Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 28, 2008
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a
Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
"Then Jesus went with them to a place called
Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, 'Sit
here while I go over there and pray.' He took
with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and
began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said
to them, 'I am deeply grieved, even to death;
remain here, and stay awake with me.' And going
a little farther, he threw himself on the ground
and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, let
this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but
what you want.' Then he came to the disciples
and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter,
'So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
Stay awake and pray that you may not come into
the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing,
but the flesh is weak.' Again he went away for
the second time and prayed, 'My Father, if this
cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.'
Again he came and found them sleeping, for their
eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went
away and prayed for the third time, saying the
same words. Then he came to the disciples and
said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and taking
your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son
of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get
up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.'"
Matthew 26:36-46 (NRSV)
Jesus enters deeper and deeper into the dark night of
his soul as he and the remaining disciples arrive at
Gethsemane, a place many scholars believe to have
been a secluded spot, containing some olive trees
and perhaps even an oil press. It was a quiet place
to rest, teach, pray, and even sleep. I personally
find it remarkable that even Jesus needed human
companionship and encouragement in his most vulnerable
hours of deep anguish and fear. So he brought three
of his closest companions among the inner circle of
disciples, Peter, James, and John to be with him as
he prayed. He begged them to keep watch with him.
The three disciples tried their best, but kept
falling asleep in their exhaustion. In urgent
need, Jesus woke them as he desperately prayed for
divine intervention and rescue from his fate. When
their beloved Teacher needed them, the disciples
failed him completely.
It is significant that even in deepest soul agony,
Jesus spoke to Peter and chided him for his sleepiness.
Even in Gethsemane, Jesus offers us timeless words
of wisdom for our own lives today. "Watch and pray
so that you will not fall into temptation. The
spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (Matthew
Through his prayer, Jesus begged God three times as
he sought help in his dire time of need. He recoiled
in horror of what lay ahead, fervently begging God
for another way. He asked that the cup of suffering
not be part of his fate. Through his brutally honest
prayer, Jesus was able to face his future ordeal
with strength and courage. He prayed until the
betrayer and the large crowd armed with swords and
clubs arrived in Gethsemane. Strengthened through
prayer, Jesus rose up and went to greet them.
So what does this mean for us? Through the inspiring
example of Christ in Gethsemane, we are given freedom
to beg God for help and mercy in our direst hours of
need. We need prayer partners and encouragement from
friends and through meaningful community. We need to
watch and pray, as Peter was encouraged to do, for our
spirit is willing but our bodies are weak. We are
all deeply tempted to take the easy and safe way out.
All of us will face crisis points and personal times
of anguish and indecision in our lives. Our lives
may feel chaotic and scattered. We may feel
fragmented and broken with doubt and fear. Through
his brief but poignant words spoken in Gethsemane,
Jesus provides us with a powerful example of
prevailing, persistent prayer when life is
overwhelming and when we are near death.
God, thank you for the humanness of Jesus. Help me
watch and pray with him during the difficult times
in life. Not my will, dear God, but yours be done
in my life. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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