Going a little further
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.
Paul says in Philippians 2:8 “and being found in appearance as a man He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.”
What took Jesus home to be with His Father was just sheer obedience: pure, unadulterated obedience. No compromise, no deals, no negotiation. “going a little further.” Obedience is exactly that; it means going a little further.
Are you willing to go a little further? That is what the Father is asking of you. You may have done a lot and come a long way in your walk with God but still the call comes from the Holy Spirit – will you go a little further? If you will you are going to experience pain – for every time someone decides to go a little further there is a stage of pain that they need to break through. A stage of discomfort; an area of feeling ‘I’ve never been in this place before in my life. I feel so uncomfortable right now it is on the point of the pain barrier and I am not sure if I can go any further’.
He has taken His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and has said to the majority of them ‘Will you stay here because I need to go a little further’.
He takes Peter, James and John and as He goes a little further He tells them ‘my friends, I need to tell you something – we are going a little further and there is something about me that you need to know. I know that you are with me but My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. My soul, that inner being, right now, is being swamped. I am so overwhelmed I can hardly breath – it almost feels as though I am going to collapse and die right now. I am not sure if I want to go a little further but I know that you guys are my best mates and I want you to be around me and I want you to help Me go a little further right now’.
And He went a little further and we are so glad He did.
The unbelievable thing at that moment in time was this. He gets an understanding that He still needs to go a little further. He says to Peter, James and John ‘You stay here, I’ve got to go a little further’. Doctor Luke is more detailed, ‘being in anguish He prays more earnestly and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.’ (12;44) He went a little further.
You want to be like Jesus? Will you go a little further? You have got to leave some of the disciples and go away and experience the pain and then leave maybe your best three friends and experience a pain that is so deep.
There is a certain obedience that can never be found in groups. I am talking of a different level of obedience where you have got to leave your loved one because there is a certain obedience that is only alone. That is what God is calling you to do so that you get to a place where there is only you and God and there is no one there to soothe your pain but you are being obedient to the point of death and crucifying your flesh and all your earthly desires and all the strong temptations and the pulls of the paths of life and you are dealing with it.
There is an obedient place in God that is solely reserved for one. Loneliness is not a bad thing, sometimes we are afraid to be lonely, but Jesus knew the times of loneliness on the mountain and in the garden of Gethsemane. There is safety in groups and sometimes that’s the problem.
Can you go further? Or do you go a little while and then it has fizzled out and you go back to how things were because it’s just too difficult to keep going further, to walk with God; to walk with God in holiness; to walk with God in such a way is so hard.
Today, go further.