It was a dark and stormy night.
Maybe not outwardly stormy,
but it was night and dark,
and there was something stirring in the garden air.
“Sit here while I go over there to pray,” Jesus instructed his disciples.
Peter, James and John,
the inner circle,
were invited to walk further with Jesus.
“My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Stunned by their beloved teacher’s seemingly sudden anguish,
Peter, James and John watched as Jesus,
silhouetted in the moonlight,
staggered a little ways away
and fell prostrate on the grassy earth.
A gripping sense of impending doom
struck the hearts of the three disciples.
Overwhelmed by the sight of the
agonized figure writhing on the ground before them,
the three quietly fell back on each other.
Confused, they had no words for what they were witnessing.
After furtively glancing about,
the three eventually fixed their silent gaze on the stars twinkling in the sky,
and took in the faint scent of olive trees mixed with earth.
Hearing snatches of tearful prayers from their distant teacher,
the fear rising up inside them was palpable.
They were unable to move,
though the cause for concern was not yet visible.
Slowly the night hours ticked by,
and one by one, the weary three leaned against a nearby tree
and gave in to sleep,
joining the other disciples in their slumber,
exhausted by grief
in the garden.
Matthew 26:36-40 (NLT)