Jesus comes to a place called Gethsemane, which was a place in which Jesus and His disciples often met. Located across the valley from Jerusalem, Gethsemane was a garden of olive trees and has become known as the place where Jesus Christ agonized in prayer before His betrayal by Judas. As Jesus enters into the garden, He tells His disciples to sit while He goes to pray and then He calls Peter, James, and John to go with Him (26:37a). Jesus begins to pray and becomes overcome with sorrow and distress, even to the point that He wanted to die (26:38). I can’t imagine what Jesus must have felt as He recognized that He would soon suffer a violent death to pay for the sins of mankind. Obviously, He needed support during this time of distress so He asks Peter, James, and John to stay with Him and watch (26:38b). Jesus then falls on His face and prays to His Father “if it is possible, let this cup pass from me….” Throughout the Old Testament, a cup symbolized divine judgment against sin so in essence He was asking for God to find another way to judge sin. However, Jesus continued to pray “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Although Jesus Christ was overwhelmed with emotion as He was feeling the full wrath of God upon sin, He still told His Father that He would do whatever His Father wanted Him to do (26:39). To bear the weight of all mankind’s sin must have been agonizing! After praying, Jesus returns to find His disciples sleeping and He challenges them to “watch and pray, lest you enter temptation.” Jesus knew what was about to happen and was aware they would need divine strength to handle the circumstances ahead (26:40-45). After Jesus’ words, He went to pray again but when he returned He found the disciples sleeping…they had no idea what awaited them. Jesus once again urged them to watch and pray; however, they fell asleep. As Jesus spoke to them the third time, Jesus says to His disciples “rise, let us be going. See my betrayer is at hand.” Jesus knew the time had come for His capture and subsequent death. It is complicated to imagine what Jesus was feeling during this time of agony in the garden. But regardless of what He was feeling, paying the penalty for mankind’s sin was more important! Thank God for Jesus Christ who prayed and received strength to make it through this overwhelming time. There are certain times when we are also overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty but we must follow the example of Jesus Christ praying for divine strength.
Dear God, provide the strength only You can give!