How is your emotional level right now? Can you handle a little emotional challenge right now? If so, read on. If not, go somewhere else until you are emotionally prepared to go through a troubling experience.
I just finished writing lesson 143 in the Getting To Know Jesus Bible study series about Jesus going to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. As I was writing about Him falling on His face and pleading to His Father for strength to get through what He knew was coming, I felt a slight twinge of the stress that brought Him to this point. You can read the Scriptures about it in Getting To Know Jesus – Volume 11, Lesson 143. (Or read Matthew 26:30, 36-46; Mark 14: 26-32-42, Luke 22: 39-46; John 18: 1 ).
Jesus had just finished praying a benediction to the events of the upper room. It was there that He had brought the Apostles to celebrate the Passover. It was there that He chilled them for arguing who was the greatest. It was there that He washed the feet of all twelve (yes, Judas was still in the room). It was there that He exposed Judas and admonished him to go do what he was going to do. It was there that He instituted the Lord's Supper and told the remaining eleven that He was going to die at the hands of His enemies.
After instating the Lord's Supper, Eucharist, Communion, Love Feast, Last Supper or whatever you prefer to call it, Jesus gave an after-dinner talk to prepare and encourage the Apostles for continuing on without Him. They do not fully realize that at this point, but that was what it was designed to do. He concluded that talk with a benedictive prayer where He prayed for God to bless Him, bless and protect the Apostles and protect the Church that they will soon be establishing.
After that prayer, Jesus needed some private time with God. The emotions and pain are adding up on Him and, even though He is God in the flesh, He needs some personal time with His Father to get through this. Even though He takes the Apostles with Him, He leaves them and goes to another part of the Garden to be alone with God.
It is here that He prays for strength to get through what He has to go through. He would rather not have to die, but he knows that God has a great plan. He dreads the thought of the rejection, pain and torture that is pending. He knows that His death is necessary to pay for our sin, but He still pleads for a different resolution.
Knowing that this is God's will, Jesus chooses obedience over escape from pain and death. Think with me for a moment about how much stress that put on Him. He never sinned. He loves God, the Father and you and me (even though we are the ones responsible for his having to die on the cross). He has seen crucifixion and knows something about what is ahead for Him. He dreads the physical pain, yearns to escape the emotional pain, and will soon feel the spiritual separation and pain that is pending. How hard is it for Jesus to not call 10,000 angels and stop this whole process? Yet, He prays for strength to be obedient and faithful through all that is soon coming.
How does the stress you are going through compare to what Jesus went through for you? Kind of pales in comparison, does not it?