They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, â€œSit here while I pray.â€ He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. â€œMy soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,â€ he said to them. â€œStay here and keep watch.â€
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. â€œAbba,â€ Father,â€ he said, â€œeverything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.â€ Mark 14:32-36 (NIV)
Have you ever been to Gethsemane? I don’t mean geographically, although I think it is probably the only place I would like to visit in that part of the world. For the rest I think I will just wait to see the New Jerusalem! Any way back to the question: have you ever been to Gethsemane? I remember vividly a night at the hospital when my son was doing chemotherapy. He was midway through the year of treatment. He had to go in every three weeks and essentially spend three days with an IV and vomiting. It was late one night and he was asleep. It had been a rough day. I remember just looking at him lying there in the bed. He weighed about 120 lbs. when he began the year and that night he weighed about 80+ pounds. â€œMy soul is overwhelmed with sorrow…â€ I wept as he slept. It was overwhelming. It was this passage and the one in Luke 22 that I remembered that night.
Jesus felt the weight of His burden that night and with that weight was the enemy ready to add his whisper-y, lying voice. Did Jesus turn to His friends for help? Did He lean on them? No. He turned to the One who had the strength to take the burden from Him. He turned to the One who would already be there to listen and would not fall asleep!
Peter, James, and John were admonished to â€œkeep watchâ€. For what? Maybe it was to learn. Maybe it was to pray with Jesus. Maybe it was to see the soldiers coming. For whatever reason it was to watch â€“ they did not learn the lesson that night by watching! But God is faithful so I bet they learned another night â€“ maybe in a prison.
Today in this Holy Week, I am remembering that Jesus walks before me down every path that I walk. I am on my knees today in thanksgiving for all that He has brought me through. Jesus is the One that I turn to when I find myself in Gethsemane. I hear Jesus’ cry, â€œDaddy, Father!â€ and I know that my Father will hear me as I call out to Him as Jesus did. And then I get to that step of faith and trust: â€œNot what I want â€“ but what You want, Father.â€ Jesus shows me I can trust when I let go on my knees. Yes, when I feel the most weak, God-strength is mine.
There is a reason this is called Passion Week. It is about love. It is about passionate God-love.