April 2011 – Week 1

Meditation for the Week of April 3

Then Jesus went with them [the disciples] to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” -Matthew 26:36

What would you do if you knew you had less than 24 hours to live? This is Jesus exact situation as he goes with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew that Judas was gathering soldiers together to ambush Jesus in the Garden. Jesus knew his time was short—that the next several hours would be characterized by insults, humiliation, agony, crucifixion, and death.

So what does he do with his remaining moments of freedom? He prays.

If I only 24 hours to live, I can’t say with any certainty what I’d do. I’d probably spend time with family and friends. I’d definitely try to eat a five-star meal. I would likely call a pastor and ask him to strengthen my faith in preparation for death.

And there is the difference between me and Jesus. I’d spend time with my family because it’s what I would want to do-they would make me happy. I would want to eat a luxurious meal because I want those fleeting moments of pleasure. I would want to see a pastor because I want to make sure I will go to heaven and die with confidence. Notice, it’s all about me.

Jesus’ choices in his last moments show us that while we are creatures of selfishness, Jesus is totally selfless. His prayers in the Garden show that Jesus willingly submits himself to betrayal, unwarranted insults, brutal torture, and a slow death because he submits his will to the will of our God. “Not my will, but yours be done” is Jesus’ humble prayer.

More, John’s Gospel shows us that before Jesus prays for his Father’s will to be done, Jesus prays for his Church, for the disciples, for all who will come to believe through the disciples’ work (that’s you!).
Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he also prays from the cross. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” To pray to the Father is one thing, to pray for your friends is another…but to pray for people who hate you?…for the very ones killing you?…it shows the selflessness and the love of Jesus.

Your Savior is a perfectly loving Savior. He prays for you; he lives for you; he died for you. He will come again to bring you into his eternal kingdom of heaven.

As we wait, let us imitate his love; let us imitate his kindness toward all people; and let us especially imitate his prayer.

Please take time to pray for your family and friends. Please pray for pastors and church workers. Pray even for your enemies. And pray that Jesus would return quickly to finish the work he has done on the cross and through the empty tomb.

Prayer for faithfulness is Prayer

(Please consider praying this prayer every day this week as a part of your daily prayers)
Lord Jesus, in your last hours you offered prayers for all people. Let your prayers for my good be fulfilled and help me to likewise pray for all people in love, that all may know the joy of your sacrificial love and receive your eternal gifts; in your precious name I pray. Amen.