Sunday, 6 February 2022

A Little Farther

This poem was inspired by Matthew 26:36-39 which reads,

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”  And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.  Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”"

So much is said about what Jesus achieved for us on Good Friday when He went to the Cross and rightly so. It was a pivotal moment in time when God Himself endured the most excruciating death in order to pay for the sins of the world. Christ’s Crucifixion Day certainly deserves all the veneration and acclaim our hearts can express. We owe our salvation to what Jesus did that Day.

What we see from the verses in Matthew 26 however, is that the extreme emotional and physical pain Christ endured on our behalf, really began in the Garden of Gethsemane the day before.

We hear how Jesus wrestled in anguish at the thought of what He knew lay ahead of Him in both a physical and spiritual sense. It wasn’t just physical pain that Jesus had to face, He had to endure the wrath of the Almighty God as He unleashed His Divine justice upon His Son.

Jesus had to take the punishment for every sin that ever had been and ever would be committed by mankind. He who knew no sin would become sin for us and so it wasn’t death that Jesus feared, it was the spiritual horror of being separated on the Cross from the Father that was so agonising for Him.

In verse 39 we hear Jesus cry, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.” We know from Matthew 19:26 that all things are possible with God in a sense but it is morally impossible for a Just and Righteous God to allow sin to go unpunished. The fact that Jesus still had to go to the Cross to redeem mankind shows us that there was no other possible way to attain salvation for our souls.

Jesus goes on to say in verse 39, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Clearly our Saviour came to a point of decision in the Garden of Gethsemane. That’s not to say that He hadn’t decided to go to the Cross before but it’s certainly a unique point of surrender and decision here. He drank the Cup of God’s wrath on the Cross at Calvary but He decided once and for all to take that drink in Gethsemane.

His agonising struggle in that Garden was crushing beyond human understanding. If Jesus had failed here, He would have failed on the Cross. His success here made the victory of the Cross possible and so it seems such an understatement to read the words, “He went a little farther.” So much was riding on this moment and it was for this reason I felt inspired to write my poem, “A Little Farther.”
You went “a little farther.” That’s what the Scriptures say
And yet, “a little farther” led to Crucifixion Day.
You went “a little farther” and fell down on the ground.
It’s such a tiny statement yet the impact was profound.

You went “a little farther” in that dark and lonely place
Then took the cup of wrath that I might take the cup of grace!
The strength it must have taken to cry, “Not My will but Thine!”
It truly is astounding and an act of One, Divine.

You battled in the Garden knowing how You’d be forsaken
But You went “a little farther” and the whole way to salvation!
You knew that You would soon endure Your death upon the Tree
Yet You went “a little farther” and You went there just for me.

You left the realms of Heaven knowing well, You’d suffer loss
But You went “a little farther” and took the long road to the Cross.
Seeking man’s redemption, it’s where You’d win my pardon
And yet Your road to victory was started in that Garden.

Salvation for the human soul was hanging in the air,
The crushing pressure took it’s toll as You wrestled there in prayer.
The torture of this moment can’t be underestimated,
Taking on the guilt and shame for every soul created.

Such agony it caused, knowing what You’d have to do.
An angel came to minister and help You see it through
But only You could take the cup and win my soul’s salvation.
Redemption was secured and thanks toYour determination!

You gave Your full surrender and resolved to save Your Bride
So now I have eternity, rejoicing by Your side!
I’ll sing Your praises daily, giving glory to the Father.
Forever I’ll be grateful that You went “a little farther.”

Luke 22:41-44
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Ephesians 1:7
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Colossians 1:13-15
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”

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