Quiet your heart to enter the garden with Jesus and his friends.
Read Matthew 26:36–46
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhat was your most anguished prayer?
A garden on the Mount of Olives provides the place where Jesus will do battle with his own will. He leaves eight disciples at the gate and takes Peter, James and John with him. What does Jesus’ need for his friends’ support tell us about his humanity? He is honest with them about how he is feeling and asks them to pray.
He then moves deeper into the shadows of the trees to pray. Try to listen to the agony within Jesus. There is an intense struggle going on in his inner being. He knows that death lies ahead but longs that it would not be needed. What else can he do but plead with his Father?
Consider the implications of this inner battle: the salvation of the world hung in the balance at this point. Jesus wins a victory in this garden. His will is fully submitted to his Father’s will.
Matthew’s account of Gethsemane describes Jesus living out the prayer he taught his disciples in Matthew 6:9–13. Save us from temptation. Deliver us from evil. Your will be done. Your kingdom come. This is prayer in action.
And there is a loneliness in it. Jesus’ friends are unable to stay awake and support him. There are some inner battles we must take to God on our own.
What are you battling right now? Have you taken it to God? Choose to press on today! Don’t give up; Christ will give you strength.
Sit in silence and thank Jesus that he held his resolve to go to the cross.