09 Apr Day 22 – The Garden of Gethsemane
One of the primary ways we find strength is by seeing Jesus and how much he loves us. For the next few weeks of our guided prayer we are going to take strength by meditating on what Jesus went thru for us. The scripture teaches us that the greatest demonstration of Love is to lay down your life for another. Throughout Jesus’s time on earth he was continually “laying his life down” for us. Each day we’ll take one example of Jesus doing this and ponder it.
Jesus left the upper room with his disciples and, as was his habit, went to the Mount of Olives, his place of secret prayer. There he told the apostles, “Keep praying for strength to be spared from the severe test of your faith that is about to come.” Then he withdrew from them a short distance to be alone. Kneeling down, he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When Jesus finished praying, he got up and went to his disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “You need to be alert and pray for the strength to endure the great temptation.”
Luke 22: 39-45 – (TPT) (ESV in italics)
(Ponder and grow in your awareness of Jesus’ life of sacrifice by reflecting on the following questions.)
Jesus is again withdrawing to the secret place. As he fervently prays, he begins to sweat blood. Sweating blood is a condition that occurs under extreme physical or emotional stress when the fight-or-flight response is experienced to such an elevated degree that the vessels supplying the sweat glands hemorrhage blood. The phenomenon has been observed in individuals condemned to execution. Leonardo da Vinci once described a soldier who sweated blood before battle.
This detail in the garden narrative lets us know that Jesus, you were fully present in your story. You did not dissociate. You did not escape in your thoughts. Although every part of you wanted to flee from the torture ahead, you willingly accepted your coming execution. You actively refrained from using your power to overcome the darkness advancing towards you. You understood that without this sacrifice, the battle was lost against death. Precious Jesus, you set your sight on the battle against death in order to win back the treasure that had been lost. You prepared your mind, soul and strength to march, stumble, and limp toward the cross to save us all.
Jesus, my heart is full of compassion for you. It is such an overwhelming thought to think of you in such anguish, sweating blood, feeling the adrenaline surge through your body, feeling the panic rise into your skin as drops of blood. And yet you stayed. You chose me. You chose me. Through it all. You anchored your fear and your dread in the depths of unshakable love and you turned your eyes towards the cross. I am sorry that your disciples could not stay awake with you. I am sorry that the anguish on your body and soul was so great that an angel had to come to strengthen you. Jesus, thank you for not fleeing from the garden. Thank you for not escaping the crushing that had begun. Thank you for choosing to stay fully present so that every part of you would be made available now to every part of me. You are the courageous hero of my soul. You are my savior. You are the truest friend who laid it all down for me.
How I wish that I could promise to stay faithful to you in all my moments the way you have stayed faithful to me. I cannot. My sins and my wanderings are what put you there in that garden. Thank you for being the immovable one, willing to bear the weight of sin, that you would become the eternal anchor for my wayward heart. I love you.
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