Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Pain hurts… I realize that this is not a very profound statement to start a devotion.
Lent is the perfect time to reflect on our relationship with pain, as we hear of the pain Jesus endured. When you think about it, pharmaceutical science has developed more pain remedies than ever before (to the point of being problematic). We also have the ability to more comfortable than ever before. Why is it, then, that we are so obsessed with pain? Our modern, first-world obsession is to be as comfortable as possible all of the time.
In her 2014 book, The Story of Pain: from Prayers to Painkillers, historian and social scientist Joanna Bourke writes about pain as being a unifying part of our human experience. In other words, pain unites us. Without pain, we wouldn’t be human. To feel pain is to be connected to everyone else.
While reading Bourke’s book, I was struck by what it meant for me and my Lenten journey. For more years than I care to remember, I’ve always had the nagging question about why Jesus had to suffer. It seems like God could have saved us some other way. But the genius around the crucifixion – and all of the unbearable pain Jesus suffered – is that it unites us. Jesus is joined to us when he suffers; we are joined to Jesus when we suffer. God gets us! God does more than love us; he meets us in our pain.
This is a beautiful reality that emerges from the ugliness of the Cross. God meets us in our hardest places and he dies with us so that we might find hope – a hope that is beyond pain and suffering.
Written by Pastor Greg Bouvier
Pastor Greg heard God’s call to Sheridan in 1999 and that began a journey which has become his life’s work. Having played a variety of roles as pastor of Sheridan, Pastor Greg was called as the Senior Pastor in 2011. He now leads the staff and his primary focus is on the creation of culture, the overall direction of worship and partnering with our amazing team.
Pastor Greg has been married to Rose for more than 30 years and together they have two servant-hearted grown children.