will.

John informs us that when Jesus went to the garden He crossed the Kidron Valley (John 18:1) and entered Gethsemane . These names are surely significant, for it was a dark night (John 13:30) when the process of crushing the Saviour (Isaiah 53:5) began.

The first Adam rebelled in the Garden of Eden and brought sin and death into the world, but the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) submitted in the garden of Gethsemane and brought life and salvation for all who will believe.

Jesus accepted the costly cup from His Father (John 18:11), symbolic of Jesus taking upon Himself God’s wrath for our sin (Isaiah 51:17, 22). But it was not easy. Luke mentions that Jesus’ ‘…sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.’ (Luke 22:44).

The first Adam sinned in a garden and was condemned to live by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:19). Jesus, the Last Adam, yielded to the will of the Father in a garden (Luke 22:42), conquered Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-21) through the shedding of His blood (Matthew 26:28).

Into this tense moment in the garden comes Judas. It was customary in that day for disciples to greet their teachers with a loving and respectful kiss. And Judas used this custom as a sign to tell the arresting officers who Jesus was (Matthew 26:48-49).

Judas was deceitful; he was a liar just like Satan who entered into him (John 13:27, 8:44) – His kiss was not out of respect (Mark 14:45) but out of betrayal (Luke 22:48).He had lived his life as a pretence, pretending to be somebody he was not. He was not concerned about Jesus or the poor; rather he was a traitor (Luke 6:16) and a thief (John 12:1-8).

Never have the words of Proverbs 27:6 (KJV) been more poignant: ‘…the kisses of an enemy are deceitful’.

But would Jesus’ disciples allow this to pass without a fight? Not if Peter had anything to do with it.

They would have remembered (and misunderstood) Jesus’ words about the sword (Luke 22:35-38), so they asked Him if now was the time to make use of their two swords.

Without waiting for the answer, Peter rushed ahead and attacked a man who turned out to be Malchus, a servant to the high priest (John 18:10, 26-27).

Now why did Peter do this?

Well for one thing it backed up his boastful words in the Upper Room (Luke 22:33) and again on the way to the garden (Matthew 26:30-35).

Peter had been sleeping when he should have been praying, talking when he should have been listening, and boasting when he should have been fearing. Now he was fighting when he should have been surrendering.

Peter made a number of mistakes when he attacked Malchus with his sword:

To begin with, he was fighting the wrong enemy with the wrong weapon. Our enemies are not flesh and blood, and they cannot be defeated with ordinary weapons (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-18). In His wilderness temptations, Jesus defeated Satan with the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11) and that is the weapon we must use (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).

Peter also revealed the wrong attitude and trusted the wrong energy. While Jesus was surrendering, Peter was busy declaring war! And he was depending on the “arm of flesh.”

His whole approach to the situation was not at all Christlike (John 18:36) and stands as a good warning to us today. The lost world may act this way, but it is not the way God’s servants should act (Matthew 12:19; 2 Timothy 2:24).

It is just like Jesus to show grace when others are acting out of malice (Psalms 103:10). He showed grace to Peter by rebuking his presumptuous sin and repairing the damage he had done. He showed grace to Malchus, a lowly slave, by healing his ear, and He showed grace to the whole world by willingly yielding Himself to the mob and going to Calvary.

He did not come to judge but to save (Luke 19:10; John 3:17).

Jesus’ last miracle before the cross was not a big flashy thing that attracted wide attention. It is likely that very few of the men there that night even knew what Peter and Jesus had done.

Jesus could have summoned twelve legions of angels (Matthew 26:53), one legion (6,000 soldiers) for each of His eleven disciples and one for Himself, but He didn’t. Instead of performing some spectacular feat to save Himself, He lovingly healed the ear of an obscure slave and then presented His hands to be bound, in order to save us

As you take time to read through this account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane this Easter, allow the Scripture to ask of you some searching questions.

Each of us must decide how we are to go through life now that we have had a confrontation with Jesus:

  • Will we live our lives only pretending to be a disciple of Jesus, like Judas?
  • Or will we live our lives yielding to the perfect will of God, like Jesus?
  • Will we live our lives fighting to do everything in our strength, like Peter?

For us will it be the kiss, the sword, or the cup?

This Easter let’s determine that it will be the cup.

With love in Jesus' name,

Barry Robinson
Pastor

PS:

Below is the schedule of sermons for the Easter period.

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