Day 30

Jesus Faces Trials

from the The Life of Jesus reading plan

Luke 22:39-65, Mark 14:53-65, Luke 22:66-71, Luke 23:1-12

BY Bailey Gillespie

Oak leaves blanketed the lawn in yellow while I wandered the abbey grounds in the hills of Kentucky. It was peaceful and quiet. I came here to meet with God—to spend a few quiet minutes in a place where many other Christians have come to worship and feel His presence among the trees. 

Named after the garden of Gethsemane, this particular abbey has a statue of Jesus tucked away in the woods. His hands cover His face in agony while He prays for deliverance. 

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me,” Christ pleads in His prayer. “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). 

It’s hard to imagine this kind of anguish being real. I don’t want to. On a perfect autumn afternoon like today, this quiet peace is such a contrast to what Jesus felt that day in the garden when He was in so much inner turmoil; He sweated drops of blood (v.44). And yet this one moment in history is what this whole place calls us to remember.

Not my will, but yours, be done. 

Any time I read passages where Jesus is the one praying, it moves me. Jesus, our Savior—the one you and I pray to—also prays. During His life and ministry, Jesus also faced trials and great suffering that brought Him to the end of Himself. In the days leading up to His crucifixion, Christ experienced the anticipation of His death. He endured disciples who fell asleep in the middle of praying (v.45), endured physical and psychological abuse (vv.63–65), and went through moment after moment of betrayal and rejection from those who had just met him and those who were close enough to call friends.

In Luke, we read that Pilate couldn’t find fault with Jesus. “‘I find no grounds for charging this man,” he declared, once the accusations poured in (Luke 23:4). Yet mockery and abuse continued. Even in the midst of this, God gave Jesus the strength to keep going. The time they had spent together in the garden—with the blood and the crying out in desperation—led to complete surrender and obedience. 

As I walked those abbey grounds in Kentucky, I thought of Jesus. I thought of the way God met with Him and listened to His anguish. How it must have broken His fatherly heart. But even this agony couldn’t stop God’s will from prevailing that day in Gethsemane. 

On the hardest days, but also the ordinary days, may you be strengthened by God’s love. May you receive whatever trials He allows into your life with trust and surrender, knowing that God will meet you right in the midst of it. 

Not my will, but yours, be done.

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