They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Mark 14, verses 32-34.
Jesus and His Disciples went to a rocky garden on the periphery of Jerusalem for some private time and prayer. The eleven men with Him had lived a long day. So had Jesus, and all of them had to be physically and emotionally exhausted. When they got to the garden, Jesus then asked His three closest friends to continue on a little further. He was overwhelmed. You and I can grasp that feeling because, in these stressful times of economic depression, tense relations, and political upheaval, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the world around us. Then add on personal issues, anything that hurts, bothers, or haunts you and your sense of being overwhelmed increases drastically.
Now think of Jesus at that point. All those things were swirling around Him. Add to them the fact that He had released Judas to go get the men who would start the process of killing Him. He knew it was happening. Jesus knew that a criminal’s death was only a few hours away, and that in-between these early morning hours and that Good Friday afternoon, He would be beaten, flogged and tortured. He knew the physical agony that was ahead and He knew there was no other way. His followers would turn on Him. What’s more, He was assuming onto Himself all the sin of mankind, knowing that His Holy nature and the Holy Father and Spirit who comprise His Trinity could not abide that. Jesus knew they would abandon Him and yet they wouldn’t. In a mystery too deep for us to comprehend, Jesus understood the depth of the sin penalty that He would take upon Himself knowing that He would be all alone yet never alone.
He was overwhelmed with sorrow over all of it. He was overwhelmed in ways that you and I can’t even begin to comprehend. All He asked was that His closest friends would simply be with Him. “I’m scared, guys. Just be with me while I go through this.” He said it knowing that Peter would soon deny even knowing Him a minimum of three times. He said it knowing that James, John and the others would scatter when the temple guards came to seize Him. It wasn’t much to ask and He asked it.
They failed Him.
So do I. So do you.
All Jesus asks of us is that we let Him drive. He wants us to allow Him to bless us, to allow Him to bear our burdens, to mentor us, to surrender our control to Him so that He can teach us a better way. He wants to teach us to stand for Him so that He can fight for us. I fail him every day at this; so do you. Yet we have a duty to Him to stand that watch, to stand up for Him and stand against what is wrong in our world. We don’t have this duty to work out our salvation: we get to bear it as fidelity to our Savior. So did the Disciples. So do I. So do you.
Lord, please forgive then strengthen me to stand for You. Thank You for your sacrifice, for dying for me.
Read Mark 14, verses 32-41.