Mark 14:34-35 “And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.”
I saw him from my vantage point that day. Hands gripping the chair in front of him; head bowed and eyes wet with tears. Quietly, he sobbed as grief overtook his soul. I swiftly got up and walked through the crowd and placed my arm around his shoulder. “You’re not alone” I said. Suddenly, this man; twenty years my senior, laid his head on my shouder and said, “I sure wish she was here to experience this. I sure do miss her!”
A tender moment I shall never forget. A moment God prompted for two men to share.
I cannot even begin to fathom the grief, the sorrow or the agony of the soul that Jesus was experiencing. His vision was able to see far beyond the cross.
He saw the spiritual impact of the next steps He was about to take. Once, the crowd met Him there in the garden of Gethsemane, the chain of events would fulfill literally hundreds of prophetic scriptures predicting exactly what would unfold in the next 72 hours.
Some may think it was the pain, or the ability to endure the torture of what was about to happen. It might possibly have been the load of sin that was going to placed upon Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Personally, I believe it was the thing Jesus valued the most – His direct connection to the Father that would be severed once the weight of the sins of the world were placed on Him.
Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
In every verse prior to this point He said Father, or my Father. Here, He stated “My God…” The significance being that Jesus now had received the full weight of all our sin and the Father had to remove Himself from His Son’s presence.
It wasn’t a shock, nor anything unexpected. Jesus saw this moment. Prayed for this moment.
But I come to this passage viewing the disciples with compassion; thinking and wondering if I could have survived such a time of great spiritual warfare. Jesus had known for some time that He was to face the cross. He also knew the end as well.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
All Jesus wanted was some companionship; some moral support at a time He knew He was at His weakest. If you or I were to face such a monumental task as saving the world from sin; if we were to endure the hosts of Hell bent on turning us from it; we would all buckle under the pressure.
There was and is only One who do what Jesus did.
The request that Jesus made of Peter, James and John wasn’t out of the ordinary, nor did it seem an impossible task.
Mark 14:32 “And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.”
Yet in those moments, the physical overtook the spirtual.
Mark 14:37 “And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?”
After rousing them, Jesus again went off to pray.
Twice more they fell to sleep instead of prayer. Finally Jesus gave them over to their decision.
Mark 14:40-41 “And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
Some of the most poignant times in our life are not convenient; nor are they easy. But one of the most wonderful things that happen when we decide to go forth and obey the command, believe the promise; we find that God gives grace.
He gives grace to us to go beyond what our flesh is telling us we cannot. God gives grace for those whom we reach out to help, those struggling beneath a heavy load.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
We obtain mercy and find grace. We cannot generate either for ourselves. God gives us both.
I believe this time in Jesus’ life was one of the most significant. We are brought to know the inner struggle that He faced with accepting the will of the Father.
Mark 14:36 “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
Knowing that salvation of all mankind hinged on Him making it through this time unspotted and totally submitted, He looked for His three closest companions to walk with Him.
One would deny Him. All three would run away. Only one would be there at the foot of the cross at the end.
There is truly a difference between being alone and being lonely. I chose to be alone often. I feel lonely when others fail to meet my expectations in companionship or relationship. But always remember; there is only One who promised that you will never be alone.
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
God always keeps His promise.