April 6 – Gethsemane (Thursday)

by Caleb Jenkinson

Read: The Prayer in the Garden (Mark 14:32-46)

Key Verses: Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.” (Mark 14:32-34)

Where do we go when we are distressed—“distressed” as in “suffering from anxiety, sorrow, or pain”—and who do we go there with? In His distress, Jesus went out from the city of Jerusalem, which was hustling and bustling from the celebration of the Passover, to a secluded place on a mountain. After reaching Gethsemane, Jesus’s emotions were revealed to us. Jesus, our Savior and God, knowing what He faced, was troubled and prayed to His Father.

He did not go to this secluded place to wrestle with His sorrow alone though. He came to Gethsemane with His disciples and asked the three people closest to Him to remain with Him. Jesus brought them with Him but did not ask them to justify His imminent suffering or to make Him feel better. He simply asked them to “remain here and stay awake.” He was asking them to be present in His time of distress. Unfortunately, they could not even do that for Him as they kept falling asleep.

As Christians called into community with one another, this text requires us to ask ourselves: Whom do we invite to Gethsemane when we are distressed? Who is inviting us to Gethsemane in their season of suffering?

While the disciples failed to be present, Jesus himself was praying. Jesus knew what the Father had willed for Him to do, but this was causing Him to suffer even then. While Jesus ultimately submitted himself to the will of his Father even in prayer, He still wrestled with his Father in prayer asking for the cup to be taken away. “Is this the only way?” He asked, and we do not read the Father’s answer. Despite this, something about this time of prayer gave Jesus the strength to move forward even in light of the suffering He saw ahead.

When we are in a season of suffering, we must not allow ourselves to skip to the resurrection we know is coming, but rest in the suffering of Jesus on Thursday and Friday, praying for God to give us the strength to move forward in faith into the resurrection life of Sunday.