The supper was over and the journey to the cross begins. Jesus leaves to pray in a garden that would soon become the place of betrayal. While Jesus was praying, the three disciples with him could hardly stay awake. After all, they just ate a big meal and exhausted from the heavy conversation they had with Jesus. Can I blame them for falling asleep? Not at all! After all, they didn’t fully grasp that Jesus ate his last Passover meal nor did they grasp the gravity of Jesus’ desire to talk to his Father; for it wasn’t unusual for Jesus to spend time talking to his dad.
Jesus’ prayer was intense, heartfelt and sorrowful. His prayer was emotionally raw and nothing was held back. Jesus’ plea for a better way to save all of us wasn’t his way to wiggle out of his responsibility, rather it was his humanity feeling the pains relationally, emotionally and physically that were about to come upon him from the beating, the slaps to the face, the nails, the crown of thorns, the spear, the humiliation, the betrayal, the denials, the loneliness, the hatred.
As Jesus falls to his face to pray, his prayer gives way to the Father’s will. His ability to rise from his own will to the Father’s will is a demonstration of his character as a man and his faithfulness as the Son of God. It was never Jesus’ intention to be selfish, weak or uncaring. Jesus’ prayer was one that spoke from the heart of a man to the heart of the eternal Father who had the ability to make the course of salvation for mankind any way he chooses it to be. Jesus was not exempt from his Father’s wishes. Jesus said in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.” (NLT)
Jesus’ prayer did not go unnoticed. His Father heard every word. I imagine Jesus’ Father was in as much anguish as his son. I imagine tears flowed freely as he listened and watched his son struggling in the garden. I imagine Jesus’ Father wanted to pick up his boy and whisk him away and say, let’s find another way to bring salvation to everyone. I imagine Jesus heard clearly his Father say with a soft, but shaky voice, I need you, son. You are the only one who can endure the pain and suffering. You are the only choice. You are the perfect choice. Son, I love you. I will walk with you as far as I can and then you will be on your own for a bit as the sins of the world are placed upon your shoulders. I know son, it will be an awful experience. It will break my heart the day we will be separated. But son, “you are the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through you.” (Paraphrased) John 14:6 (NLT)
The prayer is over. Jesus makes his way to his sleeping disciples and says, “The betrayer is near.” It was then all chaos broke out. The mob arrives. The leader was none other than one of Jesus’ own disciples. Judas! A back stabbing, selfish, money-grubbing fink who sold out his friend for a few hundred bucks. How could he? The rat was more interested in fortune than he was in sticking by his Saviors side. How could anyone be so blatantly evil toward a man who led him for three years of his life? No loyalty! A traitor!
Jesus’ garden became the last place where he was free. But, it also became the starting place for all us to be set free. John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (NIV) Jesus loves us deeply, that is why the cross is significant and powerful and an act of absolute love, mercy, forgiveness and grace. Jesus wants every one of his kids to be saved, which is why he willingly went to the cross. If you want to know more about Jesus and you want to be saved, too, email me at thegreatestcommandislove@gmail or call/text me at 931-545-7543
Remember, Be God Controlled!