What happened in Gethsemane?

When we read the Scriptures we will often reflect on the accounts that we find, of the life of our Lord Jesus, and the Apostles, and other important figures. But unless our thoughts are moulded by the writings and teachings of the Orthodox Church, through the commentary and explanations of the Fathers of the Church, there is always the possibility that our reflections will lead us astray. There is no guarantee that every opinion and conclusion we come to is correct.

When we read the Scriptures as Orthodox Christians we are to do so with the Bible in one hand, and the teachings of the Fathers in the other, because the Scriptures were written in and for the Church, and not for personal interpretation. Indeed, the idea that the Bible can simply be read and understood by every person as seems right to them is the essence of the error that led to the fragmentation of the Church in the West. Nor can we say that every idea we have is of the Holy Spirit, since our Lord Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would lead the Apostles and the Church into truth, and did not promise that the Holy Spirit would validate every personal interpretation of Scripture which came to our mind.

In almost every human endeavour, it is necessary to train, and commit ourselves to learning and understanding all of the subject matter that has already been developed. It is not possible to decide that we will be a lawyer, and begin practicing the next day. Or to decide we will be a craftsman in wood, and begin nailing pieces of timber together immediately with any prospect of success. Nor should we imagine that we can understand the riches of the Orthodox Christian life, and the Orthodox and Apostolic understanding of Scripture if we do not subject ourselves to learning and training in the same way.

The account of the Lord Jesus in Gethsemane is an example of a passage of Scripture that it is easy to develop reflections about, but which might not be understood in the same way as the Church at all. We find the time of prayer spent in the Garden of Gethsemane recorded in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22. Many of the Fathers have left us commentary and exposition on these passages. In fact much of the writings of the early Fathers is concerned with a proper understanding of Scripture above all else.

We can begin by considering the commentary on each of the Gospels in turn. St Hilary of Poitiers, writing about the account in Matthew says…

When we read that the Lord was sad, we must examine everything that was said to find out why he was sad. He previously warned that they would all fall away. Brimming with confidence, Peter responded that even though all the others might be alarmed, he would not be moved—he who the Lord predicted would deny knowing him three times. In fact, Peter and all the other disciples promised that even in the face of death they would not deny him. He then proceeded on and ordered his disciples to sit down while he prayed. Having brought with him Peter, James and John, he began to grieve. Before he brought them along with him, he did not feel sad. It was only after they had accompanied him that he grew exceedingly sad. His sadness thus arose not from himself but from those whom he had taken with him. It must be realized that the Son of man brought with him none but those whom he showed that he would come into his kingdom at that time when, in the presence of Moses and Elijah on the mountain, he was surrounded by all the splendour of his eternal glory. But the reason for bringing them with him both then and now was the same. ON MATTHEW 31.4

This is not the view that most modern commentators would take. They would stress the human elements in the account, the natural anxiety and even fear in the face of death. But this was not the ancient understanding as we shall see, and such a view tended to develop from a rather Nestorian understanding of Christ as being essentially just a man, dealing with the cross as a man, and from the modern attempt to make Jesus no more than a teacher and preacher.

In this commentary we see that the concern is to show that Christ is always concerned for others, for his disciples, knowing that they would be scattered and that their faith would be shaken. He is not a terminally ill patient, crying out in pain, but he is like the patient whose concern is always for the condition of those who are visiting and gathered around his bedside, even to the last breath.

St Hilary of Poitiers continues…

Then he said, “My soul is sad, even to death.” Did he say, My soul is sad because of death? Certainly not. For if death were the reason for his fear, he certainly ought to have said so. But the reason for his fear lies elsewhere. Actually we have no indication, since the reason for what begins in another person may differ from what it is at the end. He had just said before, “You will all fall away this night because of me.” He knew that they would be frightened, that they would run away and deny knowing him. And since blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is forgiven neither here nor in eternity, he feared they might deny that he is God, once they looked upon him beaten and spat upon and crucified. This was the reason that prompted Peter, who, in betraying Christ, denied him in this way: “I do not know the man,” for anything said against the Son of man will be forgiven. Christ is therefore sad even to death. So it is not death itself but the process of death that is feared, for after his death the faith of the believers would be strengthened by the power of the resurrection. ON MATTHEW 31.5

Again we see that St Hilary wishes to exclude any thought that the Lord Jesus Christ is fearful for himself. Rather his concern is for his disciples, for others, just as on the cross he asks the Father to forgive those who have crucified him.

