The Point Of No Return
“Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”
Psalm 23:4 (NLT)
Built into every airline’s flight safety plan is a designated “Point of no return” and every pilot knows exactly where that is on the flight path to every destination. And so, his decision to fly on or turn back is crystal clear in every emergency. I was on a flight from Washington DC to Heathrow some years ago when one of the engines died, fortunately we had not reached the point of no return and were able to turn back, land in Boston Massachusetts and spend the night there before continuing our journey the next day. And you know as well as I do that there are even situations in our own lives when we reach the point of no return.
For Jesus that moment came in the Garden of Gethsemane. The last supper together had finished with a hymn of praise as it records in Mark 14:26, “Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.”
Gethsemane means “The Oil Press.” Jerusalem is built on the area at the top of Mount Zion and because of this there was no room for gardens, but the richer inhabitants had their gardens on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. Gethsemane was a small enclosed garden and it would appear that Jesus had been given permission to use it during the Passover. In this garden we see the lonely agony and the spiritual distress of Jesus as he battled against his humanity, crying out; “Abba. Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me.” He is asking of course, “If there’s any other way Father, let’s do it that way!” But as you know he finishes by saying, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine!” (Mark 14:36).
In this lonely place, while the disciples slept, (Mark 14:37), our Saviour passed the point of no return, accepting the will of God to tread the path to Golgotha. In that awful and agonizing hour Jesus spoke as a little child speaks to his father—“Abba”—whom he loved and trusted. There in Gethsemane we witness an amazing example of submission to the will of God even during a walk through the valley of the shadow of death—this decision was made for all humanity, for us! What an amazing expression of love. In fact the apostle John says, “We know what love is by this, that he laid down his life for us: so we too ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16 Williams NT). For us this is the point of no return!
Our Amazing Father, thank you that your will in our lives is the most important thing. Give us the faith to trust you always as your little children should, following the example of our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
LUTON LU1 5JE
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