Jesus’ Life: Chapter 18 – The Passion And Death Of Jesus
Time: Holy Thursday (ca. 11.30pm) to early Good Friday (ca. 2.00am
Having celebrated the Last Supper, Jesus and his eleven Apostles travelled from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden was close to the foot of the Mount of Olives so, the journey from Jerusalem City would have been relatively short. It’s very likely Jesus and the Apostles had been to the Garden before.
When they arrived, Jesus asked his Apostles to sit near the entrance, “While I go over there and pray”. He then took Peter, James and John, the same three Apostles who witnessed his transfiguration, a little further into the Garden; they were to be witnesses to his imminent humiliation and pain.
“Anguished and distressed,” Jesus said to the three, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me”. Doubtless, Jesus was hoping they would pray for Him and pray for their own faith at this agonising time. (Matthew 26:38-39)
Jesus, walking a little further into the Garden, threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will”. (Matthew 26:39) “Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And in his anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground”. (Luke 22:43)
When Jesus returned to his Apostles, they had all fallen asleep. Jesus woke them and said to Simon Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour? Stay awake and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. (Matthew 26:41)
Jesus then returned a second time to pray saying, “My Father, if this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will must be done”. (Matthew 26:42)
When Jesus returned to the Apostles a second time, once again he found them asleep, “They could not keep their eyes open”. (Matthew 26:43)
Jesus left them to sleep and returned again for a third time, to pray alone. When finished, he went back to the Apostles and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is approaching, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer is approaching!” (Matthew 26:46)
Jesus had submitted himself to his Father’s wishes, he suffered alone in the Garden, prayed alone and bore his pain and sorrow alone. Jesus’ momentous agony in the Garden was just the beginning, it would continue until the moment when He would raise his head to heaven and cry out, “It is completed”. (John 19:30)
Jesus prayed his “Cup” would pass but remained utterly ready to bear whatever suffering his Father asked; all for our salvation and our eternal happiness. (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1)
It is said, “If weariness had weighed down the Apostles eyelids, love should have kept them open”.
To become more like Jesus, we need to pray for what God wills, rather than what we want!
Lord Jesus, you accepted your Fathers Cup with courage and confidence, despite your impending suffering. Guide me in the temptations that befall me, hide me in your Garden of Gethsemane.
Lord God, I am sorry for having offended You.
give us humility wherever pride reigns,
pardon wherever offence abides,
grace wherever sin abounds;
we pray to you;
Jesus Christ, risen Lord,
have mercy on us. Amen.