Gethsemane and the Dilemma of Prayer 1

[Beginning a run of six short reflections on Mark 14:32-42]

Having selected three and leaving the rest, Jesus goes deeper into the Garden to pray. He has already told the three that he is overwhelmed with sorrow, so deep under, in fact, that he could die of grief (Mark 14:34). That of itself is some statement of just how burdened he was.

The prayer of Jesus interested us most at our regular Saturday morning breakfast.

Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

I have no evidence for this, but I dare say this account telescopes the words and the wrestling that went on.

A couple of things to note over the next few days.

Take the first half of the prayer. ‘Everything is possible for you so take this cup from me’. Did Jesus really believe this? That everything, including this request, was possible for God? Was there another way? Then why did God choose such a horrendous option? Or is Jesus, in his distress, blackmailing God? Or was he wrong, and there was something impossible for God?

I think this prayer encapsulates the dilemma of prayer faced by many Christians and congregations.

He Qi’s ‘Praying at Gethsemane’ here


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