FOLLOWING IN THE PATH OF THE DIVINE….GETHSEMANE (Part 9 of 10).
“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.” (Mark 14:32-34).
“Lean on me, when you’re not strong and I’ll help you carry on….If you need somebody to lean on.” (Bill Withers). What a beautiful song that is marinated in loyalty and smothered in a pledge of dependability. How so many love to sing that song, but never demonstrating in their life, what true devotion to a friend really means. How many times have we extended words of promise to people, and when the time came for us to deliver on that promise: “and before the cock crowed twice,” (Mark 14:30), we denied our friend and ran away? Following in the Path of the Divine to Gethsemane, we find that Jesus needs his friends to watch and pray for him. They promised him that they would not desert him. Peter pledged, “…Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.” (Mark 14:29). When trouble arrived in Gethsemane, those very disciples Jesus chose in the very beginning of his public ministry, Peter, James and John, deserted him. Their words were beautiful, but their devotion and dependability were worthless! In Jesus’ time of great distress he could not depend on his friends to watch and pray.
Jesus, the “Miracle Worker”, the man who calmed the raging sea, casted out demons and raised the dead and fed thousands, is now face to face with his divine purpose of personal sacrifice. The Lord knew that this time would come, but it was not welcomed! Jesus was not exploding with joy, knowing that death was waiting for him in the short distance! In addition, we must consider that Jesus is leaving his friends and family behind. After all, he had a human nature as well as a divine nature. He had relationships and a great following in his public ministry. When death comes to take our loved ones, we only look at the lost from own perspective. It’s all about us, and how we will feel. We wonder, how are we going to make without them? Let’s take a moment and think about the sorrow the dying people are experiencing; when they look up from the sick beds at those they have to leave behind? “…My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.” (Mark 14:34). Those who are looking death in face, are struggling in their hearts too! Men who will leave their wives and children without a source of income, because he is the sole provider. Wives leaving husbands and children behind, without them there to care for them and nurture them. I was ministering to a woman whose husband was on his deathbed. She said to me, “He keeps apologizing to me because he won’t be here to protect me!” What an unselfish departure of his life! This taught me that there are two sides to dying, and we only look at death as a one sided devastation. Jesus spent a lot time preparing his disciples for this moment; and his love for them is expressed through his prayers and his tears. He knew they were weak and that he was his disciple’s strength. Now, the great one they depended on, is surrendering his life for a cause that they do not yet truly understand. The disciples did what many people do when trouble overtakes their friends, they abandon them.
Why is Jesus asking the disciples to watch and pray for him? Because he knew that he was going to be arrested and suffer an agonizing death. How many times have friends promised to stay with you through thick and thin, and went to sleep at your time of need? You were left all alone to face your situation, and did not know where else to turn. I have faced that situation more times than I would like to admit. Friends had promised to support me in the ministry, and when it was time for them to show up, they made excuses; or even stop talking to me because they were lying to me when they said: “God has called me to help you with this or that!” Is God a liar? No, God did not lie, my friends lied to me, and abandoned me in my time of need. However, I have learned this most important lesson, when it comes to fulfilling my ministry for the Lord. I will always succeed, when the work I have put my hands to, has been ordained by God. God always gives me the ability to accomplish whatever he has called me to do. Jesus knew that his disciples were not going to stay with him, he had already told them so. For that reason, Jesus engages his Father in his moment of distress. It is the Father who assigned Jesus this great task of salvation; and it is for this reason only, that Jesus is willing to die. “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36). Jesus is really asking God, is there another way? But Jesus knew, that he was the instrument that God had chosen to provide Salvation. Therefore, he resigned his will and followed his destiny. Always be sure that your ministry is God’s will and not your will. If it is God’s, he will give you the strength to endure the desertion of friends, and shield your heart against the criticism of your enemies! Faith in his Father, empowered Jesus to embrace and complete his kingdom work.
There are some things in life that we just have to go through. This is an agonizing path that God has constructed for our spiritual development. Nevertheless, Jesus provides us with this most important information on our unknown path. When we are abandoned by our friends and family in our time of distress. He teaches us never put your confidence in man, but depend on God alone. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence is princes.” (Psalms 118:8-9). Friends may mean well sometimes, but they make promises they cannot deliver. Jesus turned to his Father, who is all powerful and all knowing. Never put that kind of faith in any human being, they are not God! We are bound to be disappointed by family and friends! Jesus had to go through a great persecution and friends proved unreliable. Jesus put his trust in his Father and depended on God alone! When we find ourselves in Gethsemane, we must look to Jesus, the one we can depend on! Although I love my family and my friends, I know they are only human, some with the best intentions. However, I had learned that friends can’t move my mountains, and they fall asleep when I asked them to pray for me. We must also learn that Following in the Path of the Divine in Gethsemane, that there are some things in this life that we have to face, as Jesus did. He confronted death through his faith in his Father. We also must look death square in the eyes and say: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul he leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the day of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23). The power of God was waiting for Jesus on the other side of death. So, in your Gethsemane, know that God is waiting to resurrect you on the other side, keep praying and just trust in the Lord and go through.
For the record, this message is for anyone who has been abandoned by family and friends. Put your trust in Jesus and he will bring you through! God bless you and amen!
Written by Jessica L. Matthews