Pain and anguish in the garden – 28 January 2021
By Hennie Symington
Gardens are not always places of peace and tranquillity. Probably the most disturbing scene in all of the Bible is Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. This was Jesus, the Lord of lords at his most vulnerable, facing defeat and agonizing about his immanent death. Here the garden was not a place of comfort; it was a place of deep anguish and tears of blood.
What does it mean for us to witness our Saviour helpless and deeply troubled, begging to be comforted and praying desperately for the cup to pass him by? Perhaps in this garden we finally realise that Jesus was like us, facing the problems which are part of the human condition – hardship, betrayal, pain, fear and ultimately death without a friend to offer support or solace. Even his closest friends whom he trusted and loved, had abandoned him as they fell asleep while their master was engaged in a life and death struggle. For him the garden offered no comfort. Instead, it was the place of betrayal and desertion. But God was there strengthening him for the work he was born to do.
What about us? God sees us too in our weakness and inability to come to the defence of those who suffer, the outcast, the marginalised and those rejected by society. God sees our fear for ourselves, our limited perspective and our human failings. He knows us and knows what we are made of. And still he loves us; he loves us so much that he allowed his Son to take our failures upon himself in the garden where there was no comfort and no turning back.
As you walk down the garden path, pause for a moment to think of Jesus in the garden and what it means to you that Christ was there to make a way for us to meet our Saviour.
Prayer: Lord, in the garden we are reminded that Jesus suffered just as creation groans, yearning for that time when you will be with us not in a temporal garden but in the new heaven and the new earth forever. Amen