Stations of the Cross – 1, Jesus in Gethsemane
Think about His love, think about His goodness
Think about His grace that’s brought us through
For as high as the heavens above
So great is the measure of our father’s love. *
During this Passion Week, I invite you to think about the measure of the Father’s love with me.
I am thinking about the Stations of the Cross; not something I’ve done before in precisely this way.
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane **
Following the Passover meal Jesus and his disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane. A familiar venue, Jesus and his disciples went there often – Judas, the one who betrayed him knew the place. The purpose of their visit this night was prayer.
Prayer seemed the appropriate conclusion to this Passover celebration. The mealtime had been weighty. Jesus took on the garb of a slave and washed the feet of those present at the feast in effect settling the dispute about who was greatest in the kingdom. He said one among them would betray him. He warned of Peter’s denial. He spoke of a new covenant – his body the bread and his blood the wine. He talked about his sacrificial death, the coming of the comforter, and offered a final benedictory prayer. Yes they all needed to pray.
It must have been late. The Passover celebrants were weary, weary both physically and emotionally. The words and events of the meal cloaked them like a heavy garment. “Pray that you enter not into temptation.” Jesus left them to pray and went a little further into the grove.
The weight of his prayer bowed Jesus to the ground and his pores exuded sweat like drops of blood. The prospect of the coming hours terrified Jesus. Great anguish consumed him. “Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me.” The battle of the cross took place in this garden. “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.”
I can’t help but wonder how he felt to return and find his sleeping friends. I think he understood the cross was his to bear and that it must be born alone. However, he must have hoped his disciples would understand the seriousness of the hour. They needed that prayer, but their weak flesh preempted their willing spirits.
The measure of his love allowed for weakness in his friends while at the same time he surrendered to the demands of the Father’s love – he alone could drink the cup.
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