Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him…And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luk 22:39.44 NIV)
The suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ in Gethsemane transcends all our understanding, imagination and senses. We can only adore and worship him. This fear, which makes the mighty Immanuel shiver and shake, to cry and plea, to fight with death and sweat blood drops illustrates the power of sin and its terrible curse. The one and only helper chosen by God for this unique task is quaking at the enormity of this dreadful challenge. However the course of this battle and extraordinary struggle lets us look deep into the personality of our savior, which ignite love and adoration and worship in us. Thrice the Lord pleas in this awful conflict. Did you notice how the second and third quest are different from the first? Every time he bows down before the will of his Father, but the second time he goes even lower than before and in the last he’s more at peace than during the previous episodes.
Having said the third prayer, he’s shouldered the burden. Mighty and powerful he strides forth with this burden on his back. He’s overcome the temptation and is going towards his final goal. Look at him moving forward, suffering, taking up all pain and enmity, he yields entirely to his destiny, full of love for us and powerful devotion towards our salvation – working himself unto death, but already the victorious savior. This powerful concentration and dedication are a result of his union with his Father in work, thought and spirit. He rests in the divine will and draws strength and courage from this harmonious unity with the Father – to suffer all obediently to the very end and thus triumph victoriously.
O Lord, you found our rest too in that bitter night of evil. Separated from all your loved ones, you prayed for us and watched over us too. That is why I turn my all my senses and innermost heart toward Gethsemane and draw strength, courage, love and determination from your prayerful victory there +
If all the world should desert me and I’m deep down in misery alone, then let me see your image there in Gethsemane. Whatever we lack in our hearts and lives, you know and understand all our pain. You say to our troubled soul: Consider Gethsemane + (Heinrich Puchta, 1808-1858)
This is a translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Maundy Thursday. The hymn was translated more literally than poetically. Both are found on Pg. 156 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.