When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written,
“I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”
But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And so said all the disciples.
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’
The last hours of Jesus’ life bear powerful truths for our daily living. Lessons and principles for following Christ are to be learned in almost every event of those last hours.
Watch and learn…
- On Thursday night, Jesus ate the traditional Passover meal with His disciples. That night, He performed an act of great humility. The Messiah washed the feet of His apostles. He taught them that to be great, you must be small. The way to lead is to serve. Remember Jesus washing the disciples’ dirty feet if you feel unimportant, un-empowered or small.
- Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. He declared his loyalty, even to the death. But Jesus sadly informed him that he would vehemently deny knowing the Savior three times before the rooster would crow in the morning. Remember Peter as he heard the rooster crow early Friday morning if you feel self-sufficient or confident in your own resources alone.
- After the meal, Jesus went to the garden to pray. His followers chose sleep, not prayer. In the loneliness of those hours, Jesus’ heart was in great agony as He accepted death for our salvation. Remember Jesus kneeling alone in the garden if you find it hard to do the right thing.
- Then came the trials. First, Christ stood before the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin; then, the Roman governor, Pilate; next, Herod, the Jewish puppet king; and finally back to Pilate again. In cowardice, Pilate let the people choose; Jesus or Barabbas, a convicted criminal. Remember Jesus as he heard the crowd shout, “Crucify him! Give us Barabbas!” If you feel wrongfully accused.
- The Roman soldiers beat Him, crowned Him with thorns, mocked Him and made Him carry His cross. Remember the humiliation of Jesus on the Via Dolorosa if you feel rejected or excluded.
- Jesus was nailed to the cross with huge spikes. In the midst of His torture, He prayed for His executioners. Remember Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them,” if you find it hard to forgive.
- Those same soldiers gambled for His clothes. Remember how Jesus must have felt as the soldiers played games at the foot of the cross if you feel discouraged by power struggles, feel used or feel misunderstood.
- There are lessons to be learned from all suffering but the passion of Christ shows us the true heart of God. The Lenten season gives us 40 days to ponder Christ’s passion and learn from it.
Father – Give me the wisdom to learn lessons of service and humility as I consider Christ’s passion.
- The Irish and Ash Wednesday – Lent, meatless Fridays and hot-crossed buns (irishcentral.com)