Jesus Prays in the Garden

Open Your Bible

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

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. 

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68 thoughts on "Jesus Prays in the Garden"

  1. Jenna says:

    Praying for you and your family, L Bryant.

    I really loved today’s reading. Even in the face of their sinfulness, Jesus loved Judas, Peter, Mark and all the disciples. Jesus loves sinners like us.

    It was because Jesus loved sinners like us that He came to die for us. The cross is the only way. God never stopped being in control. In the Garden, Jesus set His face toward the cross and the Father strengthened Him.

    For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. God’s judgment has passed over us because Jesus bore God’s wrath and the penalty for our sin. Hallelujah! He saves! Easter is coming!

  2. Churchmouse says:

    Mark 14: 34. Jesus tells Peter, James and John to “remain here and keep watch.” The root word for “watch” in Greek means “to pay attention to avoid calamity.” Jesus knew that these three disciples had no power to prevent His crucifixion. He also knew that temptation was nearby: the temptation to flee, the temptation to deny, the temptation to question all that Jesus had told them about what was going to happen. The disciples chose to sleep rather than pray “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” I myself do not often linger on that portion of the Lord’s prayer but I’m challenged today to do so.

  3. Laurie Crary says:

    I Bryant…. Praying the Lord will act in your life and the lives of your family in a mighty way!!!

  4. Victoria E says:

    Amen Heidi!!

  5. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    Praying for you now dear sister, l Bryant.

  6. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    Yes, Kelly M. I’m right there with you. Praying continuously for my children and grandchildren. All we can do is plant the seed.

  7. Jennifer Ficklen says:

    His grace is enough and I’m so thankful for that. Jesus was going to the cross and He knew it. Instead of being fearful and scared He stopped and prayed to God. He poured it all out to Him and let God know how He felt. What a perfect example for us. Give it to God and He will get us through it.

  8. Kristen says:

    L.Bryant Praying for you and your family.

    Everyone,
    I recently listened to a teaching called, The Last Temptation taught by Tim Keller. He talks about what happened after the Last Supper and in Gethsemane. This is so important to know, and I wasn’t aware of what Jesus was going through! Please listen to this.You may be even more amazed by Jesus after. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/timothy-keller-sermons-podcast-by-gospel-in-life/id352660924?i=1000511830467

    I also heard a teaching called: God Our Only Hope. There are powerful truths about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. https://youtu.be/e2RbLimNAUI

    Finally, I couldn’t find the comment about messy prayers, but I did see a response about coming in prayer and acknowledging Who we are praying to. I was reminded of a teaching by Dr. Charles Stanley called, Where To Turn in Time of Need. He says that God wants us to come. We are told to come boldly to His Throne of Grace. (Of course, only because of Jesus’s Sacrifice can we come.) However, he says that we should come reverently. He challenged the people to go to God that night and pray this Scripture( Hebrews 4:16) aloud to God, even though He knows. He said, we get on our knees simply because of Who He is. He is Righteous and Holy. He said this can transform their prayer life. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/PlgFpXJXW38
    Watching and listening him preach is better than my paraphrasing.
    Blessings to all.