Close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine this: You have lived a good life. You have done right, to include some pretty miraculous stuff. In fact, the only folks who don’t like you are religious people. You have a few really close friends, twelve you suppose. You have lived with them for 3 1/2 years. Traveled far and near with them. You have been in some pretty crazy situations too, rough seas, mobs, and seen incredible miracles. You just enjoyed the Passover feast with them, washed their feet in a symbolic gesture and had what you imagined was a very intimate moment with your best friends.
One of whom was soon to betray you. Set you up with the only people who didn’t like you, the religious. Now you are have done what you have done for as long as you can remember, you and your friends go and pray. You go to one of your favorite spots, the Mount of Olives. There you ask your friends to pray as you walk a little further to be alone and begin to pray. Now the weight of reality hits you. You realize that the thing you have been talking about and the event you have been describing is about to come to pass. The burden is great, and your heart becomes heavy. You get up to check on your friends and find them asleep. You are alone, and you are being tormented by what you know is now rapidly approaching.
You still have free will. You still have choices. You still have an opportunity to avoid every bit of the immediate future you dread. The fate of the world rests on your decision. This is the burden that weighs you down. It has come close to breaking you. Your friends, all but one really, have fled, but even he isn’t by your side, alone you will face the darkness. What choice will you make? Will you take on the injustice, the betrayal, the punishment, death? Or, will you flee, seek another way, attempt escape? This is the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Don’t feel bad for struggling, Jesus too struggled. i view the garden as a significant moment in time. A moment in time where Jesus fell under great temptation. The choice to walk the road of torment or seek for His own another way. He displayed hours before His humility, His heart, His love. Now in the garden, we see His humanity, His brokenness, and His resolve. His choice was for our future. His punishment was for our sin. His suffering was for our hope. His death was for our life. Read through the account written in Luke 22:39-54. (Below is the NLT). Read it all. Read it slowly. Read it twice or three times. Sit in it. Meditate on it. Pray through it. Let your heart go in the moments of its words. At the end, i want you to switch roles, become Peter, read it again, imagine following at a distance…live this passage in your mind, heart, and soul…
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.[a]
45 At last, he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
47 But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” 50 And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.
51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 53 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”
Pray through this passage, and i will meet you next week at the cross.
You are Loved,