In reading the gospel accounts of the last days of Jesus, the story of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane always stuns me. The time when the Lord needed his friends the most they let Him down. Matthew quotes Jesus:
“My heart is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…” (Matthew 26:38)
I feel sorrow as I read those words. He turns to his friends and asks them, “Stay here and keep watch with me.”
After that, He goes into the garden and with face to the ground pours out His sorrow to the Father.
When He came back to check on his friends they were asleep.
“Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?” He asked them.
As a child and young adult, when I heard or read that story, I pictured an annoyed Jesus, wrinkled brow, shaking head, harsh tone, through clinched teeth asking the disciples: “Could you NOT keep watch with me for ONE hour?”
But about twenty-five years ago I saw a play about the last days of Christ. (The Atlanta Passion Play). When the scene about Gethsemane played out on the stage it was completely different from the one I’d always imagined.
This time Jesus was quiet, almost whispering to the sleeping disciples. As he spoke the words: “Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?” He gently arranged one of the disciples cloaks to cover his shoulders. He softly laid his hand on the back of another…
Sitting there in the theater, expecting to see a depiction of an annoyed Christ, I saw grace. In His darkest hour on earth (so far)… out of Him poured sweet amazing grace.
And at that moment I fell even more in love with Jesus.
Every time I read this part of His story, I’m pierced with sorrow because like the disciples did that night, I so often let Him down.
But also when I read I’m filled anew with gratitude for His grace…His mercy…
~Thanking Him for grace today my friends, and asking Him to help me keep watch~