This page summarizes the main postings on this blog concerning the Jesus in Gethsemane.

"Sore Amazed": What Does This Mean?
The word translated as “sore amazed” is ekthambeo. It means to throw into terror or amazement; to alarm thoroughly, to terrify or astound. There was something outside himself that he saw, not just thoughts passing within himself. It appeared suddenly. It approached him. It already was approaching him when first he saw it. It got the drop on him. It forced itself upon him. It was an assaulting, menacing horror. Jesus saw a living nightmare. What did He see?

Gethsemane: Slow, Careful Steps
We'd like an answer immediately to the question, "What did Jesus see in Gethsemane?" But it would be easy to jump to faulty conclusions. There are two sorts of common, faulty interpretations of Jesus' suffering in Gethsemane. One is made by Jesus' critics. The other is often given in the Church. Gethsemane is a deep garden, and Jesus suffered there in the night. Less than a handful of nights ever were darker. Our steps should be slow and careful, taking full advantage of each beam of light the Word shines into that darkness. We observed the beams from ekthambeo. Are there more that could help us?

Dying in a Garden
The next beam of light before answering, "What did Jesus see," shines from Jesus' words, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death." That is not a figure of speech. It is not a look forward to the cross where death lay shortly ahead of him. Jesus was saying He was dying there and then in Gethsemane. He would have died in the garden had an angel not strengthened his body to survive past the point of death to suffer fully for our sin. When he was strengthened past the point of death, then He entered into agony. What was killing him?

Gethsemane: Classical Criticism
Critics of Jesus disapprove, ridicule, or mock him for his behavior in Gethsemane. The classic example is Celsus in the 2nd Century. Compared to classical heroes, Celsus sees Jesus as pathetically weak and whimpering. Many have contrasted Jesus and Socrates, and Jesus and his martyred followers, like Stephen. Why couldn’t Jesus behave as well as Socrates or Stephen? Why couldn’t he take it like a man? In Gethsemane, why did he behave so pitifully?

Gethsemane: Modern Criticism
Modern criticism of Jesus in Gethsemane follows the zeitgeist of our age, that it is all a myth. Modernism loves to call everything but itself a myth. But we can't blame this all on the world or the age. The church taught the world to see Jesus as a myth in Origen's reply to Celsus. But, would Jesus suffering only mythically atone for any but mythical sin? Is the truth about Jesus true truth, or, having only a mythical savior, are we still in our real, biographical, historical sins?

Gethsemane: Christian Doubt and Indifference
Some ordinary Christians wonder about the charges unbelieving critics make against Jesus for his behavior in Gethsemane, but privately, for fear of sounding impious or unbelieving. Their doubt has a good aspect. They have faced the extremity of Jesus' condition and behavior. Another group of Christians is indifferent to Jesus' suffering in the garden. This group is affected by preaching that is more about the Christian than about the Christ, more about self-help than about the Savior. This group has its ticket to heaven, so they feel little need to know more about Jesus' suffering. But Jesus was in such a bad way that it demands an adequate explanation.

Gethsemane: Glut and Loss
With ademoneo and perilupos, seeming opposites hit Jesus at the same time. At once, he was both overfull of something, and He was losing everything. He was in glut and loss at the same time. With perilupos, He was “grieved all around” or “surrounded by grief.” What both fills and empties us? It killed us, in the Garden of Eden, and it was killing Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, for us, and for our salvation.

Gethsemane: The Usual Suspects
Critics and defenders of Jesus alike tend to include in their lists the same supposed causes of his behavior in Gethsemane. They both round up what have become the usual suspects.

Who Is Afraid of Death?
The classic and most prevalent of the criticisms of Jesus in Gethsemane focuses on fear of death. This criticism accuses of Jesus of cowardice, and it is made by cowards. The critics themselves are the ones most afraid of death.

Autopsy in Gethsemane
The faulty views of Jesus in Gethsemane result from faulty views of the text. When we observe the text, we see that we are not looking for a cause of fear. We’re looking for a cause of death.

Autopsy of a Mediator
Every autopsy comes to one and the same conclusion: sin is the cause of death. Jesus as my Mediator felt by a mediator's sympathy what it is like to have my sin nature. My sin nature contains all the hellishness of hell. Jesus sympathetically felt that while himself still being holy. The conflict was lethal. He was substituting for me not only in reckoning, but in his soul. This was killing him then and there in the garden.

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