Agony Shared…

Today is Maundy Thursday of Holy Week.

Today is the day Jesus and his disciples shared the Last Supper.

Today is the day the Jesus predicted that he would be denied by one close to him. All of them declared they would die before disowning him.

Today is the day that Jesus spent time in the Garden of Gesthemane.  He went with his disciples and on the edge of the garden he began to be “sorrowful and troubled.” (Matthew 26:37)  He asked them to wait while he went over to pray.

Then Jesus took several of them further into the garden and said to them, “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38)

At that point he went further into the garden and asked his Father to “take this cup away from him… if it was God’s will.”  (Matthew 26:39)  He returned to his disciples and they were asleep… overwhelmed by the burden he had shared with them.

He went away a second time and asked God again.  Upon returning to his disciples they were once again sleeping. This happened a third time.

Then it was time for Jesus to be given over to the hands of his betrayer.

“Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into hands of sinners.  Rise, let us go!  Here comes my betrayer!”  (Matthew 26:48)

Jesus’ time in the garden teaches us such an important lesson about authenticity and transparency.  He became vulnerable with his disciples, sharing his sorrow.  Then he went deeper into his agony and shared more with a close few.  Ultimately, he became vulnerable and transparent with God.  He knew he could not do it alone and he reached out in his darkest moment.  He found a trusted few and then bared it all before his Father.

How often do we do the exact opposite of what Jesus modeled in the garden?  We suffer in silence… fearing rejection, scrutiny, judgement.  No one will understand what I’m going through.  I’m certain I’m the only one feeling this way.  No other marriage struggles like mine does.  What if they knew that my anxiety was debilitating?  They will never look at me the same way again if they only knew…

As Jesus approached the physical pain and separation from his Father, he modeled to us the power of bringing a trusted few alongside to share the journey.  And then he  modeled going to our Father with absolute honesty and vulnerability.

When I think that no one will ever understand what I’m going through… that no one can relate… I need to remember that Jesus can.  He relates to my suffering… our suffering… because of the anguish he suffered.  Because of his relationship with God the Father, he had strength to endure those six hours that Friday… six grueling, horrific hours on the cross… for me… for us.

The Son of God… the sinless Son of God… took our sins on to himself to save us.  He suffered so we could live.

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