A Way of Meeting Jesus in the Garden

There are many ways to read Scripture. Sometimes we read it to find out what has been said by the Judeo-Christian community on a certain issue over the centuries. Sometimes we read it for comfort at a time of trouble. Sometimes we read it just to encounter the stories again and again.

Yesterday, you imagined yourself at the garden of Gethsemane as an observer. Today, I want to invite you to read this story as a participant. These very human interactions are how God speaks to us; that is the mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus’ words and actions matter because of who He was and is. The reactions of the people around Him are important because in them we see ourselves and how God meets us.

So imagine yourself first as Peter or James or John; all fishermen by trade, who have been following Jesus for some time as He preaches and teaches. They are not learned men, either in Jewish teaching or secular education. In fact, they might not be literate. But something about Jesus has drawn them away from their nets and out of rural Galilee to follow. Read this as though you were one of the disciples:

Matthew 26:36-46

36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

What are you feeling? What are you wondering?

How does this story connect to your life right now?


Now read it again, as though you were Jesus.

What are you feeling? What do you feel about your disciples?

How does this story connect to your life right now?


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