Today I am thankful for the story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane.
Yes, in the span of three days I’ve now hit on both religion and politics… Hope there’s at least one or two people still hanging with me! 😉 Religion, faith, and belief are incredibly hard topics to try to take on. I know my views aren’t perfect, my faith not strong enough, and my belief slightly off, but what follows is a little glimpse into how I believe. Take it as that, definitely not gospel. Now that you’ve been warned…
Every year I seem to be drawn to this specific text as the Easter season rolls on. There are several reasons I am so thankful for this. The quick summary, in my opinion, is because I feel a stronger connection to Christ and my humanity when I pray on this. I’d be hard pressed to find another quote from the bible that hits me so hard in showing me how much God loves us and how He chose to be in human form, not just a perfect human form, but a normal human. It also helps me see the disciples as human as well and I can’t help but put myself in their shoes… I’d love to think that is stay awake, but I’m quite certain I’d have the same fate – the same as how’s I feel when Peter denies Jesus for the third time.
To start with the most simple point, the disciples show how human they are. They try to stay awake and pray, but they fail. They try again upon Jesus’ urging, but they fail. And then they fail again. These are the closest followers of Jesus, and even they can’t get it right! This helps me realize that we all will fail at times, and though Jesus may be frustrated, He’s always ready to forgive us.
To get more complex, this story sheds light on just how human Jesus is. He doesn’t want to suffer, He doesn’t want to die. In spite of that He is willing to do God’s will. How powerful is that? Showing us that even the most perfect of us have moments of weakness, times when we want to give up, but we all have the strength to do what’s right. Think of how difficult this had to have been for Jesus… Knowing that you are going to die. Knowing that you are going to suffer an unspeakably horrific death. Knowing that your closest friends will deny you… And yet, while knowing you could leave, you accept the will of God and give yourself up so that others may be forgiven. What an example for all of us!
Oh, and it that wasn’t enough, He forgives his friends immediately even though they let him down three straight times. How many times to I get hung up on one innocent and less significant ant thing and refuse to let it go?
Lastly, how incredible is the love of God to put Jesus through this? The only Son, given for us, and in this manner. Knowing that you are putting your child through unspeakable pain and agony that you know must be done for the good of the many. Now as a father, I seem to have a slightly better grasp on how painful this would be. Only slightly, as the pain of just beginning to imagine it breaks my heart and feels unbearable.
And that’s why I’m thankful for the story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane. It is the point in which I feel the closest to Jesus and God. There is a humanity to Him that seems to almost be close enough to truly understand, or as close to understanding as I’ll get until my number is punched and my life is complete. My parents always said it didn’t matter what religion a person is, it only matters that they try to live a Christ-like life. This story gives me the most beautiful example of how to do that.