A Struggling Jesus
A devotional thought from Keith Whitfield for “The Cross”
Jesus’ experience in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:41-42) has always disturbed me. He leaves His disciples to pray in order to pray Himself. The Gospel accounts of these moments emphasize the agony of Jesus in the garden. The Gospel of Luke specifically mentions Jesus’ anguish and agony. Moreover, Luke adds that Jesus was so intense in prayer that His sweat became like drops of blood. In the other Gospels, Jesus explains that He is deeply grieved, even to the point of death (Matt. 26:38; Mark 14:34).
So we have this picture of a struggling Jesus. Jesus first wants something other than His Father’s will. Jesus wishes that the cup of suffering would pass from Him and He would not have to drink it. This scene in Gethsemane is complicated. It stretches our understanding of how the divine and human natures in Jesus related. It boggles our simplistic explanations of what Jesus experienced and how He processed it.
What we do clearly see in Gethsemane is Jesus being tested but not sinning (Heb. 4:15). We take from this, among other things, that Jesus is able to understand when we are tested, when we are weak, when we aren’t sure we want God’s will for our lives. In Jesus, we have Savior who does not just observe our lives from a distance but one who knows every weakness and is there to help us in our time of trial.
Pause and Reflect
• Are you ashamed to come to Jesus with complete honesty, holding nothing back? Do you think sometimes that He just does not understand?
• Pray: Lord Jesus, as I reflect upon Your experience in Gethsemane, I am amazed by Your humanness. I am encouraged by the idea that You understand me. Thank You for standing with me in hard times. Thank You for facing sin and death for me. I know that You are able to guide me and give me strength in any and all circumstances.