THROUGH MATTHEW’S ACCOUNT, YOU FOLLOW JESUS TO THE GARDEN.
Matthew 26:36-38 36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
You feel deep sorrow, but you cannot truly reach the depth of His suffering. Knowing what fate awaits Him—you become painfully aware that He also knows, has known. You follow Him as He enters alone, leaving His three trusted disciples behind, per His request, to watch. Your heart is troubled and heavy for Him. You, too, have felt aloneness. You realize how deeply He knows your loneliness from His own.
Matthew 26: 39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
You see Him drop down to the earth, to the dust where man was first formed, humbled. He, the Son of Man, requests relief from His coming trial. He knows the Father can change this ending on the cross. Yet, He leaves the decision to His Father’s will, not His own. You are awed at the trust, the love, the gift.
Matthew 26:40-41 (40) Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? (41) Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
You watch Him return to find His three friends asleep. Concerned for them. Perhaps, hoping to find comfort from them. He is disappointed in their lack of will and discipline to remain alert. He tells them now to watch and pray, concerned they might not be able to prevail. A short duration without Him-and they succumb to human weakness, failing to follow His directives. You wonder: Could I have remained awake and watchful for Jesus’ return?
Matthew 36: 42-43 (42) Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” (43) And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
You hear the same prayer to lift the burden from Him. Still, He renders obedience to His Father’s will. Yet, He has asked for this relief again. It is not lifted from Him. His heart is heavy as He, once again, returns to find his friends asleep. Unaware, unsupportive– these were the chosen ones who would speak after Him, yet they had no words to answer Him now.
Matthew 26: 44-45 (44) So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. (45) Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
You follow Him back to the garden to hear another prayer. The prayer is the same. The answer is the same. He leaves to find the disciples still asleep to what is about to come– the trial before Him that He has known from the beginning. Allowing Himself to be the sacrifice, He confronts the awaited hour alone.
While in the Garden, you have felt, you have seen, you have watched, you have heard, you have followed the man, the Son, the Christ begin the path to the cross. You leave the Garden more awake than you have ever been.
(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/22/15) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word