That night after walking and talking for a time, they came to a place called Gethsemane at the base of the Mount of Olives. Jesus told the disciples, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.” Then he took Peter, James, and John and went further. He told this smaller group, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” He asked them to stay at this place and keep watch.
Then Jesus went a little further and prayed. The Bible says he “fell on his face and prayed.” This was an agonizing time that caused Jesus great pain. He said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Jesus was telling God the Father that he would prefer not to endure what was before him, but that he would do what God the Father wanted, not what Jesus preferred.
Jesus went back to the three and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”
He told them again, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus left the disciples again and prayed. He said, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”
After a time, Jesus returned again to the disciples and once again found them asleep. The Bible tells us he left them again and prayed the same words again. He knew the great struggle that was coming, but because of his love for His Father and for us, he continued fulfilling what he was asked to do, and what he had offered in the beginning to do for all of us.
During this time in Gethsemane, Jesus suffered more pain than any person had ever suffered, or would ever suffer, or even could ever suffer. We cannot comprehend how difficult it was. He suffered the pain necessary to pay the punishment for all of our sins, including your sins.
He suffered enough to know each pain and sorrow you have faced or will face. Before he did this, he likely thought about what that pain would be like but now he had experienced it. He knows all of our hardships, our difficulties, and our sorrows perfectly because he has personally felt them.
He has paid for our sins and also personally paid the price to know perfectly how to help us.
After this agonizing experience, Jesus returned to the disciples. This time he told them, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
Jesus had completed the work in Gethsemane that His Father asked him to do there. Now it was time to complete his earthly mission; the next step was to allow himself to be captured and taken away.
What do you think?
- Why did Jesus do this most difficult, painful thing?
- Is it important to you that Jesus did this?
- How does Jesus’ experience in Gethsemane affect your life?
- If Jesus’s suffering paid the price that justice demands for our sins, how can we make sure this payment is effective to truly cleanse us from each of our sins? In other words, how can we utilize the atonement and make it work for us?
- How can we show our gratitude to Jesus for what he did?
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