"The Stone that Heard Jesus Pray "
††††† Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a large garden very close to large city and in that garden lived a stone named Plato. Plato was a medium sized stone about the size of a chair and being that size Plato often had people who were visiting the garden come and sit on him. Now, most of the time people came to the garden they were there during the day for a nice walk or to have a picnic and Plato was in the right place to listen to them talk so Plato was a very happy stone for Plato got to listen to all sorts of discussions between the people that came to the garden and of course loved to pass them on to his relatives.†
††††††† Now , before I tell you more about Platoís story, I have to first explain that† stones can actually hear each other. For while sound travels poorly through air it travels very well though the earth. Remember the seeing on old westerns the Indian who would put his ear to the ground to hear the sound of approaching footsteps. Even though they were too far away to hear through the air, the ground carries the sounds of the footsteps much better and much farther. Well because of this all stones can keep in close communication and they just love to pass on what they witness. (explain what ďwitnessĒ means) Yes, it seems that† stones are the witnesses of the world or in other words the gossips of the ground.†
†††† So you as you can imagine, since Plato really enjoyed living in the garden because he had lots of† people to listen to. In fact Plato had so many people to listen to that he became kind of a philosopher. Philosophers are people who tryís to understand why life is the way it is and why things happen the way they do. So Plato did not just listen to the stories of the people who came to the garden and pass them on to his relatives like other stones. No, Plato would always try to figure out exactly why what was happening to them was happening. And since he was usually busy listening to people during the day, he liked to figure out the reasons for things at night.
Now one evening, Plato was doing his normal thing trying to figure out why the couple that had been in the garden earlier in the day was arguing when he heard approaching footsteps. He could not see who was approaching but he heard one man tell someone, ď Sit here while I go further into the garden to pray; My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Please stay here and keep watch.
Wow, thought Plato, now this is really interesting for there is nothing better for a philosopher to hear then someone speaking of sorrow and death and he hoped the person speaking would come closer and explain why. Well he was not disappointed that night for in less than a minute a man came around the bend in the garden path, stumbled and fell to the ground right in front of Plato, pulled himself to his knees and began to pray right on Plato.
Now prayer was something Plato understood for people often stopped in the garden to pray and Plato listened to them ask God for all sorts of favors and requests. But this mans prayers were very different for although he asked God to take away something the man seemed to sure God would not and seemed to be telling God that he was ready to do something really hard.† The man prayed like this;
Abba Father, everything is possible for you, Please take this cup from me Yet not what I will but what you will.
Plato being a skilled philosopher, and because the man did not have a cup, he immediately figured out that the word cup really meant something the man had to do. He also figured out that while the man was asking to not have to do it, he was pretty sure God would not let him out of whatever it was and was actually ok with that.† Cool huh .. Plato was a pretty smart rock.
After the man prayed this he sat silence for about one hour looking very much as though he were in pain. Plato stared at the man trying to find the reason in his sad face and as he did he watch drops of sweat form on his forehead and run down his face. When one of the drops fell off the mans face onto Plato he suddenly realized that what he assumed was a drop of sweat was not sweat at all but a drop of blood!† What could this man be facing that was so stressful that it could make a man sweat blood? Plato had seem men in stressful situations and even in battle, but he had never seen a man sweat blood before. Plato was amazed !
In a few moments the man got up and walked back down the garden path away from Plato. Plato was beginning to† pass this amazing story on the his cousin who lived in the nearby city wall when he heard the man at a distance say ;
†Simon are you asleep? Could you not keep watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.
Plato chuckled for clearly the man being scolded was supposed to be the praying manís friend but despite the stress and pain that the praying man was having, his friend had fallen asleep. Being a philosopher, Plato new that men were often so self focused that they could sleep when others were in† pain. Plato was considering adding this point to his message to his cousin but before he could the praying man came back and knelled in front of him again and prayed the same exact short prayer a second time and then after a another period of silence went back down the path to where his friends were and once again found them asleep. Clearly disappointed the man returned a third time to Plato and one again began to pray. But this time his prayer was not short and what Plato heard the man pray changed everything he had ever believed about why things happen to people the way they do. For this mans prayer explained more about life than everything Plato had ever heard others say.
Read John 17:1
On hearing this Plato realized for the first time that Godís first interest was to bring Glory to himself and also to his Son. Plato had always figured that since men prayed to God for what they want that God must be mostly interested in bringing good things to people. He had never considered that God was more interested in bring Glory to Himself
Read John 17:2-5
On hearing this Plato realized that God had a Son to whom he had given people and he was about to give all authority to grant eternal life to these people because the Son had completed the work God had given him to do.† He also learned the sons name was Jesus Christ. Plato had always thought men earned eternal life by being good. He never considered that God might place such a decision in the hands of his Son who might change the rules for eternal life.
Read John 17:6-9
When Plato heard this, he realized that not all the people in the world were given to the son by God but only those that knew for certain that Jesus was Gods son,† believed that Jesus was sent by God into the world, and accepted his words as true. This shocked Plato for he had always thought that all religions offered different ways to the same God. Now he realized that there was only one way to know God and receive eternal life.
Read John 17:10-15
On hearing this, Plato realized that the praying man was about to leave the world and go back to God. He also realized that there is battle underway in this world and that those people given to Jesus Christ were protected by this praying man but after he returned to God they would still need to be protected from that battle and from an evil one.† Could this be why the man was in such pain? Could this praying man be Jesus, the son of God. Plato considered this carefully and knew that if that was true, some of this mans pain wsa because he was leaving those he loved and considering the blood sweat he had seen this man must love them very much.
Read John 17:16-19
This part of the prayer really made Plato think about why problems happen in the lives of men. For if Godís desire was to leave them in the world with all of its problems and he also wanted them to be sanctified while here (sanctify means to take something normal and make it special for a special purpose)† Then living with the problems must be of some benefit to man. Plato had never considered problems to be good in anyway but now he had to admit that in order for man to be set aside for God as special, man had to learn how to handle problems Gods way and that meant having problems.
Read John 17:20-23
On hearing this, Plato realized that God was going to keep giving people to Jesus in the future and that all who believe the message of the Jesus will be made part of this group of people that are being made special for God. Plato new that men liked to fight and he had seen many wars so he was glad that in the future at least some people would group together and love each other instead of fighting.
Read John 17:24-26
These last words of the mans pray touched Plato deeply for while it spoke again of the glory that God will give the Son, it also explained that the Son loved his people so much that He wants his followers to be with Him and get to see His glory.
As the praying man left Plato that night and returned to his friends (who by the way were still asleep) Plato marveled at his good fortune for now he knew the true meaning of life itself. You see all Platoís questions and philosophies about life seemed to disappear after hearing this prayer for now he knew the true reason mankind existed. He now knew† that life on earth is about being made special for God so that we might one day be able to be with him and share in his glory and enjoy him forever.† Within minutes he was happily sharing his new found realizations to all his relatives all over the world.
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Do you know understand the meaning of your life ? Do you ever think about why you are alive? Why God placed you here in time and in this place? Well if you havenít, I think its time you do. For in the book of Acts we read;
Read Acts 17:26-28
Yes we are Gods children and he set us in the time and places he determined to see if we would look for him, reach out to him and see if we can find our place in him.
Kids, Jesus wants you to be set aside specially for Him so you can enjoy him forever. Will you consider the words of his prayer in the garden and believe them? As you leave here today I want you to consider what you believe your life is about.