But so that we do not imagine that only St Hilary thinks in this way, we can read the commentary of Jerome, who says…

What we said before about Christ’s suffering and what took place before it is also brought out in this chapter. It shows that the Lord, to test the fidelity of the human nature he had taken on, truly felt sorrowful. However, lest the suffering in his soul be overwhelming, he began to feel sorrowful over the events taking place just before his suffering. For it is one thing to feel sorrowful and another thing to begin to feel sorrowful. But he felt sorrowful, not because he feared the suffering that lay ahead and because he had scolded Peter for his timidity but because of the most unfortunate Judas and the falling away of all the apostles and the rejection by the Jewish people and the overturning of woeful Jerusalem. Jonah too became sad when the plant or ivy had withered, unwilling to have his booth disappear. COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 4.26.37

It is necessary to insist that Jesus Christ was truly sorrowful, and that this was an expression and manifestation of the reality of his human nature. But once again, we see that he is not to be understood as feeling sorrowful for himself or for fear of the suffering to come, but because of the falling way of Judas, and the other Apostles, and the complete falling away of the Jewish people.

St John Chrysostom, in his preaching on this passage, and trained in the Antiochian tradition which distinguished between the humanity and divinity of Christ rather more strongly, says…

By saying then, “If it be possible, let it pass from me,” he showed his true humanity. But by saying, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as you will,” he showed his virtue and self-command. This too teaches us, even when nature pulls us back, to follow God. In order to make clear that he is truly God and truly human, words alone would not suffice. Deeds were needed. So he joined deeds with words in order that even those who have been highly contentious may believe that he both became man and died. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 83.1

It is undoubtedly the case that Jesus Christ speaks as a man, but St John Chrysostom does not press the point to suggest that Christ is burdened with fear for himself when he speaks in such a way. He speaks in such a way to manifest his humanity and his divinity.

St Hilary, having made it very clear that he does not consider that Christ is overcome with fear for himself speaks in the same way about the humanity of the Lord Jesus when he adds…

He orders them to watch and pray lest they give in to temptation and succumb to the weakness of the body. He therefore prays that, if possible, the cup may pass from himself, for when it comes to drinking from it, all flesh is weak. ON MATTHEW 31.9

It is not from fear that he asks his, but as an expression of his own humanity in the face of a trial which will put his humanity, not his own personal will and decision, but his humanity to the test, as it would test all flesh.

St John Chrysostom says elsewhere in his homily on this passage…

Again he prayed in the same way, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” It is clear here that his human will is in full harmony with God’s will. This harmony is what we must always seek after and follow. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 83.1

There are those who wish to so elevate the sense of a human Christ that they describe a great conflict of will between the human Jesus and the divine Word. But this is to create two subjects and two persons. Orthodoxy rejects this and finds a complete harmony in Christ, the Word made flesh. The humanity has the same will as the divinity, and the same one wills in both in the same way.

When we turn to the commentary on St Mark we find the same focus on the reality of the humanity of Christ. Origen says…

He was troubled, as we are told, in the hour of death, as he himself confesses when he says, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death.” He was finally led to that death which is considered the most shameful of all. On the third day he rose again. When, therefore, we see in him some things so human that they appear in no way to differ from the common frailty of mortals, and some things so divine that they are appropriate to nothing else but the primal and ineffable nature of deity, the human understanding with its own narrow limits is baffled, and struck with amazement at so mighty a wonder. It does not know which way to turn, what to hold to, or how to establish itself. ON FIRST PRINCIPLES 2.6

What is Origen insisting on in this commentary? It is that the humanity is truly human, not a mask or a pretence. But that Christ is also beyond our understanding. He was truly troubled, and he appeared as a man, but he is not just a man, and we are mistaken when we interpret him just as a man.

We can see this in the words of St Hilary who says…

What is meant by “sorrowful even unto death?” It cannot mean the same as “to be sorrowful because of death”; for where there is sorrow because of death, it is the death that is the cause of the sadness. But a sadness even unto death implies that death is the completion, not the cause, of the sadness. ON THE TRINITY 10.3

He insists here, as previously, that his death is not the cause of his entirely human sadness at all, nor is it that which troubles him, though he truly allows his humanity to be troubled.

