“Just imagine if you had been with Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane?” This question is like a sales pitch for a travel agent’s call for a pilgrimage tour. While Peter, James and John, failed to cope with their master’s mission, Jesus is expecting a different response from us. On that fateful night, nothing was clear regarding His redemption plan but now everything has come to light. Now that we know better are we still finding it hard to stay awake?
Why Peter, John and James?
To these three, the death of Jesus Christ had been revealed at the time of transfiguration of Jesus Christ (Luke 9:28-36). Jesus even asked them not to reveal His death to anyone till the time it happened. He was referring to the appearance of Elijah to that of John the Baptist whose coming was most expected by the Jews but still, they could not recognize him.
Jesus had chosen them as trustworthy people to be with Him at the hour of His peril but they failed to stand up to His expectation as they were looking at the glorious atmosphere instead of hearing and absorbing the context. Even with the admirers of John the Baptist, the same thing had happened. Instead of listening to his message of preparing a way for the King, they looked at his attire and lifestyle. Jesus Himself had rebuked them over this issue. A glamorous atmosphere should not stand in our way to absorb the truth that Jesus Christ is imparting in us. We should examine ourselves as to what is preventing us from absorbing the truth.
What did Jesus expect from the Three?
Jesus knew that darkness is hovering over the world and the light of the world will be soon handed over to this darkness for a while. Jesus was worried about His disciples whether they could withstand that darkness. Hence, three times he asked them to watch and pray so that they may not be tempted and go astray. He didn’t want them to uphold the prayer-answering-God with their prayers but to pray for themselves to not be tempted.
Was Jesus afraid to face death?
Is it possible for Jesus to fear death? Jesus comforted His disciples and others so many times asking them not to fear. Even at one point, Jesus is encouraging people not to be afraid of people who are only able to kill our body and not the soul. Such a bold teacher is now pleading to His Father to take away the cup? Because that moment was the beginning of God’s mission. The sin of the whole humanity was bestowed on Him and sin had disconnected Him from God and now He was left all alone because of you and me.
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” – Hebrews 2:14-15
For Jesus that was a new experience of becoming a sinner even without committing sin. The wages of sin is death. Bible says that all have sinned and lost the glory of God. God’s beloved son has become a sinner for the sake of humanity and was facing the wrath of God. When Grace itself is suffering the wrath what else is left.
‘If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” – Psalms 11:3
The fear Jesus had is proof that He bore our sins. Adam and Eve were frightened at the sound of God’s footsteps. Sin induces fear, fear of eternal death. Death has power when Jesus was facing it. He was the first to face death without grace and without the love of Father. Jesus was terrified to face the cruelty of death when no other power was willing to comfort Him saying ‘Don’t be afraid’.
We read in Luke that angels had strengthened Him. Jesus was confident enough to call upon His father at the right time. The fear did not cause panic in Him and He was able to take the right decision to pray to His father even after being bombarded by the sins of this world.
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” – Hebrews 5:7
Even when He was missing His Father’s love, Jesus’ love for human race didn’t diminish. With that incredible love, Jesus was able to overcome the fear and He conquered death once for all.
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – I Corinthians 15:55-57
As Jesus had walked through the shadow of death, the prophecy of David has come true and now we can boldly say that,
‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’ – Psalms 23:4
In the Garden, Jesus was terrified for our sake so that we should not be afraid of death. Death could not devour Him but rather Jesus made death a medium for us to obtain eternity.
Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. – Revelation 1:17-18