First Blood

Writer Author  Jerry Lee Kay Sr.
Christian Article : Faith  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer My heroes in life were my Father, my Grandfather and his two brothers, as a child I have many memories of my Grandfather that are very special to me, he was an Elder in his church as long as I can remember, and one of his brothers was a full Time pastor from age 17 until his death at 87. At the time of his death he had built and organized more churches than any living Minister in the state of Texas. His other brother was an Elder and the music director of his church until his death at age 80. All of these men were the sweetest men that I have ever encountered.

One thing that I feel I should mention, in spite of their sweetness they were from the old school, and they would be appalled at some of the things that go on in the name of God these days, enough said about that.

My Poppa dearly loved to sing, and if we were working or driving down the old dusty roads in Texas he would be singing about his blessed Saviour and the love of God. When Poppa would strike up into one of his songs you may as well not try to talk with him until he was finished with that tune. Needless to say there wasn't a lot of talking going on because that was one of his ways to say, My Father, my Master you are my everything.

One of the songs he used to sing seemed to make him happy and stir his heart more than some of the others. It went like this, "I come to the Garden alone while the dew is still on the roses and He walks with me and He talks with me" and I would look over at my Poppa and see the tears begin to roll down his blessed cheeks but he never missed a note.

As time went on and I began to get a little older and the Holy Spirit was calling to me, I started feeling what my Poppa was feeling when He started singing that old song. So one day I asked him what is it about that song that so stirred his heart.

This is my Poppa's answer.

Son, the most important thing that has ever occurred on this earth was the slaughter or as most folks like to say the sacrifice, of the Son of God. A precious, innocent, sinless Lamb, that was slaughtered for you and I. The reason I use that term is because they didn't just sacrifice Him, they beat Him to a bloody pulp, and then they crucified what was left of the only man that has ever walked in this world without sin. The Man that taught us how to love, the Man that enables you and I to fellowship with the Father, the Man that enables you and I to enter the Holy of Holies and talk directly with the creator of mankind. That man is Jesus the Christ. He is the Rose of Sharon. He is the Lily of the Valley. He is my wonderful counselor. He is the Lamp that gives me light for my pathway on this journey. That is the man that they nailed to an old rugged Cross. On that day in time, He shed His blood for you and I and for anyone that will believe in Him and accept Him as their Saviour.

You asked me why I get in the Spirit when I sing that old song about the Garden, this is why My Son.

Jesus shed His Blood on Calvary's Cross that day, but it wasn't the "First Blood". After He And His disciples had finished their last supper together, they went to an olive Garden on a
Hillside that they called Gethsemane.

And my Poppa began to weep as he witnessed to me what the Lamb of God went through in the Garden on that evening.

Have you ever wondered, why when Jesus was preparing Himself for the ultimate sacrifice that He was about to make for mankind, that He chose this particular place to pray?

He chose it because it was an olive press, which is symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He knew that even though He is the sinless Son of the everlasting Father, that He was about to take upon Himself the sins of all mankind. He knew that He was about to exchange His Holiness for our sin. He knew that in order for Him to be able to bear up under the task before Him that He must have the strength to do so. And He wanted to be sure that He was in the will of His Father, that's why He went into prayer to ask for that strength.

The contents of that cup, that He was about to partake of, was like no other cup on this earth because in that Cup was every scummy thing that has or ever will be on this earth. Every sin that man is capable of committing. The sins of Adolph Hitler was in that Cup. On that day He became a whoremonger, a whore, a thief, a murderer, a gossip. It was a Cup of horror. In that Cup was the sins of thousands of sexual deviates, atheism, idolatry and adultery. It was a cup full of sin and degradation. Every heinous sin that you can imagine was in that cup.

Also that cup was the cup of suffering. I think that I would need not spend a lot of time making you see what physical pain was ahead of our Lord, but the pain that He dreaded most was the pain that He was feeling in His soul. His heart was breaking under that tremendous load. The nails that pierced His hands and feet the thorns that pricked His brow was nothing in comparison with the reproach, the mockery, desertion and treachery of His friends that He must endure.

Prov. 18:14
"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmities: but a wounded spirit who can bear "

One thing for sure, although his disciples slept, even after Christ had asked them to watch and pray with him, He had one "believer" that was wide awake and right there with Him. Satan knew if he could kill Jesus before He got to the Cross, God's plan would be foiled for ever.

Mark 14:34 He said My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death, tarry ye here and watch.

Luke 22:41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down and prayed, saying, Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done. And there appeared an Angel unto Him from Heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of "Blood " falling down to the ground.

Verses 43 and 44 pose a problem for some. First, these verses are not found in a very few of the "older" manuscripts. Since "older" is not necessarily "better," and since only a few manuscripts omit these verses, I find it easy to assume that the verses are original. The very fact that these verses are difficult to understand and that they are not found in the parallel accounts is strong evidence for their originality, in my opinion.

Assuming that the verses are genuine, the problem of interpreting them remains. The two verses might, at first look, seem to be in reversed order. One would tend to think that Jesus should have been strengthened by an angel from heaven at the end of his time of prayer in the garden, not somewhere in the middle. One must also wonder how it is that an angel could strengthen Jesus at all. How could an angel "strengthen" the Son of God? If this is not a problem in your mind, imagine that it was you who was dispatched from heaven to go to the earth and strengthen the Son of God. What would you have done? What would you have said or done?

Fortunately for us, the term "strengthened" is found one more time in the New Testament, in Acts 9:19, where Paul was said to be "strengthened" after taking some food, after his three day fast (which commenced by the appearance of the Lord to him on the road to Damascus). Here, it is evident that Paul's strengthening was physical in nature. It would seem that our Lord's strengthening by means of an angelic ministry at the end of His temptation was also primarily physical Matthew 4:11).

