During Holy Week we move from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. We have to travel first through the events of this week to truly understand the gift of resurrection. For this bible study we focus on the Garden of Gesthemane.
Begin by stilling yourself and dedicating this time to God. Ask for God’s presence to be near you as you read.
Read slowly the passage from the Gospel for this year; Matthew 26:36-46 (New Revised Standard Version (NRSV))
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.”
Read the passage again and imagine you are in the scene.
What does the garden look like? What noises do you hear? What does it smell like? Who are you? One of the disciples? One of Jesus’ trusted three ? An onlooker? Jesus? How are you feeling? Notice which words strike you the most? Why might this be? Read again and then talk with God about the things which have come out of this reading. Finish your conversation with the Lord’s prayer. Further study
1. Jesus prayer in the Garden is to follow God’s will rather than his own. He lays aside other options to follow the way of love. How easy or difficult is it for us to let go and follow God’s will in times of ease as well as tougher times? How do we discern what that might be?
2. Have you experienced moments in the Garden of Gesthemane? Perhaps at this time of lockdown there have been days when you have felt depressed, isolated, afraid, anxious…. What does it mean “to drink this cup”, and how have you seen this reflected in life? This poem by Rudyard Kipling reflects a sense of this from the First World War:
3. Vocation is about living in response to the continual call of God. Each of us have a vocation to become the person God calls us to be, it doesn’t belong only to clergy. How do we use our talents and gifts to fulfill what that calling might be? Has that calling changed in our journey? What is the cup we are called to accept in our own lives?
As always finish your reflective time talking to God as a friend. If you can, find stillness to listen to what God might be saying within you. Finish your time with the Lord’s prayer.