Desperation. It’s a very apt description of our current state in the Covid-19 pandemic. Thousands are dying. Fear is rising. Isolation is growing. Workers are being furloughed. Bank accounts are reducing. Pantries are being emptied. Desperation is among us.
King Jesus is no stranger to desperation. In the last hour of his earthly freedom, he felt it at the deepest part of his being. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” (Mark 14:34) he said. It’s easy to understand why. He was going to be betrayed by one of his closest friends and placed under arrest. He was going to be kept up all night defending himself and his actions. He was going to be whipped and bruised. He was going to be nailed to a cross. In his desperation, he called out to God while his friends fell asleep.
In being overwhelmed these past four weeks, I’ve felt more like the sleepy disciples. Jesus asked them to pray but they slept. I’ve found it difficult to carry on my normal prayer life in this season. I wish I could tell you that’s because I’ve prayed more, but I’ve prayed less. Jesus shows us, though, when desperation comes upon us, the opposite should be true. I encourage you to (like I resolve to) allow this scripture passage to motivate you to increase your spiritual time with our King. Prayer got Jesus through his toughest 24 hours. If he needed it in his desperation, then it’s a good bet it is what we do too.
Scripture: Mark 14:32-41
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,[a] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.