Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.” Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?” Matthew 26:36-39 (MSG)
My sadness… my hurt… my sorrow… my pain… my loss… my anxiety… all of these were felt by Jesus. For Him, it began in the garden. He begged God to take it away… to get him out of it… if it be His will.
While Jesus was in the garden, His disciples fell asleep as they were asked to keep watch… three times.
When He came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Matthew 26:40-41 (MSG)
Story of my life. I want to do well. I want to stay awake and keep watch. Never do I want to betray Jesus. But then it happens. Temptations of this life sneak in front of me and distract me… entice me. What is it for you? For me it is FB, my job, sleep, busyness in my life, stuff.
He then left a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.” Matthew 26:42 (MSG)
I used to beg God to take away the things in my life that were uncomfortable or painful. Why me? What have I done to deserve this? I simply can’t go on and do all you’ve called me to do under these circumstances.
Why do I think I’m exempt? Some years ago, I finally was able to begin seeing my life through the eyes and heart of Jesus. Who am I to complain? He endured unfathomable pain and suffering and loss… for me. I’m not better able to thank Him for those difficult times and press in even closer… knowing He will bring me through them. He’s given me a clearer eternal perspective.
As this Easter week unfolds, I’m once again drawn to my knees… remembering the great sacrifice God made… His Son… dying a horrific death on the cross… for me… and you… for us.