St Ambrose explains what is happening when our Lord Jesus speaks in such a way, when he says…

He has fully taken upon himself the flesh of humanity, and with it human affections. So you read in Scripture that “going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.” Here he speaks not in the voice of God but as fully human. For how could God be ignorant of the possibility or impossibility of anything? Or is anything beyond God’s ability, when as Scripture itself says: “For you nothing is impossible?” ON THE CHRISTIAN FAITH 2.5.42

When our Lord Jesus sleeps, it is because he has taken on our human existence in a true way. When he hungers, it is because he has taken on our human existence in a true way. But he is never limited or bound by our humanity. He is truly human but not only human. When he fasted for forty days and forty nights, the Fathers teach us according to the Scriptures, that it was only at the end of that period that he allowed his humanity to feel natural hunger. This was not a pretence of humanity, but the Word of God uses his humanity for a purpose, and is not limited by it. In the same way, he was baptised for us, not as though he needed to be baptised. And here, in this passage, he speaks on our behalf, as one of us, and not as if he was ignorant of the will of God. He speaks here as man, and will suffer and die as man. But he is not only a man.

St John Chrysostom expresses this when he says…

How is it, then, that in his prayer he says: “If it be possible?” He is showing the weakness that belongs to a human nature. Human nature would prefer not to be torn from the present life. It would draw back and shrink from death. Why? Because God has implanted in human nature a love for the life of this world. ON THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE NATURE OF GOD 7.46

When he shows the weakness of humanity he is not bound by it, because he is not merely a man. Nor does this natural weakness dominate him, for he is not afraid of the suffering to come. But he allows this natural reticence to be manifested for a moment, because it is a blameless passion, such as feeling tired or hungry, and to show that he is truly human, while not allowing it to control or direct him at all, for he is the Word of God made flesh, and not a mere man. In the same way, the bravest of men might hesitate before plunging his hand into a fire to rescue a child, not because he hesitates in what to do, but because of the natural and blameless reticence of the flesh before pain and hurt. There was no doubt in Christ about what he would do, but he allowed his true humanity to experience and manifest that natural reticence.

Ephrem the Syrian, writing about this describes this as an aspect of the manifestation of the true humanity, he says…

He knew what he was saying to his Father, and was well aware that this chalice could pass from him. But he had come to drink it for everyone, in order to acquit, through this chalice, the debt of everyone, which the prophets and martyrs could not pay with their death.… He assumed flesh. He clothed himself with weakness, eating when hungry, becoming tired after working, being overcome by sleep when weary. It was necessary, when the time for his death arrived, that all things that have to do with the flesh would be fulfilled then. The anguish of death in fact invaded him, to manifest his nature as a son of Adam, over whom death reigns, according to the word of the apostle.… Or alternatively, in this hour of his corporeal death, he gave to the body that which belonged to it, saying that all the sufferings of [his] body would show to the heretics and schismatics that his body was [real]. did not this body of his appear to them, just as it was visible to everyone else? Just as he was hungry and thirsty, tired and had need of sleep, so too, he was afraid. COMMENTARY ON TATIAN’S DIATESSARON

We find here that Ephraim is clear that Christ truly experienced aspects of the humanity in the face of death, just as he had truly allowed his humanity to experience natural passions of tiredness and hunger when he chose to do so. In such a manner he allowed his humanity to experience the anguish of death, the natural and blameless resistance to death which is inherent in it. But we are clearly to understand that the Word of God was always in control of his own humanity so that he is said to have given his body what belonged to it, just as he was able to elevate his own body above nature while it remained entirely human. There is a great difference between the anguish of death experienced by the body as the Word willed for a time, and the anguish of death penetrating the heart and overcoming a person in despair and fear.

