The Hour has Come!
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Mark 14:32-42
Jesus knows what is coming. He knows he will be betrayed, turned over to the elders and priests, mocked and humiliated, suffer, and die. They arrive at Gethsemane, which literally translates to “oil press,” and Jesus tells the bulk of the followers to sit and wait while he prays. He then takes Peter, James, and John with him to another section of the olive grove. Isn’t it interesting that the same three who witnessed the transfiguration and the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter are now going with him as witnesses to his distress? Now he states to the three that his heart and soul are deeply troubled. We are unsure of the actual cause, but it is likely the totality of the events: betrayal, false witness, denial, suffering, humiliation, and death. Then he prays.
Let’s focus on the prayer. Notice the humanity and divinity on display in the first sentence. While praying with such intimacy (use of Abba, Father), Jesus professes such trust that he knows he could ask for a change in how this will take place (humanity), but also recognizes that with God, anything is possible (divinity). He follows up with the profound “not my will but yours.” He submits to the divine will in prayer three times, even in his deep distress!
Lastly, do I really need to point out that the “knuckleheads” again come up short, asleep on the job? Not once but three times, Jesus finds them sleeping! Is this a prelude to the three denials?
I cannot imagine how lonely he must have felt at that moment.
In your anxiety, I don’t see doubt. I only see trust in the Divine’s will. Forgive me for those moments when I allow anxiousness to develop into doubt rather than faith. You always deliver, even with something I did not foresee.
I pray in the name of the Submissive One, Jesus. Amen!