Day 18

Jesus Prays in the Garden

from the Mark reading plan


Mark 14:17-52, Hebrews 5:7-8

BY Sharon Hodde Miller

One day while I was shopping, I walked past the stationery section and noticed a journal with this quote on its cover: “I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” The journal did not cite the source, but the quote originates from Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein. And although the cover was cute and feminine in design, these words were spoken by Frankenstein’s monster.

For some reason I stopped and stared at the journal for quite some time. It was the kind of inspiring statement that has become ubiquitous in our culture today. But like many of our most popular affirmations, it is not actually true. The truth is, no one’s power comes from being fearless, because no one is truly fearless. To be human is to experience fear at some time or another, which is why these words could only be spoken by a non-human monster!

No, the presence of fear does not make us less powerful. It is what we do when we are afraid or distressed that either empowers or undermines us. There is no more poignant example of this principle than Jesus Himself. In verse 34, Jesus confesses to being “deeply grieved to the point of death,” begging God to remove the cup of His suffering, for it to pass from Him (v.36). And in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is described as being so anguished that He sweats drops of blood (Luke 22:44). 

Jesus takes up His cross, but this strength does not come from the absence of grief; it comes from intimacy with the Father. Jesus chooses to spend His final hours on earth by praying to His Father, and it is this—not fearlessness—that prepares Him for death (Hebrews 5:7–8). 

In a culture of self-help mantras that are, very often, dishonest, it is important that we hold them up to the reality of God’s Word and the humanity of Christ. Fearlessness sounds like a noble goal, but it is an impossible standard to achieve, and therefore, an empty source of personal power. In Christ, we find a better gospel: we are free to be real human beings, and we are reminded of where true power lies.

If I had the chance to rewrite that journal cover, I would probably replace it with a different set of borrowed words:

“My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Our power does not come from ourselves, and this is good news. Whatever you are facing, take it to the only real source of power. Take it to God in prayer. 

Post Comments (68)

68 thoughts on "Jesus Prays in the Garden"

  1. Susan Lincks says:

    I give my soul you, God!!

  2. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord thank you for your grace!

  3. Colleen Politanski says:

    Thank you my Jesus

  4. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Lord help my unbelief

  5. Terany Garnett says:

    Jesus you are so kind. Mark has opened my eyes to see you as the Son of Man. You were created from a connection that God wants with us. You taught us the most important things about where our hearts lies. We made you happy, we wanted to know you but didn’t and still don’t understand how much you love us. You prayed real emotions and you went through things but didn’t give up bc the story had a beautiful ending/ a life where man could reside with you- you are great to me. Your life and Job’s is so sad but it gives me the drive to stay with God because He is real and He do love me more than anything but I want to be a slave to His sovereignty. He keeps my mind safe but my flesh will suffer

  6. Julie T says:

    ❤️❤️

  7. Stacy J says:

    Our prayer is powerful because we pray to our all powerful God. Through Him all things are possible.

  8. Ldub says:

    What always strikes me about this passage is how human Jesus is. He didn’t dance and sing to the cross, he was in anguish anticipating it. Jesus really gets us in our suffering.
    And I love that he asks the disciples to watch him pray. I wonder if he wanted them to observe his humannness, observe him being real with God…

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