Without the resurrection of Jesus, the followers of Jesus had nothing. It had been nice up to that point, right? It looked like He was the Messiah. He performed miracles, He promised salvation, He put the Pharisees in their place. The kingdom that had been promised seemed to be on its way. But talk about a great week going bad. He was welcomed like a king into Jerusalem. He had a pretty good dinner with friends (except for that one disciple…!) And then He was arrested, tried, and crucified on a cross. A death sentence meant to humiliate the criminal, the crucifixion had to feel like the end of their hopes. Who could overcome death?
But He did raise from the dead, paying the price of our sin AND showing His power over death. Jesus is worthy of our faith, and we can put our hope in Him. But how do we put our hope in Him when circumstances seem so hopeless?
The Garden of Gethsemane offers some answers to this. The disciples seemed to know something was on the way, but Jesus had full knowledge of the pain of the next few days. He knew the circumstances were the bleakest He had faced in His time on earth. So what did He do?
- He prayed. Matthew 26:36 NIV shows Jesus telling His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He knew prayer would prepare Him for what laid ahead.
- He asked for support. Jesus, who was perfect, knowingly asked His imperfect disciples for support. He asked in Matthew 26:40, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” They let Him down, but He wanted them to be around.
- He was honest with God. In Matthew 26:42, Jesus prayed to God, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Jesus was willing to do what was necessary, living in surrender to God’s Will. But it was still hard for Him to do it, even knowing the victory He would have on the other side of the cross.
Even in the darkness of the events of Good Friday, there was hope because He knew our God would overcome. He knew hope was on the way. Would you take a few moments to pray with me to remind ourselves of this hope?
Jesus, Even when things look dark and it is hard to have hope, may we remember the hope of Easter. May we remember Your victory over sin and death. May we look to You for hope in prayer. Thank you for giving us hope! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.