Sunday, February 24, 2013

In Agony in a Gardena

Sunday is always a good day. Rest from the normal work week; fellowship with friends; worship of the living God. And, I hope, a little time to exercise my brain by putting words on paper.

At church we are in the midst of a five week sermon series based on the book 24 Hours that Changed the World, by Pastor Adam Hamilton. This traces Jesus from the Last Supper through the crucifixion. This was week two, covering Jesus' time in the garden of Gethsemane. A familiar story, but one that can be looked at from another of angles, so it never gets stale. It was my week to teach.

The class discussion was quite active, and I had little direct teaching. The book suggested having a discussion of how Jesus praying three times in the garden was parallel to his being tempted early in his ministry. It also suggested saying how Jesus praying in a garden as a link in the chain that broke the curse of sin was parallel to a much earlier garden, Eden, where sin first got its start. They seemed like reasonable parallels, so I brought them up. That got discussion started.

First one person said she didn't see any parallel between the number of garden prayers and number of temptations. She was quite adamant. Someone replied that the devil was obviously in the garden, because it was shown that way in the movie The Passion of the Christ. I tried to remind the class that The Passion is fiction based on the Bible, not history.

Then the same class member said making the parallel between Eden and Gethsemane was ridiculous. So much for following the book.

The discussion was free wheeling. We talked about the failure of the apostles, especially Peter, James, and John, in the garden. At this someone again mentioned what The Passion had to say about this. This time I was more forceful in telling the class that The Passion is not authoritative; it's a fictional adaptation of the scripture. This time I'm pretty sure they got it.

I'm looking forward to this series, a slow walk through those critical 24 hours. While such a look leaves out the resurrection, which was even bigger, it will still be a good study.

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