Open on a well-worn, mountainside path. The day was warm, but an unseasonal chill now fills the air. Two adult friends obligatorily trail their determined overseer. Exhausted, confused, and impatiently torn…
What do you mean??
All that stuff…at dinner.
That was weird!
Oh, you mean the “body and the blood” stuff?
I don’t know.
He’s always kinda saying stuff like that, right?
I know, but tonight was just weird.
With Passover and…I don’t know.
Then there was the whole thing with Judas.
Oh yeah, you’re right.
He stormed off.
Then he took aim at me!?
Saying I’m gonna deny him three times?
What’s that about, man??
I gave up everything to follow this guy.
You were a fisherman…
Easy! I was a great fisherman, man!
Remember that one time, with the nets and all the fish??
They were all ripping!
The whole, the whole boatload man!!
Bro, that was when he showed up!
Aah, I guess you’re right.
But still man, I’m tired, it’s the middle of the night…
He had us go into town to find a stranger
to pickout a house for Passover,
Which is weird.
The guy knew we were coming,
We’re all just sitting there eating dinner,
and I thought we were having a good time.
Then he launches in with the body and blood stuff,
and and Judas and me…
And now it’s the middle of the night,
And here we are schlepping up to the Garden to go pray again…
Is he ticked??
I mean, is this my fault?
Is this why we’re here.
I’m so tired man.
I know. Me, too.
But, this is important
So, I don’t know, let’s just kinda keep our head down,
Let’s just get up there, and um, I don’t know.
We just gotta be here with him.
I know, it just feels weird.
He seems kinda stressed.
He’s been talking all that stuff about…him…dying soon.
I don’t know man. It’s a, it’s a little bit too much…
Several hours pass. Darker and colder. Visually more disturbed than before, the two friends trail even further behind…
Dude, we fell asleep three times,
THREE TIMES while he was trying to pray.
Is that what he was talking about
when he said I would deny him three times??
Man, I just fell asleep.
It’s the middle of the night…
I feel terrible, man.
Pete, calm down. I feel bad, too.
I fell asleep three times too, man.
But I’ll tell you what. One thing’s right.
Tonight is weird.
As we take a look at what happened when Jesus went to pray after the last supper, in the Garden of Gethsemane, we are face to face with what is one of the most human moments of Jesus’ ministry. Here we see Jesus where he lays out the pure gospel to his closest friends saying, “I am all you will ever need.”
Is there anything more important that we could ever hear from anyone?? Is the story of God’s love for humanity, wrapped in His spoken word, stripped of its confusion and division, not simply Him begging us to realize that simple truth?
“I am all you will ever need.”
Jesus takes what few minutes he knows that he has on earth as a living, free man, to spend time with his Father. He wrestles with his calling, with the “cup,” and begs his Father to find another way, so distraught that he sweats drops of blood. Ultimately, He submits saying, “Not my will, but Yours.”
Jesus comes out of the Garden and down the mount to be met with a traitors kiss staring down the spears of a military movement. The cloud of rage, terror, and disbelief that must have been laying over that crowd would have been impermeable. But when they ask for Jesus, he responds in the voice that God used when he spoke to Moses,
Peter is the standout failure of the story of Christ’s crucifixion. He serves as almost a bit of comic relief. He falls asleep at the garden. He hacks off the ear of a guard, risking death for himself and the rest of the disciples. He actually denies Jesus three times even after he laughs off Jesus’ foreshadowing. Time after time, Peter seemingly does all he can to ruin the gifts that are given to him.
Peter watches Jesus die, and in doing so, rest assured, had lost all hope. Despite all he had seen Jesus do, he still didn’t quite understand who he was following. And instead of a great military king that would vanquish the foes of God’s flock, Peter stares on as this human carpenter dies a common death. Absolutely all is lost.
The beauty in the story of Peter is that he is restored. He comes face to face with his resurrected King, the Christ that overcame the grave, and finally truly believes. He then goes on to fulfill his namesake and becomes a great cornerstone for the early church.
Even if you have denied Jesus, doubted his power and strength, or just flat out have fallen asleep, God still has great plans for you. Believe what God says through Jesus when he shouts to you “I am all you will ever need.”
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
A guest post by Gene Francis for Holy Week in the series It Happened One Easter.