Agony in the Garden

Agony in the Garden
In reading over the passage for this week's sermon (Mark 14: 32-50), I was struck by how many details I often overlook because I am "familiar" with the story.  Knowing the story of the Garden of Gethsemane is different than reading and meditating on the scripture itself.  Those of us "raised in church" remember our Sunday School narratives and felt-board stories all too well.  Our daily bread, though, the Word of Christ and Christ Himself come alive to us when we allow the scriptures to water our souls drop by drop, slowly.

What did you notice in the passage this week?  I did not remember that Jesus prayed three times and came back to the disciples three times to find them asleep.  It occurred to me that, in a sense, Peter has already betrayed Jesus by falling asleep. Even before he verbally denies knowing Jesus, he denies Jesus during the long, agonizing hours of the night.  How do I feel if I ask for help (from perhaps a child or spouse) and I walk in to find that someone asleep on the couch?  It's not a pretty scene at my house.  Stomping may be involved.  Jesus surely felt the pain of this betrayal deeply.

When Jesus comes to wake the disciples the second time, after praying for this cup to be taken from him, and he finds the disciples asleep a second time, "they did not know what to say to him."  I can imagine the scene.  They just looked at Him, wide-eyed and sorrowful. He looked at them incredulously.  There was nothing to say.  They failed.  Jesus knew it and they knew it.  What agony for them all.

Lord, teach me the truths you would have me to know from this passage.  Meld my heart and strengthen my spirit that, indeed, your will be done. 

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