I’ve had the wonderful experience of visiting the land of the Bible in Israel. A friend of mine told me an experience she had when she went to Israel. She said, “The moment my feet touched the ground, I just felt like I was home.” Excited to feel the same experience, I was a little disappointed when I didn’t feel what she described. I wondered if something was wrong with me. Maybe I wasn’t very spiritual. I did, however, have a spiritual experience in Israel and truly believe anyone who visits the land will have their own spiritual encounter.
We were in the Upper Room, when I was gripped with the story of the last supper as described by our tour guide. The four cups of the Last Supper grabbed all my attention. This meal was the Passover Seder with Jesus and the disciples. They took the first cup, skipped the second, took the third cup and left the fourth. The first is the cup of Sanctification, the second is the cup of Judgment, the third is the cup of Redemption and the fourth is the cup of Restoration. Jesus washed their feet, gave them instruction, prayed for them and they sang songs. At about midnight Jesus, Peter, James and John left the Upper room, crossed the Kidron valley and went up onto the Mount of Olives where Jesus took the second cup, the cup of Judgment, by himself. I was especially interested in this cup, the cup of Judgment, that Jesus took by Himself on the Mount of Olives. I came home and started an exciting study on the Passover Seder and what I found really surprised me.
Ps 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the LORD.
Ps 116:18 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,
Ps 116:19 in the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD
The word for vow in Hebrew is “neder” which is a votive offering. The votive offering was a peace offering given voluntarily, closing with a meal where the priests and the worshipers ate together. This sacrifice was to be perfect, without blemish. Jesus voluntarily paid His promised vow, in the midst of the courts of the Lord’s house in Jerusalem, in the presence of all His people.
Gethsemane literally means “oil press” and is located on the slope of the Mount of Olives. Olives under pressure express oil from its core. It was here Jesus would endure great pressure and, as with the olives, what was inside came out - as great drops of blood falling to the ground. It was here that Jesus said to the Father, “I know anything is possible with you, take this cup from me.” He asked God to take the cup away. He was sorrowful unto death. The pressure was so great it would have killed Him, had an angel not strengthened Him. Mark 14:33 says Jesus was “sore amazed.” Amazed? This question sent me on a search to find its meaning. The Greek word for sore amazed is ‘ekthambeo’ and it is used 4 times in the New Testament with 3 English descriptions of this word. They are affrighted, distressed and greatly amazed. Was he frightened, distressed or greatly amazed? I decided to go to the Septuagint to find the word. The Septuagint is another way to find the meaning of words in Hebrew or Greek. Ekthambeo is not in the Septuagint, but the root word for it, ‘thambos,’ is seen 8 times. Hebrew words used to describe ‘thambos,’ the root word for sore amazed in the Septuagint. are:
• Tardemah – deep sleep
• Yare’ – fear, afraid
• ‘Ayom – terrible, dreadful
• Pachath – pit, hole
• Palletsawth – horror, trembling
• Naqab – to pierce, curse
When looking deeper into the word ekthambeo, it appears Jesus was horrified at the experience He was suffering. He was pierced and made a curse for all mankind. “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Gal 3:13
During the High Holy days of Yom Kippur, the High Priest cast lots for two goats. The Goat for the Lord was presented to die, where his blood was sprinkled on the east side of the mercy seat to atone for the sins of the nation. The second goat was presented alive, as a scapegoat, to take the sins of the nation away. The High Priest would grab the head of this goat and confess the sins of the nation upon his head. Then he was led outside the camp, taking those sins away.
What if Jesus our scapegoat, began experiencing every sin of the world from beginning of the age until the end, there in the garden? Where all the sin began to come into His head, like those sins pronounced on the head of the goat, as He experienced the emotion attached to every sin ever committed. The pressure of it all nearly killed Him. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:16)
When someone tells me “Jesus understands what you are going through,” I believe them. I believe He experienced every horror, trauma, attack, murder, or violation ever committed. He took my sin there in the garden - sin committed by me and against me. Then He paid the price for my sin on the cross. Where there is sin, something must die, and it was on the cross He was judged for my sin.
I will never take communion in the same manner ever again, after understanding the price He paid for me.