"Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever." -Paul

13 April 2006

JCS: Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)

Listen Along!
202 - Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)

I think this might be one of my very favorite songs from the musical. It's a great example of what creativity can do to fill in the gaps, color in the spaces. Luke's gospel records in 22:44 that Jesus was distressed to the point of sweating blood (which, according to the Journal of American Medical Association [I think that's it, I know the abbreviation is JAMA], is actually possible; they did an article on the medical analysis of sweating blood and crucifixion and all that fun stuff). Interestingly, this blood sweating thing is only in Luke's gospel and it's only in later maunscripts, so it might not have actually happened. But, what is good to know, is that Jesus was unsure. He was scared. He was terrified. He was doubting. But, in the end, he knew what was his destiny and why he was doing it. So, he did it.

The lyrics to this song are quite powerful, and at times quite harsh. Sometimes I think the song veers a bit too far into doubt for a God-man, but sometimes I think it's spot on. The one statement where I trip on is this: "God, thy will is hard." Is it? Wasn't it Christ himself who tells us that he will share our burdens and lighten our load, teach us the "unforced rhythms of grace"? It seems an odd statement, but if I was facing execution I might feel the same way.

I know this is weird, but several weeks ago I did have a dream where I was facing execution. I was on my knees in some weird tree house type thing in the jungle and the guy behind me had the AK-47's muzzle pressed up against my skull. I can't remember how I got to that point but at that moment where I could feel the gun against my head, could even envision what the guy was seeing as he looked down the barrell through the sights, I knew I was going to die. No inklings that this was a dream, all I had was the firm suspicion this was it and in a few more moments, I would be dead. Gone. Not living. It's an absolutely terrifying thought when you realize that your next moments are not infinite but coming to a close rather soon. And that's where Jesus was. Granted, he has a much better assurance that the next step will really be there, but he still had to have that human tendency to want to not die, I'm sure.

Where did Christ's possible lack of faith come from? What if it was at this moment in the Garden where things were beginning to wind down towards his death that the gulf between him and the Father would begin to widen. Jesus does seem to have a stubborn defeatedness about him as he's questioned by the Pharisees, Pilate, and Herod at this point. He's resigned, and maybe it's because he's lost his connection with God? This is just speculation, completely speculation, but it makes you wonder about the change in tone we see in these last few chapters. Just my thoughts :)


At 8:03 PM, Blogger Ben George said...

I agree that Jesus has resigned himself during the last part of his life, but I think if anything, after Gethsemane he has more resolve about his predicament. He is driven to accomplish the task.

Now, about the moment of doubt, I definitely feel that this is one of those fully human moments. Not to suggest a personality complex, but Jesus the man experiences temptation, has doubts, and fears death (even while knowing the result). We have to be strong on this point: God did not make it any easier on Jesus. He didn't make it so he wouldn't feel pain or could close his eyes and wish it all away. I think that it is at this point that Jesus has come to the point of no return. He sees that he either goes to the cross or goes home. Even as God, the mortal man side has to feel fear.

As for the "God, thy will is hard" I think that for Jesus to become the Christ was hard. However, His will for us was made easy because of the Christ. The sacrifice on the cross makes our sacrifices easy.


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