And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And He (Jesus) said to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray." And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And He said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." And going a little farther, He fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will." (Mark 14:32-36)
I find it very difficult to write about this passage. My mind and heart stand in awe of Jesus' suffering—and of the great love that He has for us, to go through this for our sake. His humanity is on full display in this story. We can see that He is fully aware of what's about to happen, and as with any human being, His body and soul shudder at the prospect. No wonder Luke says His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground! No wonder He prayed, "Remove this cup from Me." His suffering had already begun.
But there are other, smaller things to notice. He took His friends with Him, almost to the very spot where He ended up praying on the ground—Peter and James and John, the ones closest to Him. Jesus didn't want to be alone as He struggled with what was to come. And look at the name that He used for God—"Abba," which is the term a child would use for his dear father.
All of this shows us someone who clearly loves us very much, to go through all of that and still pray, "Yet not what I will, but what You will." Most of us never get the choice when it comes to suffering. It is forced on us by the circumstances of our lives, and we simply have to muddle through. But Jesus—He chose it. He chose obedience to the Father He loved. And He chose salvation for the people He loved—for you and for me. His suffering, death, and resurrection have given us life.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to grasp Your great love, and to love You back. Amen.
* When have you suffered the most?
* Do you think it is easier or harder to suffer when you know you have another option?
* What good has God brought out of the suffering in your own life?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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