Today we continue the Season of Lent. It lasts for 40 days just before Easter Sunday. In those 40 days we read difficult texts, because they tell the story of the journey Jesus was on to redeem all of creation.
There are several ways to choose texts in this season, and we have chosen to read Adam Hamilton’s book, 24 Hours that Changed the World. We will break down several components of Jesus’ final day in Jerusalem, we will try to understand the conditions of the time for all involved, and further understand the path he felt he had to take, regardless of the circumstances.
Today we are going to read two scriptures passages, because the story is incomplete without both. The gospel text is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, trying to grapple with the responsibility he was given the pain and despair associated with it. Adam Hamilton ties that garden all the way back to the original garden in Genesis 2.
Episode #71 Luke 22: 14-20 Common English Bible (CEB)
First Text - Genesis 2:4-9
On the day the Lord God made earth and sky— 5 before any wild plants appeared on the earth, and before any field crops grew, because the Lord God hadn’t yet sent rain on the earth and there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, 6 though a stream rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land— 7 the Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. 8 The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east and put there the human he had formed. 9 In the fertile land, the Lord God grew every beautiful tree with edible fruit, and also he grew the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Second Text - Matthew 26: 36-39
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” 37 When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious. 38 Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” 39 Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.”
Points of Discussion
Quote #1 - At the base of the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Kidron Valley, sits a grove of olive trees called the garden of Gethsemane. The garden looks directly onto the east wall of the Temple Mount, upon what is known as the Golden Gate, or the Beautiful Gate (an entrance sealed in 1541 by Sultan Suleiman I).
This gate is described in Ezekiel 44 as the place where a “prince” would one day enter the Temple courts. Is it possible that Jesus chose to come here to pray for this very reason? Today, the garden of Gethsemane includes several very old olive trees. Some suggest these trees date from the time of Jesus; but as with many things in the Holy Land, others dispute this. Regardless, these trees have stood for hundreds of years, reminding pilgrims of the night when Jesus prayed here. Hamilton, Adam. 24 Hours That Changed the World, Expanded Large Print Edition (p. 34). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
Quote #2 - As they entered Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray. Then he took Peter, James, and John with him a bit farther into the garden. He did not speak of or display his anguish until he was alone with his three closest companions. It is possible that he felt the need to be strong for the others and to keep them from seeing his torment, while still needing to share it with someone. Perhaps he felt these three might be able to understand. Most of us know how difficult it is to be strong for others; yet we are hesitant to reveal those moments when we are afraid, angry, or grieving. Still, we all need close companions with whom we can share such feelings. Hamilton, Adam. 24 Hours That Changed the World, Expanded Large Print Edition (p. 36). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
Our hope is to provide any individual, teacher, or pastor with a comprehensive look at the lectionary text for Sunday through our podcast, blog, and social media posts