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Monday, 7 November 2011

Day 312: The darkest hour

Jesus is in agony. Not physical agony, worse than that.  
Jesus prays for himself
John 17:1-5
He prays for his disciples
John 17:6-19
He prays of the unity of all Christians
John 17:20-26
In the garden of Gethesmane
Matthew 26:30, 36-46, Mark 14:26, 32-42, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1
Jesus is betrayed and arrested
Matthew 26:47-55, Mark 14:43-49, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:2-11
The disciples desert him
Matthew 26:56, Mark 14:50-52

Jesus prays a long prayer for himself, for the disciples and for everyone else who comes to believe in him. He envisages that there will be others who believe thanks to the disciples’ telling them - so he clearly expects that this is not the end of his mission, or that it will end in failure. He trusts this raggedy bunch to do the job for which he called them, but they don’t look apable of much right now.
Jesus had his favourite place to pray, in a garden of olive trees high on the hill overlooking Jerusalem, and he goes there now with the disciples. Their minds are at overload, and they cannot cope with all that is going on, and collapse into an exhausted sleep, leaving Jesus to do with the agony of his choices alone. This temptation must have been even harder than those in the desert. High on the hill as he was, and at night, he would have been able to see the torches of the Temple guards as they left the Temple Mount, led by Judas, down into the Kidron valley and up towards him. Judas knows where to look, because Jesus is in his usual place. All he has to do is to move, or run away over the hill into Bethany, and he’ll be safe with his friends Martha and Mary. But he sits and waits, until the soldiers come, until Judas with a kiss of friendship betrays his master, and the disciples run away in panic and confusion.

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