Come to the Garden!
This is Holy Week, and today of this meaningful time of Lent is the day that begins the agony of Christ, my savior. Many of you know that my daily reading of choice is Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest, and in today's reading Oswald talks about the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, referenced in Matthew 26:36-46. This passage really humbles me, bringing tears to my eyes as I know that I do to my Lord what the disciples did to Him in His last earthly hours He was with his disciples, his followers, his best friends at a time of temptation. Jesus desired the support and prayers of His disciples!
The scripture is this:
36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go over there and pray." 37And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[a] with me." 39And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." 40And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 42Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done." 43And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Sleep and take your rest later on.[b] See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand."
And then, Judas, one of the 12 disciples betrays Jesus, leading to Christ's crucifixion. I do this to my Savior every day. I get too busy to pray. At a crazy time in our world, our society, He cries out more than ever, pleading for me to serve others and bring them home to Him. I ignore Him by being too busy, too shy, too uncomfortable to share my testimony---with too many excuses.
I may never fathom what Jesus did for me on the cross, but I CAN understand it. I feel it. Do you? My prayer for you is that you will know the unfathomable love of Christ for YOU. Yes, for YOU and for me, for ALL. Know it more than ever.
Understand it tonight by attending a Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday service at a local church. My church, First United Methodist Church in downtown Athens has a truly awesome service tonight at 7pm. Please come!
The beautiful image for this post is by Joe Farace--that I found in an email right after I posted this. Hope you don't mind if I borrow it! It reminded me so much of how the Garden of Gethsemane might have looked. Lovely image, Joe!