IT IS A STARK SCENE. Jesus praying in Gethsemane, saying, “My heart is ready to break with grief. …” Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief.
We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.
My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity.
The next time the fog finds you, remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to the pleading among the twisted trees.
Seeing God like this does wonders for our own suffering. God was never more human than at this hour. God was never nearer to us than when God hurt. The incarnation was never so fulfilled as in the garden.
Jesus, may I watch with you in your pain and so come to understand that you watch me in mine. Amen.
—Max Lucado, in The Upper Room Disciplines 2010
The Upper Room Disciplines 2010
From the reading for Holy Thursday, by Max Lucado, page 103 in The Upper Room Disciplines 2010: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2009 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Pray the prayer at the end of today’s reflection. Share your thoughts.
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
John 13:21, NRSV
This Week: Pray for those affected by gun violence. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
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This week we remember: Sister Thea Bowman (March 30).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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