Matthew 26:36-46 (Part 2) – Spock & The Wrath of Khan; Jesus & The Wrath of God

Posted: April 8, 2016 in 40-Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 26:36-46 (Part 2)

Jesus Agonizes in the Garden

 

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or of the one. That is one of the great lines ever developed and it was used frequently in the Star Trek franchise of television shows and movies. It was particularly poignant in what I consider to be the best of any of the Star Trek movies, The Wrath of Khan. In that movie, in order to save the crew of the ship from certain death and destruction at the hands of Khan, Spock enters the matter-antimatter chamber and exposes himself to radiation poisoning to fix the problem that causing the ship not to be able to achieve warp speed. With his sacrificial effort, he allows the ship to regain warp power and thus escape from the impending explosion of the genesis machine set by Khan. As Spock sits in the chamber dying, Kirk comes to him and they share an amazingly poignant moment between characters that are old friends who have been through much together. Kirk did not want his best friend in the universe to die but he also knows that if Spock had not done what he did they would all be dead. What Spock did was necessary and logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. I am sure Spock said to himself ‘what a fine mess I have gotten myself into this time!’ as he sits dying rapidly from the effects of extreme radiation poisoning, but it was necessary. Spock gave up his life to save the lives of the many. It is that moment that Spock and Kirk share their final goodbyes with the saving barrier of thick glass between them that make all Star Trek geeks such as myself ball like little babies as Spock dies. The thing that makes us fans cry in this scene is that we know why Spock did what he did, but it was the intersection of logic and love that was the irony of the situation. Although what Spock did was imminently logical and necessary, no greater display of the emotion of love has been shown than to lay down one’s life for the needs of his fellow man. Logic dictated his death. Love was expressed through his acceptance of the sentence of death as a result of the logic of it. Ah what a great movie that was, not just as another installment in the franchise of money-making movies but a really good, good movie. It is that final sequence of the movie where logic dictates a loving action that brings me to today’s installment of our review of the passage, Matthew 26:36-46. let us read this passage together, once more.  And today we will concentrate on vv. 39:

 

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

 

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

 

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

 

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

 

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

 

 

The actions of Spock and of Jesus are similar to me in this scene. I am sure that in the movie, Wrath of Khan, when Khan set irreversible acts into motion and Spock understanding the Enterprise was crippled and only one thing could be done to save it, I am sure that he had a momentary debate in his mind whether he should enter the matter-antimatter chamber or not, but he ultimately saw no other way to save his ship and the people on board. That is what I see in Jesus as this moment. He goes on beyond his best friends (Peter, James and John) and meets with His Father and prostrates Himself before the Father. While on earth, Jesus was acting at the will of the Father though they were co-equal parts of the Trinity. His willingness to be submitted to the Father makes this scene all the more poignant. In His subservient role as the Son on earth, Jesus understands the logic of what must be done. However, it is here that in His humanness, He wishes to avoid that which is necessary. Jesus desires not to be separated from the trinity He has known for eternity. Just as Spock probably desired to stay with his friends and crew aboard the Enterprise but the Enterprise was a dead stick about to be consumed by the vengeful wrath that Khan had set into motion if He did not sacrifice himself for the good of the others, most assuredly Jesus is expressing his desire here not to have to be separated from the unity with Father and the Holy Spirit that Jesus had always known since before time began.

 

There is no more logical thing that has ever been done that Jesus doing what He did on the cross for us. It was the logical choice of God. There was no other alternative. The world was permanently stained by sin and we cannot exist in God’s presence with our sin stains. When we commit our first sin, we are permanently excluded from the presence of God lest we be consumed by God’s wrath. We are a dead stick of a ship in space that is about to be consumed by a nearby hyper-nuclear explosion of a miniature scale to the big bang. We would face God’s wrath on our own just for one sin that takes away the perfection that is required to be in the presence of God. Not to mention that we commit life times of sin that raises the level of God’s wrath toward us to astronomical heights. Something had to be done. Something had to be done to fix the problem. There was a logical conclusion God arrived at. It was a necessary and logical conclusion. Action had to be taken from on high. Action had to come directly from the bridge, the control room, of the universe. Action had to come straight from heaven. The only logical conclusion was for Jesus, part of the Holy Trinity itself, must enter human history and take on the wrath of God against sin upon himself so that we can be made clean in God’s eyes. Through taking on the full wrath of God by the actions of Jesus on the cross, we do not have to. We can now live in the presence of God in all eternity because of the sacrifice of the One. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the One.

 

We see Jesus here agonizing over the necessity of what He is about to go through. He does not want to be separated from His Abba Father. He has known that union from time eternal. But He knows the logic of what has to be done. It is necessary. As Tom Cruise once said to Ken Wantanabe in the movie, The Last Samurai, “What could be more necessary?” Man faces imminent destruction and separation from God without the sacrifice of the one in Jesus. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Jesus knows this logic. He understands the necessity. He understands that this is the necessary will of God. He understands it but He agonizes over process by which it will happen. Just as Spock knew the rightness of what he had to do, He knew that it would require great sacrifice on his part and eliminate the possibility of further life on this side of the wall that separates life and death. It was his ultimate sacrifice for his friends. It was the only logical thing to do. Jesus here knows the logic behind the plan. He understands it all and will go through with it because of the necessary logic of it all. Yet, He agonizes over the process by which that will happen. It is the universal plan. It is the salvation of mankind plan. It is the plan set in motion ever since Adam and Eve committed the first sin. It is the culmination of the plan. It is that thing that has to happen. Nothing else will do. It is imminently necessary. It is imminently logical. It is the permenant solution. It gets us out of the path of the coming destruction that we deserve. It makes sense. It is absolutely and irrevocably and logically necessary. No greater love has ever been shown by Jesus’ execution of the logical plan.

 

It is Jesus’ willingness to take on the plan to its logical conclusions that wells up great emotion in me. Jesus did not want to suffer the physical horrors of the coming hours but most of all He did not want to be separated from the rest of the Trinity as would be necessary for Him to take on the whole wrath of God for our sins. On the cross, He would become sin and take on the wrath of God against it. He dreaded that separation. That necessary separation. That is what I love about my Jesus. He made a necessary sacrifice for me and for you. He loves us so much that He excecuted God’s redemptive plan willingly. He took on the mission. He accepted it. It was necessary for the needs of the many. Just as many people on board the Enterprise did not know what Spock did for them until they were told about it, we do not understand the significance, the gravity, the logic, the wonder of what Jesus did until we are told and accept and understand it. It is through His sacrifice that we can have life eternal in the presence of God. Without it, we are consumed by wrath.

 

Necessary. What could be more necessary that Jesus carrying out God’s will through His suffering the wrath of God against sin. Without we would surely be consumed by the imminent wrath of God. Amen and Amen.

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