Good Friday

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Mark 14:32-34

Gethsemane was a garden containing an olive press at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Olive oil was a relevant product and resource in the area. It was used not only in cooking but also in the lamps of the day. An olive must be crushed to the get oil, crushed to the point where the olive is no longer recognizable. In this garden, Jesus entered the crucible of suffering, to be crushed for our sins. It started here.

Jesus asked his disciples to wait and watch while He prayed. He asked three of them to go deeper with Him into His personal struggle. Peter, James and John were much like an inner circle of friends for Jesus. The impact of what Jesus was about to face hit Jesus at this point. It was something the disciples could see and be witness to; He was greatly distressed and troubled. And if His change in personality (or mood) wasn’t enough of a clue for Peter, James and John, His words should have grasped their full attention, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”

Three times Jesus returned from His place of prayer to where Peter, James and John were, but He received no comfort from them as they slept. The second time He returned and caught them sleeping, He said, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?” Interestingly He didn’t use Peter’s new name, but his old name.  Maybe this sleeping behaviour came from Peter’s old nature. Jesus again asked them to watch and pray but the disciples were exhausted emotionally and spiritually. We can’t be critical, because haven’t you ever fallen asleep when praying?

In His darkest moments, Jesus went to His closest friends and asked them to pray for Him. Jesus, who during His life had many who came to Him and asked for prayers. He had prayed for many. In John 17, it records where Jesus prayed for you and me. This one time, when Jesus asked others to pray for Him, they let Him down. He needed them to pray.

I am not sure what you are facing today or how you are dealing with COVID-19, but I know this: you are either alert to the dangers ahead of your path or you have succumbed to Satan’s secularism message. Secularization pushed people to base life decisions on a secular humanist, relativist moral world view. Judeo-Christian values and the Bible are no longer the moral foundation of decision making in life for most westerners. Secularism means we don’t pray as we should.

You are either aware of the battles around you, or you are nodding off in apathy. Satan has turned our world into his playground and wickedness is growing at an all-time rate. Don’t fall asleep during this time when your friends can be comforted by your prayers, and you can be strengthened by talking with God during this awful time.  Prayer is a potent weapon, and everyone needs prayer.