As Jesus re-entered Jerusalem on Thursday of Holy week, what awaited Him were some of the most emotional moments leading up to His trials and crucifixion. Jesus would lovingly partake of the Passover meal with his disciples and simultaneously institute the Lord’s Supper. It was on Thursday that Jesus would be in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane and ultimately be betrayed by Judas into the hands of the Sanhedrin. The emotional anguish and pain of betrayal would have been enough to crush the spirit and purpose of most men.
Those moments in the Garden of Gethsemane have always felt crucial to me. It was there that Jesus wrestled with His Father’s will, even wondering if there might be another way.
Garden of Gethsemane
It was in the garden where Jesus looked into the cup of suffering and made up His mind to drink it on my behalf. The anguish of those moments and the thought of separation from His Father overcame Jesus and He literally sweated great drops of blood onto the ground. He endured His sleepy, oblivious friends and prayed all by Himself on the night before His death.
When He needed them the most, they had fallen asleep at the most critical moment in history. While all the forces of hell were marshalled against Him, He stood up and walked out of the garden with determination to see it through.
What a man! Rather, what a God!
Centuries old olive tree descended from the ones in the garden in Jesus’ day.
I’m afraid I see myself in the others surrounding Jesus that night more than I see Jesus in me. I often wrestle with the Father’s will and more often than not, choose my own. I more often avoid suffering instead of choosing it on someone else’s behalf.
The separation from my Father that sin causes doesn’t send me into anguish like it should. Unfortunately, I can be spiritually sleepy and absent at the most important times. Rather than a determination to see things through, I am prone at times to want to quit and walk away.
I look more like a sleepy disciple or even a betrayer than I do Jesus.
Hear this: That’s why Jesus came. That’s why Jesus rose up from His knees that night and with a determined heart, marched to the cross. He knows us. His disciples actions did not surprise Him. My sin does not surprise him. My betrayal does not stop Him or cause Him to change His mind.
He loves sleepy disciples and cowardly followers more than we can imagine. I know this because on Thursday of Holy week instead of walking away from them, He walked to cross and died in their place…my place.