Last night, while we were so comfortably tucked into our beds dreaming of better days, Jesus and his disciples quietly slipped into the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a favourite place for prayer and reflection and right now the Master needed a few moments for prayer. The storm was coming and he needed time with his Father.
The disciples were blissfully ignorant of the events that were about to unfold, the chaos that was about to descend upon them. Strange though, because Jesus had been warning them all week and had made it plain during supper and the walk over. Yet, here they slept, even though the Teacher had asked them to keep vigil with him. The meal was good and the hour was very late but still, you would think they would be able to sense tenseness in the air.
We have the privilege of taking part in the intimacy of this moment. In our flesh no man wants to face his death but imagine if you knew what Jesus knew, that it was a torturous death that was approaching. Imagine if you knew you would be beat, whipped to the point of your flesh being torn from your back, that you in this bloodied mess would be put on public display, nailed to a tree and lifted up for everyone to mock. Would that not cause a bit of anxiety in you? Add to that the truth that he was the scapegoat for the wrongdoing of the entire history of man, past, present and future. Jesus knew the plan and he was an obedient Son, but if there were any other way:
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)
Looking for the support of friends who could not even manage to stay awake, he prayed it a third time with such anxiety that his sweat became blood.
But it was the Father's will.
As he heard the many footsteps approaching he knew there would be no last minute reprieve ...