If he felt the resistance to death which is natural to us and blameless, then it did not overcome him, and cannot be imagined as being experienced exactly as we might. It was truly experienced in a human way in his humanity, but he is not only or merely human, and it was experienced for a purpose in the Word of God incarnate, and not as it is with us, by necessity. In him, it was to show the reality of his humanity and to embrace all of death as he prepared to destroy it. Nor was he ever subject to that fear of unknown circumstances and outcomes, but it was the natural and blameless reticence and resistance in the face of death with which we are created. Just as his hunger was not gluttony, nor was his tiredness any sort of laziness, so his experience of anguish before death was blameless and was not that fear which is a lack of courage and faith.

St Hilary of Poitiers says again…

Though with God nothing is impossible, yet for human nature it is impossible to ignore the fear of suffering. Only by trial can faith be proved. Thus as a human being he prays in a human manner that the cup may pass away, but as God from God, his will is in unison with the Father’s effectual will… He does not pray that the cup may pass around him. He prays that the cup may pass away from him, but it cannot pass away unless he drinks it. To pass away does not mean to depart from its place, but not to exist at all. ON THE TRINITY 10.38-42

We might read this as a request that Christ not go through the trial that is to come. But St Hilary does not understand it in this way at all. It is not that Christ wishes that someone else could face it instead of him, or that it not be required at all. It is rather that in the experience of natural human reticence before death (and in our own experience as human persons we recognise that there is a difference between a state of aroused awareness of risk and danger which is fear, and the mental condition of being fearful which is a psychological and spiritual dysfunction) Christ chooses to embrace the cup and asks for the strength to consume it even in the experience of natural human fear. St Hilary has already explained that he does not believe that Christ was afraid of death, in the sense of a definite psychological attitude, but he certainly allowed his humanity to experience as far as he willed, the natural fear of death, which is not the same.

When I was on top of the CN Tower in Toronto I could not make my legs walk onto the glass floor hundreds of metres above the ground. My body was expressing forcefully the fear of death, but I was not actually psychologically afraid at all. I wanted to walk onto the glass, and I knew it would not break. But some aspect of my humanity was resisting.

In the commentary on the Gospel of Luke we find that the writings of St Cyril of Alexandria are particularly valuable. He says…

He began, it says, to be grieved, and sore distressed.” For what reason, O Lord? Were You also terrified at death? Did You being seized with fear draw back from suffering? And yet did not You teach the holy apostles to make no account of the terrors of death, saying, “Fear not them who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.” And if too any one were to say that the grace of spiritual fortitude is Your gift to the elect, he would not err from the truth: for all strength is from You, and all confidence and heartiness of mind in every more excellent encounter. You are by nature Life, and the cause of life. You we look for as a Saviour and Deliverer, and the Destroyer of corruption. From You all receive their life and being. You have made every thing that breathes. The angels are for You, and from You, and by You, and so is the whole rational creation. Unto You the blessed David spoke concerning us, “You send Your Spirit, and they are created: and You renew the face of the ground.” How therefore are You grieved, and sore distressed, and sorrowful, even to death? For plainly You knew, in that You are God by nature, and know whatsoever is about to happen, that by enduring death in the flesh You would free from death the inhabitants of all the earth, and bring Satan to shame:—-that You would set up a trophy of victory over every evil and opposing power: that You would be known by every one, and worshipped as the God and Creator of all. You knew that You would plunder hell:—-that You would deliver those that are therein, from bonds that had endured for many ages: that You wouldst turn to You all that is under heaven. HOMILY 146

St Cyril of Alexandria asks the right questions. How could Christ be terrified by death and draw back from suffering after telling his Disciples to be bold and brave, and while knowing the victory that lay ahead? St Cyril goes on to explain exactly what he understand of the cause and course of the anguish of Christ. He says…

Yes, He says, not unbefittingly am I found thus in anguish. For I know indeed that by consenting to suffer the passion upon the cross, I shall deliver all beneath the heaven from every evil, and be the cause of unending blessings to the inhabitants of the whole earth. I am not unaware of the unloosing of death, and the abolition of corporeal corruption, and the overthrow of the tyranny of the devil, and the remission of sin. But all the same it grieves Me for Israel the firstborn, that henceforth He is not even among the servants. … And tell me then, what husbandman, when his vineyard is desert and waste, will feel no anguish for it? What shepherd would be so harsh and stern as, when his flock was perishing, to suffer nothing on its account? These are the causes of My grief: for these things I am sorrowful. For I am God, gentle, and that loves to spare. “I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his evil way and live.” Right therefore is it, most right, that as being good and merciful, I should not only be glad at what is joyful, but also should feel sorrow at whatsoever is grievous.

