Gethsemane happens to all of us.
It is a place. A place called Gethsemane.
The dark night of the soul. Stumbling around trying to find a glimpse of life and hope through your pain. Crying out with sobs that God himself could only comprehend.
Permanent mascara stains in the carpet as you lay face down praying. Your stomach hurts not from crunches but from soul crawls. Looking for the light, the darkness of that season seems to swallow up every ounce and smudge of hope we have clung to. We remind ourselves that this too shall pass but it seems as if 24 hrs has stretched into a 32 hr day.
The Gethsemane of Jesus
I think of Jesus and his Gethsemane experience, it makes ours seem like nothing in comparison, but it is not. Oh no! It is everything and He never leaves you in it alone.
Not. For. One. Minute.
Dismiss the devilish voices that try to convince you otherwise. Yes, the devilish voices in your head and in your well meaning friends. Those like Job had. Accusing you of doing something wrong and in their summary that is the reason you are where you are.
Others looking down upon you from their pious position of faith. Stripping you of that remote hope that you are clasping to understand. You are hoping that they will watch and pray with you and for you.
This awareness is about as soul wrenching as the other circumstances that bring us to our own Gethsemane. This is real life. And after all of these things, if all forsake me, my Father will not. And so we cry out ‘Not my will, but Thy will be done Father.’
A Venture Into The Bible
Let’s look at some verses that talk about Jesus’ situation.
v36) Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples,”Sit here while I go and pray over there.”
v 37) and He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
v 38) Then He said to them,” My should is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. “Stay here and watch with me.”
v 39) He went a little further and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,” O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will.”
v 40) The He came to the disciples and found them sleeping and said to Peter,”What? Could you not watch with me one hour?
v 41) “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak..
Most people love to hang with you when you are in a good place.
A place of peace and tranquility. A place of success when you seem to be winning in all areas. A good place, a restful place of the soul. Not a dark place. Definitely not a Gethsemane place.
How many have wanted to join you in your dark times?
Be with you at the funeral when you are burying your dreams?
What It Means For Us
Jesus, in essence is saying, ‘If you want to be my friends guys, you have got to go to the dark places with me.’ He pours out the anguish of his soul condition and pleads with them to stay with him and watch.
Pleading with them in his distress to not abandon him at his greatest moment of need.
The yearning for their friendship pains him in his great moment of need. The enemy lurking, mocking and watching each step Jesus took to move on and yield to his Father.
In his dismay and shock, Jesus finds Peter and his other two friends sleeping, not once, but three different times.
Every time He came back, his observation was the same. Stunned that they were sleeping again. Shocked but sobered by the reality of the weakness of their flesh. Their human tendencies prevailing by far over their honorable mentions. Yet Jesus hoped for more from them.
He ached with another reality in their seemingly shallow commitment to him. He loved them so deeply, yet they loved him conveniently when it worked for them.
Jesus aches as He thinks on the past conversations with Peter. Knowing what was in Peter and yet not loving him any less. Jesus still hurt by what would occur. Actually hurting more for what it would do to Peter and the effect it would have on him more than Jesus himself.
His love for Peter wasn’t self-serving. It was a deep,committed, ‘I believe in you Peter’ kind of love. And yet Peter doesn’t know what is in him and when the rubber meets the road, Peter is for Peter.
No considerations of the others only focused on himself.
Peter answered and said to him,” Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.”
Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
Peter said to him,” Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”
And so said all the disciples.
Jesus Predicts His Response…And Ours
The irony in Jesus telling Peter just prior to this garden experience how Peter would deny him three times. Doesn’t sound like the same guy in the garden of Gethsemane with Jesus does it?
Every one of the disciples seem to have an elevated opinion of their commitment to Jesus, until, Gethsemane happens.
This always separates the wheat and the chaff.
The overly confident to the under-developed disciple.
The most knowledgeable to the one who thinks they don’t have much to offer.
The one who leaves to the one who stays.
Only Gethsemane can reveal that.
In the meantime, Jesus will be with you in your Gethsemane. He will never leave you and you will come out on the other side stronger and knowing the frailties of your flesh and others.
Most importantly, you will know the deep love of God that surpasses all understanding. You will know those who love you and those who say they love you and you will be empowered with grace to love them back.
Grace received turns into grace extended.