This is a devotional I got from my pastor Tyler this week. Of course the word garden caught my eye as it always does. What garden? Who’s garden? Do you have a garden? That’s usually what happens when I hear garden. Tyler does a fantastic job with his devotionals. For some of us, this is the extent of our biblical reading for the day. Did I say that? Please enjoy the following and remember Christ’s love this Easter season. Thank you Tyler!
The Farm Wife
Grieving in the Garden
(Read: Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46)
In life, we need people. We aren’t and weren’t meant to go through this earthly life alone. Jesus was no exception to this either. In His three-year earthly ministry as recorded in the gospels, He chose 12 disciples to assist Him in ministering. When we come to this scene in our Scripture reading for today, Jesus and His disciples go to a place known as Gethsemane, which means “an oil press.” In a field covered with olive trees, oil presses were used to extract oil from the fruit. An olive grove was in that place and it is there where Jesus left His disciples (except for Peter, James and John, who went with Him), and He began to pray. Before going off by Himself to pray, however, He asked the three disciples to keep watch with Him. In this hour of His greatest need, Jesus wanted those He had the closest earthly relationship with to be praying with Him.
Can you imagine the loneliness He must have felt? The sorrow? The hurt? Not only was Jesus in agony because He knew what He would be enduring on the cross for us, but now His closest friends fell asleep in the time that He needed their support the most. Not only did they fall asleep once, but three times. There’s two things that I thought about while reading this portion of Scripture.
The first is the submission to the Father’s will that Christ showed while fervently praying with sweat drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44). Three times He prayed the prayer, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Wow, what an example for us to follow in our lives! How many times have we wanted to do what we wanted to do, neglecting to follow what God is calling us or wanting us to do? If we were honest with ourselves, it would be more times than we can count. But here we see Jesus, knowing that He was going to suffer and die on our behalf, choose to follow the Lord’s will and not His own. Folks, that is awesome love…that is love we don’t deserve.
Second, I find it interesting that when Jesus comes back to His three sleeping disciples the first time, He wakes them up and reprimands Peter (not all three of them) for his inability to keep watch with Him in prayer (Matthew 26:40-41). Why pick on just Peter? It makes me wonder if it had something to do with what Peter said to Jesus only a short time before. In verses 33 and 35 of this same chapter in Matthew, Peter had twice said he would never forsake Jesus. Yet now, he could not even stay awake and pray with Him in His time of greatest need. Jesus encouraged the three disciples to keep watching and praying, but He did acknowledge the weakness of the human flesh.
This portion of Scripture, though familiar to many, is a constant reminder of how difficult it is for us to deny ourselves and remain faithful to the Lord. The thing that touches my heart is that even though we are unfaithful to the Lord on countless occasions, He constantly remains faithful to us despite our unfaithfulness. I want to leave you with that thought today. In that Garden long ago, Jesus chose you. And you know what? He continues to choose you every day! What awesome love!!