But that He pitied Jerusalem, as being well aware of what was about to happen, and that it would have to endure all misery because of its crimes against Him, you may learn even from this. For He went up from Judaea to Jerusalem, and, as the Evangelist says, “When He beheld the city, He wept over it, and said, Would that you, even you, had known the things of your peace; but now they are hid from your eyes.” For as He wept over Lazarus, in pity for the whole race of mankind, which had become the prey of corruption and of death; so we say that He was grieved at seeing Jerusalem all but involved in extreme miseries, and in calamities for which there was no cure. HOMILY 146

St Cyril wishes us to understand, as other Fathers referenced previously have also stated, that he was not in anguish for himself, though he truly allowed himself to feel human grief. But it was for others, and especially the people of Israel who would no longer be his own people, and who would be found to have rejected him, and bear the consequences of that rejection. But this anguish, which Christ appear to truly experience for us, and not as if it was a necessity, what does St Cyril say of this?

I think it necessary to add to what has been said: that the passion of grief, or malady, as we may call it, of sore distress, cannot have reference to the divine and impassive nature of the Word; for that is impossible, inasmuch as It transcends all passion: but we say that the Incarnate Word willed also to submit Himself to the measure of human nature, by being supposed to suffer what belongs to it. As therefore He is said to have hungered, although He is Life and the cause of life, and the living bread; and was weary also from a long journey, although He is the Lord of powers; so also it is said that He was grieved, and seemed to be capable of anguish. For it would not have been fitting for Him Who submitted Himself to emptiness, and stood in the measure of human nature, to have seemed unwilling to endure human things. The Word therefore of God the Father is altogether free from all passion: but wisely and for the dispensation’s sake He submitted Himself to the infirmities of mankind, in order that He might not seem to refuse that which the dispensation require. HOMILY 146

It is important that we understand that God the Word willed, or chose, that his own humanity should experience even grief and anguish. And he really experienced these, in a human way, but not like us, because his humanity was not limited in the way that ours is. It was necessary that he experience anguish at this time, as the other Fathers have also said, to make clear that he was truly human and had the same possibility of experiencing the blameless passions which are inherent to our humanity.

But these real feelings of anguish are not due to a fear of death according to the will but because of the consequences of the passion for the Jews, and according to others we have considered, because of the instability of the disciples, and even the falling away of Judas. We too easily assume that none of these things matter very much. But for the Fathers, the love which God had for Israel, for his disciples and even for Judas, were enough to move him deeply for their sake and not for himself.

St Cyril also considers the prayer about the cup, and he says…

Behold then, yes, see, the pattern for your conduct depicted for thee in Christ the Saviour of us all: and let us also observe the manner of His prayer. “Father, He says, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.” Do you see that Christ made His prayer against temptation with a reverence befitting man? “For if You be willing, He says, remove it.” And here too remember what the blessed Paul wrote concerning Him; “He Who in the days of His flesh offered up prayers and supplications to Him Who was able to save Him from death, with strong crying and tears, and was heard because of His reverence, even though He was a Son, yet learned obedience by what He suffered, and being made perfect became the cause of eternal life to all them that obey Him.” For as though one of us, He assigns to His Father’s will the carrying out of whatever was about to be done. HOMILY 147

It is a continuing theme of St Cyril, following St Athanasius, that the Lord Jesus became incarnate for a purpose. He willed to retrace the steps which Adam had taken in falling into sin, and restore mankind by a recapitulation. And so in many places throughout the life of Christ we see him acting and speaking in a way that makes no sense for God made man, but makes every sense if he is retracing Adam’s steps. There was no need for him to be baptised, for instance, but he was baptised on our behalf. There was no need for him to overcome temptation in the wilderness, but he did it on our behalf. There is no need for him to say, your will be done, but he says it on our behalf as Adam had proven disobedient in the past. He is not a mere man trying to make sense of events, but he is God the Word who has become man for a definite purpose.

