36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away[f] unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.
44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
Dear God, since I just came from a marriage conference this weekend and I came across this image this morning, I can’t help but go to Ephesians 5:25
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.
This picture embodies what I am supposed to do for my wife. Everyone focuses on the other verses in Ephesians 5 and freaks out over the instructions for wives (which are probably misinterpreted to some extent), but they don’t think about this image. I should love my wife so much that I’m willing to be put in this position for her. Jesus gave no excuse. I have no excuse. No matter what, this is what you call me to do. Who you call me to be. This is my duty regardless of what my emotions tell me. In fact, for husbands, this might be the most important image in this book.
As I look closely at the image I see vague images of people strewn through it. They are probably intended to be the disciples sleeping while Jesus is in anguish. I thought they could also represent the people of the world for whom he is submitting to this pain, anguish and torment. He will literally be separated from his consubstantiality with you at some point. His physical human body will not longer be part of the divine. For that moment, he will be giving it all for me. For his church. For his bride.
And what if my wife doesn’t get it? What if she is like the disciples who are sleeping in the background, completely unappreciative of what Jesus is doing? Not that my wife is any of these things, because she really is the best. But what if? Am I called to be any less than Jesus was in this moment?
Father, it was a really good conference. I pray now that your Holy Spirit will move in our community through it. Move from the bottom up. It’s obvious not many of the pastors or spiritual leaders in our community were interested in this. So this movement will depend upon those whom you led to come. Help them to carry you into their hearts, minds, souls, and bodies today. Help them to carry you and what we learned into their marriages and give them new insights into not only their own lives, but also the lives of friends and loved ones. Let the older women teach the younger. The older men teach the younger men as well. And may the man my daughter ultimately marries be Jesus for her. Let that be her standard for the man who is good enough for her. The man she deserves. And may my son learn to be Jesus for his eventual wife. And, oh yeah, let’s not forget about me. Help me to be exactly who you need me to be for my wife as well.
I offer all of this under the power and authority granted to me by the grace of Jesus,