Jesus did a lot more teaching during that last week. He was met at the temple early each morning by people who listened to his teaching. Every evening he went to the Mount of Olives to spend the night. The religious leaders hated him more and more and wanted to get rid of him, but they were afraid of what his followers might do. So they waited and plotted. Guess they were pretty happy when Judas made a deal with them to betray Jesus when there was no crowd around.
You see, Judas knew where he went every night and where the crowds did not follow.
While eating the Passover meal, Jesus actually let his disciples know that one of them would betray him, but it seems they didn't really understand. When they finished the meal, they went to the Mount of Olives where Jesus told them they would all desert him. Peter was adamant that he would never leave, but Jesus warned Peter that he would deny him three times before the cock would crow.
I would like to think I would have followed him to the end, but even those closest to him, those who had spent so much time with him, ran away. They all ran away! They were afraid and didn't know what to think. Would I have done any better?
This week is known as Holy Week in the church calendar, the week leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. He often went to the Mount of Olives to pray. The night he was betrayed we see him there praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He was in anguish and sweating profusely, so much so that his sweat was like drops of blood. Even an angel came to minister to him. This was no easy task he was facing, but he did it because of his love for mankind.
He asked Peter, James and John to keep watch and to pray, but they were tired. Their eyelids became heavy and they went to sleep. While Jesus poured out his heart in agony to God, asking if there could be any other way, his disciples were sleeping.
THEY. WERE. SLEEPING. This happened not once but three times!
It would be tempting to call them out, but am I any better? Do I keep watch? Do I spend enough time in prayer or do I fall asleep too often? I know my intentions are good, but I also know that I don't always follow through. My prayer is that I will become more aware of how to keep watch, how to live my life pointing others to the One who gave his life for me.
Jesus had compassion on his disciples. He also has compassion on us. He went through the awful death because of his love. He knew what was waiting for him at the end. He knew that after the shame and agony of the beatings, the mocking, the cruel death, he would be restored to his rightful place at the Father's right hand. Even though he knew all this, it did not take away the awful pain and suffering he had to endure.
As a mother, I can't imagine how horrible this was for his mother, Mary. She saw her son beaten almost beyond recognition and in great pain. She had to watch him being nailed to the cross and then finally die. I like to think that even with all the horror, she held on to a hope deep within her, the hope that he would be raised from the dead just like he said.
You and I know the rest of the story. JESUS IS ALIVE!
He is with the Father interceding on our behalf as it tells us in Romans 8: 33,34. I don't know about you, but it brings great comfort to me. Jesus has taken the penalty for my sin. I will never be condemned because of what he did on the cross. I can take comfort in the fact that Jesus loves me and is always with me.