The air was still. The night was quiet, as if somehow it knew that all of creation was hanging in the balance. Not a breeze could be felt, not even a cricket making his evening song could be heard. The only sound was the crunching of rock and sand beneath their feet.
Quickly they reached their destination and settled beneath the old olive trees, stretching their legs out before them and resting their weary backs against the rough bark.
One moved out from among them and walked further into the garden. The soft light from the moon above seemed to settle on an area of grass in the center of the garden. The Man came upon the spot and fell onto the grass beneath His feet. Never in all His life had He felt more troubled, more distressed. His body relished the sweetness of lying on the soft grass because soon, He knew, rest would not be His. His mind screamed for a way out, His spirit knowing He had to do what must be done.
Slowly He pulled himself onto His knees and dug His elbows into His thighs.
“Is there no other way?” He called out into the night.
“No my Son. No other way.” A voice like thunder answered.
“All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me, but not what I will, what You will.” He replied.
He stood up and made His way toward the circle of friends that had accompanied Him on the journey. The night was still quiet, but as He drew closer He could hear the sounds of snoring. His heart seemed to shatter within Him. When He needed them most, they had fallen asleep! When all He wanted was a friend, He was alone!
“Can’t you stay awake with me?”
Startled, His friends jumped slightly and rubbed the sleep from their eyes.
He turned from them and began to make His way back to center of the garden. Once again He fell upon the soft grass. The darkness settled in around Him, seeming to steal the very breath from Him. With His face buried in the ground, He once again called out for another way, for relief from the heavy burden threatening to crush Him. The answer was the same.
“No my son. No other way.”
He wiped at the sweat that had collected on His forehead. As the moonlight hit His fingers He saw that they were red. Blood! The sweat on His forehead was blood!
Just as He thought He could take no more, a bright light filled the garden around Him. His father had sent one of heaven’s best to strengthen Him! As He lifted His head and gazed into the beautiful light, He saw you! He saw you alone, crying in your despair. He saw you rejected by those you love. He saw you tempted into doing something you swore you would never do. He saw you with your head hung in shame, guilt bearing down upon your shoulders. He saw you trapped in the prison of sin and condemnation. He saw you with no hope of a way out.
Jesus stood then in the garden surrounded by the light of love and knew then that He must do what He was born to do. He was willing to lay down his life. He was willing because He saw you amidst a world that you did not ask for, trapped in a place that had no way out…..unless He made the way!
In the distance He could hear the sounds of men and dogs coming towards the garden. The hour had come. He began His walk back towards His friends. They had fallen asleep again, but this time peace flooded His heart. He was willing to lay down His life for these and for all others because he knew the Father’s plan. He knew that those, including you, in the future who had accepted Him and what He had done for them would also be willing to lay down their lives for Him!
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