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Prayer In The Darkness
by Wayne Blank
"Sit here, while I go yonder and pray"
Most count those present at their Passover observance as Christ and the twelve apostles, but there was at least one more present. Judas left early, when "Satan entered into him."
"Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it."
Afterward, The Lord and the eleven went out to The Mount Of Olives.
"And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." (Matthew 26:30 RSV)
As made evident even with His instructions to Judas, the Christ was in complete control, although His feeling of loneliness was obviously growing. He knew that they would all forsake Him for a short while (what He didn't know was that even The Father would do so, for a few seconds, later that day - see the Fact Finder question below).
"Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night; for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee."
They then arrived at a place on the Mount of Olives known as Gethsemane, which in Greek means olive press. Christ then prayed to The Father, perhaps with the near-sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham (see Isaac's Faith And Obedience) near the very same place centuries before in mind, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." It was very likely a rhetorical prayer request because Christ well-knew what had to be done (see Why Blood?).
"Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, "Sit here, while I go yonder and pray."
The sense of doom was made more distressing by the apostles' inability to realize what was happening (see "God Forbid, Lord!"). Christ was with those closest to Him, but He was alone.
"And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and He said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:40-41 RSV)
The prayer was repeated, including at least one line of The Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done."
Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Thy will be done." (Matthew 26:42 RSV)
The formalities completed, with the Judas-led mob approaching, Christ faced His horrendous death - for you.
"And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
Fact Finder: At the last moment of His physical life, Who also briefly turned away from The Messiah? Why?