Garden

Reading: Luke 22:39-46

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Jesus and his friends were often tired or hungry.

As a former child refugee, Jesus must have been tempted to use his considerable leadership skills to get ahead in life. At least, those around him were constantly pushing him in that direction. After Jesus had not eaten for forty days, the devil tempted him with a vision of all the kingdoms that could be his, but Jesus insisted on serving God alone (Luke 4:5-8).

When his friend Peter tried convincing him to avoid being crucified, Jesus rejected that temptation as coming from Satan. Jesus was fully committed to God’s will, even though it meant allowing himself to be murdered. Even after his resurrection, Jesus’s friends kept bugging him about when the whole kingdom thing would happen. Once again, he placed his Father’s will above human plans or timing (Acts 1:6-8).

His friends had some trouble with that. They wanted Jesus to conform his will to their own plans. You don’t know, Jesus told them, what the Father’s will is; you don’t know the nature of the kingdom to which you’ve pledged allegiance (Mark 10:35-40).

As he neared his death, Jesus called his disciples friends. (Aristotle says that friendship is rooted in common aims and interests.) As his friends, they would know and understand what Jesus was doing, what his mission on earth had been. They would know the kind of love that he had taught them to practice (John 15:9-17), the kind of food he had given them to eat – doing the work of the Father who sent him, and bringing about his kingdom (John 4:33-34).

They would find that the Father’s rest was to continue the work their master had been sent to do (Matthew 11:27-30). They would learn that the Father’s will was worth whatever it cost to do it. They would find their joy in witnessing to the reality of another realm, and would be willing to die in order to belong to the kingdom that has no equal and no end.

 

Written by Steve Waldron

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