Daily Dose, March 28 — Holy Week

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”
 
And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
 
Again, he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again, he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
 
Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26:36-46)
 
The Garden of Gethsemane is etched into my memory. The olive grove that is there is well protected. Live trees have a surprisingly long life, and some of the trees in that grove were there when Jesus said his prayers.
 
Jesus’ disciples were asleep in a nearby cave, having enjoyed a long day and a big meal. Jesus asked Peter, James and John to stay awake with him as he agonized over his decision.
 
“Should I stay and endure humiliation and death on a cross or leave and live to fight another day?” was the dilemma Jesus faced. He wanted to live, and who could blame him, given his youth and enormous popularity? But he knew it was time to force the devil’s hand and make him play his hateful cards. He knew the moment had arrived to expose the deep hypocrisy of corrupt religious leaders. He was certain that his sacrifice would be the clear, full expression of God’s love for all the world. He knew that countless millions of lives would change if he surrendered his own. So, “yet not what I want but what you want, my Father,” was Jesus’ prayer. His words stand as the Mt. Everest of obedient devotion.
 
The world became one big mess in a garden called Eden, when two stubborn fools decided to do what they damn well pleased. A new day dawned in a garden called Gethsemane, when one good man chose to do what pleased God. -- Y’all come, Dr. Don