Tuesday, March 7
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”
As I think about this passage, it seems to me that here Jesus shows his humanity more vividly than anywhere else in the Bible. Perhaps as he entered Gethsemane, he did not realize how overwhelmed by grief he would be. He knew that he wanted his friends with him to sit and keep him company as he prayed. But praying turned into something unexpected: overwhelming grief. Humans know that when one loves, even when the beloved (whether an individual or a community) has many faults, the pain of separation can be overwhelming, and yes, one can become agitated. Did Jesus know that the love he had for his disciples and our world was to be so painful as he faced separation? He knew he desired the company of friends during this time, yet it seems he was surprised by the depth of his grief. We know, as he learned, that even when friends are caring and wish to offer support, they cannot “stay awake” and intimately share our grief. I can imagine, although he knew his death was eminent, that was not what caused him the real grief. He may have come to realize that not only would he be leaving this world and his beloved friends, but perhaps suddenly experienced the physical and mental wrenching a person can feel at the separation from love—a very human, painful process. Grief is a lonely business and no one can really share one’s experience. Only lots of time can heal or lessen grief, and Jesus had little time.