Garden. The first of fifteen words on Jesus' way to the Cross.
This first of our Lent reflections starts, as Jesus' journey does, in the Garden, reflecting on Matthew 26:36-41.
Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
Jesus’ journey to the cross starts, symbolically, in a garden. He will be buried in a garden. And it is as a gardener that he will be mis-identified by the first witnesses (John 20:14-15).
Gardens are intended to be beautiful – but the juxtaposition evident in Jesus’ experience in Gethsemane resonates with stories of brokenness and pain that all of us see around us every day.
Jesus’ example in the garden is one of honesty, of prayer, and of pain. In the sorrow he feels, in his begging the Father to find another way, there is a beautiful obedience. An invitation to follow Jesus, into broken and beautiful places. An invitation to pray. And a hint of a story yet to unfold, a story that will change the world.
Pray – this week in our Together prayer diary we have been praying for Keri Lim and Gifty Dhanapal, two missionaries going door to door to share the gospel. two missionaries going door to door to share the gospel as they follow Jesus into broken communities and lives. Why not take a moment to ask for God to open both front doors, and doors in the hearts of the people they meet, as they share with them the beauty of the gospel.
Respond – the most recent issue of our free quarterly magazine, ‘Changing London’, explores what the gospel is and some of the pictures in Scripture, starting in the Garden of Eden and culminating at the Cross. Sign up to get it free, or read it online now!