But why would Jesus have needed physical strengthening here? Matthew and Mark both tell us that our Lord was sorrowful to the point of death. I take this very literally, and not in some metaphorical sense. Luke, a doctor you will recall, tells us that sorrow was the cause of the disciples' drowsiness (22:45). If these disciples were sleepy from their sorrow, with as little knowledge of the situation as they had, how do you think the sorrow of our Lord must have affected Him. Luke does not leave us to our imaginations here. He tells us that Jesus' agony was so great that "his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (22:44).

I believe that our Lord's sorrow was so great that He was virtually at the point of death. I believe that apart from supernatural sustenance (brought by the angel from heaven) Jesus would not have died on the cross, He would have died in the Garden of Gethsemane. So great was His agony at the thought of the cross and all that it implied, our Lord was sorrowful to the point of death. The physical strengthening was, no doubt, intended to carry our Lord on through all of the physical and emotional demands of His arrest, trials, and crucifixion, but it was also given to Him to sustain Him through His night of prayer. Thus, after He was strengthened, Jesus returned to His prayer in the garden, praying, as Luke tells us, even "more earnestly" (22:44).

The suffering of our Lord was not merely Him, in his humanity, struggling with the ugly realities of the cross. It was a supernatural suffering, the unique, unparalleled, suffering of the sinless God-man, who alone could fathom the depths of God's righteousness, man's sin, and the measure of divine wrath which these required. Jesus was supernaturally strengthened because He supernaturally suffered. We do Him a great injustice to liken Him to us, and His sufferings to what ours would have been in such a setting.

To appreciate the awfulness of that bitter cup we must realize that it symbolized sufferings of soul. Jesus possessed a human soul, free from sin. His soul was moved as other souls are moved. Has your soul ever been stirred with pity? His more! Has your soul ever been stung with unjust reproaches? His more! Has your soul ever been taunted with bitter mockery? His more! Has your soul ever been sick through the venomous hatred of evil enemies? His more! Has your soul ever been deadened by the ingratitude of those whom you have benefited? His more! Has your soul ever become faint through the treachery of a trusted friend? His more! Thorns pricked His brow, but reproach and mockery penetrated His soul. Nails pierced His hands and feet, but desertion and treachery by friends entered into His soul. The spear transfixed His side, but the venomous hatred of enemies pierced His heart.

Often we count the wounds on the body of our Lord, but we forget the far more agonizing wounds in His soul. According to the Book of Proverbs, "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmities: but a wounded spirit who can bear?" (Prov. 18:14). However, the wounds in the soul of Christ were but a portion of the cup that confronted Him in Gethsemane. Wounds like these are sufficient to make any human soul cry out, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me." There were sufferings of our Lord in Gethsemane far more intense; yes, infinitely more intense, than sufferings of His body.

Here we enter still more deeply into the mystery of Gethsemane. Here we find the reason for the amazement, the horror, and the deadly sorrow that possessed the soul of Jesus as He beheld the cup in the garden. Here we discover the reason for the sweat of blood. This reason the words of the prophet Isaiah reveal most clearly, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6). In Gethsemane, as on the Cross, one thought sustained the soul of our Dying Redeemer. That one thought was the will of the Father to save men from sin. When Jesus prayed, "Not my will but thine be done," He knew that through His vicarious sufferings on the Cross, the Father willed the salvation of untold multitudes. Not merely hundreds or thousands or even millions, but a multitude that no man could number, a multitude like the stars in the heavens and the sand on the seashore. It was the love of Christ for sinners that sustained His soul as He beheld the cup full of sin, suffering, and wrath. He knew that the only way the just and holy God could forgive sin was through the atoning Death of His Son on the Cross. In submitting Himself to the will of the Father, Christ manifested His love for us sinners.

In the cup at Gethsemane we behold God's evaluation of sin. To the agonized plea that the Father remove the cup, God had to turn a deaf ear. Though His Beloved Son felt sore amazed, and sorrowful even unto death, God did not remove that cup. He well knew that it was filled to overflowing with sin, shame, suffering, guilt, and wrath. But so great was the love of God for us sinners, and so great was His hatred of our sins, that He allowed His Son to drain the cup to its last bitter dregs. So the cup of Gethsemane gives us at least a glimpse of how our sins appear in the sight of our holy God.

What is your evaluation of your own sins? Do you think that at the end of this life, when you approach the Great White Throne of God (Rev. 20), you can glibly say to the All-Holy One, "I have sinned; please forgive me"? What if the living God refused to heed the agonized plea of His Son, do you think that He will grant your plea? If the sight of the agony and the sweat of blood on the face of His dear Son did not move the Father to take away the cup, why should the Lord God give heed to you? Are you more deserving than His Son? Who are you that God should remove the cup full of wrath against your sin?

Ah, but remember the love of God! If you humbly kneel beneath the Cross, and acknowledge that Christ has taken the cup in your stead, then God will forgive your sin, freely, justly, and forever. At the Cross the holiness of God was vindicated, His justice was satisfied, and His love was manifested. The ground of your salvation is that in your stead Christ took the cup full of sin, guilt, and wrath. He did so in order that your sin might be forgiven, and remembered against you no more for ever.

Rejoice in the marvelous love of God the Father and the Son, the love revealed in the cup of Gethsemane. I was 9yrs. Old when my Poppa told me the story of " First Blood " we were sitting by his favorite fishing spot deep in the piney woods of Texas. That was the day I gave my heart and soul to the Lord of Lords.

God Bless You
Jerry Lee Kay sr.

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