After celebrating Passover with his disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He took with Him Peter, James, and John. Jesus was filled with sorrow and was overwhelmed with what was awaiting Him. He asked His friends to keep watch with Him. The picture from the garden is quite dramatic: He is praying to the Father with His face to the ground. His Prayer? “Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me.” A cup is something measured out, The cup for Jesus was suffering and His death on the cross. As He prays “But not as I will, but as you will.” All of our prayers must include if not the words then the attitude displayed in Jesus’ praying. We make our request and express our preference, but ultimately it is God’s will that is to be done. When Jesus had finished praying he goes to His diciples and finds that they are sleeping. When He needed them, they were sleeping. He wakes them up and asks them again to pray. Jesus prays again virtually the same prayer, again ending it with His commitment to obey and fulfill His Father’s will. Jesus heard the Father say lovingly and firmly no! It is not that God does not answer our prayers, sometimes the answer is no. No is an answer, as all parents know it would be impossible to always say yes. We believe that God knows best, He sees the end from the beginning and we trust Him, even in Garden of Gethsemane moments. Once again Jesus finds His disciples sleeping, this time He leaves them alone and goes to prayer for the third time. He returns to His disciples strengthened by His time with the Father.
A good exercise today would be to read Matthew’s account of Jesus in the Garden
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Remember the Savior, remember the Garden, the cross and in a few hours celebrate the empty tomb!