Dark Gethsemane

“And He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’ And He *came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying, so that you do not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink from it, Your will be done.’ Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
Matthew 26:37-45 (NASB)

Perhaps the two most plaintive, mournful sounds are those of a lost child crying for its mother and a spouse weeping for a lost lover. To sense you are abandoned by the most important person in your life is terrible indeed. It is heart breaking to think of abandonment in the hour of need, and this is exactly what we witness as we look into the dark recesses of Gethsemane the night of the betrayal.

Jesus left 8 of the disciples near the entrance to the garden that evil evening. He took Peter, James and John with Him farther into the garden and then became emotionally distraught. The disciples did not know what to say or do (Mark 14:40). They had never seen such an emotional display by the Master before. They had seen Him weep at Lazarus’ tomb (John 11:35), and they saw Him weep over impenitent Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). However, this expression of grief was in a class by itself. Never before had He said a situation was so painful that He could die under it’s weight. The Master had been lying on the dusty ground of Gethsemane sweating profusely as though the life blood was being crushed out of Him under the weight of the burden He carried. They were speechless at the sight of Him and at His words. No night was ever as dark as that night in Gethsemane.

All Jesus asked of the disciples that night was to watch and pray. They did neither. Instead they slept. Yet the Good Shepherd dealt gently with the disciples when He needed their help most but received nothing from them.

Have you failed your Master at some very important time in your life and His? Did you fall asleep instead of watching and praying? Were you at a loss what to say when you failed Him? Take heart my reader, your Master’s love for you can readily sustain your failure and He will provide the way for you to escape the frightening confusing situation, just as He did for the disciples in Gethsemane.

When the arresting mob appeared under cover of night, the Lord of Glory insisted that the disciples be released to leave Him alone with His enemies (John 18:8). Surely His heart broke as He facilitated their cowardly desertion in “Dark Gethsemane”. Now, at last, He was alone and in the hands of those who hated Him and would not stop now until He hung on the cross and the sooner the better.

Listen to Tis midnight, and on Olive's brow on YouTube

"Tis midnight, and on Olive's brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
'Tis midnight in the garden now,
The suff'ring Savior prays alone.

'Tis midnight, and from all removed,
The Savior wrestles lone with fears-
E'en that disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master's grief and tears.

'Tis midnight, and for other's guilt
The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He that hath in anguish knelt
Is not forsaken by His God.

'Tis midnight, and from ether-plains
Is borne the song that angels know
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior's woe.

-William Bradbury

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