Are you like me in that you wait until the last minute to refill or recharge things? Whether it’s the gas tank of your car or the batteries on your cell phone, iPad or laptop. I always seem to wait until the very end to refill/recharge. How about you? Are you that way too? Or, are you more like my wife who never lets her gas tank get below a quarter and rarely ever lets it get below half before she refills it.
Obviously, she hardly ever runs out of power and never runs out of gas. Me on the other hand, I have done both on numerous occasions, and some of them have turned out to be accidental, but nonetheless scary. If you ever want to see Tina get animated just ask her about that one time in Kansas City when Zac was only a few months old. But hey, that wasn’t really my fault, not that it matters all that much. It might have helped to know that the gas gauge on my uncle’s old Chrysler was broken before we headed out at night in the dead of winter driving down junkyard lane!
Okay, maybe I’m the only one in our class who pushes things to the limit before stopping to refuel, but I suspect I’m not alone. Something tells me that more than one or two of you have experienced the bucking and snorting feeling of an engine starving for fuel, or perhaps that sudden and frightening black screen staring back at you at exactly the wrong moment. Anyone else out there care to admit it? Who wants to slow down long enough to rest and recharge? Who has time for that? “Times a wastin,” as my Grandad used to say.
Well if you’ve ever experienced either of those events then you know what happens immediately afterward. Nothing! It doesn’t matter what your intentions were, it doesn’t matter how much work you have left to do, it doesn’t matter how many miles you have left to travel. When the energy is gone, it’s gone, and it takes special, focused, intentional effort to replenish it. Or someone to come to your aid, as was the case on that snowy, freezing night in KC so many years ago. Or both as in the case of our focal passage this week.
In our study this week, Jesus and the apostles adjourn from the Last Supper and head up to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. If you recall from our discussions last week, Jesus is more than a bit frustrated with the denseness of his disciples. There is still much work to be done, they still don’t get it. They were arguing over greatness while He was telling them about His impending death! Talk about missing the point and needing remedial attention.
But unfortunately for them, time is up, the hour is approaching rapidly. And that is taking a huge emotional and physical toll on Jesus. They looked to Him as their undisputed leader, their mentor, their guide, the Lord and very soon to be their Savior. But, they’re not ready yet. They need more teaching, coaching, and training. Oh, if He just had a little more time with them.
As they head up to the garden, all of these thoughts are weighing on Him and His tank is running low as we shall see. He’s done everything He can to get them ready, but they are still lacking. They need more instruction, but time is running out. He knows that He needs to be strong for what lies ahead, and He knows that He needs to stop now and recharge. But they still need Him.
What does He do? Does he stop to recharge, or does he push onward and risk running out of gas? How close does He come to empty? Does anyone come to His aid to ensure that He is prepared for the rest of the journey? He is fully God, but He is fully man too. He has human emotions, human feelings, and a human body. And in our study this week we shall see that His human side comes to the forefront in ways you might not have grasped before.
Oh, what fun we will have tomorrow as we explore this powerful and moving event in the life of our Savior. We will see Jesus at one of His most human moments, running on empty and sharing His innermost thoughts with the Father. By studying this passage in context of the grand narrative, we can see this pivotal moment in a new way that you may not have considered before. Make sure you’re fully charged; you won’t want to miss this one!
For those unable to join us in person, please feel free to download the Bible study materials for your personal use by following one of these links: PowerPoint Slides, PDF File. Also, you can download files for previous weekly studies by visiting the following page on my blog: Doubtless Living: The Gospel of Luke.