“Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, ‘Sit here while I go over there to pray.’ He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?’” — Matthew 26:36-40 NLT
Gethsemane To remain, stay awake, and pray, these are the tasks assigned to the disciples and to us as well, even now, as we face our own battles. Yet we brag, big ourselves up, and anticipate greatness from souls of dust, or we cringe and creep because we feel like worms without worth. But God knows the state of us all too well, and he grants us the grace to have a fresh start if we're willing to ask for his help. Jesus sought support himself but found his friends deeply lacking in their ability to keep alert, to pray faithfully and to stay awake. In the depths of his humanity he identified completely with you and me, and he still gives us grace when we mess up because he knows just what we are made of. © joylenton
Picture yourself in this scene. Jesus, your close friend, teacher and miracle worker, is approaching his darkest hour. You’re aware that he is special, and talking about being crucified, but your mind hasn’t yet fully grasped the reality of who he is and why he came, though you long to please him.
But it’s been a long day, with a seemingly wasteful anointing at Bethany, an unexpected betrayal by Judas, a denial, a final supper together, and now this period of praying in the garden of Gethsemane. You’re just plain exhausted. Jesus gently scolds you, and you feel dreadful because your tired body has let you down.
As we read these words, we wonder if we would have been any better at watching and praying with you than the disciples were. Sadly, their fatigue caused them to slumber in your hour of greatest need. You faced this ordeal alone because your friends failed you at this final hurdle.
Even so, you understood their weakness and gave them grace. Just as you do for us. From our post-crucifixion perspective, we know how it ends—how these failing, faltering disciples became devoted, faith-filled men with transformed minds and hearts. Oh may we have an ending like this too!
This post has been excerpted from my ‘Experiencing Lent: Sensing the Sacred in Our Midst’ book. You can discover more about the meaning of and the biblical context for Gethsemane in this article. Blessings and love to you! Xx 🙂 ❤
6 thoughts on “Gethsemane: a place of anguished obedience, prayer, and grace”
Thank you, Joy, we call a learn from this.
Hi Rebecca, thanks for stopping by to leave a sweet comment. It’s a blessing to see you here again, my friend. Happy Easter to you! x 😊✝️
Hello Joy, I am glad to be back after four months and s long hospital stay. I missed everyone.
Oh I’m sorry to hear you’ve spent a long time in hospital, Rebecca. Hope you’re on the mend now. I often need to take long blogging breaks for my health’s sake so I know how isolating it can feel. Welcome back! Sending healing blessings, hugs and prayers. x 💟
Thank you Joy, for your sharing your gift of poetry. I especially appreciated these lines:
In the depths of his humanity
completely with you and me,
and he still gives
us grace when we mess up
because he knows
just what we are made of.
Wishing you blessings this Easter.
Thank you, Shirley, for letting me know you enjoyed the poem and pointing out which lines in particular spoke to you. I appreciate you sharing your gift of encouragement with me. Blessings on your Easter, my friend! x 💜✝️