Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Mark 14:32-36 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34 And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 He said, “Abba,[a] Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”
The apostle Paul, writing to the Philippians, and by extension, to all who are trying to serve Christ, and he says,
5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane shows the emptying of himself to which Paul referred. It is a moving moment, when Jesus prays, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” Abba is the Aramaic word that Jesus used to address God. It is translated “Father” here, but it is a much more intimate word than that. It is better translated “Daddy” or, as The Message translates it, “Papa.”
The garden in which Jesus prayed is an orchard of olive trees and there was an olive press there to press the oil out of the olives. We know this because the name of the garden—Gethsemane—means “oil press.” An oil press used a long pole as a lever and stones as weights. The olives would be placed in a strong sack and pressed. The oil would come out of the olives and run down into a collection basin.
Jesus was hard pressed in the garden of the oil press. He felt the tremendous pressure, the burden, of what was quickly approaching—his arrest, his mockery of a trial before Pontius Pilate, and his execution on a Roman cross. He was being pressed and pouring himself out, emptying himself, as the ultimate expression of self-giving love.
What does Paul say, then, about the resurrection that followed? “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We confess Jesus Christ as Lord. If he is Lord, that simply means he is in charge of our lives. We seek to obey him and follow his will for our lives. Paul calls us to live even as Christ lived—as a servant.
To have the mind of Christ in us, for Jesus truly to be our Lord, means to give of ourselves. Paul said, “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing form selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster