Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious. Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me? Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.” A second time he went away and prayed, “My Father, if it’s not possible that this cup be taken away unless I drink it, then let it be what you want.”
Food For Thought:
When I simply and generally think of Jesus, I don’t think of him being sad. I think of Jesus being bold, compassionate, wise and loving, but this is a moment when we meet Jesus and he is sad. He is struggling and bracing for great suffering. He went on from here to experience humiliation, physical suffering and inner turmoil. In this moment, Jesus confesses, “The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.” It was not with joy, but with obedience and faithfulness that he admitted feeling weak and frightened. What an important reminder that God can relate to our suffering―that Jesus found strength in his relationship with the Father. What kind of strength might it take us to admit our struggle to follow God?
Father, you know my suffering. You know my anguish. You know my turmoil. You know that I WANT to follow you and you know that I sometimes feel weak or afraid. Fill me with trust. Guide my steps toward you. Make my spirit eager and my body strong. Amen.