Furthermore he says, returning to his view that it was the fate of the Jews which moved the Lord Jesus to anguish…

You have heard Christ say, “Father, if You will, remove this cup from Me.” Was then His passion an involuntary act? and was the necessity for Him to suffer, or rather the violence of those who plotted against Him, stronger than His own will? Not so, we say. For His passion was not an involuntary act, though yet in another respect it was grievous, because it implied the rejection and destruction of the synagogue of the Jews. For it was not His will that Israel should be the murderer of its Lord, because by so doing it would be exposed to utter condemnation, and become reprobate, and rejected from having part in His gifts, and in the hope prepared for the saints, whereas once it had been His people, and His only one, and His elect, and adopted heir. For Moses said to them, “Behold, the heavens and the earth are the Lord’s your God: and you has the Lord chosen out of all nations to be His people.” It was right therefore that we should clearly know, that through pity for Israel He would have put from Him the necessity to suffer: but as it was not possible for Him not to endure the passion, He submitted to it also, because God the Father so willed it with Him. HOMILY 147

There are two important things here. In the first place we see that St Cyril wants to insist that it was because of the Jews that he asks if there is another way. But in the second place he already willed with the Father the passion, the death and the resurrection. There was never any contradiction, but the Word of God truly allowed his humanity to express in a human way the feelings he had towards the Jews and others.

Ephraim the Syrian says something similar when he writes…

If it is possible, let this chalice pass from me.” He knew that he was going to rise on the third day, but he also knew in advance the scandal of his disciples, the denial of Simon, the suicide of Judas, the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of Israel. COMMENTARY ON TATIAN’S DIATESSARON 20.2

Once again there is a focus on the others who will be affected by the drinking of the cup, rather than it being spoken in personal fear of death, though we can also accept the view which other Fathers have expressed here that there was a natural and blameless resistance before the prospect of suffering and death.

St Justin Martyr, the first Apologist, writing in the second century, says…

This passage foretold what would happen on that night when they came to Mount Olivet to capture him. In the memoirs of the apostles and their successors, it is written that his perspiration poured out like drops of blood as he prayed and said, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” His heart and bones were evidently quaking, and his heart was like wax melting in his belly. We therefore may understand that the Father wanted his Son to endure in reality these severe sufferings for us. We may not declare that since he was the Son of God, he did not feel what was done and inflicted on him. DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO 103.28

Here we can see that the blameless passion of fear before suffering was present in a true manner in Christ. To know what is to come and to face it is not to be without that natural fear which he allowed his humanity to feel. But it was not that unmanly and cowardly fear that makes a person hide and become incapacitated. It was the natural fear which soldiers waiting in the trenches in World War I would have felt before going over the top despite that fear. It was the natural fear which the martyrs felt even while bravely confessing Christ. It was not the fearfulness that led others to apostasise. The Lord Jesus did truly feel all the pain of the beatings and the crucifixion. It was natural to have anxiety about what was to come, and St Justin Martyr wants us to be clear that he did allow his humanity to have anxiety about this, but it was not overwhelming even though it was real human experience.

Finally, St Ephraim again, says…

His sweat became like drops of blood,” the Evangelist said. He sweated to heal Adam who was sick. “It is by the sweat of your brow,” said God, “that you will eat your bread.” He remained in prayer in this garden to bring Adam back into his own garden again. COMMENTARY ON TATIAN’S DIATESSARON 20.11

This seems to me to express that sense that everything Christ did was for a purpose and for our salvation. It was not that he was preoccupied with his own situation, though he certainly felt a natural and blameless anxiety in the face of what was to come. But he was moved to sadness for the sake of others. He spoke as a man to undo what Adam had lost, and in speaking as a man he allowed himself to be moved as a man. But he was not afraid of death, even though he allowed his body to be moved by the natural resistance to death. He was more concerned for the disciples, the Jews, Jerusalem and even Judas.

He did not struggle within himself. That is Nestorianism, and sets up a human Jesus in conflict with a divine Word of God. He is not a mere man, but he is the Word of God made man while remaining who he is. Every action and word is performed and spoken for our salvation.

Even these passages show a range of emphases but together they set the boundary to what we should think and reflect on this subject. We do not find a helpless and despairing Christ. We do not find a Christ overcome with fearfulness. We do not find a Christ filled only with concern for himself. We find something much more complex, and not easily made black or white, but something much more powerful and inspiring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.